RAINY DAYS AND MONDAYS: THE LIFE OF JEFFERY DAHMER
PART ONE: THE EARLY YEARS
When serial murderer Jeffrey Dahmer went to trial in the early 1990s for his infamously antisocial lifestyle, the culture at large was stunned and sickened by the surprising brutality of the man's offenses. Police had discovered a personal residence that was populated with human corpses in various stages of mutilation and decay, and plastered with photographs of the actions that led to this state. His refrigerator famously contained human remains prepared as food, and as well as entire heads frozen for preservation. His collection and consumption of human beings for his own pleasure was both so shocking and transgressive to the general public that details of the case made national headlines. Referred to as a cannibal and a monster by the mainstream press, readers who moved past the grisly headlines and delved deeper into the story found a sensitive and odd man behind the headlines, who was far more complex upon further inspection. In contrast to the press-hungry and showboating antics of such notorious serial murderers as Henry Lee Lucas and Ottis Toole, Dahmer was a quiet and humble individual, with an odd sensitivity and unique sense of humor. His appearance in court, always resembling the smart-alec-yet-contrite persona that enabled him to make his way through a troubled High School career, elicited sympathy and an odd sense of awe. He thoughtfully but emotionlessly listened to a room full of people describe the events of his life up until that point with the face of a detached observer. He was as quiet, passive, and sullen as he was often described before his final arrest, a state that many viewers likely found oddly sympathetic and relatable to their own lives, observed from afar in a distant manner. He expressed a desire to keep his victims with him forever, expressing a deep-rooted fear of abandonment and belief that he would never be loved in the way that he desired by another person. This side-steps the very present notion of Dahmer's inherent elitism in his actions, and the extreme lack of sympathy obviously enacted in the ultimate decision of Dahmer's crimes. These feelings that overtook him were indeed the result of an over-arching desire for human connection, relating all the way back to an infantile fear of abandonment. Dahmer's crimes were simultaneously those of a child crying out in loneliness, an expression of scientific cruelty, and a private ritual for a personal power and strength. Although referred to as an inhuman beast by the hypocritical and moralizing media who made him a star, the deviation and cruelty of Jeffrey Dahmer represents a deep sadness and yearning for love, as well as the death of the innocent nature of that yearning, going back to the dawn of humanity and the first understanding of our mortality.
Jeffrey Dahmer, in his own words, started out "just like anybody else." He was the first born child of a couple who would eventually divorce, which would weigh heavily upon him, and color his view of human relationships. He spent much of his upbringing with his parents hearing the couple fighting, and when his younger brother David was born their parents were soon to move into separate bedrooms from one another. The parents lived a loveless relationship that seemed to be based solely on keeping up appearances. Dahmer was an animal lover who did not seek to harm other living creatures as a youngster, but he was deeply fascinated with the inner workings of already-dead animals. Dahmer spent long hours in the forest and would often encounter the dead bodies of animals. When he got a little older, he would often pick up roadkill while out on his bike, where he would bring it back home and bury it after a bit of youthful experimentation with the remains. His brother David regarded the activity as altruistic, seeing his brother's "little cemetery" as a service to the creatures run over by automobiles in the surrounding area. While eating chicken at the dinner table one evening, Jeffrey turned to his father and asked what would happen if they were to put the bones of chicken into bleach. This led to an experiment that would prove to be fascinating for the young Dahmer, leading to a later infamous hobby in the exploration and preservation of skeletal remains. He was deeply fascinated from a very young age with the color and texture of internal organs. His awareness of the eating of the flesh of the animal, and thinking about the processes of decomposition and structure, led him to an exploration of personally acting as an agent of the advancement of decomposition on individual humans later on in his life. He entertained a menagerie of small animals, and was fascinated with the inner workings of all living beings. This is reflected in his habit of listening to the heartbeats of his classmates and friends, an interest that would last for the rest of his life. In terms of traditional domestic cohabitation, he had a cat when he was very young that he was deeply attached to, which he had to leave behind when his parents moved to another state with him, as well as a dog when he got older. While away at college, he was informed that his dog had died, further cementing Dahmer's sense of loss and detachment. Friends of the human variety were not often to be found in his youth however, and his parents maintained a relationship that was more like a business relationship than a familial bond. From a very early age Dahmer was raised as a Christian, and he embraced the values of the religion and mystic concepts from a personal standpoint. Although he became re-baptized as a born again Christian in prison shortly before his own murder, it could be argued that the ideas and concepts of the religion influenced him throughout his entire life... man's dominion and subjugation over animals, eating the flesh of Christ, as well as the values of contrition conveyed by his public face to the world upon his various arrests.
"I'll say goodbye to love... no one ever cared if I should live or die. Time and time again the chance for love has passed me by and all I know of love is how to live without it..."
- "Goodbye To Love" by The Carpenters.
He did have several friends in the area that recall spending time with the young Dahmer. They recalled him as introverted and lost in his own individual world, with an intense and vivid fantasy life that bled into his day-to-day existence. He would invent his own games to play with other children, involving the supernatural or other forms of existential horror. One was called "Ghosts In The Graveyard," and involved acting as the living dead. In "Infinity Land," Dahmer created a game where tiny stick men gradually moved toward one another, and when one collided with another it caused them to descend into an infinite netherverse. A spiral was drawn over the offending figure, to indicate the journey into the abyss. The construction of the game shows that at an extremely young age Dahmer had a worldview that was oriented toward a stark and existential relationship with life and death. The rules and structure of the game show that Dahmer saw human contact as a black hole leading to oblivion and existential suffering. In the end, this would be true for him, thanks to events of his own design. Although he had learned the ethics and morals of Christianity in church, he saw around him a vibrant natural world that existed outside of those rules. Later in life he would learn to shallowly manipulate those Christian values in order to obtain leniency for himself and acceptance from others. He was aware of his exclusive attraction to males from a very young age, and likely his awareness of the negativity with which Christian society viewed such behavior fueled his fear of true intimacy. Dahmer was very much "in the closet," determined to live a lifestyle that was approved by those around him while satisfying his compulsions in secret. The denial and hypocrisy involved in such an endeavor were factors that contributed to a deep-seated sense of shame within Dahmer, pushing him to consistently bury his desires under deeper and deeper layers of complexity.
His home life was a stilted and impersonal affair, a common experience to those within the suburban American bourgeoise. The muted anger and mutual dislike between his parents soured him to the concept of romantic partnership, and with no example of shared sensitivity he viewed the entire concept as a hypocritical sham. Dahmer must have learned from a young age how to get what he wanted from others through deception and concealment of purpose by observing the actions of the world around him. He would carry these values with him into adulthood where they would blossom within him to help create a complex worldview that both rejected and drew from the Christian worldview of his youth. He was used to leaving his house for long periods of time due to tension and stilted, uncomfortable relations back at home. He would spend hours alone in the woods, his refuge from authority and a private temple of nature. Within him was a desire for stillness and meditation that could not be afforded within the walls of his home, and the solitude and reality of nature gave him respite. It was in this time that he began to grow sullen and distanced from most of the other people in his life, and the sullen and passive stare that he was photographed wearing in court became the mask with which he was seen by those around him. He first began to cultivate this demeanor from hours spent in his youth just blankly staring at the television, or even just at a blank spot in a wall, deep in reflection. Dahmer's internal world derived from an impossible set of desires, distancing him further and further from the rest of the world with each indulged fantasy. He felt that there was no possible way that he could find a partner with which he could satisfy his desires, and if those desires included the acts that he engaged in with several of his victims (such as using intestines and other internal organs as a masturbation aid) then he was 100% correct in his assessment. Likely the occurance of these paraphilic desires within Dahmer kept him from ever feeling close to those around him, especially his own family who brought him into the world but would come to strongly condemn him for who he had become.
"There are no tomorrows for this heart of mine... surely time will lose these bitter memories and I'll find... something I could live for... Loneliness and empty days will be my only friend... from this day love is forgotten, I'll go on as best I can... There will come a time when I may see that I am wrong, but for now this is my song..."
It is also somewhere around this time that Dahmer admits to begin having thoughts of a sexual attraction to the viscera and internal organs of other humans. He never at any point had thoughts of human sexual interaction that were not invaded with the hint of his desire for sexual violence. Although there is a part of him that seems to commit the violence in a rage, he did not find himself driven by a desire to specifically make his victims suffer. It was simply a closeness to that which was literally inside of them that he desired, a lust that could not be explained or understood, simply seized. This development in his budding sexuality is obviously the primary motivator for the crimes that he was to become famous for, but the exact nexus of this urge was never specifically pinpointed by Dahmer. It appears that his early involvement in the dissection of animal corpses had a sexual component that drove him to further experimentation, but with the mental fantasy of performing such acts on a human being. Dahmer admitted to psychiatrists that he began to have erotic thoughts regarding the corpses of humans as early as the age of 14. It was also around this age that he had his first consensual homosexual encounter, an anonymous experience with a boy around his same age. It is likely that the other boy leaving him, and the loss of contact with the boy afterward triggered his fear of being alone, leading in some way to his fantasies of having a silent, deceased partner of which there was no fear of ever being left by. Dahmer was overcome with a desire for (and a fear of not having) something that is within the deepest yearnings of human loneliness, someone to keep him from feeling like he is alone. It seems that in consensual homosexual encounters that he was able to have, anonymity and lack of identity were key, making the idea that he would ever find a partner who would provide for him what he demanded was impossible and out of reach. He couldn't think of a way to guarantee that they would stay. A telling incident to this end is that of a sexual obsession that the young Dahmer directed toward a jogger who passed by his house almost every day. The man had the exact appearance and physique that Dahmer was fascinated with, and he would watch the man with intense lust as he ran by. The young boy (15 at the time) could not think of any legitimate reason to ask the man to stop, and so driven by lust he became obsessed with the idea of overcoming the man and using him for his own desires. To this end, Jeffery waited alongside the path with a blunt object, determined to capture the man and use him sexually. The man never arrived that day, possibly preventing himself from having the distinction of being Dahmer's first victim by abandoning his routine.
"What to say to make you come again, come back to me again... don't you remember when you told me you loved me baby? You said you'd be coming back this way again maybe? I love you... I really do."
- "Superstar" by the Carpenters
In High School he was known as a prankster, and among his peers (who watched him with a detached amusement and subtle fear, even at this early stage in his life) "doing a Dahmer" was a euphemism for pulling a weird prank. In one more innocent example, Dahmer (an "underacheiving" student with a low grade point average) snuck into the school honor society's yearbook photo, a prank which greatly amused many of the other students who were bringing home similarly disappointing report cards. His face was blocked out of the photo by an indignant yearbook worker, likely resulting in an even creepier reminiscence for the owners of the yearbook. In a more ominous example of Dahmer's desire to amuse himself at the expense of others was his public installation of a dismembered and eviscerated canine that he had discovered. He placed the creature's head on a stick (in his words "for a laugh") and hung the flayed and skinned corpse from a tree nearby where it frightened and disturbed many children and other passers-by. The display was removed by authorities, who of course had no reason to trace it back to the gangly bespectacled boy who lived down the street. Dahmer kept his part in this particular activity a secret, unlike his other pranks which more directly involved his presence. He excelled in Biology class in school, even taking home the head of a baby pig that was used in class for his own purposes. He defleshed the head and kept the skull for his own collection, a practice that he would repeat with many of his human captives as an adult. Dahmer went to the prom with a girl with whom he was set up by some friends. He was known among his classmates for his excessive drinking... he would bring Scotch to class in a Thermos and drink heavily throughout the day to suppress his feelings. Dahmer was known to ask friends if he could put his head to their chest and listen to their heartbeat. It made him very excited to hear the sound of internal organs at work.
Dahmer was known as a prankster in school, but at home he was detached and unreceptive. His father recognized his body language in court as being the "passive mask" by which Dahmer hid his crimes throughout his life. When dealing with him, authorities and peers often felt sorry for the awkward and intelligent loner, and his excuses to cover up his deeds often contained enough truth to alleviate further questioning. Although Dahmer was certainly not "o.k.," those around him deeply wanted him to be, for their sake and their own. Once, later in their lives, when Dahmer's father was pressuring him to reveal the contents of a box with a human head inside, Dahmer swiftly deflected his father's attention by telling him that there was child pornography within. Betting on his father's unwillingness to deal with such potentially shocking matter, Dahmer promised to dispose of it and the contents went unseen by his father Lionel. The discomfort and distance between the two men in that moment shows a great deal about the relationship between the two men. Jeffrey and Lionel had a complex and emotional relationship, one that skirted around Dahmer's sexuality (a subject that Lionel was surprisingly accepting of). When his father's book about raising an infamous murderer was released to the public, Jeffrey read it and asked his dad "Why didn't you mention any of the good stuff?"
"So I've made my mind up I must live my life alone, and though it's not the easy way I guess I've always known... I'd say goodbye to love."
