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copyright 1999, Lois June Wickstrom
by Lois June Wickstrom
as published in Tales of the Unanticipated
"They was siven Dimmycrats in Hinsdale County, but you, yah
voracious, man-eatin' son of a bitch, yah eat five of thim and I
therefore order you hung by the neck till you are dead." Judge
M. B. Gerry, April 13, 1883, Lake City, Colorado.
Alferd Packer was a slim bearded young shoemaker. By the time he
was 22, he'd been kicked out of the military for poor health,
out of bars for poor behavior, and out of prostitutes' beds for
reasons he never reported. He was the kind of man that history
books call a survivor. But by his own standards he wasn't ever
rich enough or fat enough to be truly happy. And most of all, he
craved an angel.
He was competent at mending shoes, and capable at tracking and
hunting. If anybody could stay alive in the Colorado mountains
in winter, it was Alferd Packer. You could count on him to shoot
a big horn sheep, trap a rabbit, or find rosehips on a frozen
bush to tide him through. And on occasion, he found gold.
Packer had only one secret. He was a mystic, a spiritual seeker.
Enlightenment was the only worthy goal for a superior man like
himself. He'd heard a lecture once -- not at a bar -- but
downtown in the lecture hall -- so he knew it was legit. The
lecture was called ``Unlimited Power,'' delivered by a
popular mystic of the day -- Rosy something or other. And later,
he'd heard another on ``Animal Magnetism.''
Packer felt both speakers knew his inmost soul and craving.
``You always feel like you have less than you should. No one
recognizes your true worth. You are never truly happy.'' Packer
found himself nodding his head in agreement. He knew the world
thought he was scum and did not see his true self. ``The
judgment of the world is not the same as the judgment of God. Be
not deceived,'' said Rosy.
The speakers promised that initiates could have whatever they
wanted -- conversations with dead relatives, wealth, power,
women, knowledge of the future -- all the joys the human heart
could desire. They could summon wisdom from beyond to answer
any question. And no one could harm them. This they called
enlightenment. They spoke of a light that came from heaven.
And once it entered the initiate, it glowed for all to see and
And he listened to Mormons who spoke of the angel Moroni who
visited Joseph Smith and presented him with twelve golden
From that day forward, Packer sought enlightenment, and an angel
of his own. Wasn't he a truly superior man?
From his youth, Packer spent his evenings staring into space sure
that Truth would come to him from the stars. In early 1873, when
Packer heard rumors of angels, or beings made of light, in them
thar hills, he knew his time had come. If any man were due
enlightenment in this lifetime, he was sure it was he.
Dazed travellers told of winged beings, glowing with fearsome
light, who beamed down from the heavens into the bodies of men.
These men found gold in heretofore unheard of quantities. Women
flocked to them. They predicted the future unerringly. Packer
could taste their joy. And being the superior man that he was,
he knew his future was even rosier than theirs. All he needed
was a prospecting party to hire him and he'd be off to the
Packer promised to protect his customers from everything in the
mountains -- wild animals, cold, and avenging angels if
necessary. And if anybody could find gold, it was Packer. (Some
folks said he found it in the pockets of drunken gentlemen, but
that's another story.)
On November 8, 1873, twenty-one prospectors from Bingham Canyon,
Utah, hired Alferd Packer to guide them in Indian territory.
Packer knew winter was no time to go gold-hunting. But any time
was the right time for an angel.
(Five of these prospectors were the ill-fated Democrats from
Hinsdale County.) Packer got along well with Indians. He
bundled up men and provisions and set off on rafts down the
Colorado River. On January 21, 1874, Packer led them to the camp
of Chief Ouray. The heavy snows came, and Packer convinced Ouray
to give them refuge in his sheepskin tents until thaw.
On February 9, 1874, contrary to the advice of Chief Ouray, the five
Democrats from Hinsdale County caught gold fever and promised
Packer a bonus to take them out in the snow. Packer, never one
to turn down a bonus -- even for a mission he knew to be
fruitless, loaded the five suckers up with seven-days food and
They traipsed through crackling white snow and across gurgling
rivers thinly covered by ice. When they reached the timbered
valley where Packer intended they camp for the night, the men
were crying from exhaustion, cold and blisters on their feet.
