Richard Parker was named after an Edgar Allan Poe character from The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket (1838). The book tells of four shipwrecked men who, after many days’ privation, drew lots to decide who should be killed and eaten. The cabin boy, named Richard Parker, draws the short straw and is eaten. Tales of cannibalism by shipwrecked sailors were not uncommon in the 19th century, but oddly enough, 46 years after Poe’s story was published, the very events Poe wrote about would happen in reality. Captain Dudley and three sailors were stranded in a skiff in the Pacific after the sinking of their yacht Mignonette on the way to Australia. They are forced to eat one of the party to survive, and feast on his body for 4 days â€” a sailor boy named Richard Parker.