17 Famous Cannibal Attacks That Will Send A Shiver Down Your Spine

Published August 28, 2022
Updated March 12, 2024

Cannibalism is crazy enough as it is, but throughout history and the world, there have been some cannibal attacks that are crazier than you could ever imagine.

Issei Sagawa

Issei Sagawa Famous Cannibals
One of the most famous cannibals (if one should call them famous) is Issei Sagawa. In 1981, Sagawa invited one of his Paris classmates over for a study session. When she arrived, he murdered and cannibalized her over the course of two days. Thanks to poor relations between his homeland of Japan and France, where he’d been studying, Sagawa was released from prison upon his deportation, and lives today as a free man.Corbis Historical/Getty Images

Vince Li

Vince Li Famous Cannibals
Tim McClean was riding on a Greyhound bus in 2008, minding his own business when he was stabbed, beheaded and cannibalized in full view of the other passengers. The man behind the crime, Vince Li, was found not criminally responsible for the gruesome and highly public crime, and was remanded to a mental health facility. He was released in 2017.New York Daily News

Armin Meiwes

Armin Meiwes Famous Cannibals
Armin Meiwes placed an ad online in a cannibal chat room, requesting someone willing to be eaten. Shockingly, he received a reply, from a man named Bernd Brandes. In 2001, the pair met up, and Bernd willingly submitted to Miewes request. After killing him in his bathtub, Armin Meiwes spent 10 months consuming 44 pounds of Bernd before he was arrested. Since beginning his life sentence, he has converted to vegetarianism.Getty Images

Nikolai Dzhumagaliev

Nikolai Dzhumagaliev Famous Cannibals
Nikolai Dzhumagaliev was a creative cannibal. After a childhood accident left him with a set of white metal dentures, he earned the nickname "Metal Fang." Then, he put those fangs to use when he murdered and cannibalized one of his dinner guests, while the rest of them were enjoying cocktails in the next room.YouTube

Rudy Eugene

Rudy Eugene Cannibal Attack
In 2016, a Miami man made headlines when he stripped naked in broad daylight, and viciously attacked a homeless man. Police shot 31-year-old Rudy Eugene, after he refused to stop gnawing on the face of a 65-year-old man in the middle of a busy highway. According to witnesses, all that was left of the victim’s face after police intervened was his beard.Wikimedia Commons

Katherine Knight

Katherine Knight
In 2000, housewife Katherine Knight stabbed her husband John. Then, she hung his body from a hook in their living room, skinned him, decapitated him, and cooked parts of his body in a dish with potato, pumpkin, beets, zucchini and cabbage. Then, she put out two servings of John for his children when they got home. Thankfully, police arrived before they consumed their father, though his head was found still stewing in a pot of vegetables on the stove. She became the first woman to be sentenced to life in prison in Australia.YouTube

Michael Rockefeller

Michael Rockefeller And Tribe
In 1961, the youngest son of former Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, Michael Rockefeller, went missing while traveling through Netherland New Guinea. He was last seen when his trading canoe capsized as he was rowing through a part of the country known as the "cannibal coast." It was revealed that the Asmats, a vicious tribe who inhabited the area, captured, beheaded, and ate Michael.Harvard University

James Jameson

James Jameson Team
Another American beneficiary with ties to cannibalism was James Jameson, heir to the Jameson Irish whiskey fortune, though this time he was the one doing the cannibalising. During an expedition to the Congo, he requested to witness cannibalism firsthand. The team's solution: to purchase him a 10-year-old girl and watch her be cannibalized in front of him. Jameson wrote about the ordeal in his diary, accompanying them with sketches.Getty Images

Antron "Big Lurch" Singleton

Big Lurch
Antron Singleton, better known by his rapper name Big Lurch, made headlines in 2002, but not because of his music. While high on PCP, he had attacked his girlfriend Alisa Allen. After stabbing her repeatedly in the chest, he cut open her chest cavity, pulled out her lung, and began eating it. He was found guilty of murder, and now lectures on the dangers of PCP.YouTube

Klára Mauerová

Klára Mauerová
Klára Mauerová may take the prize for worst mother ever. When her sons were young boys, aged 10 and 14, she brought them into a cult that practiced cannibalism. Worse, though, than forcing them to engage in the cults practices was what she subjected them to at home. She put them through torture, sexual assault, regular beatings, and meals comprised of their own flesh, cut from their still alive bodies.YouTube

