'Jeffrey Dahmer: Mind of a Monster': Lionel Dahmer says his negligence may have led son to conjure dark fantasies
Notorious serial killer, Jeffrey Dahmer, is set to be the subject of yet another true-crime series that will portray him in a more candid light. Investigation Discovery's 'ID Presents: Nine at 9' a nine-night 'event' which focuses on high-profile true-crime stories will kick off with 'Jeffrey Dahmer: Mind of a Monster', based on the personal accounts of the Milwaukee murderer. As described by the cable channel, the series is "an exploration of the disturbed psyche of serial killer and cannibal, Jeffrey Dahmer, chillingly narrated from his police interview transcripts."
Jeffrey was arrested for murdering 17 young men between 1978 and 1991, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He pleaded guilty to the murders and was subjected to 16 life sentences in 1992. In addition to that, he confessed to the police that he had also committed necrophilia and cannibalism. Jeffrey had body parts of his victims littered around his apartment, when the police caught him red-handed.
As an active serial killer, he would lure his victims and take them back to his home, where he would offer them drinks and sexual favors. As soon as the guest mentioned leaving, he would kill them unwilling to let them leave. He would have sex with the dead bodies, mutilate them and even engage in cannibalism. He collected graphic Polaroids of his victims in various poses at different stages of dismemberment.
In 1994, Jeffrey was beaten to death by a fellow inmate, while in prison at age 34.
Lionel Dahmer, Jeffrey's father, discovered at the same time as the rest of the world, that he had raised a brutal serial killer who had been engaging in twisted and unspeakable fantasies. Dahmer went on to write a book, 'A Father's Story' based on a retrospective account of trying to come terms with the fact that his son was a murderer. In the book, he wrote “. . . I wasn’t told what these other mothers and fathers were told, that their sons were dead at the hands of a murderer. Instead, I was told that my son was the one who had murdered their sons.” He worried his son's transformation from a happy toddler to a grisly criminal was his fault.
Formerly, senior research and chemist at PPG Industries, Barberton, Ohio, and then research supervisor in analytical chemistry, Dahmer has mainly worked as a writer for most of his life. He gained a fair amount of unwanted media attention when his son was outed as the notorious serial killer who has been murdering youths in the Milwaukee area. After his son's arrest and subsequent death, he analyzed Jeffrey's childhood and his upbringing with regard to his and his wife's actions in 'A Father's Story' and attempted to explore the man that Jeffrey had become.
The rumor that surrounds Jeffrey's upbringing was that he was deprived of attention as an infant. His mother, Joyce, was Dahmer's first wife and was what you would call an attention seeker who thrived on people's pity and attention on her, while also simply inciting feuds with her husband and neighbors. As Jeffrey grew up and started school, Joyce spent increasing amounts of time bed-ridden and recovering from weakness, while Dahmer was away from home a lot as he was studying to be a chemist at university. Joyce's tactics for attention-seeking were extreme to the point that it effectively demanded her husband's presence, by her side. Thus, neither had devoted much time to their son.
In his memoir, Dahmer said that initially, Jeffrey was an enthusiastic and energetic child, but turned sullen over time, especially after getting a hernia operation at age 4. The old Jeffrey was gone and in his place was a boy whose mood had spiraled out of control and his behavior had turned malevolent. At age 6, the boy would break windows and enjoyed playing with bones. According to Dahmer, his son was "oddly thrilled" by the sound that bones made and instantly developed an obsession for collecting and playing with animal bones. In his teens, he started his own road-kill cemetery and speared a dog's head on a stake. By the time he was 18, Jeffrey had committed his first murder, branding him a killer.
His father had been unaware of his son's transgressions at the time but chastised himself for not realizing what his son was capable of his from his violent behavior and mental illness. His parenting was at fault, Dahmer addressed in his memoir. Whenever Jeffrey made a mistake, his father would sit him down and discuss the boy's future, in a very rational and insensitive manner as their forefathers did and as was not applicable to the current times. Jeffrey would simply nod along but stare into space, void of emotions.
While blaming himself and his upbringing for how his son turned, Dahmer reflected on himself. As a child, he too was violent and withdrawn. Like Jeffrey, he was unsocial, introverted and not a people person - a side of him that he said he had a buried and denied well into adulthood. He had severe confidence and self-esteem issues, while also having difficulties with expressing emotions and feelings. He analyzed these details and wondered if he had unintentionally passed it down to his son, and was possibly the reason as to why his son turned out the way he did. He even pondered over how he talked things out with Jeffrey and whether he guided him through issues as his own father had. Then again, he fears he didn't which may have affected Jeffrey more than he imagined causing him to conjure a dark world of fantasy in his mind, which he eventually manifested into his reality.
"Now, when I think of him at that point in his life, I see him caught in his own murderous fantasies, trapped in the memory of a murder he had already committed, barely able to connect to any other part of reality. For him, a sudden, uncontrollable act of violence and sexual mutilation had thrust any hope for an ordinary life into a world that was utterly beyond his grasp," he wrote in his memoir “By the fall of 1988, there were far, far more things that I did not know about my son than I did know about him. I didn’t know that he had already killed four human beings, two of them in the basement of my mother’s house.”
'Jeffrey Dahmer: Mind of a Monster.' premiers at 8 pm May 25 on Investigation Discovery.