When Dahmer was 18 years old, his parents divorced, leaving him and his brother David in the custody of their mother. Jeffrey was abandoned by her at this same age in an incident that many court appointed psychologists identify as Dahmer's "breaking point." He was left by his own mother to fend for himself with no food or money, with his long-suffering parents finally annulling their bitter bonds of marriage. The world must have seemed a cold and lonely place to the boy, and it is around this time that he began to act on his predatory inclinations. The deep and overt religiosity of his youth corroded into what Dahmer would later describe as a scientific "atheism," a belief in there being no just punishment for bad deeds but simply a continuum of actions perpetrated by man upon the surrounding environment. This would be the rationale by which Dahmer would come to justify his crimes, as before his final arrest he seemed to view the world from the viewpoint that cunning and coldheartedness were the virtues that sustained one's existence rather than honor and empathy. Perhaps he learned it from his mother, who stayed surprisingly silent throughout much of the time of Dahmer's infamy. It was around this time, in the summer of 1978, that Dahmer committed his first murder, according to his testimony. He took home a long-haired hitchhiker with a dark complexion named Steven Hicks. Hicks was a year older than Dahmer, and his appearance on the side of the road wearing no shirt was too close to Dahmer's personal sexual fantasies to resist. Dahmer invited the young man home with him, promising that they could relax and enjoy some beer and marijuana back at Dahmer's place. They hung out for a while, and according to Dahmer's testimony it soon became apparent to Dahmer that the Hicks was not interested in a homosexual encounter with him. When Hicks went to leave, it was too much for Dahmer to bear, and he decided to act so that Steven Hicks could be the object of pleasure that Dahmer sought to turn him into. On the urging of his father, Dahmer had begun to lift weights around this time and had developed and toned his muscles. Lionel felt that urging the boy toward a hobby like lifting weights would push him to become a useful member of society rather than being a brooding teenager, and ironically it would be a hobby that would assist young Jeffrey in becoming a more successful predator in what would become his over-archingly dominant passion and hobby in life. Back to the two young men in Dahmer's room, Hicks declared his intentions to leave and no sooner than as he was on his way to the door did the young Dahmer strike him several times over the head with a small barbell, ending Hicks' life in a brutal and unexpected fashion. When asked about his reasoning for this, Dahmer replied to investigators that he could think of no other way to make the boy stay other than ending his life. Now, for most well-adjusted people, the idea of being spurned by a potential romantic partner is not justification for homicide, but by Dahmer's rationale (factoring in his particular fetish for the entrails and internal organs of the dead) there was no way for him to have the romantic satisfaction that he was seeking other than murder. A doctor who investigated Dahmer to determine his sanity suggested that his fixation on internal organs may have arisen from youthful onanistic experiments involving animal entrails. As disgusting as that may be to the casual reader, it gets to the root of Dahmer's scientific examination of the organic form, where animals and humans are just machines that he seeks to find the working machinations of. In this way, Dahmer's scientific methods of cruelty are similar to that of infamous Nazi scientist Dr. Joseph "Angel Of Death" Mengele. In the truest sense, the homicidal actions of Jeffrey Dahmer represent a combination of a deep and emotional yearning within all people combined with the cold disconnect of an atheistic scientific viewpoint (the viewpoint that Dahmer himself espoused at the time of his arrest and trial). The cold and unjudgemental hand of Western scientific experimentation (and accompanying methods of vivisection, dissection, and preservation), more so than any movie or book, had the most enormous influence on the actions of the shockingly antisocial actions of the young Jeffrey Dahmer.
Everyone knows the feeling of disconnection and loneliness that defined Dahmer's life, and it is especially pronounced in suburban American life. The stilted conversations, the yearning attempt to connect, distance from family due to vast gaps in understanding, and the cold and defiant existential despair of domesticity, and attempts at companionship therein. Within these realities, we sometimes seek companionship, and other times revel in the supposed independence of being alone. Dahmer sought a manner of domestic companionship with an individual would would be able to literally share with him their insides, someone who could let him inside of their working network of body systems and still remain alive, a physical impossibility. Once the intestines and other inner parts are removed from an individual, the systems fail and disrupt at a most basic physical level. It was this urge to get inside of the being, to make love to creation, that was Dahmer's undoing. His regenerative sexual urge was oriented toward the insides of the human body, an uncommon impulse but one perhaps mandated by an offshoot of nature. It was within the world that we live in that Dahmer came to his conclusions of how he would make love to another person, and it is from this fact that his actions must be judged. Dahmer was not a biological abnormality, but in fact a person "super-adapted" to this culture and society, with a strong emotional intelligence that enabled him to get away with his crimes for years and years. He consistently got out of being discovered for his crimes by appearing to be a normal, innocuous but eccentric and law abiding citizen, always apologetic and willing to make amends for his misdeeds.
After making the realization that Hicks was dead, Dahmer did with the young man's corpse what he would do many more times throughout his life. The body was dismembered, and in what would become a chilling calling card throughout his career, the head was removed and kept for Dahmer's own personal collection. Dahmer, when possible, would keep the skulls of his victims, many of which made it into his permanent collection discovered by police. He would paint the skulls in order to make them appear more like items that could be purchased from a store, therefore allowing him to leave them around the house in potential sight of visitors. The stilted nature of being together with others in society, surrounded by their individual hopes and dreams, their thoughts that make them human. This correlation into the world with others was too much for Jeffrey to bear. In his act of dehumanization, of immobilizing Hicks through death and utilizing his remains for his own personal pleasure, Dahmer entered into the adult phase of his life, where he would put into motion the activities that would create infamy and renown for the young man that far passed his time of death. Dahmer entered into adult society apparently impaired an inherent disconnect from his understanding of the unreality of his desires for murder, and the overbearing need to enact his fantasy world. His ability to justify the use of another person simply as a prop in his personal world of pleasure enacts the Hollywood fantasies that obsessed him of perfect men with perfect bodies. Dahmer wanted to consume and devour those men, and in the years to come this would be his life's work.
PART TWO: JEFFREY JOINS THE ARMY
"I trained myself to view people as potential objects of pleasure." - Jeffrey Dahmer
Dahmer spent an uneventful childhood distanced from his younger brother, as well as a pair of unloving parents who most of all did not love each other. After their eventual divorce, Dahmer was completely abandoned by his mother and experienced a complete disconnect from his peers during his college experience. Dahmer's first act of murder was composed as a silent cry within a desperate rage. He found himself taking out all of his fear and frustration on this man whose body he wished to hold and caress, through at least just one night. This one indulgence of personal desire on the part of Dahmer cost the young Hicks his life. This act was excused and pardoned by a slowly segmenting mind that would push Dahmer to justify and excuse his acts of murder in a pathological manner later in life. Developing a severe alcoholism for the time being, Dahmer had decided to become a self-absorbed and even "demonic" person oriented toward a desire for exerting his own personal desires over the will of others. He committed his first act of murder in 1978 on a person that he was able to distinguish from himself as an "other," taking offense to the idea of independence and the young man having the urge to want to leave young Dahmer after the kindness that Jeffrey showed him by taking him in and trying to make a connection. The sadistic urge to "prank" those around him would evolve and mutate as he made his way toward adulthood, with murder and the subsequent ritualized cover-up and deception being his ongoing hobby and obsession. It would not be until 1987 that Dahmer would again commit a murder that he would admit to, but he would in the meantime be keeping himself quite busy, and with little attempt to disguise his inner turmoil.
"Nobody wants him, he just stares at the world... planning his vengeance, which he soon will unfurl." - Black Sabbath "Iron Man"
"I'll pretend that I'm kissing the lips that I am missing and hope that my dreams will come true... and then when I'm away I'll write home everyday, and I'll send all my loving to you." - The Beatles
The world proved cruel to the boy, and perhaps Dahmer wished to regain his composure by being the cruelest. Dahmer's grades in school were below sub-par, he had become a student deemed perhaps most likely to commit suicide. He had no friends in college, and remained deeply saddened on a constant basis. Dahmer drowned his sadness out with alcohol, which worked to varying degrees but ultimately resulting in the exposure of his heretofore hidden vices to the world (such as his various arrests for drunk and disorderly behavior, occasionally accompanied by indecent exposure charges typically involving the presence of a minor). He was depressed by the complete abandonment that he experienced from his mother, who had taken him and his brother without telling the father, and then abandoned Jeffrey to his own devices while making off with Jeffery's brother David. Although Jeffrey had no dislike for his younger brother, and even was loving towards him and helped out relating to him around the house, he did not maintain any relationship with David or even mention him to others that he spoke to in his adult life. Whatever love Dahmer's mother had reserved for his younger brother seemed to drive an unbridgeable gap between the two siblings. In fact, Dahmer's army bunkmate Billy Capshaw did not even know that Dahmer had a brother, despite Dahmer's constant talk about his mother and father. Capshaw noted that Dahmer talked about his father constantly, and his desire to please him, and how was tragically unable to. Dahmer's failed attempt at college resulted in him being expelled for bad grades after being questioned about the theft of a watch, and some other items from a roommate. When quizzed by his father, Dahmer's roommates revealed that Jeffrey was drunk constantly and would even sell his plasma to the nearby blood bank in order to obtain more money for liquor. After an arrest back home for drunk and disorderly conduct, his father dragged Jeffery to an Army recruitment center where he signed up for active duty in the military. Dahmer was somewhat defeated in his decision (which was forced on him by his irate father), but retained a desire to become a military policeman. Dahmer, who at the tender age of 18 had already become a murderer of the most compulsive sort by his own choice, sought to have the authority over others that he despised in those who had authority over him. In his prankster nature, he saw in the role of the lawman an authority and power that could lift him from his personal station in life.
On January 12, 1979, Dahmer reported for active duty at Fort McClellan in Anniston, Alabama. He was soon reassigned to Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, where he was trained as a medical specialist. His six-month medical training would prove incredibly valuable to him in adult hobbies of murder and dismemberment. Although his murder of Steven Hicks the previous year was unplanned, he expertly carried out the disposal of the body without detection even without any formal medical training. His training at Fort Sam Houston would enable Dahmer to become the scientifically precise "monster" that so shocked the world during his arrest and trial in the early 1990s. His teacher, Linda Swisher, remembers him well: "He was extremely anti-social... He could have been a serial rapist." She has a particularly strong memory of a day when Dahmer was removing a fake liver from a resuscitation dummy for a test, and being disturbed by a gleeful smile on his face that accompanied what she described as an "icy stare" in his eyes. Jeffery completed his classes with good grades, and was shipped out to Baumholder, West Germany to serve in the 2nd Battalion, 68th Armored Regiment, 8th Infantry Division in the United States Army. He was regarded by his fellow recruits as someone who wore his uniform with pride but spent his private life just getting drunk and listening to Black Sabbath.
According to some who served with Dahmer, he would begin drinking once he awoke and not stop intoxicating himself until he passed out. He was notorious for his impressive and nearly superhuman ability to intake alcohol. Strange occurrences around him were oddly disregarded, such as the disappearance of a local German named Hans who was last seen drinking with Dahmer. Hans turned up dead thirty miles from the base, his intestines pulled out and severed in a manner familiar to researchers of Dahmer's later murders. Jeffrey was seen arriving back to the base with blood on him by his roommate on multiple occasions. He was using whatever authority he had in order to get away with a reckless and almost suicidal lifestyle, which eventually led to his being discharged for his shameful behavior. A major catalyst for this was his being caught exposing himself to German children in a nearby public park. Dahmer would excuse this activity by saying that he was simply "trying to urinate" while two boys came up to him asking him if he was ok. Dahmer would be arrested twice in his lifetime again for this crime back home in America, and who knows how many other times he did this sort of thing without being caught. There was a certain aspect of exhibitionistic behaviour in his activities, still showing a bit of the devilish mischief apparent in his youthful pranking but grown to monstrous proportions. In the same public park where Dahmer was caught exposing himself to children, several bodies of people would turn up mutilated and maimed, including several women. One such woman was a nurse at the base who had some knowledge of misdeeds that Dahmer had enacted, as well the decomposed body of a young thin African American male (dubbed "Pond Man" due to his skin being completely waterlogged upon his discovery). When Dahmer was on base and not on duty, he spent almost all of his time getting completely wasted, listening to heavy metal on his headphones. He would often miss meals and get-togethers under his regimen of hard rock and heavy drinking. In the later part of 1979, Dahmer would become a major fixture in the life of new Army recruit William Capshaw during his stay in Baumholder.
"At that young age I didn't know how to deal with it. My commander did not believe me. Nobody helped me, even though I begged and begged and begged... I've talked to a lot of men, many of them soldiers, who are raped but who won't go public with their story. The shame alone is overwhelming." - Billy Capshaw, roommate of Jeffery Dahmer in Baumholder, Germany.
At the point in his life that Capshaw arrived, Dahmer had ingratiated himself with a superior in the nearby barracks and received quite a bit of authority and leeway in his assignments. When Capshaw was placed under Jeffrey's authority, Dahmer used his position to keep Capshaw in a state of permanent ownership. Capshaw was kept as Dahmer's bunkmate with no assignments or connection to friends or family back home. During his time in the Army, he was raped and beaten by Dahmer on a regular basis, as Jeffrey took out all of his fear and anger on the young man. Meanwhile, back home, his family rung up hundreds of dollars in phone bills attempting to reach their son, being unable to hear any news from him. He says that Dahmer would often keep him locked in the room alone, at times tied up in some capacity, and that he seemed to be living out a personal fantasy of having a slave, using Capshaw as his servant. According to Capshaw, Dahmer would sometimes beat him mercilessly in these incidents, and would then have to call paramedics when he had gone too far. When faced with the questions of other medics, Dahmer was somehow able to turn on his charm and convince outsiders that whatever had happened to Capshaw was an accident or just "horseplay." As absurd as these claims may sound, it is consistent with Dahmer's later ability to convince Wisconsin police that a naked, bleeding 14-year-old boy who escaped his home was his "boyfriend" and that they were simply having a "lovers quarrel." Something about Dahmer made people want to trust him, despite whatever evidence was staring them in the face. The stories told by Capshaw show Dahmer as an emotionally volatile person filled with an immense sadness. As he drank extreme amounts, he would become deeply emotional and begin to weep. Dahmer would then open up to Capshaw, talking about his loneliness and his desire to please his father. Their relationship was complex, with Dahmer seeming to view himself as some sort of a mentor to Billy Capshaw. His anger and sadism stemmed from a deeply hurt ego, lashing out at the world the way that he felt that it lashed out at him. Another curious set of occurrences during Dahmer's stay in Baumholder is the presence of several people who were treated in the Medical center for brutal, unsolved rapes, where they were severely beaten in the process of the sexual assault. According to Capshaw, Dahmer would often be brought back to the base in a drunken state by German police, who would then hand him off to the US Military Police, who would then just send Dahmer back to his barracks. Several times he returned with clothes missing, including once when he was returned to the base wearing only boxer shorts. His behavior was dismissed by his superiors because of his friendship with a commanding officer, which Capshaw believes was primarily a sexual relationship. One day (after what must have seemed like an eternity of abuse to the young Capshaw) this relationship dried up for some reason. PFC Dahmer was sent packing back to the United States with a military discharge due to his excessive alcohol abuse. According to others present, Dahmer had to be dragged out of his bunk yelling and screaming, in complete denial and anger regarding his failure as a military officer. Capshaw awoke that day to find himself reassigned, bizarrely taken out of the nightmare that he had been living, thanks to Dahmer's expulsion from the Army for being a drunken, insane person. It would be much later that Capshaw was able to muster up the courage to tell his story of rape and sadism under the thumb of his brutal bunkmate. Capshaw maintained that he kept the truth to himself out of a deep shame for what had occurred. Also, one of the only people that he had told about the abuse turned up mutilated and dead near the base according to Capshaw's testimony. For his trauma, Billy Capshaw was awarded "partial disability" upon his leave from the Army. This was upgraded to a "full disability" in the early 1990s once the news of Dahmer's exceptional level of sadistic brutality made headlines.