As soon as their tents were pitched, the Dimmycrats got out their
mining pans, chipped holes in the ice over the stream in the
center of the valley, and set to work. The red-headed Dimmycrat
named Bell kept looking up at the sky instead of down into his
pan, like the others.
Packer tapped him on the shoulder and said, ``You've got to blink
or you'll go snow blind.''
The Dimmycrat barely whispered, "An angel approaches. It's come
Goosebumps rose on Packer's arms. This was what he had waited
for all his life. ``Protect us!'' demanded the Dimmycrat. ``I
have sinned and not ready to face God!''
Knowing it would sooth the Dimmycrat, but mean nothing to the
angel, Packer took his gun and climbed the mountain. He wanted
to be the one the angel saw. The one to whome the angel gave
enlightenment. And if the glow turned out to be from a crazed
miner's pan, the gun would protect him. It always had.
When he reached the top of the ridge, all Packer found was a rose
bush bent over in the snow, with sweet frozen hips ready to eat.
He picked several handfuls for the men. Carefully, he scanned
the glaring white sky. Where had the angel gone? How could
it go without giving him his gift -- the enlightenment he so
Then he looked down in the valley, back at the camp. There was
Bell with gold glinting in his pan. The other dimmycrats still
had their pans and hands immersed in the icy stream. Then he saw
it. The tiny lit torpedo was headed straight for the
red-headed dimmycrat. He'd never heard of an angel that looked
like a torpedo. Big or small, Packer figured this was the only
angel he was ever going to get. How could it choose Bell?
That enlightenment was meant for me! Packer aimed his gun.
The fool dimmycrat dropped his gold-laden pan through the hole
he'd cut into the ice-covered stream. The light being entered
Bell's body. ``No, you fool!'' Packer shouted to the light being.
Packer ran toward Bell, sliding angrily down the mountainside.
Before he reached the happy dimmycrat, he realized he couldn't
just say, ``give me that angel -- it's mine!" He decided to try
cajolery -- it often worked better than anger. ``Gold glitter
got your eye?'' he ventured. ``I could see sparkling in your pan
from way up there!'' Bell just hummed. He'd lost all interest
in the hunt for gold.
Instead of answering, Bell serenely seated himself in the snow
beside the ice-covered river. The sun glinted, even glowed, in
his red hair. And as he sat, the snow melted around him and
green herbs grew up beside him. Bell chanted, "God is love.
There is no sin." over and over. His voice sounded sweetly
angelic, but he was uttering nonsense. The man can't even do
enlightenment right, Packer muttered to himself. Bell smiled.
In describing this scene, Judge Gerry wrote, "In 1874 you, in
company with five companions, passed through this beautiful
mountain valley where stands the town of Lake City. At that time
the hand of man had not marred the beauties of nature. The
picture was fresh from the hand of the Great Artist who created
it. You and your companions camped at the base of a grand old
mountain, in sight of the place you now stand, on the banks of a
stream as pure and beautiful as ever traced by the finger of God
upon the bosom of Earth. Your very surrounding was calculated to
impress upon your heart and nature the omnipotence of Deity and
the helplessness of your own feeble life. In this goodly favored
spot you conceived your murderous designs."
It was true. It was in that wooded wonderland, that Packer
decided he would have to put Bell out of his misery. Bell
clearly wasn't ready for enlightenment. Bell was a danger to
himself and the other dimmycrats. Enlightenment had made him
crazy -- sitting in the snow, singing that stupid song over and
over. Packer had promised to protect these men. He had an
obligation to rescue Bell. And obtain the enlightenment for
Still clutching his gun, Packer approached Bell and spoke to the
angel. ``Come on out,'' he said. ``I know you came for me.
Now, leave this man alone.'' No response, except Bell's
continued chanting, ``Love is all there is.''
Packer grabbed Bell and shook him by the shoulders. ``Let go of
it, man! That angel's mine!'' Bell's body rose a bit and
reached for his axe. That was his mistake. For a moment, Packer
watched Bell -- he seemed to be arguing with himself. Bell
shouted, ``I must defend!'' Packer grabbed the axe from Bell who
was too dazed to hold it tightly. ``Give it up, man!" he
shouted again. Bell did not move. Packer clubbed him in the
head with the blunt end of the blade.
