Saturday, March 17, 2012

Another Liver-Eating Legend

Probably the most famous liver-eater was Liver-Eating Johnson. His real name was Johnston, but I guess once you start eating livers, people don’t care about the correct spelling of your name. Anyway, there are various accounts about Johnson, and the line between truth and fable are blurry.
The version I’ll tell is that he was married to a pregnant Native American Indian woman who was murdered by Crows (people, not the birds). He went on a revenge spree, killing Crows and eating the liver of everyone he killed. He may have gotten the idea from the Crows as they used to eat the raw livers from their game, believing it gave them the vitality of the animal that they ate.
This is not where the expression “eating crow” came from. (My apologies for the politically incorrect, barely amusing pun.)
P.S. The movie, Jeremiah Johnson was based on Liver-Eating Johnson. It stars Robert Redford. I don’t remember any liver-eating, but I saw the movie in the 1970’s – long before I even realized I had a liver.

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