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March 16 , 2011



In February 1874 Alfred Packer staggered out of the Colorado mountains and into the Los Pinos Indian agency. Snowbound and lost, he claimed to have been abandoned by his five companions. But behind the wilderness grime he looked rather well fed. And he had in his possession a skinning knife...

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When questioned, Packer confessed that four of the group had survived by eating two who had died of exhaustion; later he killed another in self-defence, eating him also. Packer was arrested on suspicion of murder but escaped. That same month, the half-eaten bodies of five men were discovered near Los Pinos... Packer's guilt was assumed, but the law did not catch up with him until 1883. Initially sentenced to death, he received a 40-year jail term. Paroled in 1901, he lived his last years in Denver.

Was Packer the flesh-eating monster of myth, or a wretch who acted out of self-preservation? MANEATER tells his story in page-turning prose and also reveals how recent forensic developments may shed light on Packer's long-assumed cannibalism.

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