"Someday you'll hear about me again." - Jeffery Dahmer to his squad leader, upon accepting the terms of his discharge from the United States Army.
Rejected by the authority that he was revelling in, Dahmer was extremely angry and humiliated to be sent back to the United States a a civilian after having a taste of the authority that he craved. He could not bear to see his father, and wanted to deliver the news of his exit from the Army in a place physically removed from the overbearing parents that he feared the disapproval of. Offered the opportunity to be sent anywhere in the United States, Dahmer for some reason asked to be sent to Florida, perhaps the farthest place he could think of from his midwestern upbringing. He was initially shipped out to South Carolina, but weeks after his expulsion his family received a phone call from Dahmer saying that he was in Miami, Florida. Shortly after arriving there he had already blown his stipend from the Army and spent several nights camping out on the beach facing the Gulf of Mexico. Depressed and alone, Dahmer got a job at a sandwich shop ("Sunshine Subs") and worked long hours to support his alcohol habit and other living expenses. Oddly, it was here in Florida that he would make one of the only friends of his adult life, a British woman named Julie who lived in the United States. She attempted to convince Dahmer to marry her so that she could become a US citizen, but Dahmer was not easily convinced. In an odd bit of information that seems to help corroborate much of William Capshaw's other information about Dahmer, Capshaw claims that Dahmer called him one day out of the blue from Florida while Billy was still stationed in Baumholder. According to Capshaw, Dahmer was bragging and excited about having a girlfriend and having slept with her. Apparently at this stage in his life, even after all of the events up to this point, Dahmer was in deep denial of his homosexuality, which he attempted to purge at any cost. This makes some sort of sense out of the chaotic events that occurred Dahmer's military experience- in the throes of a violently homophobic denial of aspects of himself that were clearly driving his actions, he lashed out in anger and power-hungry madness. Along with a desire to create a companion that would not leave him (by killing someone and keeping their body), he also was symbolically (through his own distorted view of the world) attempting to kill the homosexual urges within himself. However, this time brief respite in Florida from his military career would be only a side note in Dahmer's prolific roller-coaster ride through life, albeit one that would contribute a healthy level of mystery to the overall Dahmer experience. Enter America's Most Wanted little freckle-faced boy, Adam Walsh, the literal "poster boy" for the child abduction scare of the 1980s, and an unsolved murder that continues to nag at experts to this day.
"Once I saw that picture of Dahmer, I said, `That's him... that's who I saw (back in 1981).'" - Janice Santamassino, witness present at the Hollywood Mall during the time of Adam Walsh's abduction.
The murder of Adam Walsh has been formally attributed to Ottis Toole, the illiterate and deformed side-kick of infamous boaster Henry Lee Lucas. Lucas is widely known for taking credit for hundreds of murders that he could not possibly have been linked to. Lucas' confessions were eagerly lapped up by lawmen looking to solve a multitude of missing persons cases. Toole was not far behind him, and his "confession" of murdering Walsh came immediately after a television special about the event aired during prime time. Toole (who could not read or write at a high school level) also claimed to be part of an elite society of Satanists who drank the blood of virgins in elite rituals. No evidence has ever been found supporting this or many of his other claims. An interview with him that appeared in the Florida death-obsessed comic "Boiled Angel" shows Toole to be a sensationalist and a con-man, a lifestyle prisoner looking for fame and infamy within the big house. His information in the interview regarding the effects of sodomy seems to be directly plagiarized from the works of the Marquis De Sade and William Burroughs' readily available "Naked Lunch." Toole's confessions of elite Satanic rituals reek of dime-store horror and unreal happenings. Very much the opposite of the soft-spoken and low-key Dahmer, who lived out fantasies in his private time that Toole likely only dreamed of. Toole even denied committing the murder later in life when visited by a prosecutor from Hollywood, Florida shortly before his death. For his own part, Dahmer has never taken credit for committing the murder of Walsh, but there is widespread speculation regarding his possible affiliation with the incident. Not only does the case bear evidence of his personal inclinations, Dahmer himself was placed at the scene by several eyewitnesses (none of whom mention the presence of a man resembling Toole, incidentally, a ogre-like and awkward man who resembles a monster from a children's story - Toole was identified by a completely separate witness as being at the mall that day, but her testimony has not been verified by other witnesses). It is possible that Dahmer did not admit to the murder (if he did indeed commit it) out of concern for ramifications within the prison walls (Dahmer was known as a murderer of men, not little boys, although he was indeed repeat offender when it came to exposing himself to and abusing young boys). After denying his role in the murder upon questioning, Dahmer quickly followed it up by asking investigators if Florida had a death penalty for that specific crime. He suggested to the interviewer that he would admit to the crime if it meant that he could get the death penalty. He also said that he could not have possibly committed the murder because at the time he lived many miles from the town where the abduction took place, and had no vehicle that he could use to get there.
"Nothing to do with it." - Jeffrey Dahmer's response to being asked if he had been responsible for the death of Adam Walsh
According to Dahmer's boss at the subway shop, there was a large blue van that belonged to the store that employees would often borrow for days at a time. Witness Janice Santamassino claims that she nearly collided with this blue van due to it being parked illegally outside the mall. Another man named Bill Bowen claimed to see Dahmer struggling to put a young boy into this same van on the same day. Santamassino reports seeing a man in kahki Army-style fatigues attempting to talk to a young boy in the video arcade. When she saw the news of the missing boy that night, she says that she recognized the child as Walsh. Another person, Terry Keaton, who would have been ten years old at the time, reported being nearly abducted that same day by a tall, thin man wearing kakhi army fatigues. At the time the parents suspected a security guard due to their similar outfits, but the grown Terry maintains that the man who attempted to abduct him was Dahmer. Little Adam Walsh's head turned up floating in a drainage canal, and his body was never found. One of Jeffery's favored modes of sexual excitation a few years later in life (besides caressing human innards) was using a severed head to perform fellatio on himself. Later on, when he began to kill on a regular, fetishized basis, he would keep the heads of the victims as trophies, stripping them down to the skull and keeping it as a masturbation aid. As a young man, he kept the heads of several animals as trophies in this manner as well, and he appeared to have a particular fascination with the process of beheading. If Dahmer sexually victimized the young Walsh's body, it would not be the first or last time that Dahmer would sexually victimize a child. Although Dahmer claimed to the contrary during his lifetime, the speculation regarding his possible role in this case has fascinated many investigators. This murder could be an aberration from the norm that sheds light on many of his hidden proclivities, and a shame within him so deep that he could not confess it even after admitting to many equally heinous crimes. The inability to discuss it could show a disturbance within him, a regret so deep and personal that Dahmer perhaps felt fully overcome by the evil forces that he told court psychiatrists had taken over him. Whatever of Dahmer's extracurricular activities were being explored were ultimately leading him down a dead end, as he found himself unable to sustain himself financially. Back at his father's house, the festering corpse of Steven Hicks lay in wait for Dahmer's return, for him to fulfill what would seem to be his destiny back home.
"Where can you run to? What more can you do? No more tomorrow, life is killing you. Dreams turns to nightmares, heaven turns to hell. Words of confusion, nothing more to tell..." -Black Sabbath
Throughout his attempts at bachelorhood in Southern Florida, Dahmer maintained a close phone relationship with his stepmother Shari. Although they had disagreements about Dahmer's drunken lifestyle, she was someone that Jeffrey respected very much as a person, and he looked to her for help and advice. She made a peaceful mediator between the boy and his father throughout Dahmer's stay in Florida (Lionel was surely rather upset about his son's expulsion from the Army, but probably not very shocked). One day, upon hitting rock bottom, Dahmer called Shari asking for money and she offered him a ticket home instead. He managed to show up drunk and unkempt once he arrived off the plane, but soon proved to be kind and helpful to his stepmother and father around the house. Dahmer was apparently feeling contrite and, seeking approval from the closest person that he had in his life to a loving mother, adopted a "good son" persona in his dealings with Shari and his father Lionel. In the meantime, Dahmer excavated and finally disposed of the remains of murdered hitchhiker Steven Hicks, four years after murdering the young man and sexually satisfying himself with Hicks' corpse. Despite his desire to be "good," Dahmer was overpowered by a deafening guilt that pushed him back to his Dionysian drinking habits in order to drown out his memories and urges, which were a constant presence in his life. Although Dahmer exhibited sadistic tendencies and would be inclined to hurt and overpower others, he felt deeply sorrowful afterwards, as if something horrible had just "come over" him. He felt sympathy for not only his victims (whom he, in some ways, loved and sympathized with) but also for the families that he affected, but this sorrow and guilt was directed inward. Dahmer did not seem to be able to fully identify with the sort of emotions that welled up as a result of his impulses, and would attempt to blind his mind's eye with insane amounts of constant alcohol binging. Dahmer was arrested for drunk and disorderly conduct, and would often arrive home without his glasses or wallet (and once the family car) claiming that he "forgot" where he put them. Dahmer faced rejection yet again when, in a bid to introduce some sort of structure to his life, he was sent by Lionel and Shari to live with and take care of his elderly grandmother in Wisconsin. It was in this house, under the auspices of the home of a kindly old lady and her loving, charming-but-troubled grandson, that Dahmer would begin to develop his plan for a systemized, ritualistic method of murder and body disposal that would escalate exponentially until the beginning of the next decade. The freedom that Dahmer experienced under the authority of his kind and loving grandmother enabled him to explore his fantasy life in a way that he had not been able to since he was a child, playing the self-invented "Infinity Land" game with friends. Dahmer was soon to engage in a a real-life version of this game, where many who came into contact with him would be taken into a black hole of victimhood, becoming trophies and objects of pleasure for a bottomless appetite.
JEFFREY DAHMER MOVES TO GRANDMA'S HOUSE IN WEST ALLIS, WISCONSIN
"Everything around you, whats it coming to?... Living just for dying, dying just for you..." - Black Sabbath
Jeffrey was somewhat relieved to be away from his father Lionel, whom he had a deeply uncomfortable relationship with since the divorce of his parents. In 1982, he moved into the house of his grandmother (Catherine Dahmer, his father's mother) in West Allis, Wisconsin, to help her around the house and hopefully stay out of trouble. Dahmer apparently joined an Alcoholics Anonymous group in a fit of loneliness, but found within the organization something that gave him strength and enabled him to have a desire to do something more with his life. He got a job soon after arriving in Wisconsin as a phlebotomist, the person who takes blood at a local blood bank. In the job, he utilized his skills that he learned training as an Army medic, and performed his duties with little enthusiasm. Once while alone in the blood bank lab, Dahmer drank a small amount of blood, hoping to achieve some sort of excitement from injesting the fluid, but found no sexual stimulation or thrill whatsoever from the act of blood drinking. Dahmer found himself afloat in an existential situation, suppressing his desires but at the same time numbing his own emotions in order to become a productive member of society. He was let go from the job due to poor performance and soon found himself drunk and exposing his genitals ("Indecent Exposure," carrying the hefty fine of $50) in public yet again, this time at the Wisconsin State Fair. His arrest in this incident caused him to make a serious attempt to "straighten his life out" and he decided to begin joining his grandmother in her weekly visits to church.
From 1983-1985, Dahmer claims that he was able to suppress his desires by devoting himself fully to the church and Bible studies. It appears that the young boy fascinated with the passion of Christ as a youth never fully let go of his affinity for the myth and mystery of Christianity. Whatever it meant to him at the time, Dahmer appears to have sincerely embraced religion during this phase of his life, even choosing to be born again in an hour of witness that must have greatly pleased his grandmother and her friends. Although he is reported to have been extremely distrustful of others and unable to make lasting friendships, Dahmer did appear to manage to keep himself out of trouble during the time that he was involved with his grandmother Catherine's church. It was during this phase in his life that Dahmer managed to find gainful employment that would last him almost the rest of his life outside prison walls. On January 14th, 1985, Jeffrey Dahmer was hired as a chocolate mixer by the Ambrosia Chocolate Company, where he worked Sunday through Friday from 11:00 PM until 7:00 AM. For some reason, he was able to keep this job for the next five years, an aberration in a life typified by drop-out and failure to meet responsibilities. Perhaps simply because of a lack of people willing to work such alienating hours all night at a chocolate factory, Jeffrey managed to find a lucrative position that he was comfortable in and unable to mess up for a while. The money that he earned from the job eventually enabled him to move out on his own and more fully explore the desires still welling up deep within.
"Now the time is here for our man to spread fear, vengeance from the grave, kill the people he once saved." - Black Sabbath
Among other factors tugging at Dahmer's conscience, his innate homosexual urges (as well as a deep-rooted self-hatred resulting from this tendency) tugged him away from his newly adopted persona as a born again Christian. Despite his desires to go "straight," Dahmer would soon find himself compelled to leave behind the sterile world of church groups and bible meetings for a return to a search for personal satisfaction. In this process, he would maintain his position at the chocolate factory for the purpose of keeping up appearances while he explored the darkest and most buried impulses within him. Nine years after his first murder (of traveler Steven Hicks), he would begin a path of personal exploration that would take him from his childhood Christianity to a sort of Scientific Atheism that brought him to the conclusion that his impulses were based in some sort of evolutionary aspect of humanity. He embraced a Darwinistic view of humanity, where the shrewd and intellectual elite of humanity control the weak and undeveloped lower classes. He eventually framed his personal impulses under the guise of an evolutionary intervention, a cosmic prank upon humanity from an intrepid and clever person on the cutting edge of a hypocritical and confused humanity. Within humanity he saw the same bitter contradictions that he saw within himself, and within himself he saw nothing to love or sympathize with.
