There are few acts more gruesome known to man than to eat your fellow human being for dinner and a Monaghan man from Clones, Ireland, by the name of Alexander Pearce, not only ate his fellow human being but he did so multiple times! In 1819 Alexander Pearce was sentenced to 7 years penal servitude in the ominous sounding Van Diemens land, also known as Tasmania.
The conditions which Pearce and his fellow detainees would have had to endure where horrific with lashings and vicious beatings being the order of the day. So whilst serving his sentence in the notorious penal colony Pearce and seven other convicts broke out their confinements and made a break for freedom. Their plan was to steal a boat and then sail across the Pacific Ocean but things began to go awry as the men made snail like progress through the hellish and thick forests of Van Diemens.
After two weeks of backbreaking cutting and trekking through the inhospitable forests the men had completely ran out of food and so they came to a momentous and macabre decision. They decided to draw straws and whoever drew the shortest straw would be sacrificed as a food source for the rest of the group. When one unfortunate picked the shortest straw the leader of the gang Robert Greenhill quickly attacked his lunch with an axe and then proceeded to slice out the pickings amongst the rest of his men.
At this point three of the gang, who where evidently disgusted by the actions of the Greenhill, decided to flee and make their way back to jail. This left 4 remaining survivors of the original gang who packed up their parcels of meat and set off on their journey. Initially the men ate their fellow escapee raw but after a while they decided that the taste was more palatable if the meat was cooked over a fire.
But as the days ticked by the men’s hunger once more began to gnaw on them as they ran out of their supplies of food. The four remaining men began to eagerly eye each other up, each wondering who would supply the next supper. Greenhill, and a man by the name of Travers where close friends, and so they began to look elsewhere for dinner in the direction of Pearce and another man called John Mathers. Eventually, Greenhills decided that Mathers looked like the tastier piece of meat and so he proceeded to butcher Mathers instead of the Irishman.
Once more with their appetites satiated the men set on their way. But as they days went by the men’s hunger returned and with two best friends against the solitary Alexander Pearce things did not bode too well for the Irishman.
From Pearces perspective the situation looked even bleaker as the other two men where armed with the only axe but then a stroke of faith saved him when Travers was bitten on the leg by a snake. Greenhills initially insisted that his best friend should be helped along the way but after a few days of struggling Greenhills couldn’t resist the urge and then he proceeded to execute his best friend and then share out the spoils with Mr Pearce.
This left only two men Greenhill and Pearce, and no sooner had they eaten the last man they began to suspiciously eye each other up. What followed was a game of cat and mouse as both men tried to trick the other into making the first fatal mistake that would mark their demise. Each man was afraid to fall asleep lest he might wake up inside the belly of the other.
To counteract this threat the wily Pearce put a heavy coin inside his mouth and each time that he fell asleep the coin would fall to the floor alerting him to stay awake. Eventually, Greenhills was the first to fall asleep and as soon as he did Pearce ran over, grabbed the axe, battered Greenhills with it, and then feasted upon his body.
Eventually Pearce was caught by the authorities and soon confessed to all of his crimes but the authorities disregarded his confession believing that he was simply covering for the other men who where still roaming the wilds of Van Diemens land. Pearce was returned to his original place of captivity but soon enough he escaped again with another man, Thomas Cox.
The Monaghan man was soon recaptured but this time when he was caught he had pieces of Thomas Cox inside his pockets. The authorities where astonished with the return of events and many commented that Pearce did not look like a cannibal! Whatever one is supposed to look like!! The local newspaper commenting on the incredible story stated “ He did not seem like someone who was “laden with human blood and someone who had banquetted on human flesh.”
The scary thing about the Thomas Cox killing was that Pearce had spare food supplies with him, he did not need to kill Cox, Pearce it seems had developed a taste for human flesh. Just before Alexander Pearce was executed he was reported to have said, “Man’s flesh is delicious, it tastes far better than fish or pork.” Now hows that for a real life Halloween horror story for you??