True crime has become a bonafide media phenomenon in the past couple years, maybe because with the constant unrelenting day to day anxiety and terror that’s come along with it, it’s nice to think about some classic, old-school, corporeal dangers. Netflix has bet on the public’s morbid fascination once again with their new series based on Jeffrey Dahmer. Dahmer is maybe one of the most famous serial killers in history, due to both his body count and his grisly methods

The series, Monster, has come under some fire for retraumatizing families of the victims while profiting off of their murdered loved ones. It’s a philosophical and ethical debate worth having, but it’s difficult not to be curious and fascinated about what kind of human brain could produce this behavior that goes against every instinct we pride ourselves on as modern human beings.

The greater details of Dahmer are well known, from his cannibalistic tendencies to the famous contents of his freezer. Here are 7 facts about Jeffrey Dahmer that may not be as well known, but are just as horrifying.

His Father Taught Him How To Preserve Bones

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From a young age, Dahmer was fascinated with anatomy, and specifically skeletons and bones. He would play with animal bones, exploring how they fit together. Through this fascination, he ended up asking his father, who was a scientist, about methods of preservation for animal remains. Pegging his son’s curiosity as scientific rather than sociopathic, his father simply saw an opportunity to teach his son. He taught him methods of bleaching and preparing animal bones, never dreaming the depths of darkness to which these techniques would be applied.

He Killed His First Victim At 18

Public Domain

Though it seems serial killers often struggle with their urges for years before acting on them, Dahmer had killed his first victim years before he could legally drink (which wouldn’t stop him, as we’ll touch on later.) Most serial killers seem to begin their active crimes around the average age of 29, Dahmer killed his first victim at the age of 18. Dahmer brought a young Steven Hicks back to his home, but it was when Hicks attempted to leave that Dahmer would grab a barbell and commit the first of many murders. Dahmer’s rage and response to an attempt to “abandon” him would be a key part of his psychosis, one that would drive much of his motivation to kill.

He Was A Combat Medic In The Army

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After dropping out of Ohio State University, Dahmer joined the army at his father’s suggestion. In a disgustingly apt placement, he would be trained as a combat medic. He would spend the years of 1979 to 1981 as a member of the 2nd Battalion, 68th Armored Regiment, 8th Infantry Division. On paper, Dahmer was honorably discharged, but the circumstances of his exit were anything but. During his service he was accused of sexual assault, multiple instances of which would be later confirmed upon retroactive inspection of his time in the armed forces. There was also a second reason behind his discharge, which we’ll cover next.

He Was An Alcoholic

Kieronoldham/Wikipedia

Dahmer after a drinking binge.

Dahmer was a serious alcoholic stemming from a very young age, known to show up to high school drunk, covertly drink in class, and store liquor in his locker. This alcohol abuse would continue throughout his life, as a way, psychiatrists speculate, to deal with his self-loathing over his homosexuality. His alcohol abuse was also the primary reason for his discharge from the Army, despite the sexual assault accusations. After an alcohol abuse program failed to show results, he was released, marked “unsuitable for military service due to alcohol abuse.” Even during his later crimes, he would get extremely drunk before murdering his victims to deal with his distaste for the actual act of murder.

He Worked In A Chocolate Factory

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As much horrible sense as Dahmer’s time spent as a combat medic meant, so incongruous was one of his later professions: as a worker in a chocolate factory. In what might sound like a child’s dream job anywhere outside of Willy Wonka’s purview, Dahmer found a steady job working the night shift at the Ambrosia Chocolate Company in 1985. He would spend 6 years at the job before being fired for missing shifts, most likely thanks to his continued devolution and emphasis on his sickening side gig.

He Tried To “Zombify” His Victims

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The sheer viscerally disgusting nature of Dahmer’s murders and actions after the fact would suggest a deeply sadistic individual, but Dahmer was actually not a sadist in the psychological sense. A sadist derives pleasure from the prolonged and intense suffering of the victim, in the gruesome vein of the Tool Box Killers, which I highly recommend not researching on a full stomach. Despite how contradictory it might sound, suffering was never Dahmer’s goal for his victims, shown by his reliance on alcohol to follow through with even his relatively quick killings. Dahmer was driven by a goal of complete sexual submission. Perhaps the most unfathomably evil act inspired by this was his attempt to create mindless sexual servants of his abductees, by use of lobotomies as well as experiments including drilling a hole in their skull and using boiling water and hydrochloric acid to cause brain damage.

He Was Building An Altar

Pixabay

Serial killers can often be turned into a caricature, in a dangerous abstraction that echoes back to ideas of demons and possession instead of deep mental illness and calculated horror. However, one admitted goal of Dahmer’s is straight out of a pulp horror novel, which was his intent to create an altar of skulls and bones from the skeletons of his victims. He envisioned it as a place where he could sit on a black chair and immerse himself completely in the aura of his crimes.

Dahmer would be murdered in prison by another inmate, one who claimed that the guards left them alone with that specific outcome in mind.

Top Image: Milwaukee Police Dept/Pixabay

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