PART THREE: THE MILWUAKEE DATING SCENE
"I found a (dead) dog, and cut it open just to see what the insides looked like, and for some reason I thought it would be a fun prank to stick the head on a stake and set it out in the woods. And brought one of my friends back to look at it and said I’d stumbled upon that in the woods. Just for shock value." - Jeff Dahmer.
It is a misconception that serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer tortured and killed small animals as a child. Although torture and murder of smaller creatures is not uncommon behavior in the youthful activities of some sadists and sociopaths, Dahmer himself was both scientifically curious about deceased animals and altruistically inclined to help the injured or harmed. One night, while a very young Jeffrey Dahmer and his father Lionel were out bike-riding together (Dahmer was so young that he had just moved past riding a tricycle), Jeffrey spotted a nighthawk that was injured and lying on the ground. They took the bird of prey home and Jeffrey himself cared for it, nurturing the creature back to health and releasing it back into the wild with his parents. The boy recalled a feeling of pride and happiness at being able to nurture the creature back to life, finding joy in his ability to help another living being. At the age of four, he went under the knife in a painful operation for a double hernia that had him asking his mother if the doctors had removed his genitals (do the the excessive pain that he was feeling down there). He became sullen and withdrawn at this point, a characteristic that had not been observed in him before this point and which would remain with him to his final days. Not long after being cut apart by doctors, Jeffrey became fascinated with some animal bones that were swept from under his parents house by Lionel. Dahmer examined the bones with such an intensive curiosity that his father thought that the young man might have a future in medical or scientific fields. The boy described the bones as being "like fiddlesticks." Most of his childhood was spent in solitude, and the games that he would play with friends involved themes that would echo with Dahmer's solitary nature. In particular, "Infinity Land," a game where stick figures floating in an existential space send each other spiraling into an abyss (once they come into contact with one another), eerily echoed Dahmer's adult interests. He would draw this game on a piece of paper and play it with classmates during his youth. It would be during his 25th year of life that he would put his games to practice, spiraling through a world that would be for a time his own private Infinity Land.
"Man with all his noble qualities, with sympathy which feels for the most debased, with benevolence which extends not only to other men, but to the humblest living creature, with his god-like intellect which has penetrated into the movements and constitution of the solar system- with all these exalted powers- Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin." - Charles Darwin
Dahmer's time in the military was ultimately fruitless. He obviously learned a great deal during this experience, especially in regards to the technical functions of the human body as they relate to his training to be a medic. After a discharge and some hazy events occurring in southern Florida upon his arrival back into America, he found himself living at his grandmother's house in Wisconsin, working the late shift at the Ambrosia Chocolate Company full time. Multiple arrests relating to drunk and disorderly behavior led the young man to seek solace in his grandmother's church, becoming "born again" and aligning himself with the Christian religion openly for the first time since his youth. He sought to once again be a "good boy," to overcome and move past the indiscretions that were already committed (including at least one murder and an alleged series of rapes while in the military) and look to Jesus Christ for his own personal salvation. However, like a shirtless hitchhiker on the side of the interstate, Dahmer's urges constantly flagged him down and attempted to pull him away from his newfound attempt at religious conservatism.
Jeffrey discusses his first murder, committed shortly after finishing High School:
"I was driving back home, after drinking; and I wasn’t looking for anyone but, about a mile away from the house, there he was. Hitchhiking along the road. He wasn’t wearing a shirt. He was attractive; I was attracted to him. I stopped then passed him and stopped the car and thought, “Well, should I pick him up or not?” And I asked him if he wanted to go back and smoke some pot, and he said, “Oh, yeah.” And we went into my bedroom, had some beer, and from the time I spent with him I could tell he wasn’t gay. I, uh, didn’t know how else to keep him there other than to get the barbell and to hit him, over the head, which I did, then strangled him with the same barbell... I was very frightened at what I had done. Paced the house for a while. Ends up I did masturbate... After the army, after working for about a year in Miami. When the rest of the family was away, while they were at work, I opened up the drainage pipe, took the bones, smashed them into small pieces scattered them in the underbrush."
It is at this point in his life, around a quarter of a century old and living in relative solitude with his grandmother in peaceful Wisconsin, that Dahmer first began to experiment with picking up men at gay clubs, local bathhouses and "bookstores." It is not uncommon for "men's spas" and workout centers to double as meeting places for discreet homosexual activity to occur- in the days before AIDS this was especially widespread. Often an "adult bookstore" would have as it's main attraction a series of "glory holes" or booths where men could have discreet sexual activity with one another. Dahmer would frequent these locations during this time of his life, completely inexperienced in the world of "cruising." He found it to be a cold and frightening place. Lonely people searching for companionship, unable to meet outside of a dehumanizing and pleasure-based anonymous structure, under which the poor souls simply show up achieve orgasm and go on their depleted way. This was not enough to satisfy Dahmer, who desired to have companionship for longer periods of time. He wished to be close to another in a way that was unfathomable to many of his partners, deep within himself seeking to keep them as servants and sexually pleasure himself with their internal organs. As a holdover from a youth spent dissecting animals, and as a result of a burgeoning sexuality developing at that time, Dahmer had developed a paraphilic association with sexual stimulation and the internal organs. Something within him sought to make a sexual fetish out of the idea of a taking apart a human body and pleasuring himself with the contents. Through a desire beyond his control, Dahmer found himself compelled to transform into the "monster" unfathomable to those around him that he became. He must have at times cursed a God who supposedly loved him so for giving him desires that were beyond explanation to the poor boy. It was a compulsion that would remain secret until he was finally caught, but until then Dahmer lived a fascinating internal world, fluctuating between self-suppression and reveling in his desires. This is a common contradiction in American sexuality, the desire to "binge and purge," and for Dahmer it was a life-long struggle with an aspect of guilt and sympathy that he did feel within himself. In order to deal with this, he tended to view his compulsions as coming from an "other" outside of himself, a personification of evil that led him to commit acts of violence and morbidity that would go against the prevailing moral codes around him.
Dahmer on his awareness of his own sexuality:
"In the township where I was at, homosexuality was the ultimate taboo. It was never discussed, never. I had desires to be with someone, but never met anyone that was gay, that I know of; so that was sexually frustrating."
In the bathhouses and adult bookstores that Dahmer frequented, he found the sexual satisfaction he desired from the bodies of others, but not the companionship. It was a repeating cycle- shame would push Dahmer to a point where he was unable to make lasting relationships. He could not get clse to any of his partners for mutual fear of being discovered, among other reasons. Dahmer, for his part, never let go of her murderous desires and past, which he would have to keep secret from any potential boyfriend that he would try to associate with. The literal skeleton in Dahmer's closet was a huge barrier in his being able to be close to another human being. Several times, Dahmer came home with young men who would spend the night, to the judgmental curiosity of his grandmother. Although he would excuse himself by saying that they were partying and his companions simply had too much to drink and nowhere else to go, but his family was suspicious of Dahmer's nighttime activities for a variety of reasons. At one point, Dahmer's grandmother Catherine found a complete human mannequin in Dahmer's living space that he seemed to be sleeping with. She was greatly disturbed by this and asked him to remove it, which he complied, saying that he had just taken it "as a prank" and was having "some fun" with it, "nothing weird." In reality, he was using the dummy to live out the sexual fantasies that would cost the lives of at least sixteen more young men by the beginning of the next decade. Dahmer was in the process of developing what would become an extraordinarily insatiable appetite.
"PARAMOUNT PULLS 'BODY PARTS' ADS: (The) Paramount Pictures Corporation says it has pulled television ads for the upcoming horror movie 'Body Parts' in the Milwaukee region after this week's gruesome discovery of at least 11 dismembered bodies in a local apartment. In addition, Wisconsin's largest chain of movie theaters was said to be pulling the movie that is scheduled to open nationwide next Friday." - from a July 26, 1991 Los Angeles Times article by David J. Fox.
In reality the mannequin could not possibly satisfy his sexual desires, and Dahmer found himself frequenting the bathhouses more and more often. He found that he could rent a locker and have a room to himself, and drug a sexual companion with sleeping pills in order to utilize his body for the night. Dahmer was much more interested in achieving his own personal enjoyment from a situation than developing any sort of lasting friendship. In the darkness, and with the aid of drugs, many men became unconscious lovers to a man who would go down in infamy as one of the most notorious serial killers of all time. Although Dahmer was attractive enough to get "dates," he desired an unconscious, possibly even unwilling sexual partner. Because he could not have his ultimate desire, the insides of his victims for his pleasure, he instead comforted himself with an illusion of "complete control" enacted through the unconscious but still-breathing body of his victim. He ultimately desired to create an indifferent, zombie-like sexual companion as his ideal partner, someone who could neither protest nor judge the slightest whim of the sexually unsatisfied lover found in Jeffrey. It was during this period of time that Dahmer began to obsess more intricately on the innards and body parts of his sleeping companions. After acheiving orgasm, he would spend long periods of time listening to the heartbeat and digestive sounds of his sleeping companions, reveling in his complete control over their body. One day, after making a habit of this, Jeffrey drugged one of his partners a little too heavily, and the paramedics had to be called. Although charges were not pressed against him, Dahmer found himself barred from any similar establishment in the area. He had severely messed up a somewhat comfortable situation, and finding adequately submissive partners to his specifications for compliance would prove to be far more difficult to Jeffrey from this point onwards. It is for this reason that Dahmer would find himself once again compelled to take the life of another, a bubbling rage beneath the surface waiting to show itself to the world around him. Dahmer said that he began to fetishize "the excitement and anticipation of meeting a stranger in the night," almost exclusively from the perspective of one stalking prey. Dahmer saw himself as a man apart from society, an inhuman sexual predator.
“The universe we observe has precisely the properties we would expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference.” - Charles Darwin
Dahmer had other hobbies during this time as well. After reading an obituary of a young man that he deemed attractive, Dahmer decided to visit the funeral services of the cute boy whose picture he saw in the paper. At the event, he found the young man so attractive that he had to relieve himself onanistically in the men's room of the funeral parlor. He waited for nightfall and attempted to dig up the newly-buried corpse for his own pleasure (in order to abate his urges to kill), but alas the ground was frozen and beyond puncturing by Dahmer's shovel. In sadness and rejection (even from the dead), Dahmer turned morosely back to his grandmother's house, dissatisfied and filled with confused energies. Dahmer began to form an obsession with the character in "Return Of The Jedi" of the Emperor, particularly in the form of the Emperor's powerful thrall over Darth Vader and his son Luke Skywalker. Dahmer found the scenes of the Emperor torturing Luke to be extremely erotic and triggering to urges to have power over other men. It was in September of 1986 that these urges would boil up in a recorded incident of public sexual exposure on the record of Jeffery Dahmer. Although he had exposed himself to children in the past, this time he was most assuredly masturbating in the presence of two 12-year old boys near a riverbank. Amazingly, his charges were dropped to "disorderly conduct" and he was sentenced to one year of probation. Dahmer's father was extremely disappointed in his son and believed that from this point on there was no hope for the young man except to be a ne'er do well with violent and pedophilic inclinations.
It should be obvious from Dahmer's actions that his flirtation with Christianity was again waning. Much like in his childhood, Dahmer would spend long hours brooding and thinking, staring into the air and floating mentally in an existential limbo. Dahmer lived an intense and private inner world that he did not believe others could tap into or understand, and surrounded by the hypocrisy and fake kindness of those around him he assimilated into adult society with a similar facade of normality. He imitated the world around him, becoming a passive enigma who simply wished to please on the surface level. Beneath this, he operated as his own independent nation with his own set of rules, waging a quiet and subversive war against the status quo and simmering in hatred and spite for humanity combined with a passionate desire to share some sort of intimacy with another. It seems that his urges were so overwhelming that he began to convince himself of various excuses for his behavior, feeling that he was hard-wired to sexual perversion and murder deep within himself. His probation put him in a position of subordinance that he despised, as he ultimately envied the authority and power of the police. He began to feel increasingly victimized, and perhaps in many ways abandoned by the aid of God and religion. He saw himself as an incurable sinner, one who had no choice but to satisfy his compulsions. It would be during this time of intense scrutiny from the law that Dahmer would commit his first admitted murder since hitchhiker Steven Hicks in 1978.
"Put them back, under the crawl space. Took the head, washed it off, put it on the bathroom floor, masturbated and all that, then put the head back down with the rest of the bags. Next morning we had a large buried drainage pipe, about ten feet long put the bags in there, smash the front of it down, and leave it there for about two and a half years." - Jeffery Dahmer describes the disposal of his first victim, hitchhiker Steven Hicks.
In the Hindu religious and philosophical system, there is talk of a demonic attachment that one can have with a particular sexual desire, where the indulgence therein will result in nothing less than the total spiritual and physical destruction of the individual. Driven to commit acts that they cannot explain or justify to others, the recipient of this parasitic desire obsesses over the concept until being driven to act out the script like a performer in a stage play, compelled by the sexual impulses stimulated by the parasite who attaches to the host and feeds from the sexual energies and subsequent guilt and feelings of remorse and depression after their expulsion. The act is repeated time and time again, until finally the actor is stopped by outside forces and decried as a monster by the local community. Many schizophrenics report hearing voices, commands from outside of their own consciousness to commit acts of deviancy from the norm, or for that matter compulsive violence. In many ways, we are all schizophrenics, compelled by voices that seem to come from outside of us that we must shut out or welcome, depending on our inclination. Perhaps these voices come from an inner compulsion, an ancient, Reptilian Brain aspect of fight or flight relating to early human survival that exists now in the form of whispers to our mind about the most horrible things imaginable. The "voices," the compulsions that convince an otherwise gentle and happy child to kick a dog or hurt their siblings out of curiosity. Children, onto adulthood, will often have playful, seemingly innocent impulses to suffocate and experiment with other living beings. It does not make it right, it just makes it "so." The foibles that make us human, that we must overcome in order to become ourselves, hopefully something greater than the total of our chemical makeup. It is our ability to decide that makes us culpable for our actions. Jeffrey Dahmer, for his part, was definitely not insane.
