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