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Inside Indonesia’s ‘cannibal’ Korowai tribe that live in trees and consider Westerners ‘white ghosts’

INCREDIBLE images of the last tribe on earth to practice Cannibalism have been captured by an adventurous photographer, who travelled deep into the Indonesian jungles to their remote location.

The Korowai people of West Papua, Indonesia live just as they did 10,000 years ago practicing witchcraft and are believed to still eat human flesh.

Italian photojournalist Gianlunca Chiodini spent several days hiking through leech-infested, rain-soaked jungles to reach the mysterious tribe.

Mr Chiodini said: “I really wanted to visit one of the most genuine and remote tribes in the world.”

“The Korowai live in the heart of the rainforest, where they’re not yet exposed to the modern world, so they still maintain many of their age-old traditions.”

The striking shots show the Korowai people feasting on live bugs; protecting and repairing their rudimentary homes perched on enormous stilts; and a fierce-looking bowman hunting for the tribe’s next evening meal.

The Korowai people have no access to modern medicine and treat diseases with herbs and witchcraft.

Generally, tribe members have a life expectancy of under 50 years of age.

Living without scientific knowledge, the Korowai believe mysterious deaths are attributed to the ‘Khakhua’ – demons who take on the human form.

‘Khakhuas’ are said to disguise themselves as friends or family members in an attempt to gain the trust of the tribe, so they can later kill them.

It is Korowai tradition to perform cannibalistic rituals on anyone believed to be a ‘Khakua’ so to protect the rest of the members.

After seizing the demon, the tribe will kill the ‘Khakua’ victim and eat their flesh.

Chiodini admits the cannibalist rituals of the Korowai people was a concern when embarking on the expedition.

He said: “I was a little bit scared about cannibalism if I’m honest.”

“Certain sources suggest that the Korowai still practice ritual cannibalism to this day.

Other anthropologists believe that practice has stopped, but only in this century.”

“But some of my guides reckoned that there are still yet more people in the rainforest who haven’t been contacted – cannibalism may still yet be practiced.”

Traditionally, the Korowai have lived in stilted treehouses scattered throughout the jungle.

The monstrous houses, as captured by Mr Chiodini, are designed by tribe members to protect not only from the elements, but from the “evil spirits” that lurk below the treetops and jungle canopies

There are just 3,000 Korowai people in existence, most living with little knowledge of the world beyond their homelands.

The Korowai were unaware of western civilization until 1970 when anthropologists embarked on a journey to study them.


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