It's not a comforting thought, but there have been cannibals in America. Cannibalism is often associated with far-flung places. As in most developed cultures, eating the flesh of our own species is seen as the ultimate taboo. Yet American killers who ate people have come and gone, while ordinary citizens in extraordinary situations have eaten the remains of other humans.
America, even in its relatively short history, has seen more than its fair share of man-eaters. Many were acts of desperation in survival situations, as acts of cannibalism usually are. People lost at sea, adrift on life boats for weeks or people trapped in snow-choked mountain passes, or in villages short of food in winter. Just as many others have been acts of madness perpetrated by killers who when even further than murder. There's even one case of simple curiosity.
So read on, and get your fill of American cannibals, if you dare.
The Crew Of The SS Dumaru
The Dumaru was a wooden steamship launched on its maiden voyage in 1918, during WWI. Lightning struck the ship off the coast of Guam, igniting its ammunition and causing the ship to explode. The survivors on their two life rafts resorted to cannibalism to survive the three weeks they spent adrift.
Albert Fish was one of the most prolific and notorious serial killers of all time - a man so utterly evil, it's hard to believe he even existed. That Fish confessed to the murders of more than 100 children is only the beginning of the story - the fact that he was known to cut them up and cook them with onions, carrots, and strips of bacon is but the second chapter. It gets worse. Look up Albert Fish at your own risk.
William Buehler Seabrook
Have you ever wanted to know what people taste like? Apparently, so did New York Times reporter William Seabrook. In the 1930s, after a cannibal tribe in West Africa piqued his curiosity, Seabrook obtained a bit of fresh human from a hospital intern and cooked it up. And what do people taste like? Like tender beef, according to the journalist.
"It was like good, fully developed veal, not young, but not yet beef. It was very definitely like that, and it was not like any other meat I had ever tasted," Seabrook reported. "It was so nearly like good, fully developed veal that I think no person with a palate of ordinary, normal sensitiveness could distinguish it from veal. It was mild, good meat with no other sharply defined or highly characteristic taste such as for instance, goat, high game, and pork have. The steak was slightly tougher than prime veal, a little stringy, but not too tough or stringy to be agreeably edible. The roast, from which I cut and ate a central slice, was tender, and in color, texture, smell as well as taste, strengthened my certainty that of all the meats we habitually know, veal is the one meat to which this meat is accurately comparable."
Alferd 'The Republican Cannibal' Packer
With a name like "Alferd," and a beard like that, you just knew this guy was to be a gold prospector from 1849. He left Utah for Colorado with a party of five other men. Months later, he arrived in snow-bound Denver alone. He claimed the party had run out of food, and they had turned to cannibalism for survival.
The judge who sentenced Packer didn't have much sympathy, saying, "Stand up yah voracious man-eatin' sonofab*tch and receive yir sintince. When yah came to Hinsdale County, there was siven Dimmycrats. But you, yah et five of 'em, goddam yah. I sintince yah t' be hanged by th' neck ontil yer dead, dead, dead, as a warnin' ag'in reducin' th' Dimmycratic populayshun of this county. Packer, you Republican cannibal, I would sintince ya ta hell but the statutes forbid it."