Bell's body slumped and bled a little. He mumbled, ``Take care
of my sister.'' Then his body went limp. Packer watched the body
closely, hoping to see the light being emerge. All he saw was a
bit of fog from Bell's last breath. Had Packer killed for
nothing? The other dimmycrats watched this murder like
spectators at a rodeo. When Bell started chanting, they had
known that Bell'd gone crazy. Now they thought Packer was crazy,
too, and they rose as one to subdue him.
The judge would later say, "Be not deceived. God is not mocked,
for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. You, Alfred
Packer (the judge couldn't pronounce his name correctly) sowed
the wind; you must now reap the whirlwind."
As if presaging the judge's words, a whirlwind did indeed roar
down the valley, scattering asunder the attack of Packer's
remaining campmates who lunged for his gun, giving Packer time to
swing with Bell's axe. Packer saw the angel flit from one
dimmycrat to another. As soon as it lighted, Packer swung his
axe. Again the angel chose another dimmycrat. Again Packer
swung. Soon all the dimmycrats lay dead or dying in the snow.
Packer remained alone, waiting for the light-being.
When he ran out of patience, about half-an-hour later, Packer
dragged the last body in which he'd seen the angel to the fire
and determined to roast the light-being out. He stripped the
man's clothing off before tossing him on the fire, and found $50
in his pockets. While the man cooked, Packer ransacked the other
campmates' pockets and found another $20. The cooking
dimmycrat's body exuded a sweet smell like pork.
Afterward, Packer picked at the flesh between his teeth and
wondered if he'd killed the light being when his axe sundered the
final body.. A sparkling in the air reminded him of women's
jewelry. "God ain't nothing but a God-damned woman!" he
proclaimed, and shot his gun toward the sparkle.
He felt a warming within his heart. He looked down at his chest.
The lit-up torpedo was halfway inside him. He tried to push it
away, but his arms wouldn't move. The thing was disappearing
inside his body, like sex. It even felt like sex. He'd always
thought sex ought to be more central to the torso, rather than
down by his legs. Something inside him wriggled. He felt like
he was being explored from the inside out, and knew he had no
secrets. At first he was afraid the angel would leave -- that he
would be found unworthy after all.
At last the warmth settled behind his belly button. A deep voice
from within him addressed him by name, ``Alferd.'' Part of his
mind said, Now I'm hearing voices. A stronger part said,
You've known this voice all your life ... and beyond. Was
this how women felt? Totally invaded and taken over? The angel
said, "You must give up attack."
"Your advice is a little late," said Packer. "I already done
killed everybody here."
"There will be more later," said the angel. "They will threaten
you. But so long as you do not attack, or defend yourself, I
will protect you."
"This isn't how it's supposed to be," said Packer. "I wanted
enlightenment. I wanted to know the future, and know everything
about everyone and every where. I wanted to be rich and
powerful. And all you are is another boss telling me what to do.
Where are the gifts of enlightenment?"
"All in good time," said the angel. "First you must learn to
trust me. I know where your happiness lies.''
``You don't know the first thing about enlightenment,'' said
Packer. ``Didn't you hear the stuff at the lecture hall? You're
supposed to get me back home safely, and then make me the
wealthiest man around.''
``Look,'' said the angel, ``I can't let you go home until you
learn to live without harm.''
``And then you'll make me rich and powerful?'' asked Packer.
``Perhaps later,'' said the angel. ``Right now, we've got to get
you out of this alive.''
``What's in it for you?'' demanded Packer. ``Even an angel
doesn't work for nothing.''
``I get what I need,'' said the angel. ``My goals are not your
``Why should I trust you?'' Packer asked. ``You don't need gold
or women. Why would you get them for me?''
``I need your cooperation,'' said the angel. ``We are incomplete
without each other.''
``I was just fine before you came,'' said Packer. ``You're not
what an angel is supposed to be at all.''
``You felt incomplete -- and you were a seeker. Now you have
found what you sought.''
That afternoon, the angel led Packer to the biggest gold deposit
he'd ever seen. All well-formed nuggets, easy to carry in his
sacks. ``That's more like it,'' said Packer.
The snow kept his companions from rotting. Packer was hungry.
As long as they were dead, he saw no reason not to eat them and
thus keep himself alive.
A big-horn sheep came down the mountainside. Packer raised his
gun and aimed. The angel said, ``Don't pull the trigger.''
