Jeffrey Dahmer: Trying to Understand a Killer
There are a lot of people that are interested in learning about serial killers, perhaps because they’re interested in the demented psychological aspect of it, perhaps because they adore the macabre, others still are interested in the criminal aspect and trying to understand how or why killers do what they do. To be honest, I’m one of those people–my own interests lie somewhere between the educational and the macabre; I’m simply fascinated by how a child who, much like Jeffrey Dahmer, seems to go from having a typical dysfunctional family life and childhood to cannibalism and necrophilia. Trust me when I say I take no personal joy in these types of stories, so much as I want to see how these people come into existence in the first place.
Well, I got a freelance gig writing a 15,000-word novella about Jeffrey Dahmer and now I’m forced to go through the many
(many, many, many) books I have on the topic and watch documentaries where family, friends, and even Dahmer himself speak on his crimes and what his life was like. I have noticed, however, that after reading chapters of these books or watching one of the short documentaries (I’ve embedded them below) my mood, behavior, and overall attitude have changed. Much to my own dismay, the farther I dive into the topics of his childhood, young adulthood, first kill, then later accounts of multiple other victims, as well as his arrest and subsequent trial, that I become more intrigued and it becomes harder to pull myself away.
I suppose this post isn’t so much about trying to understand a killer like Jeffrey Dahmer, so much as trying to understand my own personal reaction to it. I am well aware of the different kinds of reactions that people have when they’re introduced to such heinous acts–some people watch True Crime documentaries on television, other people read psychological books for the laymen in an effort to understand, while most people tend to just avoid the subject. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to pinpoint my own reason behind it, but I will admit that I am enjoying the project. Hopefully, I’ll be able to link to the project later as part of my portfolio, but I highly suspect that this is less of a co-production and more of a ghostwriting gig where I wasn’t given the opportunity to request credit for my part in it. Regardless, it’s something that I can say that I’ve done for my writing resume–True Crime it seems is a difficult thing to immerse yourself in without feeling incredibly demented later on.
It’s definitely not for the faint of heart.