Wild Country: Frontier Cannibals
by Max Sparber
I used to live in the French Quarter of New Orleans, just a few blocks from a Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum, which they called Odditoriums. Among the many strange items on display at the museum, there was a mummified head that the museum claimed belonged to one Alferd Packer, a Colorado guide who ate up the men he was guiding in 1873.
I lived by and even worked for some actual celebrities in New Orleans, but none of them excited me nearly as much as Packer, who, after all, was my neighbor, at least in part. I've felt an affection for the man ever since, and am not alone: Country and country inspired music occasionally looks back at frontier cannibalism with what can only be called a peculiar sense of the comical. Here are some of my favorite examples.