FULL TEXT: Paris, France – The story of a white woman who became wife number six of an African cannibal chief is revealed in a recently found manuscript of Alphonse Leroy, explorer who died 20 years ago [circa 1917]. He had refused to publish the facts at time for fear that the woman, who was a murderess, would be hunted down and because she had many relatives living in London. The distant relative of the explorer who found the manuscript in a strong box refused to give the full name of the woman because he believes her relatives may still be living.
The story makes your hair stand on end. Leroy, drawn to a jungle clearing by the light of a forest fire and the howling of natives, crept up to witness a revolting scene. Black, sinuous bodies twisted evilly around the leaping flames. In a circle about the dancers 20 natives squatted, tearing and snapping at almost raw flesh with almost animal ferocity.
From this fresh vantage point Leroy was sure the native who held his attention had a skin somewhat lighter than the rest. Dare he risk another two years?
A blood curdling yell rose to crescendo. Each of the natives took up the cry in turn. But one of them produced a note more shrill and fierce than the rest. Leroy could have sworn it was the fair skinned one.
Leroy tightened his grip on his revolver and slid, inch by inch, nearer his circle. Now – If he raised his head slowly above the undergrowth.
Just 10 seconds he started into that circle. Then, startled and suddenly afraid. He dropped back again. The fair skinned native was a woman. And the meat she was eating looked almost like human flesh!
Ten days later, in broad daylight, Leroy entered the tiny hamlet 80 miles north of Bangala. He warned his porters to move warily. He experience that night was still vivid in his mind. But nothing could have been more peaceful than the native village this stifling afternoon.
~ “I Come From England” ~
The whole of the villagers flocked from their huts to watch the arrival of the white man. Two among them, by gestures, indicated where Leroy would find the chief. His hut, slightly larger than the others, was guarded by two giant natives, who immediately advanced to meet them. After much palaver he was conducted inside.
The chief was a genial soul, very anxious to talk and entertain his visitor. At first Leroy suspected guile. He was alone among these natives who only the other night –
And then followed an astonishing thing. A woman moved out from behind a mud partition. Immediately Leroy recognized the fair skinned native he had seen gorging at the feast. She paused uncertainly before him.
He spoke to her in French. She appeared not to understand. He tried his English. A grin spread over her face, and very slowly, searching for every word, she said: “Yes, I come from England.”
~ Killed Her Husband ~
The chief was overwhelmed with joy that his visitor should be able to converse so easily with his wife. For that, Leroy quickly discovered, was her social standing. The chieftain’s sixth wife!
Leroy remained for a week in the village. During that time he saw a great deal of the fair skinned woman who said she came from England and that her name was Jane. And this was the story she unfolded.
As a child, nothing could control her headstrong nature. Mother, father, governess, and schoolmistress all had tried and failed. By the time she was 20 her father had thrice threatened to disown her, and when she calmly announced that she was going to have a second illegitimate child, she was told that she must go.
She did. During the next few months she lived crazily. A French aristocrat finally won her affections and she married him. Disaster followed six months later. Her husband began to beat her. Jane’s fiery nature rose in rebellion. One night he whipped her severely. At 3 o’clock the next morning she smiled down on her husband, watching him for nearly five minutes as he slept. Then she thrust a hatpin through his left eye, killing him.
~ Lost in the Jungle ~
Disguised as a man, she fled from one country to another, suffering the most appalling hardships. But gradually the net tightened round her. At last they thought they had her cornered in Cape Town. But she slipped through and disappeared in the wilds of central Africa. That was the last they heard of her.
And now Leroy had stumbled on her, 10 years afterward, deep in the interior. Completely lost in the jungle, she had flung herself down one night, falling asleep from sheer exhaustion. When she awoke next morning, strange faces peered at her from the riotous undergrowth.
Weak from starvation, she called for help. But at the sound of her high, cracked voice the natives disappeared. She must have fainted shortly afterward. When she came round again, she was lying in a native hut.
~ Children’s Dreadful Fate ~
At first the natives took her for some kind of goddess come from another world. But, as gradually she adapted herself to the ways of Canalla, and shook off her European habits, they realized Jane was just an ordinary human being like themselves.
Her first initiation into the secret rites of their feasts made her physically sick. She saw them kill, cook, and eat a child of 9. Any female child whose mother died before her daughter reached the age of 10 was a possible victim of this barbaric rite.
The infants were tested by a painful process of skin pricking. If they cried out during the ordeal, they had the devil in them and were doomed.
It took Jane five years to accustom herself to this appalling business. Then suddenly something seemed to change in her mental make-up, She found herself taking a queer, perverted pleasure in the cannibal rite. Finally the day arrived when she actually ate a morsel of flesh at one of their midnight orgies.
These orgies only occurred about twice a year, and the whole populace had to work themselves into a frenzy.
~ Strange Delight ~
When Leroy came upon Jane, she was already comparatively hardened to the life. She admitted that she was half mad with a local brew of particular potency before she dared enter the ring of the feast – but, with a queer glitter in her eyes, she confessed to finding strange, sensuous delight in certain stages of the proceedings.
[“White Woman Became a Cannibal When She Married African Chief – French Explorer Found Her in Jungle, Kept Her Secret to Spare Family,” Milwaukee Journal (Wi.), 1937, p. 1]
For more cases see: Cannibal Murderesses
For more cases see: Cannibal Murderesses