Culture

Three True Tales of All-American Cannibals

(Image via Wikipedia)
Long ago, the Algonquian tribes of northeastern North America passed on tales of the horrible creature that they called the Wendigo. According to the legend, a person who was consumed by greed could transform into a twisted monster with an insatiable taste for human flesh. The Wendigo’s bloodthirsty, cannibalistic rampages are exclusively limited to the realm of fiction, but horrifying and all-too-real accounts of cannibalism still pop up from time to time in the United States:
WARNING! These tales of American cannibals are true and gruesome: Read at your own risk….

Jeffrey Dahmer

Here’s a name that you may have heard before, but what was his story, and what has he done to become so infamous?
This subhuman beast specifically targeted gay men, mostly African Americans, and lured them to his home with the promise of sex or money. From 1978 to 1991, Jeffrey would offer his victims alcohol, strangle them, and rape their corpses.
His title of “The Milwaukee Cannibal” wasn’t earned just because the vast majority of his murders were committed in Wisconsin. Jeffrey Dahmer dismembered and disemboweled many of his victims, who were placed in his refrigerator and freezer for later consumption. He had a collection of horrific Polaroid photographs that documented his depraved obsessions with murder, mutilation, and eating his 17 known victims.
Thankfully Dahmer was arrested in 1991, sentenced to life in prison in 1992, and was savagely beaten to death by a fellow inmate in 1994.

Otty Sanchez

It had only been three weeks since Otty gave birth to her new son, Scott Wesley Buchholz-Sanchez, when the newborn’s aunt stopped by his mother’s home in San Antonio for a visit. She walked in on a ghastly scene, where Otty was seen in the bloodied bedroom of her now decapitated and partially eaten son. The 33-year-old mother shrieked about how the devil made her do it.
The baby’s brain and several limbs were consumed by Otty Sanchez, and although she claimed that eating the tiny baby made her “gag and throw up,” she claimed that the voices kept goading her into eating more of her son’s flesh and organs. According to her, the demonic voices also told her that there was a demon in her stomach, and that the KKK was angry with her mother for assassinating President John F. Kennedy.
Otty was declared not guilty by reason of insanity in 2010, and she was sent to a state hospital in Texas.

Alfred Packer

This man became known as the “Colorado Cannibal” after he confessed to eating five of his fellow gold prospectors to survive after the party became hopefully lost in the mountains during a particularly frigid winter sometime in November of 1873.
Although there is no doubt that Alfred ate the other men to survive, the jury is still out about whether the others succumbed to the bitter winter and a shortage of rations, or if the cannibal killed the other men with the intent to eat them. He did kill one of them, but Packer claimed that it was in self-defense:
Old man Swan died first and was eaten by the other five persons, about ten days out from 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. Then traveled fourteen days into the “Agency.” Bell wanted to kill me, struck at me with his rifle, struck a tree and broke his gun.
The story gets stranger, as Alfred was originally found to be guilty of premeditated murder, and was going to be hanged. The Colorado Supreme Court, however, reversed the ruling, and the United States of America’s first legally charged cannibal was instead sentenced to 40 years in prison.
Alfred ended up getting parole in 1901, and here’s the cherry on the gruesome sundae: his mummified head is currently on display at Ripley’s San Antonio Odditorium.
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I wish that I could say that these were the only cases of cannibalism in the United States, but that would ignore instances of isolated cannibalistic Native American tribes, the nightmare-inducing story of the depraved man-eating maniac known as Albert Fish, the Texas rapper known as “Big Lurch,” who ate his girlfriend’s lungs directly out of her ribcage, and other vile, yet true tales. These foul flesh-eating maniacs may not have the monstrous visage of the Wendigo, but drugs, mental instability, and warped desires have driven them to devour innocent men, women, and children with the same level of unbridled savagery as the legendary beast itself.