During the end of the Ming Dynasty, there were many peasant uprisings led by different individuals. The most powerful of these forces was under the leadership of The Dashing King (Chen Wang) Li Zicheng. When most people think of Li, they would remember his contribution to the destruction of the Ming Dynasty or his character in the famous Chinese novels written by renowned author Jin Rong (appears in both Sword Stained with Royal Blood & The Deer and the Cauldron).
However, one chapter of his life remains little known but often discussed by those who have of the heard. It involves the death of Zhu Changxun, 1st Prince of Fu, the favorite son Emperor Wanli and uncle of the last emperor of Ming Dynasty, Chongzhen. (For more information on the two emperors, you can refer to http://sophos-square.blogspot.hk/2012/06/emperors-of-ming-dynasty.html)
The Prince of Fu's fief is in Luoyang in Heibei province. Being the favorite of Emperor Wanli and greatly respected by Emperor Chongzhen, he was endowed with great wealth from the two emperors. Additionally, he taxed the people of his fiefdom brutally to the detriment of his people. When the Li reached Luoyang, he was greatly angered by the wealth of the prince when compared to how destitute his own army and the population of Luoyang were. While the Prince of Fu's son, Zhu Yousong, escaped capture, the prince himself was captured.
Unfortunately for the Prince of Fu, his body weight recorded to over 300 catties (150 kg or 330 lbs) further symbolized for Li and his followers of how different their lifestyles were as both Li's army and the local populace were starving and undernourished. In his rage, Li ordered the death the prince's death. Yet, this is where the historical accounts differ.
It is recorded in Ming History that Li drained the prince's blood and mixed it with alcohol and deer blood to make what he called "Fu Lu wine." (Fu refers to the prince while lu is the word for deer in Chinese) This wine was then distributed throughout Li's officers and consumed by Li himself. While this act of vampirism may seem extreme, it is the least controversial of the possible scenarios.
There are two other versions of the story (not recorded in the Ming History) that claims different, one bloodier than the other. The first states the a large cauldron was taken from a nearby monastery was filled with spices and 7 - 8 deers taken from Prince of Fu's courtyard and cooked. The Prince of Fu was then fedlaxatives to empty his bowels, shaved and cleaned thoroughly before he was tied up and dropped into the scalding water. There, to the amusement of the spectators, the prince died after "swimming" in the hot water. Supposedly, he was then cooked for another two hours before the entire pot was served to the people of Luoyang and Li's soldiers.
The second version of the story was far more morbid. In order to prepare a proper meal, Li drained the blood out through the prince's carotid artery. Afterwards, he skinned and filleted the prince before the pieces were thrown into the cauldron. Like the previous version, the cauldron was also filled with spices and deer from Prince of Fu's courtyard. They share the horrific last part of the story in common: the prince was then served along with the deer to the soldiers and populace of the city.
While the two versions of the story cannot be proven (or disproven) decisively, the two latter versions of the story have spread from the city of Luoyang. Personally speaking, I believe that the third version of events is more likely for 3 reasons. This is because 1) As we know definitely from Ming History that Li had drained the prince's blood for wine, this series of events correlate to Prince of Fu being cooked in pieces instead of being thrown into the cauldron intact. 2) While cooking a person alive for punitive reasons is not unheard of in China, they are always put into lukewarm water before being boiled. The reason behind this is that capital punishment executed through cooking is meant to inflict horrific pain but throwing a man into boiling water would kill too quickly and cannot achieve the desired effect. 3) lastly, in Chinese culinary culture, only small animals such as rabbits or birds are thrown into pots whole to make soups. Larger animals tended to be dismembered for culinary reasons (so the spices would drain into the meat & so the meat would cook evenly).
Chinese history is littered by unsubstantiated rumors whose accuracy cannot be verified. The two latter versions of the story could have arisen as Manchu propaganda to discredit the Dashing King Li Zicheng. However, Ming History remains the greatest source of information from this period and is an undisputed collection of primary sources. Hence, at the very least, the Dashing King had been a vampire if not a cannibal.