LOOKING TO HISTORY ….
Something that has been pointed out to me in regard to this website, a number of times is ‘why does the Outlaw publish so many ‘historical’ posts instead of posting about current events?’
The answer to that is quite simple, and I shall re-iterate what I answered then, which was that many events of today are not ‘new’, and one only has to look to history to find examples of similar or even identical events with which to draw comparisons from.
A case in point is something I happened upon last night, while I was doing some research for the book I am currently putting together about a building of historical interest in Wrexham, north east Wales, when I found an obscure reference to a survey of the Bromfield (Saxon Name) and Yale lordships, that had been undertaken by a Thomas Sheffield in 1315.
After a lot of searching, through books and various archives, I found a Doctorate Thesis in the Aberystwyth University Geography Archive ‘Spatial Patterns in the small town in the nineteenth century – a case study of Wrexham’, written by Sandra Irish B.A. (Hons) which was submitted in August 1987.
On page 102 of that document, there is a reference to this survey, and the date, but I can find little else about it, other than a few anecdotal quotes elsewhere, about ‘Famine’ and rather strangely ‘Cannibalism’.
So you know by now how it works, you start off by looking for something and you end up somewhere else, following clues and links and joining dots until you reach a point where you are reading about stuff that has nothing whatsoever to do with what you were actually looking for.
Anyway, the anecdotal references I had found to ‘Cannibalism’ piqued my interest somewhat, especially with all the bullshit being promoted around the internet at the moment, with taglines like ‘Baby Eating’ and ‘Satanic Practices’ and ‘Satanic Ritual Abuse’ etc, so locating actual historical evidence of ‘Cannibalism’ on any scale occurring in Britain or mainland Europe, could, and I emphasize the word ‘could’, add some weight to at least some of these claims.
I avoided the ‘Truther’ websites and forums, especially those who are pumping out this kind of stuff regularly, and purposely looked for sources that were both historically ‘Mainstream’, as well as Contemporary therefore would be generally acceptable to the average person.
What I found was interesting, inasmuch as even WIKIPEDIA (although horrendously flawed, is generally the average person’s go-to reference point), has a number of pages about this very subject, but, being part of another historical event, (which admittedly I was not overly familiar with) could be easily overlooked.
Although WIKI makes no reference to the survey I was looking for, what it does mention is an event known as ‘The Great Famine’, which began in 1315 and continued for the next four years, brought great hardship and starvation to much of Europe and ‘Chroniclers of the time noted many incidences of cannibalism’….
‘In the spring of 1315, unusually heavy rain began in much of Europe. Throughout the spring and the summer, it continued to rain, and the temperature remained cool. Under such conditions, grain could not ripen, leading to widespread crop failures. Grain was brought indoors in urns and pots to keep dry. The straw and hay for the animals could not be cured, so there was no fodder for the livestock. The price of food began to rise; prices in England doubled between spring and midsummer. Salt, the only way to cure and preserve meat, was difficult to obtain because brine could not be effectively evaporated in wet weather; its price increased from 30 shillings to 40 shillings. In Lorraine, wheat prices grew by 320% making bread unaffordable to peasants. Stores of grain for long-term emergencies were limited to royalty, lords, nobles, wealthy merchants and the Church. Because of the general increased population pressures, even lower-than-average harvests meant some people would go hungry; there was little margin for failure. People began to harvest wild edible roots, plants, grasses, nuts and bark in the forests.
A number of documented incidents show the extent of the famine. Edward II, King of England, stopped at St Albans on 10 August 1315 and had difficulty finding bread for himself and his entourage; it was a rare occasion in which the King of England was unable to eat. The French, under Louis X, tried to invade Flanders, but in the low country of the Netherlands, the fields were soaked and the army became so bogged down that they were forced to retreat, burning their provisions where they left them, unable to carry them away.
In the spring of 1316, it continued to rain on a European population deprived of energy and reserves to sustain itself. All segments of society from nobles to peasants were affected but especially the peasants, who represented 95% of the population and who had no reserve food supplies. To provide some measure of relief, the future was mortgaged by slaughtering the draft animals, eating the seed grain, abandoning children to fend for themselves (“Hansel and Gretel”) and, among old people, voluntarily refusing food for the younger generation to survive.
*The chroniclers of the time noted many incidents of cannibalism.*
The height of the famine was reached in 1317, as the wet weather continued. Finally, in that summer, the weather returned to its normal patterns. By then, however, people were so weakened by diseases such as pneumonia, bronchitis and tuberculosis, and so much of the seed stock had been eaten, that it was not until 1325 that the food supply returned to relatively normal levels and the population began to increase again. Historians debate the toll, but it is estimated that 10–25% of the population of many cities and towns died. Though the Black Death (1338–1375) would kill more people, it often swept through an area in a matter of months, whereas the Great Famine lingered for years, prolonging the suffering of the populace’. – WIKIPEDIA
That of course does not ‘Prove’ that Cannibalism is practiced today by any means, only that extreme hardship had forced a number of people out of sheer desperation and extreme hunger, to do the unthinkable in order to survive – that appears to be a historical fact.
There is of course the now infamous Sawney Beane case, where an East Lothian native in the 12th Century, along with 47 other members of his murderous and cannibalistic family, were executed:
‘Their crimes were considered so heinous that the normal justice system, for which Scotland is so renowned, was abandoned and the entire family were sentenced to death. The following day the twenty-seven men of the family met a fate similar to that of many of their victims, by having their legs and arms cut off and being left to slowly bleed to death, watched by their women. The twenty-one women were burned like witches in huge fires.’
So even in the 12th Century, cannibalism was considered so heinous a crime that the Scottish justice system was abandoned.
As many of these recent ‘Baby Eating’ claims are known to be emanating from over the Scottish border, could they be using the Bean case, as it’s local to them as a point of reference?
Because I would bet a pound against a pinch of pig manure that they are not aware of what happened during the ‘Great Famine’, and out of great necessity only.
Another thing I would like to draw attention to, although it’s unrelated to the eating of people or babies, is another event which happened prior to 1315, (also referred to in the WIKIPEDIA page) and which is believed to have been the cause of the famine:
‘The onset of the Great Famine coincided with the end of the Medieval Warm Period. Between 1310 and 1330, northern Europe saw some of the worst and most sustained periods of bad weather in the entire Middle Ages, characterized by severe winters and rainy and cold summers. The Great Famine may have been precipitated by a volcanic event, perhaps that of Mount Tarawera which lasted about five years.
Changing weather patterns, the ineffectiveness of medieval governments in dealing with crises and population level at a historical high made it a time for little margin for error in food production.’
Which shows that ‘Global Warming’ or ‘Climate Change’ is not a new thing either, it’s a perfectly natural cycle, (every few thousand years) is entirely predictable, and is certainly not ‘ManMade’ as every western Government has claimed for the last decade or so, and that there are not that many things that are entirely ‘New’….
*I will continue searching for the Wrexham Cannibals though, in case you were wondering …. It would make a great story.*