The Gruesome Cannibalism Behind Jameson Whiskey

By Mike Devlin on Saturday, November 9, 2013
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“The chief reason for drinking is the desire to behave in a certain way, and to be able to blame it on alcohol.” —Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic’s Notebook

In A Nutshell

While on an expedition into Africa during the late 19th century, James Jameson, heir to the Jameson Irish whiskey empire, reportedly asked to witness cannibalism in action. To this end, he purchased a slave girl and handed her over to men who murdered her and feasted on her flesh. While the grisly scene unfolded, Jameson is said to have sketched it out, later turning his rough illustrations into a series of watercolors.

The Whole Bushel

Jameson is far and away the best selling Irish whiskey in the world, trumping other such brands as Bushmills and Tullamore Dew. The Scottish lawyer John Jameson founded the company in 1780 in Dublin, Ireland. Jameson whiskeys have been very highly regarded over the years, but there is a horrifying legacy at the bottom of the bottle.

The end of the 19th century was a time of unimaginable cruelty in Africa as the nations of Europe sought to divide it into imperialist states. Millions of Africans were killed by the conquering forces from the north as white men pillaged the land for its vast natural resources, gold, and diamonds. Expeditions were sent to the heart of the “dark continent” hoping to uncover treasures.

One such excursion featured the wealthy James Jameson, heir to the whiskey empire. According to an affidavit by Assad Farran, a Syrian translator on the expedition to the Congo, Jameson expressed an interest in witnessing cannibalism in 1888. He was advised to purchase a slave girl, which he picked up for the bargain price of six handkerchiefs. Jameson gave the 10-year-old girl as a gift to cannibals. She was lashed to a tree and stabbed to death, then hacked apart and devoured. Meanwhile, Jameson stood by, making a series of rough sketches of the incident.

Later, he would render a series of illustrations and display them to others in the group. In describing them, Farran said “There were six of them, all neatly done. The first sketch was of the girl as she was led to the tree. The second showed her stabbed, with the blood gushing from the wounds. The third showed her dissected. The fourth, fifth, and sixth showed men carrying off various parts of her body.”

Jameson died shortly thereafter, but not before writing a rebuttal of the incident. Although he claimed that he was present for an incident of cannibalism, he claimed he was averse to it. He even corroborated the point about the handkerchiefs, although instead of payment, he claimed that they were given to prove the cannibals would actually go through with it. The rebuttal seems rather flimsy in retrospect, and as other members of the group would testify to Jameson’s rather execrable character, he likely operated with sinister intent.

Show Me The Proof

NY Times: Jameson’s Story
The Horrible Jameson Affair

  • Exiled Phoenix

    I’m almost surprised he didn’t take a taste himself. Cold hearted bastard.

  • Hadeskabir

    I’m glad I don’t drink his whiskey. What a freak, I bet jigga is from his family.

    • goraudykq688

      my Aunty Charlotte just got a stunning green Toyota Highlander by work using a lap-top… imp source

      w­w­w.j­o­b­s­6­1.c­o­m

      • Hadeskabir

        So your Aunty Charlotte bought that stunning car with the money she earned showing her hag naked body? Amazing.

      • Thano Para

        Fuck your Aunty Charlotte

        • Kristy Rebecca Blume

          HAHAHAHA

      • elisha

        o fukkooooof

      • elisha

        fukof

      • Tyson Kuzmich

        your aunty Charlotte is a bunch of BULL SHIT !!!!!!!!

  • Dale Pearl

    This is speculation not fact.

  • http://www.seguebythesea.com/ segue

    Where is the proof this actually occurred? Neither link takes one to reproductions of the sketches, so I just spent time I do not have doing an Internet search so I could see proof. While there are several articles online alluding to the supposed Jameson sketches, not one of them shows the sketches, nor does one writer claim to have seem them.

  • Efigee

    It’s a good thing this site isn’t called FACTNUTS.

  • Kaydot Mcdiamonds

    Warning: Tullamore Dew is DANGEROUS! DO NOT drink the whole bottle even if you’re sharing with friends.

  • Puddy Banks

    It was actually a misunderstanding on Jameson’s part. He never asked to have the girl eaten. This article doesn’t even source any substantial evidence. For the people who read this and think Jameson is some sort of fetishistic sociopath why not do some actual research and not just believe some bullshit clickbait articles like this.

  • A D

    Understanding the time period, this actually seems entirely likely and possible. Females in the region were no more than property, less than dogs really and many people were quite sadistic. That said, there is no substantial evidence to prove this one way or the other, but i’m inclined to deduce that the man was probably a sadistic SOB with or without the cannibalism incident. If someone could find the sketches or find a diary/journal detailing the incident and link to a website containing those here that would be fantastic. I’m sure a museum has the sketches if they indeed did exist.

  • Charles Saboteur Rahten

    Sweet, I know what I’m drinking for now on!

  • Ray

    Inexcusable and horrid if true but the author seems to place all of the blame on Jameson and none on the cannibals.

  • Spoon Phillips

    The sentence beginning with “He even corroborated the point..” actually does
    not make sense. It also appears to (purposely?) miss the point of the
    actual rebuttal as reported in the NY Times article, here linked. There
    is nothing in the period journalism that suggests sinister intent, and
    only the fact the victim of your yellow journalism died decades ago
    saves this hack writer and your website from millions of dollars in
    liable costs.

    • Alexander Fretheim

      Generally wouldn’t be millions of dollars – libel suits are compensated with actual damages (that is, you would have had to have lost him millions of dollars to owe him millions of dollars).

  • http://jblatto.tumblr.com/ J. Blatto

    Jameson wrote he thought the cloth was a ruse to obtain a gift. Stating that he thought the Arab was lying to get some free cloth. I don’t see how that corroborates with the final paragraph in this story. I could see this happening both ways. A rich man getting going 8mm or a local trying to character assassinate an invading force.