Saturday, July 10, 2010
“You know, I always wanted to be a surgeon, but it’s better to be a cannibal. If you’re a surgeon you have to put the body back together and you stop having any control over it. But a cannibal kills and then he can do what he wants with the body. After he kills, he owns it forever.” –Ilshat Kuzikov
Though there have been a countless theories about why a person commits cannibalism, one theory in particular seems to shed an interesting light on the topic. According to Dr. Clancy McKenzie, the urge to cannibalize begins with infancy. A baby, being weaned from his mother’s breast, experiences a very real and carnal need to consume its own mother. This ravenous feeling remains dormant in the psyche for years, often until adulthood. When a traumatizing or monumentally stressful thing occurs in one’s life, the childhood memory returns, and the adult finds themselves attracted to actually eating another person.
When faced with an extremely unpleasant or hostile incident, a person may experience what is called an oral aggression. This essentially means that a person can become so unbalanced with outrage and anger, they literally turn to their mouths as an act of protection. Instead of screaming and shouting, biting and ripping at the flesh of another gradually begins to sate the agitated party. Such was the case with Ilshat Kuzikov, who was a mentally ill Russian man in St. Petersburg.
Earning his living as a street sweeper, Ilshat was a man who had to rid himself of day to day stress by working a very easy and uncomplicated job. Virtually nothing is known about the background of Ilshat, merely that he was a cheery and helpful individual, regarded by neighbors as pleasant and non-threatening. He was also known as a loner, preferring the company of his cat, Dasha, to actual people. Ilshat lived on Ordzhonikidze Street, seen in photographs as a busy little place with a tram intersecting in the middle of it.
Near his home, Ilshat was an outpatient at a local psychiatric clinic. It is not known what he was being seen for, but it can be suggested he might have been suffering from some severe anxiety disorder. Living alone with his beloved cat and working a menial job, Ilshat might have been receiving some kind of disability as income. Ilshat could have been ailing from any number of illnesses, any of which would compel him to later eat other people.
In November of 1992, a piece of human torso was found intact in a deserted basement near Kuzikov’s home. Two years later, the severed head of a vagrant was found in a trash can on Ordzhonikidze Street. Kuzikov did not become a suspect until another severed head was found, belonging to a fellow psychiatric patient and friend of Kuzikov, Edik Vassilevski. Breaking into Kuzikov’s small flat, police discovered a horrific site.
A bottle bearing the name of a popular fizzy drink was found filled with semi-dried blood. A jar on the coffee table containing dried ears and skin was found along with a cooking pot filled with the remains of Vassilevski. His remains were cut into portions for a Russian style kebab.
Not much is known about Kuzikov’s trial, but he was declared criminally insane and sent to a mental institution. The Russian’s seemed to have gotten the right idea this time by sending Kuzikov to an institution instead of giving him the death penalty. By detaining him in a hospital and dosing out the right medications, doctors might now have the perfect person to interrogate about cannibalism. What drew him to killing in the first place? Where did his hunger for human flesh come from? Only Kuzikov knows the answers to these questions, and hopefully someday, the ultimate reason for committing cannibalism can be found and later prevented.