Alferd Packer: The Colorado Cannibal – Colorado’s Colorful History Revealed

Alferd Packer was only one of 3 American men ever, to be imprisoned for cannibalism.

Alferd Packer was a Union Soldier in the US Civil War and was discharged for epilepsy after only a short time in the military. (Per historical rumor: Alferd Packer’s real name was spelled A-l-f-r-e-d, but while he was in the service he got a tattoo of his name and the tattoo-ist misspelled it A-l-f-e-r-d. Thinking it was funny, he went most of his life calling himself “Alferd” after his misspelled tattoo.)

Instead of being a soldier, Packer decided to try his luck at prospecting. He left Utah with a party of 21 men and headed to Breckenridge, ColoradoGold Country. Although they were warned not to continue into the mountains during the winter, he and 5 of his party headed for Gunnison, Colorado in February of 1874.

Well, they got “hopelessly lost” in the snowy Rocky Mountains of Colorado. And they ran out of food.

In April of 1874, Alferd Packer showed up near Gunnison, Colorado – alone, healthy and well-fed.

He had a myriad of different stories as to why he was the only one who survived, but none were believed. He eventually signed a confession to the murder (and consumption) of the other men in his party and was sentenced to imprisonment in the jail in Saguache … where he quickly escaped. He traveled under an assumed name for several years until 1883, when he was eventually found in Wyoming and re-imprisoned. This time he was sentenced to death. However, the Colorado Supreme Court reversed this new sentence and Packer remained a prisoner until he was paroled in 1901.

Packer is rumored to have become a vegetarian in the last years of his life, and is now buried in Littleton, CO.

Check out these other sites on Alferd Packer …

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Posted By: Mariana Wagner – Colorado Springs Real Estate




About Mariana

I am a Mom, Wife, Real Estate Agent Trainer and Mortgage Lender. Find me at
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