To hear the Telegraph tell it, there's almost no doubt as to what befell Stefan Ramin, a 40-year-old yachtsman from Hamburg, Germany, who disappeared in September on the remote isle of Nuku Hiva in French Polynesia: He was eaten by cannibals!
According to Ramin's girlfriend, he set off with with a local guide named Henri Haiti for a "goat hunting trip." Haiti returned some hours later, claiming Ramin had been injured in an accident. When she insisted on going to find him, Haiti "attacked her and tied her to a tree," then fled. He hasn't been found since, despite a massive manhunt.
What they did find, however, near an abandoned campfire in a remote valley on the island, was terrifying:
Mr Ramin had been missing for a week when the police found his remains. Bones, teeth and melted fillings were also found in the campfire ashes.
German newspaper Bild reported that officials think "the hunter carved his victim up, ate parts of the body and burned the remainder along with animals cadavers." Testing is underway to conclude whether or not the ashes belong to Ramin, but that will take several weeks.
Perhaps detecting a bit of a tourism-detractor in this particular news item, locals have countered it with a number of cannibal-debunking statements. The island's deputy mayor told Nouvelles de Tahiti that locals were "angered and embarrassed" over the widespread claims. Alex du Prel, a local journalist and publisher of Tahiti-Pacifique magazine, said cannibalism was a local practice that had gone extinct over a century-and-a-half ago.
"Trust me, we'd rather eat hot dogs than humans around here...French civilisation has taught these islanders to eat cheeseburgers and canned food, not people, and their wild pigs are far tastier."