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Cannibalism in Jamestown: Colonists Ate a 14-Year-Old Girl's Brain


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"So great was our famine, that a savage we slew and buried, the poorer sort took him up again and eat him," Captain John Smith wrote in 1624 of the scene in Jamestown, Virginia. He continued, "One amongst the rest did kill his wife, powdered her, and had eaten part of her before it was known, for which he was executed, as he well deserved. Now whether she was better roasted, boiled or carbonado'd, I know not, but of such a dish as powdered wife I never heard of."

Too soon, Captain John Smith. Too soon.

It's hard to imagine being hungry enough to even think about eating another person.

<The anthropologists date the act to the winter of 1609-10, part of the "Starving Time," during which conditions were abominable. There was dissent, drought, famine, and the colony was under attack from the aforementioned "savages" of the Powhatan confederation. Only 20 percent of the colonists survived that winter.>

20 percent.  Desperation drives people to unimaginable acts. 

400 years ago sounds simultaneously like yesterday and forever ago.

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