“Well-built men, 18-30, who would like to be eaten by me” was the typical advertisement Armin Meiwes took out on personals Web sites . After hundreds of false starts, he found a willing partner in 43-year-old Bernd-Jurgen Brandes. The two men met on March 9, 2001. It would be an odd night for both of them.
With Brandes high on painkillers and schnapps, yet consenting, Meiwes removed the man’s penis with a knife. He flambéed it, and the two ate it together. Bleeding heavily, Brandes took a bath. He eventually lost consciousness, whereupon Meiwes slit his throat, butchered him and ate a little more of the man’s flesh. Over the course of the next few months, Meiwes consumed 44 pounds of Brandes’ dead body
The cannibal was eventually arrested and tried amid a media frenzy. But at the time of Meiwes’ prosecution, Germany, like some other Western nations, had no law prohibiting cannibalism. Instead, Meiwes and other cannibals like him, including serial murderers Albert Fish and Jeffrey Dahmer, was convicted of the killing, not the eating. Murder is illegal; cannibalism exists beyond the law. It is taboo.