1. Cannibalism was really big in Europe during the 16th and 17th century as a form of medicine. Creative Commons / Via commons.wikimedia.org Human flesh was ingested in forms of medicines and supplements – sometimes mixed with chocolate or consumed as drinks. Simultaneously (and hypocritically), Europeans were colonising parts of the Americas and Africa and viewed the natives as "savages", particularly because of cannibalistic practises and rituals. 2. In fact, it was such a popular practise that Egyptian mummies are rare nowadays not because few survived the thousands of years in their tombs, but because few survived the cannibalistic demands of 17th century Europeans. Creative Commons / Félix Bonfils / Via commons.wikimedia.org The mummified remains of Egyptians pharaohs was sold as medicine in Germany until the 20th century. The picture above is of an Egyptian mummy seller in 1875. 3. The convulsions that a body may undergo on death were often thought of as demons possessing human bodies without fully resurrecting them during the medieval times. Creative Commons / Via commons.wikimedia.org Medieval Christians believed that demons were bodiless spirits, and would often inhabit the soulless bodies of the dead – like a bastardisation of God's miracles and Jesus's resurrection. Bodies that were believed to have been possessed – i.e. any body that convulsed after death – were discarded without ceremony. 4. As a space-saving technique, the skeletal remains of buried bodies would be dug up and moved to underground crypts called ossuaries. Many more remains could be stored that way. Creative Commons / Via commons.wikimedia.org, Creative Commons / Via commons.wikimedia.org The Brno Ossuary in the Czech Republic is the second biggest in Europe. The bones would often be used to create elaborate decorative sculptures – like chandeliers made entirely out of bones and skulls. 5. The Fijian Chieftain Udre Udre is believed to have been the world's most prolific cannibal, apparently eating nothing but human flesh and consuming the bodies of at least 872 people in his lifetime. Creative Commons / Via commons.wikimedia.org Apparently, he always kept a little bit of human meat with him in a box, should he fancy a snack. He didn't personally kill each person he consumed, rather they were often the victims of war brought to him by warriors in his tribe. It's possible he had eaten even more people than the 872 ascribed, as he would arrange stones neatly to represent each victim. When the the stones were first discovered by western Christian missionaries, many stones appeared to be missing as there were gaps in the arrangement. 6. In a now abaondoned ritual, wives of deceased husbands in India would (supposedly voluntarily) light themselves on fire on their former partner's pyre. Creative Commons / Via en.wikipedia.org Of course, if the widow did not participate in the act of Sati then she would most likely be shunned and ostracized by the community, which brings into question just how voluntary it was. There are many conflicting explanations as to why this practise was tolerated for so long – some say it was to preserve the honour of the wives of soldiers, so that they would be saved from rape by the enemies who slain their husbands. Others claim it was supported by neighbours, who could then claim the property of the husband as the wife could not inherit it, or it was used as a preventative measure to stop wives killing rich husbands and inheriting their wealth. 7. Viking chieftan funerals were particularly brutal – not so much for the deceased, but for the slave girls who "volunteered" to join him in the afterlife. Creative Commons / Frank Dicksee / Via commons.wikimedia.org According to the 10th century Arab scholar Ahmad ibn Fadlan, Viking funerals for their leaders were long and cruel. The leader's body would be put in a tent on his ship for ten days by a matriarch known as the "angel of death". A "thrall" (slave or serf) girl would volunteer to go the the afterworld with him. During those ten days, she would be guarded day and night by the daughters of the "angel of death" and intoxicated with drinks. When it was time for her master to be cremated, she would go through a series of rituals. She would be given even more intoxicating drinks in the hopes that they would put her into a psychic trance. She would be lifted by six men through a doorframe, and each time she would claim to see a different vision; firstly her parents, then her entire family, and finally her master in the afterworld, beckoning her. She would then be led onboard her master's ship, and she would give her jewellery to the old woman and her daughters who guarded her. She would then enter her master's tent, followed by six men, who would each take turns in having sex with her – supposedly symbolic of her status as a vessel for life force. Then the men would hold her still by the limbs, with a rope around her neck, and the "angel of death" would enter the tent and stab the girl between her ribs. The boat would then be set on fire. It should be noted, the accuracy of this particular account is unclear, but there is plenty of evidence that women and slaves were sacrificed alongside their chief. 8. Romans used urine as a mouthwash. Channel 4 Apparently, if urine is left out long enough it turns into ammonia, which can bleach teeth. Catallus, the Roman poet, even wrote about this practise. I guess Jeremy from Peep Show was onto something. 9. Binding books in human skin was a big thing in the 17th and 18th centuries, particularly anatomical books and erotica. Wellcome Images / Via en.wikipedia.org It's called "anthropodermic bibliopegy" and there are allegedly 47 human-skin-bound books in libraries and universities around the world, nine tested and confirmed to be human. Many instances of this are found on anatomical books, which are bound in the skin of the cadavers dissected for research. There are also some copies of Marquis de Sade's Justine et Juliette that are bound in the tanned skin of female breasts. For context, Marquis de Sade was the sick fucker after whom the word "sadist" was invented. Some of the breast-bound books apparently even have the nipples in tact.