Times have changed, but that doesn’t mean the world is a less cruel place for everyone. Some societies of the world still indulge in bloodcurdling rituals and practices that most people probably assume were left in the past.
Here’s a list of the 5 most bizarre and cruel practices still popular in some parts of the globe.
Cannibalism: Forget Hannibal the Cannibal – a tribe in New Guinea, the Korowai, openly admits that it has a certain taste for fellow tribesmen. A special on the menu are those deemed "witch doctors," who are tortured and then eaten. Why? Because the Korowai believe witch doctors eat people from the inside, and, by eating them, they are only settling the score.
Witch Hunts: The Salem witch trials remain one of the most traumatic events in U.S. history. Unfortunately, some societies are still experiencing that horror. The president of Gambia in 2009 launched a witch hunt campaign that is said to have left at least six dead. On the other side of the world, India and Saudi Arabia will also kill any woman who is thought to be a witch. Here’s the worst part: hearsay is all they need to "affirm" one’s witch-hood.
Female Genital Mutilation: Despite the efforts of World Health Organization and governments of the countries themselves, female genital mutilation is a horrifying reality in several African and Middle East countries. The procedure is done on young girls as a rite of passage, with little to no anaesthesia, by religious figures without much knowledge of anatomy. The procedure cruelly removes all or most of the external part of a female’s genitalia with long-term health repercussions including extended urination time up to half an hour, denial of sexual pleasure and deadly complications during childbirth.
Human Sacrifice: Although this seems like something out of mythology, human sacrifices are very much real. In some Hindu groups, Sati is still practiced where a widowed woman is expected to burn at the pyre with her husband’s corpse. In Uganda, the BBC uncovered people paying huge sums to witch doctors for infant sacrifices supposed to bring them wealth and prosperity.
Restrictive Body Wear: This phenomenon can be observed in different forms across cultures. Women from tribes in Thailand and Africa wear metal collars which deform their shoulders and give the impression of a longer neck associated with beauty. A shrine in Pakistan, Shah Dulay, puts metal caps on infants dedicated to the shrine. These restrictive caps stunt the growth of their head and brain, disabling victims. The Chinese foot binding custom still isn’t a thing of past, with survivors still suffering from disabilities related to their bound feet.