Easter Island CannibalismCannibalism Easter Island
Then the abdomen was split and the esophagus, trachea, breast, gastric and hepatic content were pulled away along with his intestines. Of these, the livers were cut off to be fried with the carcasses; the rest washed and boiled over boiling heat to be cut up and ate.
Then the whole interior of the carcase was full of warm rocks, each covered in breadfruit sheets, and all openings were quickly sealed, with shells. Then the casing was placed with the stomach down into a pit in the floor covered with warm rocks, for which a fire had previously been made, but could not touch it through small twigs of the breadfruit trees.
Some other twigs were then placed over the back of the carcase, and many sheets of bananas were scattered or piled over the whole, whereupon a pile of soil was lifted so that no vapour could leak. As already mentioned, the livers were first placed next to the carcasses, sometimes also sweet potatoes.
In this way the carcase could be boiled very well in about half an hours..... Now a few naughty few lost their lives from the Hapai canoe, and the plight of those who had not decided to consume the meat of men was very great. Mister Mariner had been two and a half day without food when he passed a cabin where something was being boiled, with the pleasant thought of getting something that his gut would tolerate, even if it was just a ham.
Upon request he was informed that they had received pig meat, and a man suggested a slice of hepatic meat, which he was eager to accept. It lifted it to his lips when he saw through the smiling face of the man that it was hepatic. Willam Mariner & Dr. John Martin, A Report on the Natives of the Tonga Islands, Hutchinson, 1827.
Breaking their limbs to avoid trying to flee before being consumed, they kept them breathing so that they could ponder their imminent doom. Often a man who was doomed to be slain and ate could be attended by his family, always dressed in nude and sable.
Cases have been recorded where the loved ones were voluntarily murdered and ate in their place, but it is likely that the selfsacrificing individual's body only formed an extra course when the times came. In her adolescence Victoria Rapahango tells us that she knew the last of the island's Kannibals.
All Easter Islanders know that their forebears were Kai-Tangata, "man-eaters". Cannibalism only disappeared from Easter Island after the advent of Christianity, according to Father Roussel. A short time before, the locals are said to have a number of men, among them two merchants from Peru. Kannibalenfeste were hold in remote places, and wives and kids were seldom taken in.
Locals said Father Zumbohm that the finger and toe were the most exquisite bites. Prisoners intended for consumption were locked up in cabins outside the shrines. Cannibalism of the Easter Islanders was not only a sacred ritual or manifestation of vengeance; it was also caused by a mere preference for mortal carcass, which could force a man to murder for no other cause than his wish for new carcass.
The main sacrifices of these incorrigible cannibals were their wives and sons. Métraux Alfred, Easter Island, André Deutsch, 1957. When he lamented with an profusion of teardrops and the bereavement of'Orono' - as the locals used to call Captain Cook - one of them said he had taken us a part of the skull.
It' s not possible to describe the terror that gripped us when we found a slice of meat weighing about 9 or 10lbs. Capt. King reports the killing of Capt. Cook in Hawaii in 1779.