Pretty horrifying news from South Korea this week:

South Korean customs officials are boosting efforts to stamp out illegal smuggling of drugs that are allegedly coming from China. Reason: The capsules supposedly contain human flesh.

Since August, Korean authorities have discovered nearly 17,500 of the human-flesh capsules in the luggage of tourists and in international mail, the state-run Korea Customs Service said Monday. Disguised as performance-enhancement drugs, they have been smuggled in by ethnic Koreans living in northern Chinese cities.

The statement warned that the capsules contain hazardous bacteria.

What kind of monsters are these inscrutable Others?! Oh, wait:

[M]ummies and other preserved and fresh human remains were a common ingredient in the medicine of that time. In short: Not long ago, Europeans were cannibals.

Noble’s new book, Medicinal Cannibalism in Early Modern English Literature and Culture, and another by Richard Sugg of England’s University of Durham, Mummies, Cannibals and Vampires: The History of Corpse Medicine from the Renaissance to the Victorians, reveal that for several hundred years, peaking in the 16th and 17th centuries, many Europeans, including royalty, priests and scientists, routinely ingested remedies containing human bones, blood and fat as medicine for everything from headaches to epilepsy. There were few vocal opponents of the practice, even though cannibalism in the newly explored Americas was reviled as a mark of savagery. Mummies were stolen from Egyptian tombs, and skulls were taken from Irish burial sites. Gravediggers robbed and sold body parts.

“The question was not, ‘Should you eat human flesh?’ but, ‘What sort of flesh should you eat?’ ” says Sugg.

Um, er…