On November 15, 1987, Dahmer took a young white male named Steven Toumi from a gay club to a nearby hotel for some alone time. He had secretly put sleeping pills in Toumi's drink after convincing him to go to a hotel later. Jeffery Dahmer had very little trouble getting other men to come home with him, at the time he was a thin, good-looking young man who was very well-kept. He had on the surface a shy and sensitive demeanor that must have come off as quite endearing to many of the young men who went home with him, and in fact before this point had gone home with many others without incident (according to Dahmer's testimony). He claims that he awoke to find himself in Toumi's dead arms, the young man bludgeoned to death in the chest cavity by Jeffrey's fists during a drunken rage. Toumi likely woke up briefly from his drug-induced slumber to see Dahmer pummeling him to death, greedily reaching for the young man's internal organs. He claims that he was overcome with a desire to hold Toumi's heart in his hands (not unlike the villain in the then-recent "Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom" film). He cleaned up the blood from the incident in a panic, even utilizing the assistance of the hotel help to get the body out of the hotel in a large suitcase (without their knowledge of the contents). It is an amazing feat that Jeffrey managed to consistently come to his senses and cover up his impulse actions in time to save himself from capture or suspicion of improper behavior. Although loneliness and depression would be the driving factors pushing Dahmer towards murder, a prevailing sense of calm and self-control enabled him to get away with his actions time and time again. He had woken up in shock at having committed murder yet again (despite his claims that he had not taken Toumi to the hotel with the intention of killing him), but very quickly regained his composure. Dahmer's youthful excursions in fantasy, and his ability as a youngster to skirt the rules and deceive for his own purposes, had seen the boy grow into a man able to fully justify any deception in order to get his way. God became more and more distant of a concept to Dahmer in these years, and his lack of perception that he would be punished by a higher power led him to believe that he was simply an evolved predator who existed for the purpose of exterminating others and living out his compulsions. Later in life, he remarked to authorities that he "should've just gotten a fish tank" instead of pursuing his early efforts at murder, suggesting that he viewed his human prey as entertainment. When he moved into his final apartment, he had purchased a fish tank that he populated with tropical fish, placing it on a long black table that he would later plan to use as part of an altar. He found a great deal of joy in the fish tank, but at the point that he acquired it he was sadly already on a compulsive path toward self-destruction. His desire and curiosity about life pushed him to become as close as he could with his companions, and something within him desired to be so physically close that it would in fact be impossible for his partner to survive. The sexual fascination with severed heads and innards, and the desire to be close to those things, made it impossible for Dahmer to have any hope of continuous sexual fulfillment from a partner. In order to satisfy his needs, his sexual partner must be killed.
"Lonliness is such a sad affair, and I can hardly wait to be with you again. What to say to make you come again, come back to me again..." - Carpenters, "Superstar"
With the body of the young man in his luggage, Jeffrey took the corpse back to his grandmother's house in a fit of lustful excitement. Unfortunately for him, Thanksgiving weekend was coming soon, and family was going to over at the house, leading Dahmer to store the body in the fruit cellar for a particularly anxious week. As the family got together and recalled stories of the past, Dahmer silently waited for the house to be empty again so that he could tend to his decaying would-be lover deep below their feet. The following Sunday, while his Grandmother went to church, Dahmer stayed home and made preparations for his long-awaited ritualistic deconstruction of the human body, which became an addictive, re-occurring practice for the next several years. His first step in the process was to remove the head from the body. This was a major part of Dahmer's personal sexual exploration. Although it is at times reported that his major sexual fetish involving the head was to physically use it as an object of pleasure against his genitals, in fact he seemed to get an even greater thrill from the actual act of simply pleasuring himself in front of the severed head as he observed it separate from the body, knowing that he was responsible for what he saw before him. Beheading is a symbol of power that goes back to ancient times, where power was determined by physical violence and beheading was the ultimate symbol of control over another person's body. Although Dahmer was lonely, he decided to overcome it temporarily by committing an ancient act of domination that was hard-wired into some subconscious, prehuman understanding of our physical relationship with the personal space of others. For this reason, the ritualistic removal of the victim's head is an extremely significant aspect of his domination of the chosen subject. He desired, deep within himself, to turn these people into victims in a greater manner, some form of eternal victimhood where he kept their skulls in a shrine and fed from their power. In this way, the murder of Toumi was ultimately a failure for Dahmer: he attempted to retain the skull of the victim, but due to deterioration it had simply crumbled into a multitude of pieces. This surely was incredibly disappointing to Dahmer. Upon his capture, he had shown authorities diagrams extrapolating on a plan to build an altar out of his victims remains (including several skulls and two human skeletons). When asked what he would do in front of the altar, Dahmer matter of factly stated "It was a place for meditation, where I could feel I was drawing power from an outside source... I was trying to get in contact with the spirits," also stating that it would be "...a place where I could feel at home." He interestingly didn't consider the prospect that local spirits he contacted might not be that happy with the man. The plan was rather elaborate, including ten human skulls and two complete skeletons, lit by atmospheric blue lighting and flanked by two griffin statues. The ideology behind the building of the altar is similar in spirit to statements made by the Zodiac killer, suggesting that he believed that those that he killed would live on as his slaves that he could contact from beyond death. When the puzzled investigators asked Dahmer who or what the altar would be in exultation of, he replied unhesitatingly, "Myself."
“Multiply, vary, let the strongest live and the weakest die.” - Charles Darwin
It was at this point in the event, after masturbating in front of the severed (likely quite rotten) head of his unfortunate victim that Dahmer would move onto his second part of the menu, the guts. It is on public record, due to interviews with court-appointed psychiatrists, that Jeffrey Dahmer had a deep and abiding sexual attraction (generating from a young age) to the intestinal and coronary systems of the body. He was noted as a child and young man for his propensity for listening to the heartbeats and digestive tracts of his classmates in a way that seemed almost prurient, even for a young child. He operated then from a standpoint of naivete and a genuine desire to see "how things work," but even then the intensity and focus seemed to creep out his friends (of which there were not many). Perhaps this rejection led to his further curiosity/desire to transform others into part of his larger scientific exploration. For, whatever Dahmer abhorred in the prevailing authority, he greatly respected the institutions of science and the military (an avenue he attempted but could not ultimately stick with, much to his chagrin and familial shame). Toumi was to be the first in a series of exploratory executions that Jeffery would embark upon during his illustrious criminal career. Although the head had crumbled, he could still pleasure himself with the innards of the remaining corpse. An interesting fact about Steven Toumi, besides the fact that he is the second guy named Steven to be reported murdered by serial killer Jeffery Dahmer, is that his remains have never been found. The only reason that we know that Jeffrey killed the guy is that Dahmer himself gave a generous testimony in regards to Toumi's death. So here he is, Jeffrey Dahmer, literally deep within the large and small intestines of another human being in his grandmother's basement. He is having a blast, satisfying to the utmost degree the VERY SPECIFIC plan that his sexual drive had been encoded with. Keep in mind that this is a constant obsession which Dahmer has up to this point spent almost all of his time actively suppressing. Feeling deep within himself that he is hard wired to kill. Who must find pleasure in the intestinal tract of another human being. The small intestine of a human being is actually much longer and larger in mass than the "large intestine," an irony that the medically educated Dahmer must have found quite plain to observe during his moments of pleasure with the week-or-so-old body of the unfortunate and dearly departed Mr. Steven Toumi.
"…if a person doesn’t think that there is a God to be accountable to, then what’s the point of trying to modify your behavior, to keep it within acceptable ranges, that’s how I thought anyway. I’ve since come to believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is truly God. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit – they are the only true God." - Jeffery explains how his understanding of atheism influenced the consummation of his desires to kill.
In January of 1988, despite his later claims that he killed men and not boys, Jeffery took home a 14 year old Native American boy named James Doxtator. He had promised the boy that he would pay him to watch videos together and take sexually explicit, which was perhaps his original intention. According to Jeffrey, he liked the boy so much that he wanted to "keep him." James was given sleeping pills and, shortly after passing out, was strangled to death in his sleep by Jeffrey. This was Jeffery's preferred way of murder because he seemed to dislike the idea of being looked at while committing the act of murder. His inmost desire was to administer a "painless" death to his prey, and to preserve them for as long as possible as his objects of pleasure. In fact, Dahmer is quoted as stating that at a certain point in his life that he trained himself to view people "simply as objects of pleasure." However, a sadistic intent to cause pain was not a part of this urge. For this reason, he sought to extinguish the life of his prey while unconscious, exerting his desires upon them once stricken of life (and therefore individuality). It seems as if he wished to pleasure himself with the empty shells of people he found beautiful, and that living spirits themselves were not desirable and simply to be set free. And set them free he did. James Doxator's skull once again suffered from a brittleness that made it unable to be kept by Dahmer. He realized that he would have to streamline the process if he was to be able to retain a skull for his personal collection in the manner that he so deeply desired. Like Toumi before him, Doxtators muscle and flesh were removed from bone through a process involving long hours in the basement experimenting with corrosive acid. After this somewhat lengthy process, the bones were pulverized in a frenzy, all evidence turned to dust. Dahmer became like some personalized mafioso god of death, greatly speeding up the rate of decay and deterioration and getting a personal cut for himself out of the deal. Dahmer's dealings with death would not leave him without his own fair share of personal hauntings, and the concept of "living with the dead" became part of his personalized fetish. He had such difficulty bringing himself around to disposing the bodies of these early victims for one simple reason: he loved the company.
Two months later, Dahmer finally finished his probation and decided that it was time to celebrate. For the first time in his life, Jeffrey hit the night life with the full intention of committing an act of murder. He met a young man in the doorway of a hangout called the Phoenix Bar. Not wasting any time, Dahmer invited him back to the house to hang out and fool around. After some consensual sexual activity, Dahmer drugged and strangled the young man in his sleep. For the first time, Dahmer had perfected his skin-removal process for the human head, diluting his skull-whitening bleach solution to leave behind an intact and non-brittle skull, proudly keeping the skull as an artifact. Not long after, Dahmer was stunned to see the face of the boy that he had murdered on a local newspaper reporting on a missing person story. It was only at this moment that Dahmer learned the young man's name: Richard Guerrero. Like the other men who met a similar fate from the hands of Dahmer, Guerrero's body was dispatched as efficiently as possible, keeping the boy's skull and disposing of the remains in the garbage. Jeffrey performed the task of putting out the garbage for his grandmother several times a week, and it was during these instances that he would dispose of extraneous parts of his victims, piece by piece.
Dahmer's family was not completely blind to the bizarre goings on surrounding the now 27-year-old young man. His father had been making a point to visit the house, fearing that Dahmer was somehow up to no good. The grandmother Catherine repeatedly asked Dahmer about the horrible smells coming from the basement, which he would excuse with various explanations (such as spoiled food or an unattended cat litter box). At one point, she began to strongly suspect the credibility of his excuses, and after some prodding Lionel Dahmer arrived to investigate. He went into the cellar, likely instantly recognizing the stench of decay, and he discovered that parts of the floor were covered in a viscous, black liquid that shimmered in the basement light. Although it appeared thick and sticky like oil, the smell was a nauseating combination of rotten organic matter and chemicals. It must have appeared quite surreal to Lionel, to see this black shiny liquid with such a horrifying smell, completely out of the norm of anything that he had expected to find. Dahmer explained to his father that he simply was performing the same sort of experiments that he had done as a child with dead animals, dissolving their flesh and muscle to leave behind bones, and that this liquid on the floor was the result of that. Lionel accepted this explanation, but suspected that something deeply wrong was occurring under his mother's roof. The distance, the passive demeanor with which Dahmer's family faced one another was an impenetrable barrier to the exposure of the truth of Jeffrey's activities. An incident with Dahmer carousing with a drunken, drugged man at the house caused a family discussion about Dahmer's nighttime activities and his alcoholism. With his family bearing down on him, Dahmer would move out on his own for the first time in his life since he was expelled from the Army.
"Rituals such as these were common practices associated with necromancy, and varied from the mundane to the grotesque. Rituals in necromancy involved magic circles, wands, talismans, bells, and incantations.Also, the necromancer would surround himself with morbid aspects of death, which often included wearing the deceased's clothing and the consumption of unsalted, unleavened black bread and unfermented grape juice, which symbolized decay and lifelessness. Necromancers even went as far as taking part in the mutilation and consumption of corpses. These rituals could carry on for hours, days, or even weeks, leading up the eventual summoning of spirits. Often they took place in graveyards or other melancholy venues that suited specific guidelines of the necromancer. Additionally, necromancers preferred summoning the recently departed, citing that their revelations were spoken more clearly; this timeframe usually consisted of twelve months following the death of the body. Once this time period lapsed, necromancers would summon the deceased’s ghostly spirit to appear instead." - from the Wikipedia entry on Necromancy.
Jeffrey moved into an apartment in Milwaukee that was closer to his job at the chocolate factory. He brought with him several items that he would eventually plan to utilize in his planned shrine, including the skull of Richard Guerrero, a long black table, and two statues of griffins that represented to Dahmer a dark power that was guiding him through life. Dahmer was constantly under scrutiny, getting into trouble for a variety of petty crimes, while constantly eluding any suspicion of the nightmarish reality that he was living out. He believed that he was under the thrall of a demonic power that spoke to him through his thoughts and the media. In particular, he was deeply enthralled with the story of the Sith, the dark forces in the universe of the Star Wars films. Dahmer deeply identified with the character of the Emperor, and would watch a video tape of "Return Of The Jedi" with the same compulsive viewing as his tapes of Chippendales dancers and other male-centric pornography. It is worth noting that almost all of Jeffrey's admitted murders fit a certain physical body type. He was enthralled with the physique and structure of the male body, and in particular he seemed to prefer muscular and more well-built men, although an important aspect of his choice in prey was his ability to overpower them once it came down to Dahmer's increasingly ritualized procedure of capture and execution.
"He liked the way he moved. You know, whatever was in his mind at that time, he wanted Eddie and he said he just was going to - he was determined to get him." - Theresa Smith, sister of Edward Smith, after speaking face-to-face with a jailed Dahmer about her brother's murder.
