How A Wild West Fortune Hunter Turned To Cannibalism And Developed A Taste For Human Flesh

How A Wild West Fortune Hunter Turned To Cannibalism And Developed A Taste For Human Flesh

Alferd Packer, fortune hunter, became a cannibal out of necessity, and ended up liking the taste of human meat. This is his story.


From The Daily Mail:

n February 9, 1874, six men left an encampment near Montrose, Colorado hoping to find their fortune in the Rocky Mountains. They had purchased supplies and were heading towards Gunnison, where there had been reports of gold.

Yet, in April, Alfred Packer, a civil war veteran, who was mustered out because of epilepsy, marched into the Los Pinos Indian agency near Gunnison, where he made an most astonishing admission.

Forced by hunger, he and his travelling companions began eating each other. Yet despite his proclaimed reluctance to resort to cannibalism, he once admitted: ‘The breasts of man…are the sweetest meat I ever tasted.’

Packer initially claimed that he had been left behind by his companions and survived by eating rosebuds. But people at the agency were suspicious about the amount of cash he was carrying and the fact he looked remarkably well fed for someone who had claimed to have been starving.

In May, he made his first confession, but denied murder. He told General Adam: ‘Old man Swan died first and was eaten by the other five persons, about ten days out of the camp; four or five days afterwards, Humphrey died and was also eaten; he had about one hundred and thirty three dollars.

‘I found the pocket book and took the money.

‘Sometime afterwards while I was carrying wood, the Butcher was killed as the other two told me accidentally and he was eaten. Bell shot “California” with Swan’s gun, and I killed Bell; shot him – covered up the remains, and took a large piece along.’

He was taken into custody and sent to Saguache jail to await his trial.

On August 8, the bodies of his victims had been discovered by Harper’s Weekly reporter John A Randolf. An inspection of the bodies did not support Packer’s claims that the men had died over several weeks.

Yet, before any action could be taken, he bribed a prison guard and escaped.

He was on-the-run until March 11, 1883 when he was discovered using the alias John Schwartze in Cheyenne.

A few days later, he made a more substantial confession to General Adams, once again denying any murder.

He claimed the men left the camp with enough food to last seven days, but after ten they were stranded by a storm and forced to eat rosebuds and pine gum.

Packer claimed the other men were crying and urged him to climb the mountain to search for food. Finding nothing to eat, he returned.

He told General Adams: ‘I found the red headed man [Bell] who acted crazy in the morning sitting near the fire roasting a piece of meat which he had cut out of the leg of the German butcher [Miller], the latter’s body was lying the furthest off form the fire down the stream, his skull was crushed in with the hatchet.

‘The other three were lying near the fire, they were cut in the forehead with the hatchet. Some had two or three cuts.

‘I came within a rod of the fire, when the man saw me, he got up with his hatchet towards me when I shot him sideways through the belly, he fell on his face, the hatchet fell forwards. I grabbed it and hit him in the top of the head.’

Packer claimed he made a camp using some timber where he stayed until he could escape the weather.

He continued: ‘I went back to the fire. Covered the men up and fetched to the camp the piece of meat that was near the fire. I made a new fire near my camp and cooked the piece of meat and ate it.

‘I tried to get away every day but could not, so I lived off the flesh of these men, the bigger part of sixty days.’

In April 1883, he is tried at Lake City, Hinsdale County, where he is found guilty and sentenced to death.

Judge Gerry told Packer, who was standing in the dock: ‘Close up your ears to the blandishments of hope. Listen not to its flattering promises of life; but prepare for the dread-certainty of death.’

He ordered that Packer should be taken to Hinsdale County Jail where between 10am and 3pm on May 19, he should be ‘hung by the neck until you are dead, dead, dead, and may God have mercy upon your soul’.

Yet, Packer managed to avoid the hangman’s noose and was sent for a second trial in August 1886. this time he is jailed for forty years.

In August 1897, Packer wrote to the Denver Rocky Mountain News where he again told his story. He claimed: ‘I am more a victim of circumstances than of atrocious designs.

‘No human being living can say that in cold blood, with evil intent, murdered my companions up that awful occasion.’

He added: ‘I am less black than I am painted.’

Remarkably, his public relations exercise and lobbying appeared to work with Governor Charles S Thomas granting him conditional parole in January 1901.

Wow, that is unbelievably disgusting!

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