Why Did Jeffrey Dahmer Eat People? Cannibalism, How Many He Ate

Jeffrey Dahmer, aka the Milwaukee Cannibal, by far one of the most disturbing killers in American history, if not the world, has confessed to rape. and murdered 17 young men and boys between 1978 and 1991. Some of which he consumed. Forensic psychologists and true crime fans alike are intrigued by what drives a man like him, and we have to wonder why Jeffrey Dahmer would want to eat his victims. .

Unlike many other killers, Jeffrey says he didn’t have a “deeply unhappy” childhood. He told NBC in 1994 that his childhood was “quite normal,” although his parents Lionel and Joyce are said to have been neglectful. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey in 1994, Lionel admitted to being absent for much of his son’s formative years, that he was an “emotionally distant” but hard-working father. and providing for his family was his way of showing love. At the age of four, Jeffrey had undergone a hernia removal twice and Lionel says his boy was never like that. Jeffrey seems to have become intrigued and interested in animal carcasses, something his father initially encouraged because he was a scientist himself, thinking it showed his son had a scientific mind. So how did Jeffrey Dahmer go from a seemingly normal boy to a man obsessed with the idea of ​​​​killing, dismembering and eating some of the victim’s body parts?

Jeffrey Dahmer

Image: Ralf-Finn Hestoft/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images.

Why does Jeffrey Dahmer eat humans?

Why does Jeffrey Dahmer eat humans? In short, it has total dominion and ownership over its victims. After taking their lives, Jeffrey says he “has obsessive desires and thoughts that want to control them, I don’t know how to express them, possess them forever,” in one episode. of the Inside version 1993. “And that’s why you killed them,” asked the reporter. “Yes, not because I hate them, not because I hate them, but because I want to keep them with me. And as my obsession grows, I am saving body parts like skulls and skeletons.” But in the end, killing his victims wasn’t enough. When Jeffrey was arrested, investigators found loads of gruesome evidence in his apartment, including a severed head in a freezer, a human heart, a whole torso and a human skull on his computer. he. There are Polaroids of his deceased victims, which he says in Inside version that it was his way to “remember their physical appearance and beauty.” A kind of victory. Later, there was evidence that some of Jeffrey’s body parts had been consumed. During his sobriety trial, detectives relayed information provided by the killer during his confession. Police recorded more than 60 hours of audio in which Jeffrey described some of his crimes in grisly detail. Once he fried a man’s biceps in oil, used a meat tenderizer, and ate the muscle because it was big and he wanted to try it,” police Detective Dennis Murphy said, according to the Associated Press. “He said it tasted like beef.”

Cannibalism is extremely rare in the world of serial killers. Of the roughly 2,000 serial killers – those who are identified by many of their victims over a period of time – it is estimated that only between 5 and 10 are cannibals. Dr. Eric Hickey, professor of forensic psychology at Walden University, says A&E that cannibals are different from psycho killers. While psychopaths (and a note here that not all psychopaths have violent tendencies) tend to struggle to make meaningful connections with others, Those who have a craving for cannibalism develop extreme attachment. “Cannibals tend to feel really insecure and unable to have normal relationships,” says Hickey. “Eating their victims gives them a sense of power because their victims can never leave.” That certainly fits the theory that Jeffrey has been dealing with abandonment issues rooted in childhood. When Lionel and Joyce divorced in 1978, both accused the other of being “extremely cruel and contemptuous of duty,” according to a statement. LA Times articles from 1991, and others who have known Jeffrey since childhood paint a much darker picture than the anecdotes of his parents. Martha Schmidt, professor of sociology at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio, who knew Jeffrey in high school: “He was tortured and went missing at a very young age. “His behavior was always on the line. He seemed to cry for help, but no one paid any attention to him.”

Jeffrey Dahmer

Image: Curt Borgwardt / Sygma / Sygma via Getty Images

Hickey goes on to say that extreme attachment often becomes sexual and that their desire to consume their victims happens gradually through experimentation and fantasy. “Whenever murderers eat other people, they are playing out an illusion of relationships and intimacy. They begin to experiment with sexual fantasies of voyeurism and narcolepsy, and as they daydream, they explore that behavior,” he said. “You don’t often see people jumping from killing to eating meat. It starts with watching people sleep, then drugging the victim, then you want to be with someone who is buried or unconscious — and it progresses from there.” Indeed, Jeffrey explained in a ’94 interview with NBC that throughout his criminal history, his desire to possess his victim involved “deviant-type behavior to satisfy my urges”, explaining that cannibalism causes his victims to he “felt they were like a permanent part of me”.

Are the other killers cannibals?

As mentioned, killers who turn to consume their victims are quite rare and are almost always sexually motivated. The most recent example is a case in Germany in September 2020, where a math and chemistry teacher known only as Stefan R. was convicted of murder then cannibalism, Stefan Trogisch, a man. man he met online. “The defendant killed the victim because he sought sexual gratification through murder and wanted to eat the body parts,” the prosecutor alleged on the first day of the trial, according to the court. New York Post. Stefan R.’s horrific crime repeats the previous crime that happened in 2001, when Armin Meiwes invited Bernd-Jurgen Brandes to his apartment. It was a particularly unusual case since Brandes had agreed to be killed and eaten. The court heard how Brandes initially responded to a March 2001 internet post by Meiwes seeking a “healthy male” to “slaughter and consume”, each Guard. Meiwes ate more than 44 pounds of Brandes’ meat before he was arrested in December 2002.

Andrei Chikatilo nicknamed “The Butcher of Rostov” is one of Ukraine’s most prolific killers – confessing to 56 murders (although he was charged with 53) over the course of 12 years. He lured young women into the woods to rape, dismember and eat their genitals. “I was like a mad wolf,” Chikatilo told the court in his statement in 1992, reporting LA Times, that commented: “There was no remorse in his voice; if anything, he seems proud that he’s ‘just turned into a beast, into a wild beast’.” Chikatilo was executed four years later.

Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story and A Conversation with a Murderer: The Jeffrey Dahmer Tape available to stream on Netflix.

Jeffrey Dahmer

Image: CreateSpace Independent Publishing.

For more on Jeffrey Dahmer, check out Jack Rosewood’s Jeffrey Dahmer: The Horrifying True Story of Rape, Murder, and Cannibalism. Biography — as part of Rosewood’s Books about serial killers series — tells the true crime story of Jeffrey Lionel Dahmer, a serial killer who terrorized Milwaukee, Wisconsin and murdered more than a dozen people (not to mention his acts of gangrene and cannibalism) throughout the 1980s until his final arrest in 1991. The book explains how Dahmer, who had above average intellect and was described as “normally handsome,” was able to fool anyone. people around, including family, neighbors and the police, to avoid arrest for many years. Jeffrey Dahmer: A Terrifying True Story of Rape, Murder & Cannibals also takes readers through the trial of Dahmer’s murder, his death at the hands of his inmate, and his crimes. how he rocked Milwaukee for decades to come.


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