Packer loosed his hand. Something in the voice commanded his
attention. Packer wished he could turn the gun on that meddling,
interfering angel. This enlightenment business wasn't fun and
freedom like the lecturers had promised. Okay he'd found some
gold -- but he knew men who had more. And this angel was always
``Why won't you let me kill the sheep?'' he asked the angel.
``You have enough food to last until thaw. And I can only help
you return to civilization if you give up attack. Only then can
I promise that you will not be attacked,'' said the angel. ``You
have just killed five men. Normally, you'd be hung for that.''
``But you don't mind about the five men. You are protecting the
sheep?'' Packer was incredulous.
The angel ignored him.
``So if I don't kill the sheep, you'll protect my life?'' Packer
persisted. Immortality was a rare gift of enlightenment --
offered only to the truly worthy.
``If you do not attack, you will not be attacked,'' promised the
Packer, hearing this as a promise of immortality, put down his
gun and ate heartily of the flesh from his Dimmycrat companions.
Even his spiritually enlightened angel sanctioned it.
After a fortnight of feasting on dimmycrats, the snow formed a
crust and Packer was able to climb to the top of the nearest
mountain ridge. The fir trees in the valleys of the Colorado
mountains make it easy to tell north from south. The dark skinny
pines grow on the valley's north slopes and the light green airy
ones grow on the south slopes, so Packer would have had no
trouble returning to Ouray's camp. But, he knew Ouray had
spiritual enlightenment of his own and might not welcome him
without his five dimmycrat companions.
Two months later, on April 16, 1874 when Packer arrived at the
Los Pinos Indian Agency, near Sagache, he was fat and rich, but
not nearly as much as he wanted to be. He was reluctant to talk
about the angel that wriggled and squiggled and tickled inside
him. He said his companions killed each other. He said they had
an accident. He said they froze to death. He admitted he ate
them, but that wasn't an uncommon practice in the mountains. And
despite their disgust, everybody felt sorry for the survivors of
the Donner party, who had eaten their companions. How else was
he supposed to stay alive for 60 days in the frozen valleys of
Packer had read many sob-sister stories about poor wretches who
subsisted through treacherous winters on the paltry flesh of
their unfortunate companions. It was Sunday fare, and like
everybody else, he gobbled it up, never suspecting that one day
these stories would be written about him. The mystical speaker
had said, ``The judgment of the world is not the same as the
judgment of God. Be not deceived.''
Okay, the heroes of these tales usually had the decency to look
skinny for their photos, but then they didn't have a angel
promising them immortality. And besides, he knew it was a matter
of personal taste, but he found human flesh, nicely roasted,
quite delicious. And he knew he'd never have an opportunity to
gorge on it again, so he'd indulged himself. What virtue was
there in starving himself to death with all that food just
waiting to be eaten? If he didn't eat it, the wild animals
would. Packer didn't understand why the officials made such a
big deal of it. And, to his satisfaction, neither did the angel.
The officials at the Indian Agency took down his report of
confessed cannibalism and let him go.
So far the angel was
keeping his promise and protecting him. Then in August,
somebody found bones from the five bodies, obviously marked by a
hatchet blade. Packer tried to explain that he'd used the
hatchet to cut the meat from the bones. But the agency officials
said it was murder. They put Packer in a barred cell.
A wizened old prospecting buddy came by to visit, and offered
Packer a knife to get the key from the guard. The angel had a
better idea. The buddy could use the knife blade as a duplicate
key and free Packer himself. The buddy came back at night and
Packer escaped, with the angel. The angel even provided light
for their lock-picking efforts. For years afterwards, townfolks
rumored about the eerie light they'd seen in the jail house the
night of the great jail-break.
For the next eight years, Packer made his living as a peaceable
shoemaker near Fort Fetterman, Wyoming. Women flocked to him and
fought over his bed. Packer kept hoping one of them would be
Bell's sister. He was willing to share his good fortune with her
-- even marry her if the angel decreed. That was what he needed
to be truly famous -- to marry the sister of a man he had eaten.
Other famous men like Black Bart had wives.
He asked the angel. The angel said nothing about a wife, but
helped him gain a reputation at the gambling tables, making him
richer than ever. People who met this gentle man could not
believe the murderous charges against him. This was a man who
didn't even brawl in bars -- how could those vicious stories be
true? The tales of cannibalism only added to his mystique, and
drew even more women to his bed.
