Incredible snaps of New Guinea tribe that ‘killed’ Rockefeller heir emerge

Incredible images have emerged of a remote tribe that allegedly killed and ate a Rockefeller heir nearly 60 years ago.

Fascinating pictures show men, women and children of the Asmat people deep inside the jungle of the world's second-largest island – New Guinea, north of Australia.

The tribe, known for its sacrifices and rituals, was visited by photographer Gianluca Chiodini, 41, despite tales they killed and ate Michael Rockerfeller, the fifth child of New York Governor and future US Vice President Nelson.

Author Carl Hoffman believes that he has the closest account to what happened to Michael and details it in his book Savage Harvest.

Michael Rockefeller, who was 23 at the time and the son of one of the richest men in America, came into serious trouble when his catamaran overturned along the coast of southwest New Guinea.

He was exploring New Guinea in search of treasures to bring home and put on display in his hometown of New York City.

In the book, Hoffman writes that he swam ten miles to shore and after finally washing up on the beach he was speared through the ribs by one of the men.

The son of the New York Governor and future Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, was then smacked around the back of the head and he was dead – and the tribe began their ritual.

Unlike the Amazonians, their lands didn't offer much in the way of natural resources so they were left alone by Westerners.

But during that time The Dutch, who had taken over the archipelago from the United East India Company in 1800, had been showing interest in the colony.

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Max Lapre, known for his strict leadership of the Dutch government ordered five elite Asmats to be gunned down – devastating and angering the tribe who believed in an eye for an eye.

The brutal deaths of the five men left a festering wound in the village and every day the Asmats wanted to seek vengeance on the white man.

This was when Michael swam to shore on November 19 1961.

According to the documentation of the Asmat headhunting ritual, they would first remove Michael’s head, then slit him from the neck down his back. Entrails would be removed.

Legs and arms would go into the fire while the group chanted. His charred body parts would be passed around for everyone to taste.

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His blood, which they saved, would be smeared over their bodies. Once the head was fully cooked, they would scalp it, remove his brain and eat it.

Everything not eaten would be saved. Some would be used in weapons, others as religious icons.

"If they'd killed Michael that was how it would have been done," Hoffman says.

The Asmat people have spent centuries hunting down their enemies and removing their heads, sometimes transforming their decapitated skulls into pillows and other times using them as macabre bowls to eat the flesh of their opposing tribes.

Asmat did not only hunt for skulls, they also worshipped them.

The headhunting practice stopped in the 1990s.

The skulls of the deceased were stripped of the brain and the eyes and nasal parts were closed up in order to prevent evil spirits to enter or exit the body.

Within the tribe there are no sexual barriers, men had sex with men, they shared wives and practised polygamy. They sometimes drank each other’s urine and covered themselves in human blood during bonding rituals.

They believe that when they killed a man and ate him, they take his power and become him. Every person was named after someone deceased, or after a killed enemy.

So them killing Michael would be their way of making up for the deaths of their tribe members at the hands of the white Dutch.

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Another of Hoffman's reasons for believing that Rockefeller was eaten by the tribe was had he drowned he would have been found by search parties as he had two gasoline tanks tied to him, which were never found.

He also argues that sharks rarely attack humans, and there has never been a shark attack death in Asmat.

Upon his disappearance, the Rockefeller family flew to New Guinea and searched for over a week.

President John F. Kennedy sent condolences and offered the family support.

But on the ninth day, the family flew home and the Dutch called off the search and ruled his death as drowning.

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