The story of fat harvesters collecting human tissue to be sold to a mysterious shadowy cosmetics company in Europe has turned out to be a cover-up perpetrated by the police General Felix Murga who is now being investigated. Why would such an elaborate hoax be perpetrated in such a grisly manner? Let’s trim the fat and get to the real fact here.
From the beginning a number of people were suspicious of the story as there doesn’t seem to be any market for human fat cells. It was speculated that perhaps the fat cells could have been harvested due to a lack of disease in the stem cells of the samples and used in medical research rather than cosmetics. The original numbers of suspected murders was somewhere around 60 to perhaps even hundreds or even thousands. In the end, the suspects currently being held are only wanted for the killing of one or two people. The bottles of fat are suspected to be genuine, but they were said to be more likely created to intimidate others involved in the cocaine trade. One of the bodies was, after all discovered in a cocaine field.
Apparently, those fabricating the stories got their inspiration from urban legends about the area of the Pishtacos, who were legendary bandits that sucked the fat from their victims killing them in grisly ways and mutilating the bodies. In addition to this, the sensational nature of the killings sparked much interest from local and international media outlets. Due to the fact that the internal organs were discarded, which could fetch millions on the black market, yet the fat was virtually worthless to the medical community, many were skeptical of the “fat vampire as cosmetics” version of the story.
But why would such a hoax be perpetrated? It seems all fingers are currently pointing to the possible murder of 46 suspects in the coastal town of Trujillo. Carlos Bosambrio, the former deputy of the interior minister in the region in particular wrote about the incident in his blog stating that the killings were extrajudicial and no doubt were perceived a liability by the perpetrators. It appears the real motivation behind the one collected bottle of fat was more likely for intimidation purposes and not actually to be sold at all, but rather sent as a message to cocaine traffickers.
But what does this all have to do with paranormal phenomena? Aside from the obvious theme of high strangeness the original hoax held, it’s important to keep an eye on genuine confirmed hoaxes both within and without elements of the paranormal to assist us in confirming or denying future hoaxes. A typical UFO that turns out to be two hubcaps glued together in a photograph, or a ghost that may turn out to be a whisp of smoke is often declared a hoax and then promptly ignored. But there are common themes that appear to follow these stories making them more easy to spot in the future so the investigator can move on and investigate future cases that turn out to be more genuine. This case was sensational and there was virtually no reason to believe the police would fabricate a hoax, but one element didn’t fit: The fat being “sold” was worthless. Many of us picked up on this, but made the error of not being suspicious enough rather than the opposite.