Not long after moving into his new apartment, Dahmer made a very telling mistake. The newfound freedom of having his own apartment caused Dahmer to overstep his luck considerably, bringing home a fourteen year old boy named Sonsack Sinthasomphone for his usual offer of payment for taking nude photographs. Dahmer drugged the boy and, at a moment of indecision, found that he could not bring himself to kill the young Sinthasomphone. After listening to his stomach while sleeping, Dahmer awoke the boy and, inexplicably, sent him back home. Once Sinthasomphone arrived to his house, his clearly drugged state caused alarm to the parents, who brought him to an emergency room immediately. Doctors discovered that the boy had been given sleeping pills and sexually violated. Police arrested Dahmer at his job at the Ambrosia Chocolate Company, exposing his bosses and co-workers to an aspect of their fellow employee that was extremely unexpected and shocking. His house was searched by police thoroughly, but they failed to find the skull of missing person Richard Guerrero, which was hidden in the bottom part of a chest of drawers. Dahmer was finally, inexcusably exposed to his father as a homosexual and a pedophile. It was at this point that Lionel completely lost all hope in the idea of his son being anything more than a criminal and a sexual pervert. It is possible that somewhere inside him Lionel could imagine the truth of what was occurring, but that it was simply unfathomable to entertain. For her part, Dahmer's mother seems to have almost completely abandoned the young man after the divorce from Lionel, and the adult relationship between Jeffery and his brother David was non-existent. Dahmer was in jail at this point for several days until being released on bail ($2500) after pleading not guilty. It is possible that he faced negative repercussions for his prison status as a child rapist. While waiting for the trial to happen, Jeffery stayed with his grandmother again, deep in a state of shame and regret. Although he surely was relieved that no evidence of his murders was uncovered, the shame of being exposed for his pedophilic inclination (even just one small portion of his sexual life) weighed heavily upon him.
"MILWAUKEE ACTIVISTS ARE CONCERNED OVER HIGH PROPORTION OF BLACK VICTIMS. SOME CRITICIZE OFFICERS' RESPONSE: MILWAUKEE — The city's grief over a grisly murder spree was compounded Sunday by questions of whether authorities could have stopped the killer sooner and concerns that race played a part in the lack of responsiveness. 'What do you do when the people that are supposed to be protecting us are now letting us die?' demanded the Rev. LeHavre Buck, a black community activist and pastor of the Church and Kingdom of God in Christ... Dahmer, 31, has admitted killing and butchering 11 males in his apartment.
Nine of the victims were black and one was a 14-year-old Laotian boy, who was seen naked and bleeding on May 27 outside Dahmer's apartment." - from a July 29, 1991 Associated Press article.
Later, once his crimes were discovered and exposed to the world, Dahmer was asked why the majority of his victims were of African descent. Until the time of his murder by an incarcerated African-American male who believed that he was a reincarnation of Christ, Dahmer maintained in prison that he did not hate black people but was in fact fascinated with them. Much like the early European doctors examining the skulls of different African people and comparing them to those of deceased Europeans, Dahmer saw himself in a fine tradition of scientific exploration that he had embarked upon from a very young age. While Jeffrey was out on bail, Anthony Sears, on March 25th 1989, became the first to fit the soon-to-become-legend Jeffrey Dahmer victim profile: "young, athletic, muscular African American male." He dismembered the body at his grandmother's house, just like in the previous years. It must have been a comforting feeling to him, like cleaning the garage for the first time again in a year. Sears would be the last of his subjects to be exterminated and disposed of in that particular house. Jeffrey got on the phone with a local taxidermist in order to get proper instructions on the preservation of a head without it getting brittle. It seems that Guerrero's skull, once a prized possession of Dahmer's, had become brittle and useless to him. Also, Dahmer made the distinctive choice of preserving Sears' genitals as well, in his words keeping them "as a trophy." It seems that the preservation of the head and genitals of Sears was extremely important, and like many of the others Dahmer had sex with the corpse before dismembering it and disposing of the parts that were not to be kept. His necrophilic inclinations stemmed partially from a desire for total control over a body, but it is interesting that his inclination for complete control in this manner excluded the human presence, the life force of a victim. As much as he enjoyed listening to the living organs of others, it was the lifeless body that he craved. Sears' body (minus the head and genitals) was the last of Dahmer's companions to be put out with the garbage at grandma's house. Although there was an overpowering element of lust and desire to the crime, this one in particular, amidst the humiliation of being exposed as a pedophile and threatened with jail time, has the earmarks of a man lashing out in a distinct and fetishized manner.
Jeffrey discusses his time at High School:
"I was up visiting a friend’s, and was walking back home in the evening, and saw these three seniors, seniors in high school approaching. I just had a feeling that something was going to happen, and sure enough, one of them just took out a billy club and whacked me on the back of the neck. For no reason. Didn’t say anything, just hit somebody... And I ran."
Jeff kept Sears' head in a small locker with his belongings. Lionel at one point pried into Dahmer's possessions, drilling him on what was inside the safe. Dahmer, for his part, had been caught in possession of an illegal firearm by his father, who was perhaps worried about his son's violent inclinations. Dahmer lied to his father, saying that there was child pornography in the box and that he did not want his father to see it because it was "too upsetting." He then hid the head in a locker at his workplace. Due to his loyalty working the graveyard shift at the chocolate factory, he was allowed to keep his job, stating to his employers that he was not guilty of the charges. The head would remain in the work locker until Dahmer's return to work from his prison sentence for child sexual assault in 1990. Dahmer would later skin the head by hand, preserving the skull for use in his altar.
"I can feel your anger." - The Emperor from "Return Of The Jedi"
At his trial, Jeffrey was found to be delusional and unaware of many of the problematic aspects of his behavior toward Sinthasomphone, seeming to only believe that his crime was doing what he had done with a boy so young (for which he was extremely apologetic). He seemed completely unaware of the negative aspects of driving while intoxicated, drugging others, and picking up people in bars to offer them money in exchange for sexual favors, all of which were completely illegal activities that Dahmer did not seem to feel any recognition of guilt about before. His prosecutor saw him as a sexually deviant alcoholic who needed to be placed under probation as well as receive counselling for his alcoholism. In addition to this, he was in prison for a year under a work release program that enabled him to leave the jail for part of the day and continue working at the chocolate factory on his usual schedule. By doing this, the court ensured that Dahmer's locker would not be emptied, and the now-mummified head of Anthony Sears contained within would not be discovered.
"Everyone knows what happens to a child molester in prison. I don't know if that's what happened, but when he came out he was hardened, and he hated black people." - Dahmer's stepmother Shari.
During this prison stint, Dahmer was allowed a twelve-hour release during the Thanksgiving holiday, ostensibly to visit his family. Unable to deal with the pressures of a family meal, Dahmer instead chose to spend his time getting completely wasted. He blacked out and awoke to being sexually assaulted with a candlestick by a man that he did not know, after which he showed up back to jail late. After this, a miserable and depressed Dahmer successfully made a plea to the judge to be released several months early, telling the judge that he wished to be a productive member of society. Ironically, while stating that he was contrite for his crimes, he is quoted as saying "The world has enough misery in it without my adding more to it." It seems that a part of him did truly feel bad about harming children, perhaps due to the contested (by Jeffery himself) story that Lionel told of Jeffrey being molested by a family friend at a young age. Perhaps Dahmer was contrite and unwilling to create more people out there in the world like him, and from this point on he indeed stayed away from children (partly due to a court order banning him from their presence). He would remain on probation for the next few years, developing a close and even friendly relationship with his parole officer Donna Chester. His friendship and close consultation with officer Chester is astounding in that it would remain a constant thoughout the next few years, which would prove to be Jeffrey's most prolific period of serial murder. She saw before her a suicidal man, depressed and filled with deep remorse for his life. He had no friends or even light acquaintances, a lost soul in a world filled with people he could not relate to. She was one of the only people that he spoke openly with about his sexuality, displaying a deep sadness and self-loathing over his preference for men. Chester took pity on him and attempted to help him reconcile his urges, perhaps causing even further conflict within him.
924 NORTH 25TH STREET, APARTMENT 213
"At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace throughout the world the savage races. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes, as Professor Schaaffhausen has remarked, will no doubt be exterminated. The break will then be rendered wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilized state as we may hope, than the Caucasian and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as at present between the negro or Australian and the gorilla.” - Charles Darwin
After a brief transitional period back at his Grandmother's house, Dahmer moved into his final apartment in a heavily African-American populated neighborhood in a "bad area" of Milwaukee. He was the lone white man in a community that paid him little regard or notice. The owner of the apartment complex that he moved into was an African man who spoke with a strong accent and viewed his new tenant with suspicion, although he could not put his finger on exactly what about the young man seemed off to him. He, like many peripheral characters in Dahmer's life, has attempted to sell a book of his recollection regarding the man over the years. His relationship with his neighbors seemed to be defined by distance, suspicion, and fear of the mysterious stranger. In fact, shortly after moving into the apartment, it was robbed several times. In a particularly sad and telling incident, Dahmer took home a young man with the intention of drugging and killing him only to accidentally drink the drugged mixture that he had prepared for the young man. After passing out in front of his would-be prey, the man pilfered Jeffrey's pockets and robbed his apartment of a miniscule amount money and valuables contained within. Somewhere during this period of time, Dahmer came under the sway of two films that would be hugely influential to his thinking during his stay at Apartment 213. The first of these was a video-taped lecture on Charles Darwin's ideas of evolution. Dahmer would later state that this video completely changed his views on the idea of a creationist universe, and influenced him to believe that there was no God, and that our actions were simply a "survival of the fittest" where the weak were weeded out by the strong. Another piece of film that would be incredibly influential to Dahmer would be William Peter Blatty's adaptation of his own novel "Legion," which was titled "Exorcist III" by the studio that released it (due to the fact that Blatty's novel contained characters from his novel "The Exorcist" and one sequel had already been made. The character in the film of the Gemini Killer (played masterfully by Brad Dourif) would be extremely influential on Dahmer's thinking.
"Medieval practitioners believed they could accomplish three things with necromancy: will manipulation, illusions, and knowledge. Will manipulation affects the mind and will of another person, animal, or spirit. Demons are summoned to cause various afflictions on others “to drive them mad, to inflame them to love or hatred, to gain their favor, or to constrain them to do or not do some deed.” Illusions involve reanimation of the dead, food and entertainment, or conjuring a mode of transportation. Knowledge is discovered through demons. Demons provide information on various things including identifying a criminal, finding items, or revealing future events." - from the Wikipedia entry on Necromancy.
In the original book "Legion," we follow a Jewish police Lieutenant named Kinderman (an intentional pun on Blatty's part, meaning "kinder man") who investigates a series of murders perpetrated by a killer who seems to be operating from beyond the grave. Throughout the story, Kinderman goes through a series of philosophical queries as to cruelty within the universe and the quandary of why a loving God would allow evil. Ultimately, he comes to the conclusion that all life in our sphere of existence is broken pieces of the fallen angel Lucifer, and that we are gradually making our way toward redemption through this life. In the film version, we get roughly the same story, but the conclusion is left out in favor of an oddly out-of-place exorcism that was inserted by the studio, during which the character of the Gemini Killer's eyes become inflamed and yellow, much like Dahmer's beloved Emperor from "Return Of The Jedi." The character murdered people in ways that were brutal and ironic, favoring decapitation and bizarre bodily experimentation (such as draining a victim completely of blood) seeming to get an almost sexual thrill from his actions. The first victim in the story is a young black boy who is decapitated and left for discovery nailed to a cross, with a blackface-painted head of Christ in place of the boy's head. The Gemini Killer's persona appealed very greatly to the prankster nature within Jeffrey. The Gemini was depicted as being possessed by a demonic entity, driving him to commit acts that shocked the world and caused them to doubt the existence of God. For a variety of reasons, the film spoke to Jeffrey in a very specific way that compelled him further into his inner justifications for his crimes. Although his views toward the world were swaying more toward a godless universe, the strong depiction of supernatural evil and the film's blasphemous content (not to mention the intimations of body mutilation and decapitation, surely sexually triggering for the young man) greatly appealed to his prevailing sensibilities. It was after viewing this film, and becoming obsessed with it, that Jeffrey would quickly ramp up his murderous actions, killing more people in the next year than any other period of time that he admitted to. The character of the Gemini Killer would in fact become so influential on him that he would take to wearing colored yellow "reptile eye" style contact lenses while going out to cruise for prey. It must have been an extremely disturbing sight to see the lanky and sullen individual staring across the room, scanning for prey with inhuman, yellow eyes.
"DAHMER BELIEVED HE WAS SATAN, DEFENSE SAYS: MILWAUKEE — Jeffrey L. Dahmer's bloody pattern of sexually motivated murder, dismemberment and cannibalism led him to feel that he was the devil, his attorney said Thursday. 'He became enamored, overwhelmed, caught up in the character in the (horror movie) 'Exorcist III.' The character... was the personification of evil." - from a January 31, 1992 Los Angeles Times wire service article.
"You're a hard one, but I know you you've got your reasons. These things that are pleasing you can hurt you somehow." - Carpenters, "Desperado"
In June of 1990, Dahmer met a young man named Eddie Smith at his old hangout The Phoenix Club. Eddie was a 27-year-old gay black male who was deeply loved by his sister Theresa, one of the few family members of a Dahmer victim to confront him face to face (after his arrest). Eddie was known for his flamboyant, impressive dancing style and his colorful, turban-like head-adornment that earned him the nickname "The Sheikh." Eddie was murdered and dispatched in the same manner as those before him, but because Dahmer was unable to properly preserve the head and genitals he considered the act a complete failure, going so far as to destroy the photographs of the body (which usually provided much pleasure to Dahmer after the body was gone). The photography of dead bodies became a major part of the ritual for Jeffery, who began to develop a prolific collection of images of the dead and de-limbed bodies of his victims. Something about the murder of Eddie Smith furthered the depression and sadness within Dahmer. It is interesting to note that although Dahmer told Eddie's sister that he murdered black men simply because of his location in a black neighborhood, Eddie was picked up at the same bar as Richard Geurrero many years earlier. Dahmer had not changed his stalking grounds, but simply his choice of victims. With deep sadness, Dahmer told Theresa that he truly desired to be with Eddie and that he was deeply attracted to him. It seems that Dahmer, the confused and lonely soul that he was, had been cursed to hurt the ones he loved.
