Glen Powell’s Viral Cannibal Story Sounds Like an Urban Legend From the 2000s

Glen Powell’s Viral Cannibal Story Sounds Like an Urban Legend From the 2000s

Glen Powell recently shared a shocking story about his sister’s friend who went on a date with a cannibal. The only problem with his story? It sounds like an urban legend that dates back to at least 2001.

According to Powell’s story, originally shared on the Therapuss podcast with Jake Shane on May 22, the woman was on a date when a man gave her a massage with a suspicious lotion. The woman was creeped out and left, heading to the doctor, where she was told that it was a flesh-eating body lotion that would break down skin for human consumption. And after police were called, they allegedly discovered this person had the bodies of several dead women at his house.

Powell told the story while promoting his new Netflix film Hit Man last month, but the clip recently went viral on sites like X, with one popular excerpt on the social media platform getting over 8 million views. And that kind of widespread attention has also attracted more scrutiny over whether something like this has ever happened.


As Powell tells it:

The guy’s super charming, and they have a great night. And she goes back to his apartment that night, and he’s like, hey, can I give you a massage? And then as she got back to his apartment she started getting weird vibes. She’s like, something feels off. And he’s like, can I give you a massage? And she’s like, sure. So he starts massaging her shoulders. She’s kind of just feeling like— everything’s just feeling odd. And she’s like, I got to get out of here. And he gets a little weird, like no, please don’t leave. Sorry, I got weird, whatever it is. She leaves. She goes— her skin starts itching like crazy the next day. She goes to the doctor the next day, and he does a test on her skin. And it turns out that it’s a black market lotion that breaks down skin for human consumption. This man was rubbing lotion on her body to eat her. So the doctor’s like, you got to give me this person’s address, and you should call the police. They go to this guy’s house, and he had several girls’ bodies in the house.

Is there any truth to Powell’s story? Possibly, we simply don’t know. But the first red flag for this story is that it’s sourced to a “sister’s friend,” something that puts the Anyone But You actor several people removed from the alleged events. The second red flag is that the story sounds strikingly similar to an urban legend that’s been circulating for over 20 years.

Powell’s version of the story claims the creepy date in question featured a cannibal who wanted to eat his date. But a seemingly more common version of the story involves a necrophiliac who wants to have sex with his date’s corpse, according to Snopes, which cites emails that circulated in 2001. The story isn’t exactly the same, but that’s typically how these urban legends evolve over the years. People tell them and details get changed slowly over time. And by 2009 or so, the necrophiliac more commonly becomes a cannibal in the viral story, according to Snopes.

It’s unlikely Powell knows he’s spreading a story that’s probably not true. But that’s also how these things take off by word of mouth within a culture. They’re shocking, but even if they sound absurd they’re interesting stories of horror.

Gizmodo sent an email to Powell’s representation about the story and will update the story when they reply.

Have you ever heard a story that you only later discovered was an urban legend? We’ve all been there, honestly. But it does seem like the internet has allowed people to do easier fact-checking on stuff like this. The web is a double-edged sword in that regard, obviously, meaning fake stories can spread much more quickly than they did in the old days. You win some, you lose some.