The Truly Horrific Crime Scene Of The Armin Meiwes Murder

The following article contains graphic descriptions of murder.

Cannibalism, or the act of consuming human flesh, is seen as the ultimate taboo for a reason. According to Vox, humans are genetically wired against eating other people. In fact, it can make an individual fatally ill by causing kuru, a prion disease that slowly destroys mental and bodily functions (per John Hopkins Medicine). Even so, Insider reports that cannibalism is as old as time and has been very present throughout history. For example, starving colonial settlers in Jamestown, Virginia, are thought to have eaten a 14-year-old girl out of desperation. In other cases, cannibalistic practices are merely a part of society (via Britannica).

According to Cornell Law School, cannibalism is not illegal in most places, including the United States and Germany. However, obtaining human meat is another story. In 2001, Armin Meiwes, a German computer tech, killed and ate another man (via The Sun). This stomach-churning incident was a culmination of years in the making. Crime+Investigation UK reports that throughout his childhood, Meiwes felt isolated. His parents divorced, his father abandoned him, and he later admitted that he began to have cannibalistic thoughts when he was just 8 years old. (via The Guardian).

By the time he was 12, he was consumed by thoughts of eating his friends. In 1999, Meiwes' Mother died, allowing him to fully embrace his cannibalistic desires. Per All That's Interesting, he subsequently joined an online forum called "The Cannibal Café." Here, Meiwes could openly discuss his appetite for human meat. Soon after, he met 43-year-old Bernd Brandes on the website.

His victim consented to the cannibalization

According to All That's Interesting, Bernd Brandes, a Berlin native, responded to an ad Meiwes had posted on "The Cannibal Café." Per The Guardian, the blurb said that he was looking for a "young well-built man, who wanted to be eaten." On March 9, 2001, Brandes arrived at Meiwes' residence (via Crime+Investigation UK). What happened next is the stuff of nightmares. Brandes took sleeping pills and alcohol while Meiwes severed his penis. Meiwes then cooked the member so that they could both eat it. However, the flesh burned, which rendered it inedible. By this point, Brandes was heavily bleeding and decided to take a bath while he waited to die.

Meanwhile, Meiwes read a "Star Trek" novel. When hours went by, and Brandes was still alive, Meiwes took matters into his own hands. The Sun reports that he stabbed him in the neck, killing him. Horrifically, the pair had agreed to film the entire saga. Meiwes took the body into a "slaughter room" he had built in his home. He then cut and prepared Brandes to consume him. All in all, Crime+Investigation UK explains that Meiwes butchered and froze pieces of his flesh. He also buried Brandes' skull in his backyard.

For the next 10 months, Meiwes cooked and ate Brandes' remains. He later stated (via The Guardian), "With every bite, my memory of him grew stronger." When his supply ran low, Meiwes went online to find his next victim. A student saw his ad and contacted the authorities. In December 2002, Armin Meiwes was arrested.

Where is Armin Meiwes now?

As The Guardian points out, police were unsure what to do with Armin Meiwes. Cannibalism, after all, was not illegal in Germany. Moreover, there was sufficient evidence (including the video) that proved that Bernd Brandes consented to Meiwes' actions. According to Crime+Investigation UK, he was charged with murder for the purpose of sexual pleasure and "disturbing the peace of the dead." At his trial, Meiwes provided deranged insight into what happened before and after Brandes' death. Per The Guardian, this included details on how he prepared Brandes' meat and descriptions of its tastes. As for Brandes himself, he was described as having "a strong desire for self-destruction."

In the end, Meiwes was sentenced to eight and a half years in prison in 2004. However, a retrial in 2006 handed him a life sentence (via Crime+Investigation UK). In 2007, Spiegel International reports that he gave his first televised interview. Meiwes told interviewer Günter Stampf that "in principle I'm a normal human being." Moreover, he stated that tasting human flesh for the first time was "a peculiar, indefinable feeling." Stampf later released a book titled "Interview with a Cannibal" in 2008.

AP News explains that in Germany, inmates that receive a life sentence are usually released after serving 15 years. In 2018, a German court rejected Meiwes' appeal for release because there was "currently no favorable outlook" on his rehabilitation. That being said, the New York Post states that he has been given police-supervised outings. Meiwes wears a hat and sunglasses to disguise himself while he takes walks in the city.