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Peruvian fat stealers

By Ruth Gidley  

Horrific accounts of a Peruvian gang that police allege murdered their victims to extract body fat and sell it to Italian cosmetics companies isn’t a new story. It’s based on an old myth deeply embedded in the psyches of indigenous people across the Andes.

Most anthropologists think folklore about the pishtaco figure—an outsider who lurks on country roads to kill Indians for their fat—probably has its roots in reports of 16th century Spanish colonial soldiers using local people’s fat…

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