One morning when Packer was especially bitter about his lack of
fame and adoration, he went to the local bar to get drunk. The
angel had done something to his system -- he could no longer
stand the smell of alcohol. What's freedom if I can't get
drunk? he asked the angel. "It's freedom," answered the angel.
"Would you rather I leave?"
"What's freedom, if you are my jailer?" asked Packer.
"A clear mind is freedom," said the angel. "A clear mind lets
you see the truth, and truth is the only freedom."
"What truth is that?" asked Packer. "We both know I killed and
ate those men."
``The truth is that your blade did not touch their souls.''
Packer was arrested again on March 11, 1883 and tried in Lake
City, Colorado the week of April 6 - 13, 1883. There he was
found guilty of murdering, robbing and eating his five dimmycrat
companions, and sentenced to death.
The angel said, ``Don't worry. You'll die a free man in
your old age -- if you refrain from attack.'' In addition to his
politically motivated quote about the Dimmycrats and the balance
of power in Hinsdale County that Packer had mightily disrupted,
Judge Gerry said, ``A jury of twelve honest citizens of the
County have sat in judgment on your case and upon their oaths
they find you guilty of willful and premeditated murder -- a
murder revolting in all its details...I am but the instrument of
society to impose the punishment which the law provides. While
society cannot forgive, it will forget. As the days come and go
and the years of your pilgrimage roll by, the memory of you and
of your crimes will fade from the minds of men.
``With God it is different. He will not forget, but will
forgive. He pardoned the thief on the Cross. He is the same God
today as then -- A God of love and mercy, of long-suffering and
kind forbearance; a God who tempers wind to the shorn lamb, and
promises rest to all the weary and heartbroken children of men;
and it is to this God I commend you.
``Close your ears to the blandishments of hope. Listen not to
its fluttering promises of life. But prepare to meet the spirits
of thy murdered victims. Prepare for the dread certainty of
death. Prepare to meet thy God; prepare to meet that aged father
and mother of whom you have spoken and who still love you as
their dear boy.''
``On the 19th day of May, 1883, you be taken...to a place of
execution prepared for this purpose at some point within the
corporate limits of the town of Lake City, in the said county of
Hinsdale, and between the hours of 10:00 A.M. and 3:00 P.M. of
said day, you, then and there, by said sheriff be hung by the
neck until you are dead, dead, dead, and may God have mercy upon
Judge M. B. Gerry reckoned without the angel.
Charles Lynch and his famous Lynch Mob didn't know about the
angel either as they made ready to take the law into their
own hands. But the angel told Packer to ask to be moved
during the night to Gunnison. The angel gave such
pleasantness and reasonableness to his voice that Judge Gerry
obliged. Gerry turned Packer over to Doc Shores, sheriff of
Gunnison county, where he spent the next three years in jail.
Doc Shores protected Packer, and read his mail. Later Shores
testified that Al Packer was "filthy, vulgar, selfish, and to sum
up, a disgrace to the human race." Shores was also jealous of
Packer because of all the women who wrote him love letters
because he was a cannibal.
During this time, the angel became Packer's legal advisor.
He pointed out to Packer (who was becoming a jail-house lawyer)
that he'd been tried under a state law, but he'd been charged
under territorial law. On October 30, 1885, the Colorado Supreme
Court reversed Packer's conviction and agreed with the
angel. There were even some who said he should have been
tried under federal law because the murders took place on Indian
Territory. The angel said he'd keep that in mind if future
appeals were needed.
"You really do know stuff about life that I don't," Packer
conceded to the angel, after his acquittal.
"So why don't you listen and meditate like I ask you?" asked the
"I ain't no fool like Bell," said Packer. "Look where meditating
"He was happy," said the angel. "You're not."
"He's dead," said Packer. "And I'm not."
``It wasn't the meditating that killed him,'' said the
``I know. I killed him,'' said Packer.
``With the axe he lifted,'' said the angel. ``Had he not lifted
it, I could have protected his life. I can only protect my host
if he does not attack. That's why I had to stop you from
drinking. You attack when you are drunk.''
The first week of August, 1886, Packer was retried in Gunnison.
This time the jury found him guilty of manslaughter, and
sentenced him to 8 years each for his five victims, a total of 40
years. Packer served 5 years of that sentence, and the
angel got him out again -- this time with a parole
agreement signed by the Governor of Colorado at the urging of the
Denver Post. While in jail, Packer earned $1500 making hair
ropes and hair bridles.
