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Was a German Yachtsman Really Eaten by a Cannibal in French Polynesia?

Posted on the 18 October 2011 by Periscope @periscopepost
Was a German yachtsman really eaten by a cannibal in French Polynesia?

Hungry? Photo credit: Chris Martino

Stefan Ramin disappeared on a remote island in French Polynesia, and reports are now circulating that authorities believe a cannibal may have eaten him. The Independent reported that Ramin was a yachtsman, touring the world with his girlfriend, Heike Dorsch. When they dropped anchor on the shores of Nuku Hiva, roughly 1,000 miles north-east of Tahiti, Ramin went for a “traditional goat hunt” into the forest with local guide Henry Haiti. After a while, the guide emerged from the forest alone, and lured Dorsche inland, telling her that her boyfriend had had an accident. He then sexually assaulted her, before fleeing when she escaped. Subsequently, local police found ashes believed to be those of Stefan Ramin, containing human bones and teeth. The teeth and bones have been sent for identity confirmation, but The Sun tabloid reported that the remains are “almost certain” to be those of Ramin.

This tragic and gruesome tail has now garnered international attention because of fears that Henry Haiti, still on the run, ate his victim. The area has a famous history for cannibalism, but the practise was thought to have long since ceased. Is this a revival of the horrific tradition, or just a case of elaborate rumour mongering?

“Investigators believe he was hacked to pieces and burned”, reported the The Daily Mail.

Carved up and eaten. According to The Daily Mail, German newspaper Bild wrote, “It is the suspicion of the authorities that the hunter carved his victim up, ate parts of the body and burned the remainder along with animals cadavers.” The hunt for the “suspected cannibal” continues.

A local tradition. The Daily Telegraph discussed the rich local history of cannibalism: “First, they broke their legs, to stop them running away, then they broke their arms, to stop them resisting. This was an unhurried killing, because the Marquesans enjoyed observing their victim contemplating his fate. Eventually, the man would be skewered and roasted.” Could this still be happening today? Probably not, said travel writer John Gimlette: “Stories of their cannibalism have been exaggerated in a bid to boost their appeal to mawkish tourists.”

Absolutely ridiculous. The claims have been rubbished by a number of news outlets and local people. Sky News claimed “police have denied claims” that Ramin may have been eaten. The Australian reported that locals have dismissed the accusations. Local journalist Alex du Prel said the stories are “totally invented … Trust me, we’d rather eat hot dogs than humans around here.”

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