I’ve studied cannibal killers for years – there’s 3 childhood traits they nearly always share & one psycho fascinates me


EVER since the movie The Silence of the Lambs, Moira Martingale has been fascinated with cannibal killers.

From the New York policeman who fantasised about cooking his wife on a hog roast to the Californian who cut off his own mother’s head and the Brits who have feasted on their victims, she has studied them all.

Now Moira has published a book on these gruesome murderers, Cannibal Killers, and her research has given her a fascinating insight into what makes them tick – and how to spot one.

“Cannibal killers are rare,” she says. “If you think about prominent ones in history, there weren’t that many.

“But if you think about the last few years, there have been a few.”

Moira published the first edition of her book in 1993, two years after the most famous fictional cannibal, Hannibal Lecter, was brought to our screens in The Silence of the Lambs, starring Anthony Hopkins.

“When Silence of the Lambs came out , it was quite monumental in its impact,” she says.

“If someone murders someone in a fit of rage or revenge or jealousy or for money, as evil as that is, you might understand why they did it.

“People wanted to know why someone would want to eat another person.

“I’d done a degree in psychology and studied deviant behaviour and thought I would find out.”

And the answer – apart from incidents when people have eaten human flesh out of necessity in famines or because they believed it held some sort of magical quality – is almost always for sexual kicks.

Online breeding grounds

Moira, a former journalist, says the internet has provided a place for such deviants to congregate and share their vile fantasies.

She tells The Sun: “I don’t know if the internet has caused a rise in deviant murderers, but my gut feeling would say so.

“If you think about porn, it used to be that it had to be smuggled into the country or bought from shops under the counter. There was shame there.

“Presumably there were always people who fantasised about eating human flesh but with the internet, they can find other people who think the same way, and that validates it.

“There are so many horrific websites about sadistic treatment of women and eating them. Presumably there were always people who have that as their fantasy, but the internet fuels that.”


During her research, Moira found several other factors which the killers in her book share.

Typically, the perpetrators who are loners.

This was certainly the case for Sawney Bean who, in 16th century Scotland, lived in a cave with a woman called Black Agnes Douglas.

Over 25 years, they and their 45 children and grandchildren, were said to have devoured more than 1,000 people.

They were discovered by a search party ordered by King James IV and executed.

Target victims who are like themselves

Moira says cannibal killers usually target victims who are similar to themselves, for example in their ethnicity and sexual orientation.

Stephen Griffiths used the MySpace handle “Crossbow cannibal” and gave the same name in court in 2010, when he was sentenced to life in prison for murdering three sex workers.

He claimed he had eaten their body parts.

Infamous American serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer was said to have eaten some of the 17 young men he murdered between 1978 and 1991.

Dahmer was beaten to death by another inmate in 1994.

Moira says: “Dahmer tormented himself for being gay and killed men.”

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