Small But Tasty Details Fans Shared About Dr. Hannibal 'The Cannibal' Lecter

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Vote up the best details about the mad doctor.

From the written word to the small screen, Dr. Hannibal "The Cannibal" Lecter has been entertaining horror fans since his debut in 1981 in Thomas Harris's best-selling thriller Red Dragon. Since then he's had three more books, five movies (including the Oscar-winning Silence of the Lambs), and a TV series. But how much do fans know about the good doctor? Over on social media, Lecter fans share the obscure lore they have learned about the doctor, from his appearance to his history, adding to the complicated nature of the character. Vote up your favorite details.


  • 1
    62 VOTES

    He Has An Eidetic Memory 

    He Has An Eidetic Memory 
    Photo: Hannibal / NBC

    In the books (and implied in the films and TV series), Hannibal Lecter has an eidetic memory, in which he only needs to see an object, text, or image once to remember it fully for long periods of time. In the TV series and the books, it is referred to as his "memory palace," a vast building filled with rooms that are filled with every piece of information he ever read. 

    Thomas Harris describing Hannibal Lecter's mnemonics:

    The memory palace was a mnemonic system well known to ancient scholars and much information was preserved in them through the Dark Ages while Vandals burned the books. Like scholars before him, Dr. Lecter stores an enormous amount of information keyed to objects in his thousand rooms, but unlike the ancients, Dr.Lecter has a second purpose for his palace; sometimes he lives there. He has passed years among its exquisite collections, while his body lay bound on a violent ward with screams buzzing the steel bars like hell’s own harp.

    62 votes
  • 2
    60 VOTES

    He Gets His Happily Ever After

    He Gets His Happily Ever After
    Photo: Hannibal / MGM

    In Hannibal, Dr. Lecter drugs and possibly brainwashes Clarice Starling during the meal in which he serves up Paul Krendler's brain. Instead of being disgusted, the smell of butter overwhelms Starling, who is heavily drugged and open to Lecter's suggestions. Over dinner, Lecter manages to sway Starling, and the two embark on a relationship together.

    During their time together, Lecter's attempts to convince Staring that she is Mischa, Lecter's dead sister, but Starling is too strong to sway, and instead the two form their own bond. Eventually, Starling no longer requires drugs to keep her with Lecter.

    At the end of Hannibal, the pair are spotted at the opera by Barney the orderly while vacationing in Buenos Aries, who then runs for his life. 

    60 votes
  • 3
    43 VOTES

    One Of The Real-Life Influences On Lecter

    One Of The Real-Life Influences On Lecter
    Photo: Hannibal / MGM

    From Redditor u/Cazie:

    Hannibal Lecter was based on a real doctor in Mexico who killed and dismembered his boyfriend...

    Source: The Real-Life Hannibal Lecter Was a Scary Dude, Too:

    Hannibal Lecter was based on an actual doctor in Mexico, a surgeon by the name of Alfredo Ballí Treviño, who was convicted of murdering then chopping up his gay lover...

    [Thomas] Harris, who was 23 years old at the time, was interviewing another prisoner for his story, a man named Dykes Askew Simmons, who was committed to the mental ward inside the prison. Simmons had been sentenced to death for a triple murder. While in prison, Simmons bribed a guard, offering him cash in order to escape, but the guard took his money, double-crossed him, and actually shot Simmons during his attempted prison break. Fellow inmate, Dr. Treviño, performed life-saving surgery on Simmons by stopping the bleeding and treating the gunshot wound. When Harris learned of the story, he was intrigued by the convict doctor and got permission to interview Treviño. Harris discovered that Treviño was a surgeon who had been convicted of murder and sentenced to death.

    43 votes
  • 4
    71 VOTES

    Hannibal Hints On How To Find The Killers In Both 'Silence Of The Lambs' And 'Manhunter'

    Hannibal Hints On How To Find The Killers In Both 'Silence Of The Lambs' And 'Manhunter'
    Photo: Silence of the Lambs / Orion Pictures

    From Redditor u/david-saint-hubbins:

    Just realized that Hannibal Lecter hints how to find the killers in Silence of the Lambs AND Red Dragon/Manhunter...and is ignored both times.

    IMDB trivia for Silence of the Lambs points out that "in his first meeting with Clarice Starling, Lecter describes the drawing on his cell wall as "The Duomo - Seen from the Belvedere" in Florence, Italy. Starling later finds Buffalo Bill living in Belvedere, Ohio.

    In other words, Lecter tells her that the key to finding Buffalo Bill is to look in Belvedere, the town where the first victim was killed. Clarice later puts this together through other clues ("we covet what we see everyday"), but apparently never connects it with the original clue that Lecter gave her.

    I was watching Red Dragon recently, and I just realized that Lecter does the same thing with Will Graham in his search for the Tooth Fairy...

    During one of their meetings, Lecter and Graham are discussing how the Tooth Fairy is "evolving" and then Lecter, seemingly changing the subject, makes a request:

    "The case file mentioned videos of the Leeds family. I'd like to see those."

    "No."

    "Why not?"

    "It would be obscene."

    "You don't make it easy, do you? Still, one aims to please..."

    The home video compilations of the Leeds and Jacobi families end up being THE key to finding the killer, Dolarhyde. Like Starling, Graham later comes to this realization on his own, but Lecter gave him a huge hint earlier in the investigation that went right over his head.  

    71 votes
  • 5
    110 VOTES

    Hidden Meaning Behind His Dinner Preferences

    Hidden Meaning Behind His Dinner Preferences
    Photo: Silence of the Lambs / Orion Pictures

    From Redditor u/FaultyCuisinart:

    In Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal Lecter tells Clarice that he ate a man's liver with fava beans and "a nice Chianti." All of these foods interfere with MAOI antidepressants, which are used to treat various personality disorders as well.

    In other words, Hannibal wasn't taking his meds.

    110 votes
  • 6
    57 VOTES

    He Had Maroon Eyes

    He Had Maroon Eyes
    Photo: Silence of the Lambs / Orion Pictures

    In Thomas Harris's original book series, Dr. Hannibal Lecter is described as having maroon eyes, and when the light hits them, they have "pinpoints of red." It strikes Clarice almost immediately when she first meets him. 

    57 votes