“The bit where Hansel is to be eaten was interesting,” German cannibal Armin Meiwes said of the fairy tale during his first post-incarceration TV interview in 2007. “You wouldn’t believe how many Hansels are whizzing around the Internet.” Meiwes made contact with approximately 400 “Hansels” on such websites as Cannibal Cafe (now defunct, visit archived version at your own risk,) though all but one of the men who responded to Meiwes’ ad for “a well-built 18- to 30-year-old to be slaughtered and then consumed” lacked commitment. In March 2001, Meiwes welcomed Bernd Jürgen Brandes to his house in Roteburg, Germany.
After setting up a video camera to document their evening, Brandes eagerly submitted to the slaughter. Brandes urged Meiwes to bite his penis off. After failing to sever the organ, Meiwes roughly amputated the genitals with a knife. Meiwes and Brandes then both tried to dine on the severed penis, and when they tried to sauté the penis to softness they burned it beyond their preferred temperature. Following this obscene debacle, Brandes, calmed by alcohol and sleeping pills, took an extended bath. During the three hours that Brandes bled out into the tub, Meiwes sat in an adjacent room reading a Star Trek novel. Finally, Meiwes brought Brandes into a special “Slaughter Room” he’d prepared for the occasion, and stabbed Brandes in the throat. “My friend enjoyed dying, death,’ Meiwes has said.
After the killing, Meiwes hung Brandes from a meat hook, Butchered his body and fed on it for the next ten months, most often in the form of “steaks” prepared with garlic and olive oil. Since Brandes consented to his own killing, Meiwes’ first trial in 2004 concluded with a sentence of only eight and a half years. During the retrial Meiwes was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. ”With every bite, my memory of him grew stronger,” Meiwes has reminisced.
“Eating people is like eating pears,” said Dorangel Vargas, the “Hannibal Lecter of the Andes.” Vargas, a homeless man from Venezuela, was convicted of killing and eating 10 men before his arrest in 1999. Vargas is a bit of a foodie — he preferred men to women, and he reportedly refused to eat the coarse or fat parts of his victims’ bodies. He also refused to eat fat people because he felt their poor health made them unfit for a meal.
During his trial, Vargas admitted to eating humans — he was rather enthusiastic about the fact — but claimed that he didn’t kill his food. Vargas said that he was given the bodies, sometimes by the police, which created speculation that the homeless Vargas was actually a rather unorthodox trash disposal system for the local criminal syndicate.
In 1998, David Harker of Darlington, England, was having sex with Julie Paterson when, for no reason other than the thrill, he strangled the 31-year-old mother with her stockings. Harker, who has the words “subhuman” and “disorder” tattooed on his shaved head, then proceeded to decapitate the woman and remove her limbs. During the four weeks that Paterson was missing, Harker told everyone who would listen that he had killed her, even revealing the whereabouts of parts of her body to skeptics. When Paterson’s torso was discovered in a black bag behind an abandoned house, Harker claimed to have skinned the body and enjoyed a meal of his lover’s flesh. While some think that Harker, in his desperation to be remembered as a deranged killer, fabricated the part about eating Paterson’s body, certain parts of her have never been recovered despite an extensive search. Harker, a self-proclaimed aspiring serial killer, told a reporter, “In my eyes, I did not see anything wrong with killing people. There are a lot of people still suffering because of what I did, and I enjoy that.” He also said, “I don’t see myself as God. When I was killing people, there was a feeling of being almost Godsize with a right to take life.” He was sentenced to 14 years to life and became eligible for parole this year.
Sadly but not surprisingly, it has been reported that Paterson’s son, 7 at the time of her killing, has had a difficult time getting along in society. Now 21, Freddie Newman has been in and out of jail since he was a teenager, abuses alcohol and is prone to acts of violence.