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Fans of the new Showtime series "Yellowjackets" know the show is all about secrets: the ones that the characters keep from the world, and the ones that the writers tease out for the viewers.
How exactly did the teenage girls of a suburban varsity soccer team survive 19 months in the wilderness after a plane crash? What kind of emotional and physical scars did it leave behind on the women they are today? What are those haunting symbols they've been getting in the mail? And is Misty the best character or is she the best character?
As the show gears up for its penultimate episode and we start to get some answers one big question is certain to be addressed. When the girls ran out of food, what — or who — did they eat in order to stay alive?
While we wait for an answer, here are some real life tales of cannibalism that will answer the age old question, what do serial killers, American settlers, and rugby players have in common?
Cannibalism. The answer is cannibalism.
1. Albert Fish
Albert Fish, also known as the The Gray Man, and The Brooklyn Vampire, was born in Washington, D.C. in 1870. He spent most of his childhood in an orphanage where he endured years of abuse. In 1910, he cut off a young man's penis, gave him $10, and fled the scene. Soon after, Fish began to self harm. He inserted needles into his pelvic region and hit himself with a nail-studded paddle.
By 1919, Fish is alleged to have begun kidnapping and torturing intellectually challenged children and in 1928 he murdered 10-year-old Grace Budd. Six years later he sent Budd's mother a letter detailing the crime, even writing that "It took me 9 days to eat her entire body." Fish was captured and confessed, and while he was linked to five homicides, he admitted to only three. In 1934 he was convicted for killing Budd and executed by the electric chair in 1936.
2. The Tragedy Of The Whaleship Essex
The Essex was a whaling ship that departed Nantucket, Massachusetts in 1820 to hunt sperm whale in the South Pacific Ocean. Unfortunately, for the 20 person crew, it was the whales who got the upper hand, when one attacked and sank the ship. With most of their provisions soaked in saltwater, the men didn't last long before they turned to eating the corpses of crew mates. When they ran out of dead bodies, the men drew lots to determine who would be sacrificed. Eighteen-year-old Owen Coffin drew the short straw, was shot, and eaten. The eight remaining survivors of the Whaleship Essex were rescued in April 1821.
Upon returning to Nantucket, two of those survivors wrote accounts of the wreck. Those works inspired a young Herman Melville to pen his novel of human hubris and a big white whale named Moby Dick in 1851.
3. Luka Magnotta
Luka Magnotta, born Eric Clinton Newman, became a household name with the release of the Netflix documentary "Don't F*ck With Cats." At 21, Magnotta was working as an escort who also allegedly scammed an intellectually impaired woman of $10,000, according to previous Oxygen.com reporting. Obsessed with self image, Magnotta underwent numerous plastic surgeries and sought out fame on YouTube, creating videos of himself torturing and killing animals, including kittens.
In 2012, 2012, Concordia University student Lin Jun responded to a Craigslist ad placed by Magnotta, in which he sought a man who wanted to engage in bondage, according to the Montreal Gazette. When Lin Jun arrived at his home, Magnotta filmed himself murdering the young man with an icepick, dismembering his body, and eating parts of the corpse. He then mailed Lin Jun's body parts to various institutions including an elementary school.
His crimes might have gone unsolved were it not for a dedicated group of amateur online detectives who had already begun investigating Magnotta when they saw his animal torture videos. An international manhunt began for Magnotta, who was ultimately arrested in Germany while Googling news stories about himself, The Toronto Star reported
He was sentenced to life in prison, with possibility of parole after 25 years.
4. The Donner Party
The Donner Party was a group of 80 American settlers, all members of the extended Donner and Reed families, who set out via wagon train from Missouri to California in 1846. Intent on starting new lives, they instead found themselves stranded in the Sierra Nevada mountains in the middle of a harsh winter having exhausted most of their supplies, as a series of squabbles let to divisions between the two families.
Of the original group of settlers that started on the journey, about half survived. Those who died, mostly from exposure, and starvation, though there have been rumors of violence leading to death, became sustenance for their family members.
5. Jeffrey Dahmer
Jeffrey Dahmer was a notorious serial killer who killed 17 men and boys over the course of 13 years. What made this Milwaukee man so notorious was the fact that he didn’t just hunt down and kill his targets between 1978 and 1991 — he had sex with some of their corpses and ate some of their body parts. Thus, he became known as the "Milwaukee Cannibal.”
When police raided his apartment, they uncovered a collection of severed heads, at least one of which was found in Dahmer’s fridge. Dahmer was sentenced to 15 consecutive life sentences in prison in 1992 but was beaten to death in prison by a fellow inmate two years later.
6. Austin Harrouff: The Frat Boy Cannibal
Austin Harrouff is an alleged Florida cannibal who was found eating the face of his two victims in surburban Florida.
Authorities claim that they found Harrouff, now 25, biting 59-year-old John Stevens' face in a driveway while making growling noises in 2016. Harrouff is accused of killing Stevens, 59, and Stevens’ wife Michelle Mischon, 53, before non-fatally attacking the couple’s neighbor Jeff Fisher. Drugs were ruled out in the case and Harrouff’s sanity is still being debated before his case can go to trial, Florida outlet TC Palm reported in November.
7. Miracle Flight 571
The Andes flight disaster is probably the one incident that most closely resembles the fictional events of “Yellowjackets.” A chartered flight bound for Chile carrying 19 members of a rugby team, along with several associates, crashed high up in the Andes mountains in 1972. While 33 of the 45 passengers and crew aboard survived the initial crash, they had to survive on their own for three months before rescuers finally arrived. During that time, they suffered extreme cold weather and a fatal avalanche. When they were finally rescued, only 16 survivors were left. Many of them had cannibalized their deceased teammates and friends to stay alive.
Their horrific plight was captured in the 1993 movie “Alive,” which was based upon the 1974 book “Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors.”
Additional reporting by Gina Tron.
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