Gavin, Helen (2013) Guess who's coming to dinner? Inside the mind of the cannibal serial killer. In: Cannibals: cannibalism consumption and culture, 25-26 April, 2013, University of Manchester. (Unpublished)

Cannibalism. It’s one of the great taboos, right up there with incest, necrophilia and tax evasion. And, of course murder. In history, most cannibalism appears to be one of several kinds, each representing a different motivation. Culturally defined ritual endocannibalism or exocanniblaism, whilst holding a sort of horrified fascination, does not appear to be frowned upon by the rest of the world quite as much as cannibalism for survival. A strategy in the most calamitous situations, eating human flesh is only to be considered after the horses and sewer rats are all used up, but the motivation for survival is still understandable, if somewhat unsettling to the digestion.
It is the final form of cannibalism that causes the most horror, the thought that dinner guests can turn into dinner. The actual slaying of people in order to feast upon them when neother ritual nor survivl is invovled is quite rare, and represents perhaps the worst nightmare of any horror movie director’s making: the cannibalistic serial killer. You really do not want to end up having dinner with someone more interested in eating you than feeding you. Hannibal Lecter obviously springs to mind, but there are several real life examples who are much more scary, much more creepy and much more interesting, at least to Criminal Psychology, than anything dreamt up by Thomas Harris. Arthur Shawcross, Jeffrey Dahmer, names possibly not familiar to many, but in the dark world of the forensic psychologist these men are the celebrities in a very strange A list. This paper will explore the minds and motivations of those people who have killed, not once, but several times, in order to eat human flesh.

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