Murdering for fat?

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scott
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Murdering for fat?

Postby scott » Thu Nov 19, 2009 10:20 pm

Last edited by scott on Sat Nov 21, 2009 10:40 am, edited 2 times in total.


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Kelly
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Re: Murdering for fat?

Postby Kelly » Fri Nov 20, 2009 1:59 am

I better watch my back! :shock:



(and my backside... :roll: )
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Re: Murdering for fat?

Postby tomsax » Fri Nov 20, 2009 4:15 am

Isn't this related to the myth (or fact if you believe many Peruvians) of the pishtaco? These are people who take fat or grease from people's body. There have been lots of stories about them in Peru over the years, of them taking the fat of people for cosmetics and for the aviation business.

I once worked in a remote village of Peru surveying irrigation ditches with a GPS. Somehow a rumour started in the village that I was a pishtaco and the GPS was some instrument for finding fat. It was quite a shock.
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Re: Murdering for fat?

Postby uwwgal » Fri Nov 20, 2009 7:16 am

eek! thats messed up!! not going to huanuco!
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tomsax
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Re: Murdering for fat?

Postby tomsax » Fri Nov 20, 2009 7:55 am

I'd take the idea that there are actually people who kill for human fat with a massive block of salt. There has been news stories about this sort of thing for years and when serious journalists get involved they can find very little real evidence.

It's an interesting myth though. My wife tells me that when she was naughty her grandmother told her that she better be good or the pishtaco would come for her. Her idea at the time was that it was a sort of bogeyman figure that would get you in the night.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pishtaco

And this article talks about pishtacos wearing felt hats, boots and being white which sort of describes my appearance in Andahuaylas when I was looking at those drainage ditches that day.

http://www.jstor.org/pss/539781

After I left the village a colleague (Peruvian) went back. She got talking to an old women who asked about me and she said I was fine. The old lady said "it's not true what people are saying, is it? That he's a pishtaco."

I got talking to my Peruvian colleagues and was amazed that quite a few of them (university educated) beleived in them. One of them (who was a very white Peruvian and tall) actually told me his deceased grandfather had actually been one!

There's great horror movie material here. I don't know why they don't make a vampire like flick about them.
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Re: Murdering for fat?

Postby Alan » Fri Nov 20, 2009 9:27 am

El Comercio wrote a feature on the "brotherhood" in Huanaco, complete with a photo of a cop, holding a litre bottle of Inca Kola filled with, apparently, human fat.

The story is that they sell it to Europe for use in plastic surgery and to make cosmetics, and supposedly charge $15,000 a liter for the stuff. But a doctor who was interviewed raises two interesting points: plastic surgeons throw away gallons of the stuff on a regular basis after all the liposuctions they carry out. Also, fat extracted informally (talk about your cottage industry.. meat hooks and candles) isn`t pure enough to be used. That makes a lot of sense.

So.. if they were doing it, why?

And just so we don`t feel alone in the world, there is a small article on page b11 about Albinos in Burundi and Tanzania that have fled to a refugee camp, running from "hunters" who kill them to use their body parts for magic rituals.

Well.. have a nice day everybody.
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Re: Murdering for fat?

Postby jude » Fri Nov 20, 2009 3:04 pm

The idea that the human fat is sold in Europe for cosmetic use is, of course, nonsense. It does, however, fit with the pishtaco myth, as pishtacos are white. It's a myth that is still very much alive, as Tomsax indicated. I personally know archaeologists and even a peace corp volunteer who had to leave their locations, at least temporarily, because local people became convinced that they were pishtacos, and their was some fear for their personal safety.

It these killings have really happened, and pardon me for not entirely believing everything in the Peruvian press, I'd assume there was much more to the story that what was reported. Human fat and body parts can be used in witchcraft, so possibly that was the motivation. Alternatively there were some local disagreements or politics involved, and the grizzly killings were to send a message or to try and cover up the crime.

For much more on the pishtaco I highly recommend Mary Weismantel's Cholas and Pishtacos: Stories of Race and Sex in the Andes.
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Re: Murdering for fat?

