The following are the first 3 chapters from the book “Jeffrey Dahmer: The Gruesome True Story of a Hungry Cannibalistic Rapist and Necrophiliac Serial Killer”
The Loss of Innocence
Before we begin, the following must be said, if only to separate our killer from other monsters — to take away the possibility of doubt or pity. Jeffrey Dahmer, unlike many others who have become serial killers, was not born into an abusive household, nor forced into what he became by terrible poverty and bad influences.
Jeffrey could have become whatever he wished, but he chose to become a killer. And not just any killer: One of the worst killers the world has ever seen.
Our story begins on the 21st of May in 1960. Jeffrey Lionel Dahmer was born in West Allis, Wisconsin, to Joyce Annette and Lionel Herbert Dahmer. Joyce was a teletype machine instructor, while Lionel studied analytical chemistry at Marquette University.
As a baby, Jeffrey received all the attention a child could wish for; his parents took good care of him. However, as the years passed and their marriage became tense, Lionel and Joyce began to somewhat neglect him. The disruption in the marriage was due in part to Joyce’s personality. Being the type of person who continuously demanded attention; Joyce would go as far as faking sickness to get responsiveness.
It did not help that Lionel was very busy with his studies, spending extended periods of time away from home, only to return to his wife, feigning a nervous breakdown.
Despite initially being a happy and playful child, a change occurred after Jeffery underwent double hernia surgery at the age of six. He became quieter and more subdued.
In school, Jeffrey was considered to be a quiet and shy boy; he showed signs of neglect, but had fortunately managed to make some friends. While there are claims that a neighbor molested Jeffrey at some point in his younger years, no one has confirmed these allegations. Dahmer himself later recalled having been present on several occasions when his parents argued. These scenes were upsetting for a child. Fortunately, Dahmer’s parents’ love for him did not change at any point.
As a young boy, Jeffrey fell completely in love with animals. The family had a pet dog, and, at one point, they helped nurse a bird back to health from an injury. Lionel would later recall Jeffrey watched the bird fly away into the wild with “wide, gleaming eyes,” and it had probably been the happiest moment in his life.
Shortly after, Jeffrey came upon his father sweeping some animal bones out from under their home. He felt intensely curious when he saw the body parts and asked his father what they were. Lionel noticed when Jeffrey heard the crunching noises the bones made, he seemed oddly thrilled, requesting to touch them himself. Later, Lionel would come to understand this was the very first sign of what his son would eventually become.
In 1966, Lionel graduated then found a job as a research chemist. Unfortunately for the family, this would require them to uproot and move to Akron, Ohio. Joyce was pregnant with their second son, David. Her pregnancy was a troublesome one, making her weak and prone to sickness. Jeffrey, now seven, gradually received less and less attention, and he began to lose self-confidence and his previously bubbly nature diminished.
Soon, even the very idea of starting a new school made Jeffrey fearful. Lionel tried not to worry, hoping Jeffrey had just not adapted to his new home yet. In reality, it was far more than that.
After buying and moving into a new home in April 1967, young Jeffrey seemed to begin to get used to his new life, even finding a new friend named Lee. Jeffrey also grew close to a female teacher, who he eventually gifted a bowl of tadpoles he had caught on his own. Later, however, he would find out his teacher had given the bowl to Lee. This event angered Jeffrey and led him to sneak into the boy’s garage to poison the animals’ water with motor oil, killing all of them.
This occasion was not the last time Jeffrey came into contact with dead animals.
The young Dahmer was fascinated with hunting his neighborhood for the corpses of critters. He often took them home and dissected them, sometimes getting rid of the bones in the woods near his home to avoid raising suspicion. When he went fishing with his father, Jeffrey’s favorite part of the activity was cutting open the fish and gutting them. Nobody paid attention to this proclivity.
One night, during a family dinner of chicken, Jeffrey asked his father what would happen if he put the chicken bones in a bleach solution. His father, pleasantly surprised by his child’s curiosity, decided to teach him how to bleach animal bones, safely and correctly. There was no harm in it, his father thought. After all, it was merely a childish curiosity. His father was most likely relieved by Jeffrey’s request, since he had shown such little interest in other hobbies up to this point.
Had someone known what was really happening, Dahmer’s story may have ended very differently.
Jeffrey wasn’t just inspecting the insides of animal corpses and preserving their bones for science.
He was getting ready for something much worse.
An Odd Young Man
Jeffrey’s high school years arrived, and he began to grow in stature. As a tall, awkward youth, he shifted from random quiet, shy states to extroverted ones. He developed a penchant for playing crude practical jokes when he was drunk; this habit would continue throughout the years up to Jeffrey’s death.
