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01 Is Hannibal Lecter Real?


This article is from the Hannibal Lecter FAQ, by Cory Compton Coleman cory@gladstone.uoregon.edu with numerous contributions by others.

01 Is Hannibal Lecter Real?

"If Mighty Mouse and Hannibal Lecter got in a fight, who do you
think would win?"
"What are you, stupid? Mighty Mouse is a cartoon. Lecter is a
real guy!"

Of all the frequently asked questions, this question is the most frequent.
Not a week goes by that I'm not asked about the fictional nature of Lecter.
And sadly, it is my duty to say that Hannibal Lecter is only the creation
of Thomas Harris.

There's hope, though. Although fictional, Lecter does combine qualities
that have been found in other serial killers. Ted Bundy was a well educated
law student serial killer who had a lot of charisma. Cannibalism is
relatively common among serial killers, and while most cannibals prefer
their dinners raw, there have been cases of killers enjoying specially
cooked meals.

What Lecter was to serial murderers, the Unabomber was to serial bombers.
Intelligent, insightful, with Lecter's same flair for in-jokes and hidden
meanings. Of course the Unabomber was more anal than Lecter, but then
bombers are more anal than murderers, so I think it works out.

Every time I have to break it to someone that Lecter is indeed fictional,
I'm always concerned that they might be embarassed at having believed him
to real. But there really is no reason to feel stupid. It's an easy
mistake, and I know that I, by refering to Lecter as real person through
the page, only help to confuse people.

But don't think you're the only one who's been through this. Former Vice
President Dan "Mr. Potato Head" Quayle never could figure out the
difference between fact and fiction. After insulting Murphy Brown, he sent
her baby a toy. The studio donated the stuffed animal to Toys for Tots "so
that a real child could enjoy it".


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