Best Reasons NOT to Move to Montana #143: Psycho Cannibals

Serial killer with balloon
Welcome to Montana!

A while back, we presented to you the "Coward's Guide to the Scariest Ways to Die in Montana."  We present you now with another one of the worst.  This one, while not statistically likely, makes up for it in grisliness.

In Montana, most interactions between folks are characterized by a feeling of community and brotherly love, not to mention a tacit recognition that if we're going to endure life in such a wild place, we have to work together.  

Edmund Kemper
Edmund Kemper, the Co-Ed Killer and erstwhile Montanan

But every so often, some psychopath will butcher and eat you, too. 

Of course, the state has a rogue's gallery of murderous lunatics who have either called Montana their home or just passed through.  Most famous among these legendary miscreants are probably Edmund "Co-Ed Killer" Kemper (lately of Netflix's "Mindhunter" fame), Ted Kaczynski (AKA the Unabomber) and Carl Panzram, all of whom dallied a while in our fair state, though some moved on to the bulk of their bloody careers in other, less gorgeous environs. 

Boone Helm photo

But maybe the most picturesque of Montana's crazed killers is the unrepentant cannibal Boone Helm, hung by the Vigilantes in Virginia City on January 14, 1864.  And it's hard to blame the vigilantes, at least where Mr. Helm was concerned; he had been killing and eating his victims from California to Idaho.  But luck had always delivered him from the hangman.   Until he got to Montana, that is. 

Sheriff Henry Plummer
Sheriff Henry Plummer

Then he fell in with Henry Plummer, the world-famous crooked sheriff who may have hidden a fortune in stolen booty before dangling at the end of a rope himself.  This more or less sealed his fate; it was only a matter of time before irate vigilantes apprehended Helm and his fellow road agents.  

Unrepentant to the last, the so-called "Kentucky Cannibal" Boone Helm denied the hangman the pleasure of killing him when he hopped off of the crate before his would-be executioner could push him.  But, truly evil, he still used his last moments to express admiration for "Jeff Davis", which was his cute little name for the ill-fated presidency of the Confederate State of America.   

Graves on Boot Hill, Virginia City
Graves on Boot Hill, Virginia City. Photo credit: Teresa Otto

His final words, spoken as he leaped off the crate, tell us everything you need to know about Boone Helm: "Let 'er rip!"  Helm wriggled like a fish at the end of his rope, presumably while every foul moment of his horrible life flashing before him -- the time he sawed off his traveling companion's leg and ate it, all of the people he had killed and robbed on the road, etc., etc., etc.

Boone Helm's Grave
Source: Flickr

Cowboys as profoundly, giddily evil as Boone Helm were rare, and even in his time, he enjoyed a reputation as a bona fide bad man.  But Montana residents take note: Helm was from Kentucky where, we assume, cannibalism is a lot more acceptable.

Boone Helm was also not Montana's most famous cannibal, mind you.  That dishonor goes to Great Falls's own Nathaniel Bar-Jonah, who served time in Deer Lodge, MT before dying there in 2008).  Oh, and there's also Stanley Dean Baker, who killed and ate someone in 1970, also in Great Falls.  There's probably more too, but you get the idea.  

What we're saying is this.  If you come to Montana, it's about even 50/50 odds whether you'll be eaten by a bear or a psycho killer.  We're just trying to keep you safe!

If you do choose to come to Montana in spite of these warnings, remember: to avoid death by psycho killer, we advise taking the following steps: stay inside, draw the shades, and clutch a kitchen knife to your chest.

Share!  Share with all your friends!  Share with everyone you know who has ever even considered moving here!  The people MUST know! 

Leave a comment below if we have (heaven forfend) left out your favorite criminally insane or cannibalistic Montanan! 

Serial Killer waiting in woods

Leave a Comment Here

Gene Humphrey (not verified) , Thu, 10/01/2020 - 10:00
Excellent way to keep people out of your state, make sure you let all the Californians know about this great danger. I think I will share this with Governor Dunleavy to slow the population of Alaska
No one (not verified) , Fri, 08/26/2022 - 18:39
You are such a victim of California license plates. Cry about it.
FJB (not verified) , Mon, 03/25/2024 - 13:10
Plenty for them to choose from, with all those fat Lewis & Clark and mountain man reenactors.
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