Classmates stated that Dahmer would arrive to class looking disheveled, with a can or two of beer in his bag, to consume during class. A curious classmate once asked him why he was continuously drinking during class, to which Dahmer responded: “It’s my medicine.”
His jokes were cruel. He often mimicked his mother’s interior designer, who had cerebral palsy, to the enjoyment of many of his peers. Other times he would paint chalk outlines in the halls of his school; reminiscent of those found at crime scenes once law enforcement removed the body.
Jeffrey was considered to be intelligent and polite, but regularly received average grades due to his extreme apathy and lack of interest in studying or reading. His parents hired a private tutor, but nothing changed. Dahmer was not willing to make an effort, so there was little the tutor could do.
It was around this age that Dahmer discovered two important things that would define him as a human being and mold him into what he would become later.
The first was that he was gay. Jeffrey first noticed it as a small attraction towards other men, but even in these early stages of realization, Dahmer kept it from his parents. He had a brief relationship with another boy, but it did not get very far.
Then he had a second, separate realization. Dahmer began to fantasize about dominating another male; taking complete control, doing whatever he wanted to a partner, without their consent.
Jeffrey wanted to hurt somebody, to make sexual use of them, and perhaps kill and dissect them in the process. The limits of sex and dissection began to blur, as Dahmer included one within the other in his fantasies. His desire for violence became so overwhelming, he began to make plans for his first victim.
The idea that would finally spark Jeffrey’s killer instinct came to fruition. On several occasions, Dahmer had spotted a male jogger he found attractive. He knew the man’s route passed by a section of thick bushes. Dahmer had the perfect place to hide, as well as the perfect opportunity to take advantage of his victim, if he could successfully render him unconscious.
After fantasizing about this idea, Dahmer decided to make his fantasy come true. Armed with a baseball bat, he went to the bushes and lay in wait, patiently expecting the jogger. To the man’s extreme good fortune, he did not jog that route on that particular day, and Dahmer decided to give up on his fantasy. If the would-be victim had passed through the bushy area, Dahmer almost certainly would have followed through with his plan.
In the Dahmer household, Lionel and Joyce’s marriage was deteriorating. The couple had less and less patience for each other. Arguments were becoming a regular event, and Jeffrey was having a hard time seeing them fight. His drinking increased; he became more despondent as time passed.
Jeffrey’s terrible and secret habit of dissecting and skinning animals became the only thing that motivated him. His parents and other grown-ups watched as his peers spoke of dreams, careers, and plans, while Dahmer sunk further into apathy and purposelessness. Jeffrey was more comfortable lying on his bed alone in his room, than making an effort in his studies or looking for a job. At this point, even interacting with other people had become a challenge for him.
Even worse, nobody could detect what Jeffrey was truly harboring on the inside because of his guarded and closed nature. He did not argue with anyone, never got involved in his parents’ increasingly common fights, and kept his strange habits secret enough for everyone to find him merely different — not actually troubled or sick
When Jeffrey was almost eighteen, his parents finally gave up on their marriage and got divorced. Where Joyce had been a self-centered woman with barely any attention for Jeffrey, Lionel’s new fiancée, Shari, was more attentive toward the boy. She recommended that Jeffrey start college after high school, and Lionel agreed.
It looked like Jeffrey was going to turn over a new leaf. He seemed as though he might get an education that could help him progress as a human being. Jeffrey had a chance to start over and become a regular person, despite his awkward teenage years and childhood.
Unfortunately, Jeffrey’s fate was about to darken. He was about to let the demon who inhabited his mind loose. Jeffrey Dahmer was about to become the killer the world would remember; the construction of a horrific legacy was about to begin.
A Taste of Blood
Jeffrey graduated from high school in the summer of 1978. He was now 18-years-old. Lionel Dahmer had gone on a business trip with his new wife, while Jeffrey’s mother, Joyce, and younger brother, David, had relocated to Wisconsin.
Jeffrey was left alone at home with his dark thoughts and darker desires. It was just a matter of time before he acted on them.
It wouldn’t take long.
Just three weeks after graduating, with nobody around to supervise him or give him a moment of pause before making a rash decision — that he would never be able to take back, Jeffrey Dahmer took his first life.
Eighteen-year-old Steven Mark Hicks would become Dahmer’s first victim. Dahmer had imagined picking up a male hitchhiker and killing him. Not only did he have the freedom to do so, but as it happened, Hicks was hitchhiking as Dahmer was out looking for someone to fulfill his fantasy.
