Few people know that Hannibal Lecter, the cannibal serial killer from The Silence of the Lambs, had a real life prototype. His name was Alfredo Ballí Treviño and he was a Mexican doctor.
In his youth, Alfredo spent 20 years in prison after murdering his lover. He committed a crime of passion during his years as an intern in a small clinic. One day, out of jealousy, Alfredo cut the young man’s throat with a scalpel, then hacked his body into pieces and buried them in the ground. The remains were found the next morning.
The Silence of the Lambs author Thomas Harris met Alfredo when the murderer was serving time in a Mexican prison. The 23-year-old journalist arrived at the prison to interview a mentally ill prisoner Dykes Askew Simmons who was sentenced to death for killing three people.
During the interview, Thomas Harris found out that Dykes tried to escape from prison but was shot by a guard. If not for the mysterious Dr. Salazar, he would have died. The journalist went to meet that savior. He turned out to be a man of slender build with auburn hair who radiated grace and elegance.
After a strange interview with Alfredo, Harris found out the truth about him. He immediately came up with the idea of writing a novel about a cold-blooded intellectual killer.
In 1981, Alfredo was released from prison and returned to medical practice. He treated patients until his death in 2009. All these years, the surgeon desperately strived to forget his dark past and denied that he had anything in common with Hannibal Lecter.