Cannibalism amongst penitentiary escapees from Sarah Island in nineteenth century Van Diemen’s Land
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Alexander Pearce was an Irish convict incarcerated on Sarah Island on the west coast of Van Diemen’s Land (modern day Tasmania, Australia) in 1822, following his transportation to the colony from the United Kingdom for seven years in 1819. On two occasions he escaped from the island, in September 1822 and again in November 1823, and was only able to survive the harsh conditions by killing and consuming his fellow escapees. Given that Pearce utilized the only sustenance that was at hand (i.e. his five companions), and that there was a temporal separation between the two episodes, this may represent a separate category of anthropophagy, that of serial opportunistic cannibalism.
KeywordsCannibalism Anthropophagy Van Diemen’s Land Alexander Pearce Convict Colonial Serial
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