Almost every culture on Earth has taken part in ritualized killings over the centuries. Human sacrifice is an act of religious ceremony that predates the written word, and it has deep roots in the evolution human behavior.
The people of this planet have come a long way from making heads roll, but there are still sacrificial practices at work today. Here are some of the most bizarre forms of sacrifice from the past...and the present.
When there were poor harvests in Ireland centuries ago, the kings were to blame. In order to remedy this, the tribe's only choice was to sacrifice their king by stabbing him, cutting him in half, and throwing him into the bog.
Norse warriors of old were known to be buried with the enslaved women of their enemies so that they could become their brides in Valhalla.
In Ancient Egypt, when a pharaoh died, many of his servants were buried in the tomb along with him in order to serve him in the afterlife.
They were called "thugees," and we can actually thank them for the word "thug." These ultra-conservative Hindus were part of an organized band of assassins that killed random people in order to sacrifice them to the Hindu goddess Kali. They often befriended travelers, ambushed them, strangled them, and tore out their eyes.
Hebo was the ancient god of the Yellow River in China. He was said to have helped stop the Great Flood of China, and in return, he required people to sacrifice children so that he didn't have to cause another flood.
Hearts of the Young
The Aztecs are well known for their sacrificial rites, especially after the movie Apocalypto basically demonized them. Indeed, there is much evidence that the Aztecs often publicly removed people's hearts as offerings to the sun god. They also skinned women and shot arrows at young men while they were tied to posts.
The Island Without Widows
There was a time when the island nation of Fiji had no widows. It was believed that when a husband died, his wife had to be buried with him. After their husbands died, the widows' brothers were tasked with strangling and burying them.
Part of the Bushido -- or "way of the warrior" -- was that if a samurai was ever dishonored, it was his duty to give himself up to the gods. These samurais enjoyed their final meals, wrote poems, and cut their own necks.
Tanzanian Albino Sacrifice
This still happens today. Under the instruction of local witch doctors in Tanzania, people with albinism are hunted down and mutilated. It is believed that their body parts possess powerful magic. Albinos are also kidnapped and buried alive with tribal chiefs.
Stoning adulterers may not be part of Iran's legislation, but somehow, the practice is still allowed to happen. In fact, between 1990 and 2009, 76 people have been stoned to death.
Even though people don't really toss kings into bogs anymore when it doesn't rain, some of these primitive practices still happen around the world. Human sacrifice is one of our oldest collective traditions, and it might never go away.