Sixteen years ago, German computer repair technician Armin Meiwes placed an ad on the internet for a “young, well-built man who wanted to be eaten.”
Even more shocking? Someone answered his ad, leading Meiwes to become the first German citizen to be charged with “love cannibalism.”
To most who met him, and especially to the family who lived next door, Armin Meiwes was the perfect neighbor. He mowed their lawn, offered to repair friend’s cars, and even hosted dinner parties at his home. However, under his charming outer layer lived a deeply disturbed human being, one who craved human flesh.
“I always had [a] fantasy,” Meiwes told the court during his murder trial. “In the end, I fulfilled it.”
It all began in March of 2001.
Meiwes, who admitted that he had had an obsession with cannibalism from an early age, posted an ad in a forum on a website called The Cannibal Cafe, a blog for people with a cannibal fetish.
His post stated that he was “looking for a well-built 18 to 30-year-old to be slaughtered and then consumed.”
Originally, Meiwes got many replies, though in the end they all ultimately backed out. Then, finally, he got a message from Bernd Jurgen Armando Brandes, an engineer from Berlin. It turned out that as much as Meiwes wanted to eat someone, Brandes really wanted to be eaten.
What a dynamic duo.
On March 9, the two met at Armin Meiwes home, in the small town of Rotenburg. Brandes began his evening by swallowing twenty sleeping pills, and half a bottle of schnapps. He then laid down in Meiwes bathtub, while Meiwes set up a video camera to showcase the event.
Meiwes first amputated Brandes penis with a knife, after unsuccessfully attempting to bite it off. Meiwes took the severed appendage and fried it in a pan with salt, pepper, wine, garlic and some of Brandes’ own fat. Unfortunately he burned the penis and was unable to eat it, so instead, he fed it to his dog.
Brandes had initially planned to join Meiwes in the cannibalism, however, he managed to only eat a single bite of his own flesh before the blood-loss made him too weak to continue.
Meiwes then drew Brandes a bath and took a break to read a Star Trek book, checking on Brandes every 15 minutes while he bled out. After the bath, Brandes collapsed into unconsciousness due to blood loss. After long hesitation and prayer, Meiwes killed Brandes by stabbing him in the throat.
He then hung the body on a meat hook. The entire ordeal took four hours, the entirety of which was caught on tape.
Over the next ten months, Meiwes devoured Brandes’ body, storing parts of his body in his freezer, hidden behind pizza boxes. Authorities say he consumed over 44 pounds of flesh.
In December of 2001, Meiwes was finally arrested. A college student had found a new advertisement for a victim online, as well as details about Brandes’ murder. He called the police, who searched Meiwes home and found the body parts and videotape.
Meiwes admitted to the murder and the cannibalism, claiming it was an act of sexual pleasure, but added that he regrets his actions. He also plans to write a book in the hopes of deterring anyone who feels the need to follow in his footsteps.
In 2004, Armin Meiwes was convicted of manslaughter, but in 2005 was re-tried on one count of murder, as the court felt the charge of manslaughter was not enough. In 2006, he was sentenced to life in prison, which he is currently serving.
He has since become a vegetarian.