Rick Gibson

Rick Gibson Cannibal Art
Perhaps the most shocking act of cannibalism on this list is that of Rick Gibson. In 1988 and again in 1989, Gibson ate human flesh in public in London. England has no law against cannibalism (which Gibson described as “marvellous”) meaning his public meals of human-tonsil-canape and human-testicle-hors d'oeuvre were perfectly legal.YouTube

Omaima Nelson

Omaima Nelson
Omaima Nelson is a former model who killed her abusive husband of one month and cannibalized him on Thanksgiving day. According to her psychiatrist, she mixed his body parts with the leftover Thanksgiving turkey and cooked his ribs in barbecue sauce before eating them.Wikimedia Commons

Street Meat

Street Meat
In 2010, a court sentenced three homeless men to 18 years in prison, after it was revealed that they had murdered a man who lived on their street. To make matters worse, they had chopped up the man after his murder, and sold his meat to a local kabob salesman. Even worse than that, was the fact that no one could pinpoint when the sale had occurred – or if any bits of the man had been sold.YouTube

SS Dumaru

SS Dumaru
The crew of the SS Dumaru were forced into cannibalism due to their dire circumstances. When their ship was struck by lightning on its maiden voyage, the crew evacuated into lifeboats. Without supplies or fresh water, they ended up turning to cannibalism, consuming the bodies of their fellow crew members who died from exposure.Wikimedia Commons

Stephen Griffiths

Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths earned his gruesome nickname, the Crossbow Cannibal, from his preferred choice of weapon. In addition to a crossbow, he was also known to use a samurai sword on his victims, most notably his final victim, a prostitute who he murdered in a hotel hallway in full view of the CCTV. Afterward he waved his crossbow at the camera, retreated to his room, and ate his victim.YouTube

Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571

Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 Crash Site
Sometimes acts of cannibalism aren’t intentional. The passengers of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 discovered that when they found themselves stranded on an Andes mountain top after their plane crashed. While waiting for rescue, the passengers burned through their supplies quickly. Out of options on the snow covered mountain top, the living survived off the bodies of the dead.Wikimedia Commons

Matthew Williams

Matthew Williams Cannibal
In 2014, Matthew Williams checked into a bed and breakfast in Wales. The next morning, the owner of the B&B awoke to a horrible sight. Williams was in his room, covered in blood, eating the body of a woman who had arrived in the middle of the night. When she confronted him, he ignored her, even ignoring the police as they arrived. Eventually, he had to be tased to stop eating, which proved to be too much for his body to handle.YouTube

Even when it comes to cannibals, some are decidedly scarier than others.

There are the cannibals who plan their attacks, waiting days or sometimes months to create what they think will be a perfect crime. Take Issei Sagawa, for instance, who planned his crime over a few months, calculated the best way to attack and eat a woman, only to misstep upon disposing of the body.

Then there are those who attack at seemingly random times, in front of dozens of witnesses, without a care in the world. Like the Greyhound Cannibal, a bus rider who simply started eating the man next to him, on a crowded Greyhound bus.

Whose to say which kind of attack is crazier, the premeditated one, or the random one? We'll let you decide. We've compiled a list of some of the craziest cannibal attacks of all time, some random and some planned, in no particular order. You be the judge, which is the craziest of them all?

Michael Rockefeller
History Uncovered Podcast
Episode 55: The Disappearance Of Michael Rockefeller
Was John D. Rockefeller's great-grandson Michael killed and eaten by cannibals in the remote wilds of New Guinea in 1961? Go inside the disturbing disappearance of this famed scion.

Enjoy this look at famous cannibal attacks? After reading about crazy cannibalism throughout the world, check out the most infamous cannibalistic incident in American history. Then, read about the horrific cannibalism that took place during the siege of Leningrad.

Katie Serena
A former staff writer at All That's Interesting, Katie Serena has also published work in Salon.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.
Cite This Article
Serena, Katie. "17 Famous Cannibal Attacks That Will Send A Shiver Down Your Spine." AllThatsInteresting.com, August 28, 2022, https://allthatsinteresting.com/famous-cannibal-attacks. Accessed April 21, 2024.