Weird History When James Jameson, Heir To A Whiskey Fortune, Bought A Girl To Be Cannibalized  

Rachel Souerbry
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James Jameson, heir to the Jameson Irish Whiskey fortune, was a wanna-be adventurer who tagged along on one of the last European exploration trips into the "Dark Heart of Africa," in the late 1800s. The crew of the expedition, whose intention was to rescue a colonial Governor who they assumed was in danger, was led by famed explorer Henry M. Stanley.

However, having a famous leader didn't save the group from endless problems. They faced danger from the local people and animals, diseases, and isolation from the outside world. They also had many reports of abuse on the trip, and it became an infamous expedition for the number of deaths that happened along the way.

One of the most unsettling accounts from that fateful trip is the story of the day James Jameson decided to buy a slave girl and watch her be killed and eaten – because he was curious about cannibalism. It may sound like an unbelievably gruesome thing for someone to do, but – amazingly – Jameson's journal and multiple accounts of that day from other members of the crew confirm that it is true. As can the watercolors that Jameson painted,which aestheticize the event in gruesome detail.

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Photo: Canukki/Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY-SA-3.0

He Was The Heir To A Whiskey Empire, With Too Much Time And Money On His Hands


James S. Jameson, the moral degenerate who paid to see a young girl eaten by humans, was the descendent of John Jameson, the founder of Jameson Whiskey, and heir to the huge whiskey empire. In 1888, Jameson was a member of one of the last major European exploration trips through the center of Africa, the Emin Pasha Relief Expedition. Not much is know about his life besides his family lineage and his brief and ill-fated trip to the heart of the Congo.

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Photo: Author Unknown/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

The Expedition Was Conducted Under The Guise Of "Relief" And Was Incredibly Dangerous


Jameson was a part of the Rear Column of what was supposed to be a rescue mission. The colonial Governor of the Equatorial Province of Sudan, Emin Pasha, had not been heard from for a long period of time following unrest in the region. Out of concern, a group of citizens put together their own aid expedition to rescue Pasha, headed by famed explorer Henry M. Stanley. In time, this mission became somewhat infamous – many men died along the way, disease was introduced to the area, and there were incidents of abuse, not to mention the antics of Jameson.

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Photo:  Mirko Tobias Schäfer/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

The Town Where The Expedition Ended Up Was Known For Cannibalism


During the long expedition, the group of colonists stayed at a village called Lokandu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which was known as Ribakiba at that time. The town sat on the Lualaba River, which was a spot on the trade routes for ivory and slaves. 

The town was notorious for cannibalism, and Jameson had expressed interest in witnessing it in action. Through his interpreter, he communicated this curiousness to their guide. The guide then informed the village chiefs and made the necessary arrangements. 

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He Paid For Her In Handkerchiefs


Jameson was informed that the price of a young slave was six handkerchiefs. So, for that meager price, Jameson purchased the life of a 10-year-old slave girl. According to the sworn affidavit of Jameson's interpreter, after Jameson paid:

"A man returned a few minutes afterward with a ten-year-old girl. Tippoo and the chiefs ordered the girl to be taken to the native huts. Jameson himself, Selim, Masondie, and Farhani, Jameson's servant, presented him by Tippoo, and many others followed.

The man who had brought the girl said to the cannibals: 'This is a present from a white man who desires to see her eaten.'"