Not many people can claim to have eaten human flesh and gotten away with it, and even fewer will be able to say that it actually made them famous. Enter Alfred Packer.
Now Alfred’s tale is actually quite harrowing. A fortune hunter lost in the snowy Colorado Mountains in 1874, Alfred Packer, 31, went in with five companions, and emerged alone.
When asked what the fuck happened to his comrades, he said they all left him, and he survived a howling blizzard by eating rosebuds. Alfred was a terrible liar.
Looking surprisingly well fed, weighed down with his mate’s possessions and tucking a butchers knife into his belt, Alfred was swiftly arrested for murder, but soon confessed to committing cannibalism in order to survive – and apparently the bugger ended up loving the taste. Fuck.
Nobody believed his cock-and-bull story about ‘survival’ and ‘self-defence’, especially when he told interrogators that human flesh was “the sweetest meat I ever tasted” and he preferred it to regular meat. Before he was set to be tried though, he bribed his jailer and got the fuck outta there.
When people eventually found the bodies, they were clumped together and covered by a blanket – one was missing a head and all were missing chunks of flesh.
Packer managed to evade the long arm of the law for nine years, until he was spotted in a saloon in the neighbouring state of Wyoming. Unfortunately for Packer, he had a rather unique hand injury that left him with two fingers missing on his left hand.
Once captured, he changed his story again, claiming that another member of his group killed his partners before Packer had to put him down and eat the bodies to survive. Naturally, Alfred Packer was sentenced to death by hanging in April 1883, but had his punishment commuted to 40 years in prison.
18 years later, Alfred Packer was released on parole due to a campaign protesting his innocence on grounds of self-survival. He died a vegetarian in 1907 at the age of 65.
So outlandish is old Alfred’s tale, that he became a bit of an urban legend in some parts of the United States, having a whole host of books and folk songs written about him, culminating in the awesome 1993 film Cannibal: The Musical, made by South Park creator Trey Parker.
We may never know the truth about Alfred Packer and his shady blizzard shenanigans, but his life story is probably more interesting that way.