"A scientific man ought to have no wishes, no affections, -- a mere heart of stone." - Charles Darwin
In his next attempt at procuring a companion, Dahmer found himself in a bizarre situation that would prove to be a dark comedy of errors. While attempting to procure his next victim, Dahmer had neglected to restock his sleeping pills that he typically used to sedate his prey. For some reason, Dahmer purchased a rubber mallet to solve this dilemma. They had agreed on a time for the boy (12 o clock, noon) to show up at his apartment, but Dahmer was saddened to find himself stood up. Later that night, by coincidence Dahmer encounter the boy and was told that he thought Dahmer meant 12 midnight, and the boy was actually biding his time waiting to go to Dahmer's apartment. Dahmer asked the boy to lay face down while he was supposedly being photographed, and went for his mallet. He hit the boy in the back of his head several times to no avail, and the confused boy decided that things were getting kind of weird and left, leaving Jeffrey perplexed at the turn of events. Ten minutes later, he was knocking on the door and asking for ten dollars for a cab fare, terrified at the neighborhood that he found himself walking around in. It is important to realize that Jeffrey (with the intention of being invisible to the police) lived in an extremely poverty-stricken black community that was rife with crime. He was living in the "bad" part of town that he was likely to have been taught to avoid as a young person. Dahmer took the boy back inside, and continued to attempt to assault and even strangle him, but relenting. He later told investigators "I just didn't have the ability to do him any harm, I don't know why." He eventually gave the boy his cab fare home, and for his part the boy reported the strange tale of the weird man with the rubber mallet. Due to the unlikely nature of the story, Dahmer was not investigated in the matter. Several weeks later, he re-acquired the needed sleeping pills and successfully killed and dismembered a young man named Raymond Smith. He was able to pleasure himself with the severed head and retain the man's skull for his own later use, and managed to dispose of the body by soaking it in acid for hours, after which it turned into a "slush" that he could simply flush down the toilet, a gallon or so at a time. Dahmer kept Smith's bones around his apartment as decoration. The skull was painted gray so as to lend it an artificial or "commercial" appearance to allay suspicion from visitors. During this time, Jeffery lied to his parole officer about his extracurricular activities, claiming that he spent all of his time at home reading books and sitting on the computer (an unusual hobby in 1990, but one that would excuse his lack of social activities to outsiders, making Dahmer seem like a harmless bookish computer geek). Dahmer also revealed to his parole officer a deep-rooted animosity toward the rich. He seemed to envy the wealth and financial security of the elite of society.
Dahmer describes his ideal partner:
"A well-developed white guy, compliant to my wishes. I would have preferred to have him alive and permanently staying with me."
"It was just another step... just an escalation, something new to satisfy. And I would cook it, and then look at the picture and masturbate." - Jeff on his practice of cannibalism.
Jeff met an athletic, muscular young male named Ernest Miller outside of an adult bookstore that fit into his ultimate idealized fantasy. Miller was the exact body type that Jeffrey obsessed over, and was instantly enamored with the man, wishing to "keep him" as he had done with others. Possibly due to the large size of Miller, instead of attempting to strangle him at the apartment, he slit his throat there, photographing Miller in the process of death and dismemberment. He was so enamored with the physique of Miller that he desired to consume parts of his body in order to make him physically a part of Dahmer. He removed Miller's heart and parts of his calf muscles. It was a continuation of the sexual affinity that Dahmer had with the digestive system, but now Dahmer was putting his victims through his own digestive system, joining with them in his body. He kept Miller's head in the refrigerator for some time so that he could masturbate in front of it and use it to pleasure himself, a long-time preferred activity for Dahmer's sexual satisfaction. He also consistently masturbated into the intestines and other internal organs of most of his victims, a practice that he has difficulty talking about but which was a vital part of his necrophilic fantasy.
"...And solitaire's the only game in town, and every road he takes it takes him down. And by himself it's easy to pretend he'll never love again. And keeping to himself he plays the game... While life goes on around him everywhere, he's playing solitaire." - Carpenters, "Solitaire"
He soon killed again, but this time it was a mistake. He found himself with the dead body of a person that he was completely not attracted to. He dismembered the body of David Thomas, 23 year old black male, and disposed of it entirely. The boy died for no purpose whatsoever, not even providing satisfaction to Dahmer in his death. Dahmer's methodology of dismemberment was streamlined and efficient. He would sit in the bathtub completely nude with the dead body (in order to get no blood on his clothes) and use a hand-saw to dismember it, piece by piece, draining the blood wit tap water down into the plumbing below. At this point it seemed that Jeffery was rapidly killing simply out of rote habit, seeming to find it as the only opportunity for company. Thomas' body was positively identified in Dahmer's photo collection by his family members during the court proceedings. Dahmer would kill three more individuals (Curtis Straughter, Errol Lindsay, and Tony Hughs, a deaf-mute gentleman that Dahmer communicated with through notes) during this time, seeming to crave going through the experience again and again, and each time he would keep their skulls behind as a souvenir of the experience. Along with homosexual pornography, Dahmer would usually watch a video tape of "The Exorcist III" with his companions. Whether he was trying to share his mania or simply pump himself up for the kill is unknown, but from the testimony of one individual he would begin to chant at the televisions screen while watching the film in a manner that would frighten his guests. A notorious police report from the escaped Tracy Edwards describes a man who was nice and polite upon first meeting, and then who "completely changed" into another, more sinister person who chanted to himself and seemed enthralled with evil. There were many occasions where he would bring someone home and simply change his mind after talking to them, no longer finding them attractive any more after having them over. None of these visitors seemed to notice the charnel-house atmosphere that Apartment 213 was beginning to emit. The odd smells and bizarre, all-night banging and clanging coming from Dahmer's attracted intense scrutiny from his landlord, Sopa Princewill, who received various bizarre explanations that only made Dahmer seem stranger and stranger to him. At one point Princewill smelled what he was told was "rotten meat" due to a refrigerator gone bad, the middle-aged man lept back at a stench that he felt almost knocked him out. What he was smelling was instead a human torso langishing in a bucket of acid. Dahmer was able to explain his way out of situations solely using his ability to garner sympathy from others and appear that he was just a harmless eccentric, and the reality of what was actually occuring in his apartment was unfathomable. The only ones who knew the truth of what was happening were Dahmer and his goldfish, neither of which were prepared to tell authorities the truth of what was going on there quite yet.
"In the struggle for survival, the fittest win out at the expense of their rivals because they succeed in adapting themselves best to their environment." - Charles Darwin
JEFFREY DAHMER, DOUBLE FISTING IT
Dahmer stalked the streets like a cat stalking a fish tank. Hitting the club scene with a beer in each hand, one drugged and one regular. Which one will he drink tonight? After thousands of years of human existence as prey for big cats, wolves, and other creatures, it was when man became a hunter, and began to use weapons, that he could defend himself and build civilizations. Jeffrey Dahmer had become for his part a human trapper, a pioneer in a particular art that was unique to his experiences. He had dreams of doing things bigger than just killing people over and over again and keeping their skulls. It is not known if Dahmer continued to listen to heavy metal with the same fervor as he did in his military days, but with his drinking regimen he appeared to be the world's lonliest party animal to outsiders. It is intriguing that in prison Jeffrey cites Charles Darwin's philosophy as an impetus to murder. It seems that Dahmer truly never let go of his Christian ubringing in his mind, but that the philosophy of scientific atheism appealed to his curiousity, compelling him to live out fantasies/experiments that otherwise would have not been conducted. On one hand, he was still loyal to Christianity's concepts of evil and simultaneously justifying his actions to himself with the rhetoric of scientific atheism while not identifying with the idea of pure evil.
Never being resistant to the allures of a young boy, he saw Konerak Sinthasomphone hanging out at the mall and asked the boy if he wanted to come to Dahmer's apartment and hang out. Dahmer took the boy home and drugged him, without realizing that he was the younger brother of Sonsack Sinthasomphone, whom he had gone to jail for molesting just a year and some months before. He had formulated a plan to create a living "zombie slaves." After drugging Konerak, instead of strangling him Dahmer drilled a hole in the boy's head and injected muriatic acid. The boy passed out from shock and after raping him, Jeffrey went out for a beer to calm his nerves. When he arrived back to his house, he was greeted with Konerak sitting on the sidewalk and several neighbors noisily declaring Dahmer's guilt to a duo of police officers who made it onto the scene. Dahmer inexplicably managed to convince the officers that Konerak, who was visibly bleeding from the anus and half-naked (with a hole drilled in his head to boot), was his 19-year old boyfriend, and that the two of them were engaged in a lovers spat. The officers walked the boy back to Dahmer's apartment, where they neglected to engange in an even light search of the apartment (which would have revealed dead bodies, trophy body parts, and a multitude of photographs of missing persons and corpses). The officers also neglected to do a background check on either Dahmer or Sinthasomphone, which would have revealed that Dahmer had actually been to jail for molesting the older brother of Konerak (whom he also drugged before his escape from the apartment) and that he was actually still on probation for the crime. The officers (who were later fired and the subsequently re-hired after much controversy) left Konerak with Jeffrey, who that night delivered a second, fatal injection to the boy and had sex with his corpse. He had decided that Konerak was too much of a liability and that he had to be disposed for the sake of Dahmer's safety. The head was removed for Dahmer's personal enjoyment, defleshed and kept as part of Dahmer's growing collection of skulls (some painted, some natural). Konerak was dispatched efficiently and incorporated into Dahmer's collection without Konerak, Dahmer, or the police realizing that he was the younger brother of the very same boy that Jeffrey was on probation for sexually assaulting not long before.
“Wherever the European had trod, death seemed to pursue the aboriginal.” - Charles Darwin
During the times when Dahmer did not have an actual body to peruse, he would use the pictures and trophies of former companions to satisfy his urges. This would generally lead to dissatisfaction and compel him to go out and live through the experience of being with another person. He went out to Chicago to a Gay Pride parade and met a sympathetic young man named Matt Turner. Turner was a particularly sweet and kind boy who simply thought that he was going to be hanging out with the nice, well-adjusted polite white guy that Dahmer seemed to be. For this instance, he brought the man back to his apartment, but abandoned his recent strategy of attempt to create a "zombie slave." Instead, he strangled the drugged Turner and utilized his severed head for his own pleasures, keeping it in the refrigerator for preservation. Dahmer purchased a fifty-seven gallon barrel of hydrochloric acid to dissolve the bodies of his victims in. Large sections on the body, such as the torso, would be tossed into the barrel in order to dissolve the evidence. This is where Turner's torso ended up. He then met a young man named Jeremiah Weinberger who seemed to genuinely have an affinity for Dahmer. Of all of the men that he killed, Dahmer seemed to feel the most remorse for his first two victims (who were both killed in a fit of anguish, and not intentionally chosen for death) and Mr. Weinberger. Dahmer had fully intended to act out his usual routine on Weinberger, but the two men had such an incredible connection and affinity for one another that (unusual for Jeffrey) they ended up spending a consensual night of passion together in Jeffrey's apartment, with Weinberger apparently never checking the refrigerator and never seeming to suspect the horrors lurking in the house. The two spent an erotic weekend together, after which Dahmer abruptly drilled a hole in Jeremiah's brain and injected boiling water into it. Dahmer had abandoned the muriatic acid method due to the fact that he used it on Sinthasomphone and the boy was still able to retain his will, attempting to get help from the neighbors. This method of "zombie slave" creation seemed to work temporarily, but it was all for nothing as the young man was soon dead on the floor. Dahmer had killed one of the only people to show him genuine affection, someone who would stay with him even after he drilled a hole in their head. He dismembered the corpse naked in the bathtub, in his usual method, taking pictures the whole time. He would sit in the stark emptiness of the bathroom and often commit acts of sodomy with the at-times headless cadavers as he lay in the tub with them, alternating between extreme pleasure, moments of guilt, fierce determination, and finally the cold resolve required to get the job done.
Jeffrey discusses the theory of evolution, and his personal relationship with Jesus Christ, after his arrest and incarceration:
"Thanks to you for sending that creation/science material, because I always believed the lie that evolution is truth, that the theory of evolution is truth, that we all just came from the slime, and when we died, you know, that was it, there was nothing. So, the whole theory cheapens life, and I started reading books that show how evolution is just a complete lie. There’s no basis in science to to uphold it, and I’ve since come to believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is the true Creator of the heavens and the earth. It didn’t just happen, and I have accepted Him as my personal Lord and Savior, and I believe that I as well as everyone else will be accountable to Him."
"It's hard to tell the nighttime from the day. Your losing all your highs and lows, ain't it funny how the feeling goes away?" - Carpenters, "Desperado"
Amidst Dahmer's prolific excursions into murder, he finally heard from his mother again after many years of silence. She was working as a counseler in another state, and they had a likely tear-filled conversation where Dahmer came out of the closet to her, which she accepted. Despite this openness, the two did not strike up any further conversation, and in fact Dahmer subsequently ramped up his killing operations. It is possible that the boy held a deep-rooted rage to his mother that was somehow connected to the killings, and her coldness seems to be a trait carried on in her eldest son. Of all of Dahmer's family members, she remains an enigma. Dahmer's grandmother Catherine contacted him at work one day out of the blue, asking how he was and expressing love. This temporarily made him happy, but likely reminded him of the guilt that he felt for the extremely antisocial existence that he had been living out. At this point in time, Dahmer had begun to miss significant amounts of time at work, as well as a multitude of meetings with his parole officer. His hobbies, and the disposal and subsequent periods of thought and meditation, began to take up large periods of Dahmer's time. Not only did he begin to miss necessary engagements, his strange behavior and consistently horrible-smelling apartment (which he contantly made up bizarre excuses for) made him a target for eviction by his landlord. Soon Dahmer received terrible news- after almost half a decade of employment, he was being given the pink slip from the Ambrosia Chocolate Company, the job that enabled him to go about his activities. When Dahmer told police of what his ideal sexual partner would be, he described a man that was not unlike himself: a muscular, passive, white male with a gentle aura. Although his victims gradually were chosen from people who appeared different and "other" from him, racially and personality-wise, the deep sadness within him was expressing in a suicidal urge that murdered a part of himself with each incident of passionate crime. Dahmer had gradually been becoming further and further from himself, further away from any ability to love or continue his life with each companion that he sought to incorporate into himself. Despite his attempts at cannibalistic indulgence and constant necrophilic self-satisfaction, Dahmer was far removed from the companionship and connection that he sought, deep down inside. His relationship with his probation officer Donna Chester (the closest person in his life to a friend) became more strained, and his resources were beginning to run dry. They arranged an emergency meeting, where Dahmer revealed that he no longer was working and was facing eviction. His appearance was appalling, he smelled terrible, and admitted to Chester that he was suicidal and hadn't bathed in several days. She could not have imagined the truth of the situation beyond that, which was that Dahmer had spent much of that time laying with the corpse of a man named Oliver Lacy, whose heart he had removed for later consumption. Lacy had come over to the house for a sexual experience with Dahmer, and the two shared a passionate evening giving each other sensual body massages. He was drugged and executed in Dahmer's now-streamlined manner of strangulation, which was now more sophisticated and include the use of a black leather garrote that he purchased for this express purpose. Dahmer was at this point planning the set-up for his altar, which he seemed to believe would give him power and enable him to improve his situation through black magic. Part of the plan was to include the entire skeleton of Oliver Lacy on his altar.
