Benjamin Raspail (born 1929 - died 22nd March 1975) was a flautist of the Baltimore Philharmonic Orchestra. He was a patient and the ninth and last known victim of Dr. Hannibal Lecter , prior to Lecter's capture. Raspail first introduced Jame Gumb to Lecter for therapy, after Gumb had murdered Raspail's lover Klaus. Raspail was undergoing treatment himself for manic depression and was assigned to Lecter.
Raspail was a flautist for the Baltimore Philharmonic Orchestra sometime during the 1970s. However he was considered a very poor player. A gay man, he entered into at least two known relationships. He met and had a brief romance with Jame Gumb. However he was disturbed by certain information he found out, such as Gumb killing his grandparents as a pre teen and suspected him killing a bag lady. Suspecting Gumb not really being gay, he left him and met a Norwegian sailor named Klaus. Gumb, enraged by this, lured Klaus away and murdered him, beheading him and creating an apron from his skin. Raspail was devastated and buried Klaus’s body somewhere in the woods and stored his head in a rented lockbox in one of his vintage cars. He entered therapy with Dr Hannibal Lecter and discussed these events as well as his school days. He also recommended Gumb for therapy to Lecter.
Unbeknown to Raspail, Dr Lecter had killed at least eight people and seriously injured two others. Raspail was to become Lecter’s ninth victim, the third to die in the last nine days. Raspail was murdered during a therapy session with Lecter, in which he discussed Jame Gumb, and how Gumb had murdered Klaus. Lecter stabbed him through the heart and instantly killed him. Raspail was reported missing on 22nd March 1975, after failing to turn up for a performance, and was found in a church pew near Falls Church, Virginia three days later. He was dressed in a white tie and tail coat and his heart had been pierced and was missing his thymus and pancreas (known in cuisine as sweetbreads). Lecter served these organs to the board of the Philharmonic Orchestra, with green oysters, a sorbet and a ragout on the evening of the 22nd. Lecter noted in an interview with Clarice Starling that he killed Raspail because the other man was starting to bore him, but various sources have speculated that his primary reason for killing Raspail was that his playing disturbed the otherwise excellent quality of an opera that Lecter had attended. When asked about the infamous meal, Lecter remarked that he had to make do what was in the fridge and had no time to shop. The president of the orchestra developed alcohol problems as well as anorexia after learning what was in his meal after Lecter's arrest and media coverage into his murders.
There is some discrepancies in the movies as to whether Raspail was murdered by Lecter. In The Silence of the Lambs, Raspail's head is found in a garage that was leased in Lecter's name. Lecter assures Starling that he did not kill him, merely "tucked him away". A Death's Head moth is found in Raspail's throat, which confirms him as a victim of Buffalo Bill. However, in Hannibal, Starling discusses with Paul Krendler on the reasons why Lecter dines on his victims. She describes that Benjamin Raspail was killed and served to his fellow musicians to improve the quality of the Philharmonic Orchestra, and discusses the ingredients of that particular meal.