There’s a special place reserved for cannibals; the monstrous individuals are usually relegated to the dark corners of prisons and the grim pages of history books.
But thanks to our collective inquisitive human nature, those who have encountered notorious criminals with a taste for human flesh asked the question on the lips of the morbidly curious: What do people taste like?
Their accounts have been documented. But, be warned, it makes for some grim reading.
Albert Fish was known by many names; the Gray Man, Werewolf of Wysteria, the Brooklyn Vampire, Moon Maniac and even the Boogey Man. While they might seem like nicknames from a bad horror film, when you hear his crimes you’ll realise they were justified.
Fish was a monstrous cannibalistic criminal who killed, raped and ate his victims for sexual gratification. After he was convicted of the murders of four-year-old Billy Gaffney, Grace Budd, 10, and eight-year-old Francis McDonnell, Fish wrote to his attorney detailing how he had eaten his youngest victim in a stew.
His monkey and pee wees and a nice little fat behind to roast in the oven and eat. I made a stew out of his ears – nose – pieces of his face and belly. I put onions, carrots, turnips, celery, salt and pepper. It was good.
Then I split the cheeks of his behind open, cut off his monkey and pee wees and washed them first. I put strips of bacon on each cheek of his behind and put them in the oven. Then I picked 4 onions and when the meat had roasted about 1/4 hour, I poured about a pint of water over it for gravy and put in the onions.
At frequent intervals, I basted his behind with a wooden spoon. So the meat would be nice and juicy. In about two hours, it was nice and brown, cooked through. I never ate any roast turkey that tasted half as good as his sweet fat little behind did. I ate every bit of the meat in about four days. His little monkey was a sweet as a nut.
Jeffrey Dahmer rampaged across America in the 1980s brutally murdering seventeen young men.
Not only did he keep body parts and photograph the corpses as mementos, he also ate their flesh in a monstrous killing spree that lasted 13 years.
Before Dahmer was beaten to death by a fellow prison inmate, Christopher Scarver, he told one FBI agent that the taste of human flesh was ‘reminiscent of filet mignon’.
A wealthy Japanese author – who moonlighted as a cannibal killer – shot his fellow classmate Renée Hartevelt with a hunting rifle, raped her corpse, and ate various parts of her body.
Of the taste, he said:
Human meat is odourless. I actually believe that human meat is the tastiest of all meats. It doesn’t have any of that gamey animal smell. When I ate some more a couple of days later, just before I got arrested, the meat had become sweeter and it tasted great.
The case of Omaima Nelson, a former Egyptian model who murdered her husband after one month of matrimony, horrified observers.
On Thanksgiving in 1991 Nelson killed her husband, castrating his dead body before dismembering and cooking his head. She used his other body parts the following day, mixing them in with the Thanksgiving leftovers.
Later when she spoke to a series of prison psychiatrists she claimed to barbecue his ribs, describing them as, ‘So sweet, it’s so tender and delicious… just like in a restaurant.’
According to Disney and the writers of Wall-E, cannibalism is pretty much inevitable when we destroy all of Earth’s natural resources.
But still, we recommend you don’t try this deadly, illegal and monstrous dish at home.
A former emo kid who talks too much about 8Chan meme culture, the Kardashian Klan, and how her smartphone is probably killing her. Francesca is a Cardiff University Journalism Masters grad who has done words for BBC, ELLE, The Debrief, DAZED, an art magazine you’ve never heard of and a feminist zine which never went to print.