Was serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer a cannibal in real life? As gruesome as Dahmer’s multiple killings were, the allegations of cannibalism added a grisly twist.
The answer is that, yes, Dahmer practiced cannibalism, at least according to what he told Milwaukee police. The details, derived from newspaper articles at the time on trial testimony, are extremely gruesome and disturbing, so be forewarned.
Dahmer’s killings between 1978 and 1991 are getting renewed attention as a result of a new Netflix docudrama series. “Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story” started streaming on September 21, 2022. “Across more than a decade, 17 teen boys and young men were murdered by convicted killer Jeffrey Dahmer. How did he evade arrest for so long?” the Netflix site for the show asks.
Here’s what you need to know:
Dahmer Told Police He Ate a Heart & Seasoned a Human Muscle With Steak Sauce
Extremely disturbing details on Dahmer’s killings came out during his 1992 trial in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. However, they are based on his account to police, and one psychiatrist believed he might have been lying about some of it, namely the cannibalism, to bolster an insanity defense.
It’s impossible to know for sure; police did find heads in his refrigerator.
A 1992 article in the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram, accessed through Newspapers.com, described trial testimony. “Witnesses told of how Dahmer cooked and ate a heart, bicep and thigh; how he slit corpses from sternum to toe and cut the flesh into fist-sized pieces; and how he soaked torsos in acid and kept skulls and other parts as mementos.”
Dahmer argued at trial that he was insane, but the jury rejected his defense. He was sentenced to multiple life terms and died two years later in a state of Wisconsin prison, where he was bludgeoned to death by another inmate.
The District Attorney also said during the trial that Dahmer had a “compulsion to have sex with corpses.”
An Associated Press article from 1992 says that jurors “were told he ate a heart and seasoned a human muscle with steak sauce.”
Another 1992 AP article, also accessed via Newspapers.com, quoted a psychiatrist as saying that Dahmer became “a kind of hunter,” but he was not insane. “He kept the remains as trophies.”
That article said Dahmer drugged and strangled his victims, and he “fileted most of his victims, ate a heart, bicep and thigh and boiled some skulls for keeping.”
However, this psychiatrist thought it was possible that Dahmer lied “when he told police he ate some victims’ flesh and drilled holes in their heads while they were alive in an attempt to create zombie-like sex partners.”
Police Found Painted Skulls in Dahmer’s Apartment & He Told Them He Tried to Create Zombies
Another Associated Press article on Dahmer’s insanity trial in 1992 reported that Dahmer, a chocolate factory worker, tried to create “zombies.”
The article reports that police found “painted skulls, pictures of mutilated men, severed heads in cold storage” in Dahmer’s apartment.
Dahmer told psychiatrists he “tries to make zombies of some victims before they died by drilling into their heads and pouring acid or boiling water inside.”
As a boy, he cut up dogs “and searched for road kills,” the article reports.
READ NEXT: Jeffrey Dahmer’s Cause of Death.