Alferd (or Alfred) Packer has inspired musicals, songs, tourists, cookbooks, students, films and government employees. Even the local library and the state archives have found it necessary to document Packer's journey from maneater to vegetarian. Some still claim he was innocent.
(NSFW) In the 1980's, a brilliant university student named Issei Sagawa went ahead and killed and, uhm, ate one of his fellow classmates. VBS TV interviews Issei Sagawa, who became a celebrity in Japan after walking free, having been deemed "sane, but evil" by a team of psychologists in France. "Was Sagawa suffering from a mental disorder? Was he really a sexual psychopath? Probably both. By his own admission, Issei Sagawa says that he had to possess a caucasian woman completely, and the only way this overwhelming need could be truly satisfied was by eating her." [more inside]
Kevin Ray Underwood found guilty of first degree murder in the April 2006 killing of 10-year-old Jamie Rose Bolin. The jury only needed 20 minutes to decide on his guilt. Previously on Metafilter, because he linked here. How could a seemingly normal, albeit "single, bored and lonely", young man become a cannabalistic child rapist and murderer? Exhibits: The blog he kept for almost four years up until the day after the murder. A collection of misc information about Underwood, including (near the bottom) the text of an online chat he had with a friend after killing Bolin. An extremely disturbing transcript of his confession to the FBI. Video footage of the trial. Deliberations will begin Monday as to whether or not he will be sentenced to death.
Cannibalism was widespread and routine. Citing archaeological evidence and recent findings in molecular biology, archaeologist Timothy Taylor, author of The Buried Soul: How Humans Invented Death, says that cannibalism has been the norm in the past, and the more interesting question is why particular societies gave it up. (Previous discussions of cannibalism here and here.)