After exchanging a few words, Jeffrey invited Hicks to his home for some beers. Steven agreed, unaware that Dahmer wanted to unleash his macabre desires on him.
When the two arrived at Dahmer’s home, he pulled out some alcohol from the fridge, put some rock music on the radio and began enjoying Hicks’ company.
However, at some point in the conversation, Dahmer realized that Steven was not gay like himself. There was an awkward exchange, at which Steven said he wanted to go home. Dahmer thought he had heard wrong. Go home? Why would his victim want to go home? This request was awkward for Dahmer; he had so many things in mind for the night. Hicks was about to ruin it all by leaving.
Something snapped in Dahmer’s mind. He approached Steven from behind, while he was sitting down. Dahmer held a 10-pound dumbbell in his hand. Hicks had no time to react as Dahmer slammed the heavy object into his head twice, knocking him unconscious.
However, the bludgeoning was not the end of the attack. Dahmer knelt over Steven’s body strangling him to death with the bar of his rudimentary weapon. Then he stripped the fresh corpse of its clothes and masturbated over it with sick pleasure.
Jeffrey Dahmer had finally acted on his fantasies, and the sensation felt strange. While part of him wanted to weep over what he had done, another part was glad that he had finally followed through on years of dark fantasies. It was a mix of emotions. Dahmer was not in a hurry to kill again…yet.
The next day, Dahmer was finally able to put into practice what he had been learning for years. Dragging the body downstairs to a crawl space, he dissected it, and buried the remains in a shallow grave in his backyard. Several weeks later, he would exhume the body parts, remove the flesh from the bones, dissolve it in acid and flush the remaining solution down the toilet.
Six weeks later, Lionel and Shari returned home. They found Jeffrey home alone — doing nothing productive with his life. He agreed to enroll at Ohio State University, majoring in business.
Initially, his father had high hopes for his son. However, Dahmer wasted no time proving he was not going to stop abusing alcohol anytime soon. With no accomplishments at the University, he quit before even completing his first term. Dahmer was back slouching around at home.
Lionel would not tolerate Jeffrey’s apathy. If he was not going to study, there was space in the Army for him. In January 1979, Jeffrey Dahmer enlisted in the U.S. Army. He trained to become a medical specialist at Fort Sam, Houston. Considered an effective soldier, he was stationed in Baumholder, West Germany, a few months later.
Once there, Dahmer fulfilled the role of a combat medic. It was not the ideal position for him since he could not stand looking at blood; a strange detail psychologists would later explain as guilt over Steven Hick’s murder, but Dahmer tried his best to perform the required duties.
While the Army officially recorded his performance as a soldier as being, “average or above average,” there were some ugly rumors about Dahmer, that in retrospect, chill the blood.
In 2010, one soldier said that Dahmer had repeatedly raped him during a 17-month period, while another stated he had been drugged and raped by Dahmer in an armored vehicle in 1979.
Alcoholism and loneliness continued to drag Dahmer down, and he was eventually declared unfit for service. The Army formally, and honorably, discharged him in March 1981. Not long after, Dahmer was sent to Fort Jackson for debriefing. As part of his release from service, the military subsequently provided Dahmer with a ticket to a destination of his choice, anywhere in the country.
Deciding where to go was tough for Dahmer. Ultimately, he felt he had disappointed his father too much to return to Ohio. He did not want to return there with his tail between his legs. Determined to live by his own means, Dahmer chose to travel to Miami Beach, Florida, where he got a job at a sandwich place. Nobody would have guessed that the tall young man preparing their lunch was a killer; who would soon go on to become legendary among murderers.
Dahmer’s alcoholism was ever-present, despite having a stable job. However, Jeffrey found himself unable to keep up with his responsibilities. His landlord evicted him for missing rent payments. Now the young man knew he only had one person to turn to, so he called his father, asking if he could return to live with him in Ohio. Lionel accepted.
Coming home was a source of simultaneous comfort and discomfort for Dahmer. While his return allowed him to walk around familiar territory, it also reminded him of what he had done to Steven Hicks; one detail nagged at him, causing him to worry about getting caught.
As soon as he had the chance to be home alone, Dahmer unearthed the bones he had buried in his father’s backyard and took a sledgehammer to them, pulverizing the body parts completely and scattering them in the woodlands behind the family home.
As Dahmer disposed of the bones, he hoped that his murder experimentation had ended — that he would recover from his dark fantasies. Unfortunately for both him and future victims, he had only temporarily quashed these dreams of control, pain, and murder.
In fact, they would all come flooding back at any moment…