WTF: John Jameson’s Whiskey Heir Grandson Once Bought A Slave And Watched Her Get Eaten By Cannibals

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Ah, history. Rarely are its facts as cheery and glossy as fancy marketing campaigns make it out to be. The folklore around 18th century Irish whiskey distiller John Jameson might be lionized in beloved booze commercials, but there’s not a chance in hell the the folks at Jameson Irish Whiskey will tell the fucked up tale of John Jameson’s grandson, James. It’s a macabre, but you will probably tell all your buddies at the bar the next time someone suggests Jameson shots. Or just re-think buying Jameson all together.

According to the allegations outlined via Next Shark and Modern Notion, James S. Jameson, heir to the Jameson Whiskey fortune, once purchased a 10-year-old slave girl for six handkerchiefs while on a Trans-African expedition in the Congo so that he could watch her get eaten. Yes, eaten. By cannibals. Meanwhile, he sketched the horrifying incident in his notebook. All this happened in 1890 and was originally reported in the New York Times after Assad Farran, the expedition’s Swahili translator, offered an affidavit what happened. Here’s one account, titled, “THE HORRIFYING JAMESON AFFAIR” via the NYT Archives:

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New York Times


Via Food Beast:

Farran, who was Tippu Tip’s translator, alleged that Jameson had expressed a curiosity of the practice of cannibalism to him. Farran told Tippu who spoke to the chiefs of the town. It was concluded that Jameson was to pay six handkerchiefs to purchase a slave. Jameson allegedly forked over six handkerchiefs and a few minutes later some men brought over a 10-year-old girl. The chiefs then led Jameson, his entourage, and the girl to a native hut, where the man who brought the girl told the natives “This is a present from a white man, who wishes to see her eaten.”

The little girl was then tied to a tree as cannibals sharpened knives nearby. Allegedly, she looked around for help as the cannibals surrounded her, but never screamed. She was stabbed twice in the abdomen and bled out. The cannibals then proceeded to slice meat from her and take apart her body for eating.

What. The. Fuck. And here is Jameson’s side of the story, which he wrote in 1888 while dying in Africa. The New York Times published it one day after publishing the affidavit. via the NYT Archives:

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New York Times


Via Food Beast:

Jameson claims that Tippu told him he would witness cannibalism after a tribal dance, but Jameson “flatly declared that it was impossible that this could happen.” Tippu then asked him for six handkerchiefs of cloth to purchase the girl and prove Jameson wrong. James Jameson then claimed that the incident happened too quick to sketch out then and that he was too shocked to sketch even if he wanted to, nor did he have anything to sketch with anyways. He did, however, make some sketches in his tent later that night. He then went on to include more details, “signed by witnesses as promised,” and set to discredit Assan with fraud in camel dealings and corruption with Belgian officers.

So. Fucked. Up. Of course all of this seems speculation and not 100% fact, but then again it was the 1800s. Who the hell knew what kind of barbaric things people were doing.

I now officially feel sick to my stomach and want to puke, like the gag reflex that hits after about my 4th Jameson shot of the night.

[H/T: Food Beast, First We Feast, and Modern Notion]