Jeffrey Dahmer Learned This Terrifying Skill From His Father

On July 22, 1991, Jeffrey Dahmer's final would-be murder victim, Tracy Edwards, escaped from Dahmer's apartment in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and brought two police officers back with him, according to i News. There, the officers made a horrific discovery. There were various human organs and body parts in a freezer, severed heads in the refrigerator, and a vat of corrosive chemicals filled with body parts, among other items, per Radar and A&E.

Dahmer, one of the world's most notorious serial killers, murdered 17 men, dismembering their corpses, and sometimes cannibalizing them, beginning in 1978 until his arrest in the summer of 1991, per Biography. The criminal behavior of serial killers often begins in childhood with the torture and killing of small animals, per the Independent, and Dahmer was no exception. Beyond his obsession with dismembering animals, early in life, Dahmer also learned the skills he would later use to preserve his gruesome trophies, per Newsweek.

Lionel Dahmer tries to connect with his child 

Jeffrey Dahmer was using the vat police found in his apartment to clean his victims' bones to preserve them, per A&E. When Dahmer was a child, his father, Lionel Dahmer (above left), a research chemist, taught his son the proper way to clean and preserve bones as a way of trying to connect with his introverted son.

Carl Wahlstrom, a forensic psychiatrist who evaluated Jeffrey Dahmer after his capture, told A&E that bleaching the bones of rodents they found under the house was "a father-son activity" the Dahmers did together. Jeffrey Dahmer kept the bones in pails that rattled when shaken. His family referred to them as his "fiddlesticks," per A&E. Dahmer apparently liked the way the bones fit together, per Listverse. But Dahmer soon moved on from collecting dead animals to killing live ones, dismembering them, and keeping the remains in his clubhouse, per the Independent.

An Obsession That Only Grew With Time 

As he got older, Jeffrey Dahmer's fascination with death and dismemberment only grew. His father did not know that the behavior had escalated from scientific curiosity to something much more gruesome. Lionel Dahmer told Larry King in 2004 that Jeffrey was collecting dead animals and cutting into them to examine the insides. "But there was one thing that was different with Jeff," he told King. "He did what most all of us young males do when the hormones kick in tremendously, and he was doing something sexually with them."

Only a few years later, when Jeffrey Dahmer was 14 or 15, his obsession switched from animals to humans, according to Newsweek. Dahmer's first murder took place in 1978, when he was 18, and "was not planned" Dahmer told "Inside Edition" in 1993 (on YouTube). From there, it would be nearly 10 years before he would kill again, with the rate of his murder spree escalating and his collection of horrific mementos growing, mementos his father had inadvertently taught him how to preserve.