"It just came from within." - Dahmer, on the impetus for his desire to kill.
SHOWERING WITH CORPSES
Jeffery was depressed. He found himself now without the job that had given him the confidence to embark on the life that he was living. He saw no option in the workforce that would enable him to continue on his existence. If he was evicted, it was possible that he would be caught with the massive amount of evidence left behind in the apartment. There were bloodstains on the walls and floor. He became desperate and lonely, laying besides the remains of one of his companions as if they were still alive to show affection to him. The only responsibility that he still attended to was his fish tank, and he would spend long periods of time just observing his aqutic roommates. He showed his tropical fish a love and devotion, a gentleness, that no other living creature saw from Dahmer during this time. They silently and unjudgementally swam about, being there for Dahmer no matter what mood he was in. It is possible that caring for his fish was one of the only aspects of his life keeping him grounded in reality. Walking the streets in his sorrow, Dahmer spotted a young white man named Joseph Bradehoft standing at a bus stop with a six pack of beer. Bradehoft would prove to be Dahmer's last victim. Offering Bradehoft a place to hang out and party, he went willingly to Jeffrey's apartment much the same way as Steven Hicks so many years ago. Dahmer wasted no time dispatching Bradehoft, whose head was also soon separated from his body for the pleasure ritual that Dahmer had grown accustomed to, perhaps even bored with by now. Even if the two would have gotten along, it seems that the intention of picking him up was to kill him and use his corpse for pleasure. He was now a soon-to-be homeless person revelling in the world that he had constructed for himself. In addition to this, locals began to notice the weird man stalking about for prey and wonder if he was connected to the prolific amount of disappearances of black men. One of the reasons why it took so long for him to get discovered was that his victims at this later point were all for the most part undesireables to society. One of the victims' sister called to report that she was receiving strange anonymous phone calls from a man who claimed to have killed her brother. When she brought this to the police's attention they could not even find the initial missing persons report on her sibling. She believes that they disregarded her initial report once they realized that he was gay, believing that for some reason the city police department had a "hands-off" approach to cases involving homosexuality. The treatment given to Konerak Sinthasomphone seems to suggest that this could in fact have been a reality in relation to the case. Dahmer began at this point to randomly proposition people on the street to come back to his apartment, and spent his free time showering and laying about with corpses in an effort for companionship. He sought more and more power, and had at this point completely grown out of touch with his ability to truly love or be in touch with other people. He had become completely cold and within himself, his own spirit finally consumed by the forces that had driven him to acts of bizarrely antisocial violence.
"BODY PARTS, VAT OF ACID FOUND IN APARTMENT: CHICAGO — Milwaukee police arrested a 31-year-old paroled sex offender Tuesday after finding a gruesome collection of mutilated human body parts, severed human heads and a vat of acid in his north side apartment... Said John Batchelor, a neighbor of the arrested man, 'It is really wild. This is worse than 'Friday the 13th.'' Several neighbors said a stench had come from the apartment off and on for months.
'It smelled like something dead in there,' said Eli Vickers, who lives in the building next to the three-story apartment complex where the suspect lived. Police said the suspect, whom neighbors described as a quiet loner, had recently been fired from his job at a candy company and had served a year in jail on sexual assault charges for offering $50 to a teen-age boy to pose nude. Arreola said it had not yet been determined whether the murders were the work of one man or several or where they were carried out." - from a July 29, 1991 Los Angeles Times article by Bob Secter.
Tracy Edwards, a young black male who fit Dahmer's preferred physical type, was hanging out at the Grand Avenue Mall in Milwaukee, the same spot where Dahmer had picked up one of the Sinthasomphone brothers. Edwards and some friends were hanging out and wasting some time when they were approached by a thin, lanky white man with glasses and an unshaven, nervous demeanor. The young men had never seen the guy, and he seemed nice enough, saying that he was a photographer and that he would pay them each one hundred dollars to pose nude. This was a ruse, as Dahmer had practically no money left at this point. Edwards left with Dahmer, who gave Edwards' friends an incorrect address.
Edwards was puzzled by the seemingly intellectual, artistic, but obviously internally tortured man whose apartment he entered. He surely must have noticed the stench of death and decay, which Dahmer attempted to cover with incense. Endearingly, Edwards was struck by the care and attention that Dahmer paid to his tropical fish. Jeffrey was hypnotized and enthralled at his watery companions, observing their movements in the tank like souls trapped in a glass box. Edwards saw before him a deeply dissatisfied and sensitive man. Dahmer offered Edwards a drink while they waited for his companions to arrive, although only Dahmer knew that they would never show up. They continued to talk for some time, with Dahmer discussing his recent unemployed status with great fear and regret. He seemed to be coming slightly unhinged, and Tracy began to wonder when and if his friends would ever show up. Soon, Dahmer snapped, pulling out a large knife from under his bed and hand-cuffed Tracy Edwards. According to Edwards, Dahmer then forced him to watch "Exorcist III," at certain points in time chanting strange gibberish and rocking back and forth while doing so. Edwards began to realize that he was in a situation that was far beyond what he had initially ascertained, and at this point frightened for his life. Dahmer talked about ripping out Edwards heart and eating it, laying his head on the young man's chest in the same manner that he often did to his classmates as a young boy. Edwards was horrified at the sudden transformation and attempted to placate Dahmer by performing flirtatious activity, attempting to get alone time by going to the bathroom. Edwards was shocked to find that the majority of the windows and doors were locked such that one could not escape from inside. Realizing that Dahmer's apartment was rigged to keep people in rather than out, he assessed the situation and knew that he must escape. While Jeffrey was distracted with complaining about his financial woes, Edwards attacked Dahmer, kicking him and managing to flee out the front door while still handcuffed.
Edwards was panicked and could not believe he had managed to escape. As he ran out of the apartment complex, filled with adrenalin from his near fatal experience, Edwards could hear a drunken, sobbing Dahmer yelling in desperation, far behind him, as he ran out of the apartment: "PLEASE... DON'T LEAVE!"
"Light will be thrown onto the origin of man." - Charles Darwin
The police didn't know what to make of the shirtless, intoxicated man in handcuffs that they saw before them. He was telling them about a Satanic white man with locks on his windows, who threatened to cut Edwards' heart out with a knife. Initially they assumed that the man had escaped from another officer, and was making up a story in order to get out of trouble. They attempted to release him from his handcuffs, but once they realized that their keys did not work, they knew for certain that he had not escaped from another officer. They had to believe the rest of his story as well, and when they went in to investigate the situation in Apartment 213 they found a sullen man standing in the darkness, waiting for them with an agreeable, pleasant demeanor. Both officers instantly noticed that the place smelled like rotting organic material. The officers asked Dahmer where the keys were to the handcuffs on Edwards, and he motioned them into the bedroom. In the bedroom, one of the officers found strewn about an enormous wealth of poloroid photographs of nude men, some dead and dismembered. The officer looked around the room and recognized furniture from the bedroom that he was searching in the very same photographs, instantly calling to the other officer to arrest Jeffrey. Jeff screamed at the other officer that he would eat his heart, threatening that he had supernatural powers. It took the combined effort of both officers to pin down Dahmer and arrest him. While waitng for backup, the officers opened the refrigerator to be greeted by the severed head of Oliver Lacy staring back at him. Dahmer's bevy of tropical fish were likely saddened to see their master being dragged away, perhaps wondering who would feed them next. They would soon forget about it all not long after, as scientists have found that fish have almost no lasting ability to remember events. They are non-judgemental and always existing in the moment, much the way that Jeffrey operated in those final days of activity. Soon, he would be thoroughly questioned and prodded at the police station, while officers and Environmental Protection Agents went into Apartment 213 wearing oxygen masks and hazard suits. Camera crews caught these agents bringing out with them the refigerators and vats of acid that stored the bodies of the missing young men to the astonishment of the rest of the world. Soon, the quiet loner from Wisconsin was the nation's biggest news story, capturing the imagination of the world with what was dubbed by hungry press as a "real-life Silence Of The Lambs." In reality, Hannibal Lecter appeared as an unrealistic concept once faced with the reality of Dahmer's life and its effect on those around him. He was the real thing.
Partial list of content found in the apartment of Jeffrey Dahmer upon arrest:
- Dahmer's bedroom walls had bloodstains on them, and his matress and pillows were also stained in human blood.
- A metal filing cabinet containing three painted skulls, an entire human skeleton, polaroid photographs of victims in various stages of dismemberment (often posed in erotic position sans head or limbs), a dried scalp and a set of male genetalia.
- a large metal drum filled with acid, containing three human torsos in various stages of decomposition.
- a "King James" bible
- a VHS copies of homosexual-themed pornographic films, a lecture on evolution, "Return Of The Jedi," and "The Exorcist III."
- a hand saw, a claw hammer, a hypodermic needle, several sizes of drills and drill bits, boxes of soilex (used to boil the bones and skulls), muriatic acid, formaldehyde, ether, choloroform, jugs of bleach, and large quantities of odor-suppressing chemicals and incense.
- a kettle containing human hands and several sets of preserved male genitals.
- human skulls on display, painted to appear decorative.
- a freezer (seperate from the main refrigerator) containing human heads, a torso, and internal organs.
- a bloodstained refigerator with a human head, a heart, and portions of muscle shaped into a meat patty.
Dahmer's trial was a public circus, with angry family members yelling at the unemotional and sullen man during the proceedings. For his part, Dahmer was helpful and compliant with investigators, telling them that he himself was relieved that the whole affair was over. Much speculation was made regarding the racial element of his crimes, with the politically correct crowd obscenely painting the shy and reserved man as a "nazi." Growing up in the midwest, raised in a suburban neighborhood when black and white people did not usually mix with one another. He seemed to have a genuine fascination with this "other" element in society that went far beyond victimization. The complex relationship that Dahmer had with some of his African American neighbors was not different from that of many of our founding fathers, who would often have bizarre sadistic/masochistic relations with their enslaved African companions that were kept in nearby houses. Dahmer's desire for a "love slave" was a cultural imperative going back to the earliest emperors and kings, and his fascination/victimization of the descendents of Africans living in America today reflects the very foundations of the United States of America. His case was a vital explosion of racial tension and a desire to reach out to what was to him an alien culture. That his approach was predatory is fitting with the rest of Dahmer's life- at some point in time it seems that he felt that he was no longer able to love, and from that point on love objects for him became synonymous with prey. Compare the reports of Billy Capshaw (Dahmer's former Army bunkmate) with those of Tracy Edwards (Dahmer's final would-be victim). Both men tell a story of a man who trapped them in a threatening situation, only to tearfully break down and tell them all sorts of sad stories about his own life. Jeffery, feeling trapped and victimized, was compelled to ascend to the status of victimizer. Only then, like many men, could he reveal his true sensitivity.
SUFFERING LIKE HIS BELOVED CHRIST
Dahmer was embarassed at his newfound infamy, mortified at the idea of his grandmother Catherine reading about his activitis in the newspaper. He could not imagine any future for himself, and to be put on trial for his crimes seemed a fitting next step. Many have argued that in his depression that he allowed himself to be caught, no longer wanting to live the way he had been living. He recieved mountains of mail from sad and lonely people reaching out to Dahmer who related to his tortured urges. The influx of mail was astounding, and the media attention seemed to grow exponentially as people grew more and more fascinated with each individual aspect of the case. Many people related to Dahmer's desire to become physically closer to others, feeling deep within themselves a dissatisfaction with corporeal reality. In prison, he had a "return to Jesus" that was accompanied by an official baptism in the prison facility's heated pool. At the same time that Jeffery was baptized in prison as a born again Christian, Chicago's "killer clown" John Wacy Gacy (who was, like Dahmer, a homosexual with pedophilic inclinations) was executed in another facility during a total eclipse of the sun (which neither men could experience from inside their prison walls, but an interesting co-incidence nonetheless). Unable to have his beloved beer in prison, he instead chose to get drunk on the cup of the Lord. Dahmer was murdered at the age of 34 while on bathroom duty by a man who believed that he was an incarnation of Christ, beaten to death in the toilet stall. Dahmer was one year older than his beloved Christ was as the time of his own crucifixion, and both lives ended tragically after a great deal of suffering. His story is one of disconnection and inability to meet with others halfway that all can relate to. Dahmer lived in his own infinity land, where he chose to write the rules in a way that gave him no escape. By understanding the reality of the situation, the reality of the supposed "horror" as a simple, mundane cry of emptiness, we see a lack that gives approval to man's cruelty, his dispassion. Jeffrey is gone. A bright light shining across the Universe, questioning the nature of our existence. He is the human enigma that makes life, the hope for something better and the frailty that makes us feel alone. He is the very root of the question "why are we here?," his path a terrible violence, existing always throughout the universe without beginning or end. His tears are the tears of humanity, dragged kicking and screaming out of the womb on a constant slide toward death.