Growing cannibal social network boggles authorities

 

British man Geoffrey Portway's chamber specially designed for cooking and eating a child.
British man Geoffrey Portway’s chamber specially designed for cooking and eating a child.
Credit: Department of Justice

On Nov. 4, German businessman Wojciech Stempniewicz left his native Hanover by train and made the 360-kilometer journey to Dresden. The 59-year old managed a successful trucking firm and was engaged to be married. On arrival in Dresden he met with a police worker Detlev Guenzel, who stabbed him in the neck and chopped his body into small pieces.

But this was not a straightforward murder. Police quickly announced their suspicions that part of the body had been eaten and that Stempniewicz had been a willing victim.

“The missing man had fantasized since his youth about being killed and eaten by another person,” reported Dresden police chief Dieter Kroll.

Neither was this an isolated incident. British man Geoffrey Portway was arrested in September for a plot to kill and eat a child, complete with gruesome accessories. A New York police officer is standing trial for attempting to eat his wife. German authorities estimate they have thousands of cannibals within their borders alone.

In every case, investigators discovered the cannibals had plotted their actions online, through dedicated communities with thousands of members, reaching around the world. Metro trawled a few of the websites listed by prosecutors and easily found posts describing similar plans.

“Please send more info. height/weight/physical condition. plus any serving requirements. photos front/rear might be helpful. plus idea for disappearing without attention,” posts one user with an email address.

Some of the most popular posts concern “food” preparation. The community has own slang, such as “long pig” for a male victim.

The most popular website, with more than 55,000 members and 1 million monthly page views, is run by a U.S. pensioner calling himself Perro Loco. He describes his network as the “premier cannibal forum.” Stempniewicz and his killer were users, and Loco’s client list also includes the infamous “Rotenburg Cannibal” Armin Meuwes.

Loco is a passionate libertarian who “defends the right to shout ‘fire’ in a crowded cinema,” but believes the fears overstated. “The vast majority are imaginary fetishists,” he tells Metro. “If someone like Detlev suggests a serious meet-up, other members gang up on them or report it. It’s self-policing.”

The owner estimates 0.5 percent of members are serious, or active, cannibals, and he has turned members in to the police before. Some sites encrypt on the “dark net” but Loco is happy in the open, believing secrecy would just bring more attention.

He does not believe active cannibals could operate in secret, pointing to the case of Sharon Lopatka, an acquaintance who was voluntarily killed by an online cannibal in 1996. “Within 24 hours the FBI were digging up her body. There’s no way you could get away with it for any length of time.”

But the issue is growing, believes criminologist and cannibal specialist Dr. Emilia Musumeci of the University of Catania, Italy.

“It’s not possible to have figures but we can understand the vastness of the phenomenon by the Meiwes case. He found a victim through an online advert — ‘looking for a well-built 18- to 30-year-old to be slaughtered and consumed’ — and many people responded.”

Musumeci believes the Internet has helped to spread cannibalism, including by desensitizing people and the ever more extreme search for thrills. There is no typical cannibal, she adds, although many have a “deviant sexuality.”

Authorities admit they cannot police the cannibal network as there is no telling fantasy from reality. Furthermore, in most countries the laws are unclear on cannibalism, which could be considered assisted suicide or desecration of a corpse.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Hurricane Odile batters Mexico's Baja resorts, sparks looting

Hurricane Odile injured dozens of people, forced the evacuation of thousands and smashed shops open to looters in the popular tourist area of Baja, Mexico.

National

Apple iPhone 6 pre-orders hit record 4 million…

By Lehar Maan(Reuters) - Apple Inc said many customers will need to wait until next month for their new iPhones after a record 4 million…

National

LAPD investigates complaint from detained 'Django' actress

The LAPD is investigating after "Django Unchained" actress Daniele Watts accused police of violating her rights when they detained her.

Local

Number of New York City smokers increase, topping…

For the first time since 2007, there are  more than one million smokers in New York City, according to the New York City Department of…

Movies

Newsflash: Corey Stoll is still not a man

In director Shaun Levy's "This Is Where I Leave You," Corey Stoll stars as the oldest of four adult children (the others are played by…

Movies

If you don't like Simon Pegg's new film,…

Simon Pegg goes all out in "Hector and the Search for Happiness" as the titular psychiatrist stymied by modern life who embarks on a globetrotting…

Arts

Art in Chelsea: Don't miss these 3 galleries

We selected three sure bets for seeing cool art in the galleries of Chelsea.

Music

Robin Thicke blurs lines further with new 'Blurred…

"The reality is," said Robin Thicke about "Blurred Lines" in a court deposition, "Pharrell had the beat and he wrote almost every single part of the song."

NFL

Tom Coughlin says Giants 'beat themselves' against Cardinals

Head coach Tom Coughlin, who had a day to cool off and reflect, still sounded like he had a gnawing feeling in his gut.

NFL

Marty Mornhinweg accepts blame for Jets timeout fiasco

Jets fans looking for a scapegoat for Sunday’s timeout fiasco found a willing party on Monday: Marty Mornhinweg.

NFL

3 things we learned in Jets loss to…

The wheels came off for the Jets, who gave up 21 unanswered points after a brilliant first 20 minutes in a 31-24 loss at the Packers.

NFL

Victor Cruz catches case of the drops in…

The Giants dropped a tough, 25-14, decision to the undermanned Cardinals Sunday in their home opener. And drop was the operative word of the day,…

Travel

World's most hipster cities: Top 5

Travel blogger Adam Groffman tells us his picks for the Top 5 most hipster cities in the world.

Education

The top 5 regrets recent high school grads…

College application season can seem like a blur for many students - as test prep, campus visits and filling out a seemingly endless stream of…

Parenting

Tech execs tend to limit their kids' screen…

You probably got your iPad before Bill Gates's kids did.

Wellbeing

Wellbeing: Daybreaker returns, Ray Rice jersey trade, Sweet…

  Now that Ray Rice is no longer with the Baltimore Ravens — or any other NFL team — after video footage surfaced showing him…