Why is Dahmer so Special?

Quinn Arrington, Staff Writer

In the Top 10 Trending Netflix series, the #1 spot is taken by DAHMER-Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story (2022). It is an in-depth, visual experience of notorious serial killer/cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer’s life, starting from his childhood all the way to his arrest and death. The audience gets put into the mind of one of the most famous serial killers and cannibals in the world… but why? He has significantly less victims than several other killers such as John Wayne Gacy, Dr. Death, Albert Fish, and many others. Why is Dahmer significant in comparison to all of the other killers?


There wasn’t much wrong with him. In fact, he was excessively normal. He stands out through his normalness. Jeffrey Dahmer was a young man who was described as a little off, but there wasn’t much to him that made him fit that typical serial killer stereotype of being crazy, psychopathic, and utterly sick in the head; though, some may argue normalness is common amongst serial killers. He was an awkward, introverted man with little going for him.


Despite his not-the-average-experience childhood of experimenting on animal carcasses and being practically a loner throughout his entire life, he could’ve been easily mistaken as any average dude—and he was. Time and time again, he got away with his suspicious activities because he just didn’t seem like the type of person to do that. 


Another thing was his openness during his interrogation. He was very honest, clear, and precise when it came to the explanations of his killings. DAHMER mentions this in the scene where he is watching John Wayne Gacy’s interviews on the TV trying to claim his innocence. 


Synopsis of Jeffrey Dahmer’s Life


Jeffrey Dahmer was born in Milwaukee, WI on May 21st, 1960. During his first few years of life, Jeffrey was described as a generally happy child. At around the age of four, Dahmer went through double hernia surgery. After this, he was never the same. He became quite reserved and only ever had a few friends at a time. He showed signs of abandonment due to his father’s absence from work and his mother amping up on medications as she was pregnant with Dahmer’s younger brother, David. At the age of six, they moved to Ohio. 


He picked up an interesting hobby: messing with dead animals and their bones. In the Netflix series, they show Dahmer’s father picking up a possum carcass from underneath the house, and this is reportedly where his interest began. He started experimenting with bones and guts of animals, and it eventually branched out to live animals, which is usually a tell-tale sign of serial killer tendencies during childhood. His father taught him how to bleach and preserve the remains of animals, which Jeffrey would keep as trophies and “fiddlesticks” as he liked to call them. 


His teenage years were spent mostly alone. He did not have many friends, if any at all, and was perceived as an outcast. His alcoholism began at the age of 14, where he would drink several times a day. In high school, the term “Doing A Dahmer” was picked up, which instituted Jeffrey mocking people with seizures or disabilities such as cerebral palsy. It became something he was known for. 


Dahmer experimented with his sexuality and soon identified as a homosexual. He frequented at gay clubs as a young adult, which is where he picked up most of his victims. His crimes spanned over the course of thirteen years with 17 victims. Jeffrey Dahmer mostly targeted African Americans, though some were of other races such as white and Asian. Their ages ranged between 14-33. He was arrested in 1991 as a result of one of his victims escaping and reporting to the police of Dahmer’s crimes. 


In prison, he was beaten to death by Christopher Scarver in 1994, only a few years into his incarceration. 


Not-So-Fun Facts


  1. During his time in prison, Jeffrey Dahmer would receive tons of fan mail from younger girls who found him rather attractive. The show depicts this with scenes of him sorting through envelopes, receiving money from cards, and having the sound machine that blasted whale sounds. Since the release of the show, a chart resembling the Google search of “Jeffrey Dahmer Fan Mail” shows a huge spike in frequencies as of September, 2022—the same month the series came out. P

    Photo Creds: https://talesfromthecollection.com/2022/10/06/jeffrey-dahmer/


  1. According to online encyclopedia Britannica, out of the top 7 most notorious serial killers, Jeffrey Dahmer comes in 6th. The others can be seen here: 7 of History’s Most Notorious Serial Killers. In regards to the most famous cannibals, Dahmer comes in 1st on The Lineup – Real Life Cannibals.
  2. After being a Satanist, which is depicted through the copy of The Satanic Bible on his nightstand in crime scene photos, Jeffrey Dahmer was baptized in prison and rejoined the Church as a way to repent for his sins. He was baptized in May of 1994. Side note: his killer, Scarver, was a devoted Christian and doubted Dahmer’s ability to truly repent, which may have fueled his anger towards him. 
  3. Dahmer’s father wrote a novel on being the father of a serial killer, titled A Father’s Story. The book entails how Lionel has taken accountability for possibly contributing to his son’s behavior when Jeffrey was younger. He describes the denial he went through right after Jeffrey’s persecution and the time it took to fully accept he was a contributing factor. 
  4. Jeffrey dahmer was in prison more than once. 


What is so off-putting about the actions of Dahmer is the recorded evidence of his interrogation. The hours of audio footage can make one sick to the stomach due to how casual Jeffrey was about his crimes. He showed little to no remorse for the families, at least not until he was in trial and said his apology speech—which even then, not much emotion was behind it. He was honest and straightforward, which is not often found among murderers and killers that are found guilty. 


Jeffrey Dahmer’s significance is hard to describe, as there is many killers that are just like him. It may be that for him, he was able to get away from his crimes repeatedly and this was one of the first times the public realized even the most normal people can hide massive secrets. 

Disclaimer: In no way is this article meant to glorify, support, or shed any light on the horrific actions done by Jeffrey Dahmer. This is purely informative.