When a student at Da Vinci Charter Academy in Davis, Calif., brought cookies in for her classmates, they were definitely an old family recipe — but not in the way you’d think. The student allegedly baked her grandfather’s ashes into the cookies and fed them to other students — some of whom knew they contained human remains and ate them anyway. Authorities aren’t 100 percent sure the story is true, but they have said that it is credible.
This is the high school goth story to top all high school goth stories.
Anyway. The Los Angeles Times reported that the student brought the cookies to school on Oct. 4 and gave them to at least nine other students. Some of them did not know that human remains were part of the recipe and were later horrified. Others knew, and one boy told local media that one of the two girls who distributed the cookies showed him the relative’s urn. He ate the cookie anyway and reported that the cookie had a normal flavor, but “if you ever ate sand as a kid, you know, you can kind of feel it crunching in between your teeth. So, there was a little tiny bit of that.”
It’s unclear what the student’s motivation was, or if the cookies were a Halloween prank. And authorities are still trying to determine the appropriate discipline. Police have opened a case, and officers considered a charge for disposal of human remains in an improper manner. They may instead apply public-nuisance charges, Davis Police Lt. Paul Doroshov told the Times. The school’s principal, Tyler Millsap, did not address the incident explicitly in a letter to families at the school, but he said that no student’s health was in jeopardy. “I can say that those who were involved are remorseful and this is now a personal family matter and we want to respect the privacy of the families involved,” Millsap wrote.
Does this mean that a bunch of high school kids are now cannibals? Technically, yes: They have eaten human remains. If the girl who baked her grandfather into the cookies ate one, this would make her an endocannibal — someone who eats the remains of a relative or fellow tribesperson. According to Margaret Visser’s book “The Rituals of Dinner: The Origins, Evolution, Eccentricities and Meaning of Table Manners,” endocannabalism has been practiced by ancient tribes throughout history, who “can, and indeed must, ‘take in’ the life essence of a dead fellow tribesman by eating him after he has died a natural death. Failure to eat a dead parent might mean poor health, or barrenness, or weak children, since the life essence has not been ‘topped up’ properly by the living members of the tribe.” The excerpt notes that endocannibals typically do not eat flesh; they grind up bones and ash and drink them or eat them “with, say, a mashed banana.”
While consumption of human cremains is incredibly rare in modern times, it’s not unprecedented. An episode of TLC’s “My Strange Addiction” featured a woman who was obsessed with eating her dead husband’s ashes. The rapper Tupac’s former bandmates claim to have smoked his ashes, and Keith Richards once said he snorted his father’s ashes with cocaine — but later said he was kidding.
It’s unclear how much ash was contained in the students’ cookies — but no students reported feeling sick afterward. That may be because this was just an elaborate prank designed to trick authority figures at the school and there were, in fact, no ash cookies at all. Hard to say! Nevertheless, congratulations, teens: You’ve found something worse to eat than Tide Pods.
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