Everybody wanted ropes made by a cannibal. Packer's ropes sold
for high prices indeed -- these were times when men killed for as
little as $12. ``See,'' said the angel, ``I can even make you
rich in jail.''
``Yeah,'' said Packer, ``But like with everything else you give
me -- I have to work for it.''
Upon gaining his freedom, Packer again took up his trade as a
peaceable shoemaker and argued with his angel -- couldn't
I at least go on a hunting trip? or punch a guy out who really
deserved it? The angel always gave the same answer: "You must
refrain from attack."
"Why?" asked Packer.
``It is the law of enlightenment," answered the angel. ``And
admit it -- hasn't your life brought you wealth and women since
you began following it?''
``The murders and cannibalism did that,'' said Packer.
``For that you could have been hung,'' reminded the angel.
``You still have much to learn.''
``Then can't you at least make me famous like Black Bart?
Everybody seems to have forgotten about me.''
The angel got him an interview with the Denver Post on the
anniversary of his first trial, and Packer told the reporter
about how Bell had discovered gold before his death. Packer left
out about the angel and how Bell had gone crazy. But he left in
about Bell's dying request for his sister.
One day a beautiful woman entered Packer's shoe shop.
``Your wish is my command, be it party pumps or walking shoes.''
``Do you have money for me?'' asked the woman, patting her long
``Can't say as I do, ma'am,'' said Packer. ``And I'm not likely
to forget one as lovely as yourself. Have a chair while I
measure your feet.''
The woman continued to stand, clutching her purse against her
belly. ``My name's Clarissa. Clarissa Bell,'' she said.
``Pleased to meet you Miz Bell,'' said Packer. The angel
interrupted his polished speech. She's Bell's sister. The
one you killed. He asked you to take care of her. Packer
resumed talking. ``Bell. Ah yes, the unfortunate accident. And
just as your brother was onto discovering one of the richest gold
caches in them mountains. I've kept a bag of nuggets for you.''
``That's a start,'' said the woman.
``Will you come by my home after work, or would you rather I
bring the nuggets to you?'' Packer gave a little bow. ``And
after that, maybe we could get married.''
Clarissa removed her gun from her purse and fired at Packer's
head. The bullet whizzed by his nose as he returned to standing
``Don't waste your bullets ma'am,'' he said calmly. ``I can't be
killed, or I'd have been hung years ago.''
She fired again, and again she missed.
``I'll make it easy for you,'' offered Packer. ``Give me the gun
and I'll bring you the gold to your hotel after work.''
He started to reach for the gun. The angel said ``Let me
protect you.'' She took aim again. ``Stand still this time,''
``You're crazy,'' said Packer to both the angel and
Clarissa Bell at once. He took a step toward Clarissa. His
angel said, Stand and I'll save you. Move and I'll
leave. It didn't take Packer long to see the consequences. If
the angel left, he'd die. Packer stood. The woman's
finger closed on the trigger. Packer smiled sweetly, the angel's
light glowed in his face.
The woman's gun clattered to the floor, shiny with sweat. When
Packer brought the bag of gold to the hotel that evening,
Clarissa was gone.
Packer resigned himself to living peaceably with his angel,
and with his fellow Coloradans. The choice was simple, even for
Packer: alive with the angel, or dead without. For the
rest of his life he repaired shoes, made hair ropes, and to his
own surprise became a trusting man. The angel had proved
that his life was never in danger, so he truly had no need for
attack or defense.
``Is this all there is to your enlightenment,'' Packer asked one
day. ``Just knowing I won't be killed.''
``Isn't that the freedom you craved?'' asked the angel.
``You feared being killed above all else.''
``But some day, I will die,'' said Packer.
``I will protect you even then,'' said the angel. ``We are
part of each other now. Death cannot separate us.''
``This isn't what I thought enlightenment would be like,'' said
Packer. ``But, you've done your part.''
``And together, we've found peace,'' said the angel.''
Alferd Packer eventually found a different kind of peace, as
well. He died in his sleep, a free man, on April 23, 1907 in
Littleton Colorado. His name was misspelled on his gravestone:
``Alfred Packer.'' The stone also honors his brief military
career from which he was discharged after only a few months for
disability. The angel left his body when he died. Nobody
saw where it went.