Jeffrey Dahmer was a famous serial killer who committed murders of 17 men with the intent of trying to lobotomize them, in other words, making them “zombie like” into controlling them to never leaving him. Not only did he murder these 17 men, he would rape them beforehand, sometimes even after killing them and he would save parts of their bodies and at times even ate them. Many wonder what leads people to become serial killers and monsters, so what led Jeffrey Dahmer to become a serial killer?
Before Jeffrey was born, his mother, Joyce, was diagnosed with severe mental illnesses, which led her to become addicted to prescription drugs, and was abusing them while she was pregnant with him. This is one factor that people believe to had led to the serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. His father and his mother would constantly fight during the childhood years of Jeffrey’s life, “so violently knives were thrown” (Stone Phillips Interview). Jeffrey had experienced violence as a young child which had eventually taught him to believe that violence is seemed as normalized. According to Jeffrey’s father, he described his son as “having difficulties with appropriate eye gaze behavior, displayed facial expressions devoid of emotional glow, and had certain motionlessness of his mouth, making him seem “zombie-like.”
From the early stages of Jeffrey’s life, he had not lived a normal childhood. When he was in elementary school, Jeffrey kept away from others and was always alone. He was seen as a shy, quiet and innocent little boy however, his thoughts were the exact opposite. Not only did Jeffrey isolate himself from others, he also he seemed to lack emotional. Around the age of 6 Jeffrey’s father had noticed that Jeffrey would keep dead rodents and would toss around their bones as if he were fascinated with the dead animals. His fascination as a child with dead animal bones carried on into an obsession during his teenage years. He would collect dead animals and take them home to keep; which he eventually ended up doing with his victims.
As a teenager, Jeffrey struggled with his sexuality, he was confused during these years and didn’t talk about it with anyone, especially not his parents. Jeffrey had explained that during the age of 14, 15, he had felt a sexual violence that he could not explain therefore he kept to himself. In an interview, Jeffrey’s father had been asked what would he have done if Jeffrey had came out as gay and his response was, “I think I would have started in on a program to try to change his thinking.” (Stone Phillips Interview). Jeffrey never felt comfortable or had an honest and open relationship with his parents, which had led him to go into his own world. “I sort of lived in my own little fantasy world when things got too heated in the household.” (Stone Phillips Interview). Around this time at his age of 14 he began to stalk others. He would ride his bike into the woods with a sawed off baseball bat, hide in the bushes waiting for a jogger or hitch hiker to walk by and planned to hit them over the head and just lie there on the floor with them. Ever since Jeffrey’s teenage years he had the thoughts wanting to control someone, however he never did what he had planned, not until he was older.
According to Cohen’s Monster Theory, there is a specific moment in time in which a monster is created, “The monster is born only at this metaphoric crossroads, as an embodiment of a certain cultural moment – of a time, a feeling, and a place.” The day that Jeffrey Dahmer became a monster was the day that he finally acted on his dark thoughts. At the age of 18, Jeffrey had been struggling with alcoholism, and his parents had just recently gotten divorced. His parent’s divorce seems to be the precipitating cause, in other words, “the last straw”, for Jeffrey to become the Milwaukee Monster. Because his parents were recently divorced, Jeffrey was home alone which allowed him the freedom to do as he pleased. This was the first time Jeffrey was home alone where he might’ve felt abandoned and felt as if he was actually alone with no family, he was lonely and wanted someone who would never leave him which caused him to look for someone to keep. It was the time when he captured his first victim, just as he had planned to when he was 14 years old. He took his victim home, drugged him and killed him and kept his body parts with him. According to Jeffrey, the day he captured his first victim is when the “Nightmare became a reality” (Stone Phillips Interview). Once he captured his first victim, he couldn’t stop. He began going to bars, bathhouses, and malls looking for handsome guys to keep for himself. Surprisingly, Jeffrey didn’t enjoy killing his victims he viewed it as a “means to an end”. Because he didn’t enjoy the killing of his victims, he tried creating living zombies. Jeffrey would drill into their heads and pour acid as an attempt of lobotomy however, none of his victims survived which led him to go out and find others. “I just wanted to have the person under my complete control”, he states in an interview with Stone Phillips. When the victims would die, he would save their skeletons, body parts, and eventually took another step into cannibalism. “It made me feel like they were a permanent part of me” (Stone Phillips Interview).
Jeffrey Dahmer was arrested on July 22, 1991 when one of his victims escaped from him notifying the police which led them to his apartment and eventually getting caught from all of the dead bodies he had kept his home. He was sentenced to 15 consecutive life terms to prison. The reasoning and creation behind Jeffrey Dahmer is from his loneliness, his wanting to control someone into never leaving his side. It is believed that Jeffrey felt abandoned throughout his childhood due to his parent’s violent marriage, however in an interview, Jeffrey states that there is no one to blame. “I just get angry with other people who think that they have a right to blame my parents for what happened, that’s not right at all, I alone am the one who is responsible for what happened” (Stone Phillips Interview). Although Jeffrey takes full responsibility for his actions, the way he was brought up and the neglect as a child is the reasoning for what led him to become obsessed with wanting someone to stay with him forever. Jeffrey was murdered on November 28, 1994 from being beaten to death by a prisoner.
213, Live From Apt. “Jeffrey Dahmer Original Stone Phillips Interview.” YouTube, YouTube, 24 Apr. 2017, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4MK9gIxbxrk.
I used this interview for insight from Jeffrey Dahmer himself, as evidence and proof to what had caused him to become a serial killer and to do the horrible things he did to those 17 men.
Leong, Gregory. The Case of Jeffrey Dahmer: Sexual Serial Homicide from a Neuropsychiatric Developmental Perspective. Nov. 2002 http://www.murderpedia.org/male.D/images/dahmer-jeffrey/docs/jeffrey-dahmer-silva-et-al.pdf
I used this article for information about Jeffrey’s childhood. I used facts from his mother and his father that I used in my essay as examples.
Cohen Jeffery, Monster Culture: Seven Theses http://www.englishwithtuttle.com/uploads/3/0/2/6/30266519/cohen_monster_culture__seven_theses__3-20.pdf
I used Cohen’s monster theory as an example of what leads to a creation of a monster, and used a quote directly from the article.