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Cannibals are found the world over.  Two of the most twisted were Issei Sagawa (France) and Andrei Chikatilo (Russia), who forever changed the landscape of serial killing, and serial killer hunting.


            Issei Sagawa is not a true serial killer, as his victim count is only 1, but he is relevant when studying killers because his celebrity has been built up with so much positive attention that only Hannibal Lecter could possibly be more revered for his barbaric crimes against humanity.  The landscape of evil and pathetic public fawning is painted across the face of this small man from Japan.

            Sagawa, a graduate student studying in Paris in 1981, claims that he fell in love with his victim, Renee Hartevelt.  Hartevelt was a European student, studying to obtain her doctorate.  An attractive and talented young woman, no more than 25-years-old, she impressed Sagawa as quite a catch, much to her misfortune.

            Sagawa claimed an admiration for robust white women, but in interviews later, also revealed a sense of disgust for them.

            During one of the talks between Sagawa and Hartevelt in Sagawa's apartment, he made a sexual advance which she refused.  Not to be so easily dismissed, he shot his love in the back of the head with a rifle.  A physical attack would have been nearly impossible, as the tiny man was not even five feet tall and had very little strength.  In fact, he had a history of trying to commit such an attack previously, when he was living in Japan, but failed miserably, and was sent to a psychiatrist who ruled him a danger to society. 

            Sagawa had sex with the corpse, and began to eat her flesh--raw, which he later stated tasted like tuna sushi.  As his first foolish act as a bungling killer, he took photographs of his crime.  His next misguided act came when it was time to dispose of the body. 

            Despite his education and privileged background, it would be a farce to say that he was clever.  After packing the body in several suitcases, Sagawa went by taxi to dispose of them.  After backing down from the chore several times, afraid of being seen, he finally tried dragging the cases to a public pond to dump them.  After he noticed several people watching him, he fled, leaving the cases, blood stains and visible body parts sticking out, and all. 

            His taxi driver could identify Sagawa and where he had picked him up.  The obvious trail lead authorities to his door within two days.  Pieces of the victim were found in the refrigerator as undeniable proof, in case any of the officers had doubts. 

            Unremorseful and blatantly honest, Sagawa claimed insanity, and in 1983 was declared mentally incompetent to stand trial. 

            Sagawa was sent to a mental hospital in Paris, but was transferred to a hospital in Japan after his rich father threw his weight into the matter.  In Japan, his father was allowed to decide when Sagawa was ready to leave the hospital, which he did, in 1985.

            Sagawa was now a celebrity.  He wrote a book while hospitalized called "In the Fog", in which he romanticizes his cannibalism as a loving act, and human flesh as a divine food. 

            A pen-pal of Sagawa's published a book of their correspondence, helping Issei sound like a romantic hero.  The idea of a film was approached.

            Sagawa has been interviewed and profiled in many Japanese magazines, both about cuisine and pornography.  He now fancies himself an artist, and remains a cult figure in his native country. 

Andrei Chikatilo was born in the Ukraine and, like many killers, had a tendency to cling to his mother, who terrified the small child with stories of child-eating monsters.  He never quite fit in as a child, already carrying the seed of trouble that would flourish in his adult life.

            In 1963, he was married to a woman named Fayina, who soon learned that Andrei was not a typical 27-year-old man, barely interested in sex, and usually often unable to perform at all.  The couple managed to have two children, and Andrei became a school teacher.

            Soon he discovered where his sexual passions truly could be found, as he learned how much he could enjoy molesting the children he was teaching.  After being fired, and taking a job at another school, Chikatilo bought himself a secret second home, away from his family, were he could take prostitutes and young girls, whom he sexually assaulted.  It was here that he made his second discovery about himselfone which would change the lives of hundreds of people, and end 53.

            After finding himself unable to rape a 9-year-old girl, he stabbed her, and found the act so exciting that after tearing her small body apart with the blade in a fury of energy, he found sexual relief.  Never before had this blood-lust shown itself to his conscious mind.  Now it would consume him.

            Chikatilo dumped the body in a nearby river, and a neighbor, who had had some problems with the law, Alexander Kravchenko, was blamed for the crime.  Kravchenkos blood type matched the semen type found on the girl. Chikatilo was questioned, but released. 

            Chitakilo's crimes progressed, getting more and more savage.  Biting into his victims, consuming their flesh and blood, became a great pleasure to him, and it was not uncommon for him to remove his victim's eyes.  Age and gender began to matter less and less as Chikatilo's hunting continued.  He would persuade people to follow him, taking them to an isolated place, and then killing them.  He hunted with enough forethought to pack clean clothes, so as not to draw attention as he left the scene. 

            Chikatilo justified many of his crimes by telling himself he was killing people that society did not need or want.  With this ruthless viewpoint, he claimed a staggering amount of victims.  He became known as the "Forest Strip Killer", but eventually became the "Rostov Ripper".


In 1984, two plainclothes police officers observed Chikatilo trying to pick up women on the bus, and thought his persistent come-ons odd.  They watched him for nearly 9 hours, and after he and a young woman committed a lewd act in public, the officers had cause to arrest and search him. 

After finding a knife and rope on their suspect, the police took Chikatilo into custody, and tested his blood to see if he was a match for the semen found on several of the bodies.  He was not.  Had they tested his semen, however, they would have found that Chikatilo was one of the very rare men whose semen and blood type were not the same.  Chikatilo was released a second time.

In November of 1990, Chikatilo was once again questioned on the street by a police officer who had seen him come out of the woods with a bloody finger, covered in dirt and twigs.  The officer took down his name, but released him.  When a body was found, Chikatilo was once again tailed, and this time, arrested for good after witnessed trying to convince a child to come with him. 

Chikatilo was charged with 36 murders, and tried to claim insanity, acting out every chance he got while in the court room, so as to appear as unbalanced as possible.  He was, however, declared sane and sentenced to death in 1992.  He still awaits consideration for a pardon.

The victims families are still aching from the injustices inflicted on their loved ones, and at the time of the trial demanded that Chikatilo be handed over to them so that they could deliver their own justice.


The police failures are remebered as some of the most inexcusable, and Chikatilo was once considered one of the worst serial killers in the world.  He was executed with a gunshot to the head.