As serial killer cases go, one of the most bizarre and downright sickening is the Jeffrey Dahmer case. Dahmer initially became fixated with sex with men but evolved his strange desires into more brutally inhuman tastes. Gregarious and active as a child, his playful personality underwent a change after a move. The Dahmers were by all accounts a fairly healthy family whose second child arrived shortly after Mr. Dahmer achieved his Ph.D in a Chemistry. 4-H gardening and animal raising was a father and son bonding activity.
No serious or extreme changes marked the childhood fascination with nature and animals except after the Dahmers’ marriage problems. Jeffrey Dahmer’s mother was hospitalized just about the time puberty onset occurred. Dahmer’s obsessive roadkill gathering and backyard dissection grew. The fantasies became an aggressive reality, with mental plans for lying beside a nude man. But by the time high school started Dahmer was taking alcohol before school time to vanquish thoughts of partaking in sex with men.
Dahmer’s extroverted behaviour drew attention to himself from casual observers around school. Dahmer even talked his classmates into meeting with Vice President Walter Mondale during a trip to the nation’s capital. Dahmer’s academia was erratic from good grades to failure due to boredom or lack of attention. No close friends or partners meant a social life spent inside the world of animals while living on a diet of fantasies. High school was spent mantling his inner traumas of his parent’s bickering and escapist sexuality involving men and animals.
After high school graduation, loner Dahmer was left with splitting parents. The divorced Mrs. Dahmer moved from Ohio to Wisconsin, where her deviant son spent his isolation pursuing means to act out his violent and deviant fantasies. This is when Dahmer picked up a hitchhiker and first victim Stephen Hicks. This eighteen year old boy never saw another sunrise. Dahmer used his house to attack Hicks after hours spent hanging around. Dahmer used his roadkill dissection skills to dismember the body to hide the evidence.
Unlike many serial killers, the incident disturbed Dahmer enough to cause him to retreat into an alcoholic coping mechanism. Dahmer’s father moved back in after finding Jeff alone, but he was still recovering from the impact of his first murder. Jeff Dahmer had inventively lied to police when disposing of the body, and smashed the bones after hiding them under the house. Dahmer’s father was concerned and suggested a job. Later Mr. Dahmer enrolled Jeff at Ohio State, but Jeff had little interest in this and resorted to selling his blood for beer money and he eventually flunked out.
Ironically, Jeffrey Dahmer was medicating himself out of his violent and deviant behaviours. In contrast to the rejecting and abusive father and son relationship. Jeff’s father was concerned for him and suggested the armed forces as a possible method to turn him towards a straighter path in life. Jeff briefly seemed to improve, his appearance fit and his manner relaxed from socialization and communal discipline. But a stunt in Germany earned Dahmer an early discharge. After a vagabond hotel escape in Miami Florida, Jeff’s father sent him to live with his own mother in Milwaukee.
The early mix of sexual desire with animal dissection, his developed knowledge of human anatomy from armed services training, and the widened homosexual scene in Milwaukee caused predictable results. The gay bars and clubs afforded Dahmer the perfect hunting ground for increasingly submissive “dates” with men whose drinks were loaded with sleeping pills. Dahmer’s predatory behaviour was hidden within the gay scene nobody talked about and insiders kept closed. For a serial killer this was a perfect combination.
Dahmer’s emotional life was so hidden from himself that the first murder episode outside the house seemed to have occurred without his knowledge. Dahmer’s arrival on the Milwaukee gay scene had been noted, but Dahmer’s taste required an anatomical type that his practices devolved around. Dahmer’s desires for a submissive partner had evolved from a lifeless mannequin hidden inside his closet to a live body of a man drugged and then killed before the morning.
Dahmer’s confused and troubled mind kept him strangling his victims as a way to spare them further pain. While the power politics of sexual domination were present, Dahmer’s preference for dead flesh entered into another dimension of deviancy with the instinct to kill combined with the protectionism of hiding the body and making evidence disappear. Hapless victims succeeded one another while Dahmer drank heavily, “medicating” himself to carry out the ugly deeds.
Foul smells from the basement made Jeff’s grandmother see red. The now typical pattern of an isolated life, a safe killing ground, a new environment, progressed into an apartment alone. Dahmer now dissolved into a single track life motive of killing. His brief stint in a men’s dormitory after second degree charges did not rehabilitate him in any way. The flow of victims continued, the accelerated stalking, killing, drugging and dismemberment became more commonplace. Dahmer made no attempt to seek help or find social outlets to counteract his murderous behaviour.
For this serial killer, his bloody reign nearly ended when one boy escaped. Able to briefly get away, a 14 year old running naked and bruised was seen running from his apartment. But bystanders who called police were appalled to see officers return the boy to Dahmer’s apartment after convincing explanations. These officers would later be dismissed after the episode was examined. The police looked upon the affair as a lover’s quarrel, a light onto the way Dahmer used the gay community to cover his liaisons. But bodies and disposal were still a problem. Dahmer’s killing rate and appetite for stalking new victims had progressed.
Strange smells and noises caused apartment residents to question Dahmer’s activities. It was becoming too hard to cover his tracks any longer. Another potential victim Tracy Edwards escaped his clutches after a brief tussle and was able to flag down members of the police department.
Dahmer’s arrest and incarceration stunned and shocked the community, with media attention riveted on the bizarre nature of the cannibalistic aspects of Dahmer’s crimes. The officers found a severed head in the fridge, human remains including severed hands and male organs, scattered around the apartment. Later interviews shed a horrific light on family values and everyday life gone wrong.
For Dahmer, his life behind bars was short as he was killed in prison by another inmate in a violent attack. In total, Dahmer had murdered 17 boys and men.
Article by Roy Whyte. Visit his Google+ page for more.
The following is a Jeffrey Dahmer interview and it gives a brief look into what makes up the mind of a serial killer.