Postby euroman » Fri Nov 20, 2009 4:30 pm

I was eating a pizza at Papa Johns this week and there was a lot of fat on it.
It also tasted strange...??? :? OHHHHHH, MY GOD.
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Re: Murdering for fat?

Postby craig » Fri Nov 20, 2009 6:30 pm

tomsax wrote:There's great horror movie material here. I don't know why they don't make a vampire like flick about them.

Don Sax, the Pishtaco from Andahuaylas.

Where is Lord Byron when we need his literary genius?

Craig
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Re: Murdering for fat?

Postby cajun jamie » Fri Nov 20, 2009 8:14 pm

(edited content). I found out the owner of the eco lodge in Pucallpa is not the gang leader.
Last edited by cajun jamie on Fri Nov 20, 2009 10:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Murdering for fat?

Postby iskndarbey » Fri Nov 20, 2009 8:36 pm

The paper says this gang may have been operating for decades... who on earth buys human fat of unknown providence for $15,000 a liter? My friendly neighborhood liposuctionist more than meets all my human fat needs for free, and most of his patients survive the operation.
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Re: Murdering for fat?

Postby Kelly » Tue Dec 01, 2009 7:23 pm

Here it is in regular English -

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/art ... gD9CAO4B00

Peru's police chief dismissed the head of his criminal investigations unit Tuesday amid suggestions that officers may have invented a story about a murderous gang of human fat thieves, perhaps to distract from allegations of police killings.
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Re: Murdering for fat?

Postby uwwgal » Wed Dec 02, 2009 7:28 am

wow... peru isnt doing so hot with real news, hey? First the lung lie... and now this one. Not looking good for the credibility of the media here! :shock:
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Re: Murdering for fat?

Postby scott » Wed Dec 02, 2009 11:28 am

I agree. The fiasco with the exhibit was crazy. Now this :( I think the media and the people want to believe so badly that the Pishtaco myth is true, that many of them have forgotten about the investigative side of journalism. My mother in law was telling us stories about the Pishtacos, and she really believes they are true. Events like this only serve to perpetuate the myth and keep the people's attention diverted from the real issues.

I guess some parts of the justice system want the death penalty and short of that, they have taken to administering justice as they see fit, scary.

This blog is outstanding. If your Spanish isn't that great, google toolbar translate does a great job translating it to your preferred language.

http://compartidoespacio.blogspot.com/2009/12/mas-que-una-tendencia-peligrosa-gustavo.html
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Re: Murdering for fat?

Postby americorps » Wed Dec 02, 2009 12:39 pm

I certainly find this a weird part of Peruvian culture and becuase of the havoc it causes the country, I do not mind the people who made up the stories to suffer some consequences.

However, tha cultural part kicks in...now we have someone to blame, the problem is over.

However, that means the Peruvians do not ask the tough questions...why do people do this, why is the media reporting this without investigation....

I was outraged when the cheif of the national police came out asking that treason charges be brough against the woman in the lung incedent because she humiliated the country.

If one accepts that as a reasonable excuse to try one for treason, should not then he himself be put up for charges of treason for not cleaning up his own police force..I think that Peru would suffer more from a police force that collaborates with criminals, lives off bribes and is generally corrupt would embarass Peru much more than the singular lung incident..or how about the minister of transportation and his refusal to stand up to the transporte mafia, does that not harm Peru much more than the singular lung issue?

Yet, Petrogate fell to Magaligate, Police corruption fell to lung-gate, and transportation dangers fell to pishtaco-gate.

I am not saying that is unique to Peruvian culture, Michael Jackson pushed the economy and the war right off the front pages in most of the world...but I also doubt most other countries would react as violently about the lung-gate as did the Peruvian authorities.

But image is everything and in some ways Peruvians understand that better than the rest of the world, especially the USA.

Most laws are announced in general terms, without specifics and I never understood that until someone involved recently told me that gives the government a few weeks to gauge public reaction and then decide what parts of the law to push and enforce, and what parts they will ignore.

Once they gauge that, they then publish the PERTINANT details of the law...the part that the public will tolerate.

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