- The community described him as helpful, sweet, and charming; the press eventually labeled Armin Meiwes as the Monster of Rotenburg.
- Meiwes received more than 200 volunteers to respond to his ad about finding someone to eat. Brandes, who was eventually picked out, responded to the ad with an email saying: “I am your meat.”
Those who personally knew Armin Meiwes would never have believed that the helpful, sweet, and charming man would eventually turn out to be labeled the Monster of Rotenburg. Meiwes, a 42-year-old computer expert, had a high reputation around his neighborhood. When he was not working, Meiwes would spend his time assisting his community friends with car repairs and landscaping needs. He would even invite his friendly neighbors over dinner parties. Overall, Meiwes was considered the perfect neighbor, or so everyone thought!
Little did Meiwes' neighbors know that their local friendly handyman had some very dark secrets of his own. Armin Meiwes had a taste for human flesh, and his trial went down as one of the most extraordinary trials in German history. In February of 2001, Meiwes posted an ad on the internet looking for a “young, well-built man that wanted to be eaten”. Believe it or not, many men replied to the ad. Meiwes went through many of the candidates, and either decided that the candidates were not the right fit or the candidates themselves decided to back out. After many failed attempts of finding the right candidate, Meiwes finally received a message from a man named Bernd Brandes.
The Cannibal Cafe – a site and forum for people with cannibal fetishes – is now closed but can still be accessed today using Internet Wayback Machine. The original URL back int the day was www.necrobabes.org
Bernd Jürgen Armando Brandes, a 36-year-old computer engineer from Berlin, had always dreamt of being eaten. Suffering from abandonment issues and depression, Brandes thought he would be the perfect fit for Meiwes' flesh-eating fantasy. Both Brandes and Meiwes exchanged emails for about a month straight before they finally agreed to meet up. On March, 9th, 2001, Brandes went to Meiwes' farmhouse and was taken up to the master bedroom where they sat around and chatted. Wanting to get on with his big fantasy, Meiwes fed Brandes sleeping pills and told him to wash them down with some Schnapps and liquid cold medicine.
"I had a fantasy, and, in the end, I fulfilled it"
– Armin Meiwes
Once Brandes started to feel the effects of the drugs and liquor consumed, Meiwes set up a video camera and began to record the horrendous acts that were about to take place. Meiwes started by sexually mutilating Brandes. He first cut off his penis. While Brandes was still conscious, he asked if he could taste his very own flesh. Following Brandes request, Meiwes broiled the penis and tried to feed it to Brandes. Brandes complained that the penis was too tough to eat.
After trying to eat his own penis, Brandes requested a bath. Meiwes set up a warm bath for Brandes and left him to soak overnight. Come the next morning, Meiwes entered the bathroom and slit Brandes' throat. He then cut his body into several small pieces. With the video still capturing all of this, Meiwes then pan-broiled the flesh, set the table, and poured himself a large glass of red wine to go with his meal. He then began to eat the human cuisine that he prepared for himself. Once his stomach was fulfilled, he packaged the leftovers and hit the keyboard in hopes of looking for another victim.
"Yes, people who can't think their way into this find it monstrous. But in principle I'm a normal human being"
– Armin Meiwes
An online friend of Meiwes found his flesh-eating online confessions disturbing and contacted the authorities. Once authorities began their investigation, Meiwes already confessed to what he had done. By the time he was caught, Meiwes had already consumed over 45 pounds of Brandes' human flesh. Following his confession, Meiwes told the authorities that Brandes tasted exactly like pork.
In Germany, there are no laws against cannibalism. Because of this, Meiwes was initially only given an 8.5-year sentence. The judge ruled that Brandes had given consent and that both Brandes and Meiwes were just merely disturbed individuals. Lawyers considered this murder to be a mercy killing. In 2007, Meiwes was sent in for a re-trial, where he received a life sentence.
He is currently still locked away and has become a vegetarian.
Police estimate that around 10,000 people in Germany alone share Meiwes' fascination with cannibalism – either eating human flesh or being eaten.