Monster - Dahmer: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story is Netflix’s latest true crime series which tells the grisly true story of American serial killer, Jeffrey Dahmer, who was responsible for the gruesome murders of 17 men and boys between 1978 and 1991.
The 10 episode series stars Evan Peters (American Horror Story, Mare of Easttown) as the man also known as the “Milwaukee Cannibal”. During episodes viewers are shown a brief glimpse at the dozens of disturbing polaroid photos Dahmer took of his victims which depicted his sickening crimes.
But why did Jeffrey Dahmer take polaroid pictures of his victims and what part did they play in his arrest? Here’s everything you need to know.
*This article contains descriptions of Dahmer’s killings which may be disturbing*
Why did Jeffrey Dahmer take Polaroid pictures of his victims?
Reported by Distractify, many of Dahmer’s later murders saw him lure victims to his home by offering them $100 for photographs. Once the victim had entered his apartment, Dahmer would murder them and dismember their body.
According to The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology, written in 1994, Dahmer photographed his victims because “he wanted to keep them as mementos to keep him company”.
Whilst Biography.com explains: “He frequently took photos of his victims at various stages of the murder process, so he could recollect each act afterward and relive the experience.”
Police discovered the photos along with sketches Dahmer had made outlining his plans to construct an altar in his apartment to display the painted skeletons and skulls of his victims on either side of a back table.
According to The Sun, Dahmer had made his victims pose on this table for photographs, before killing them.
How did police find the polaroid photos?
The photos were discovered by the police on July 22, 1991 after Tracey Edwards managed to escape Dahmer’s apartment. The then 32-year-old had met Dahmer in a bar and agreed to go back to his home for $100. Once there, Dahmer tried to handcuff him, telling Edwards he was going to “eat” his heart.
Edwards managed to escape and flag down officers Robert Rauth and Rolf Mueller. The pair went to Dahmer’s apartment to investigate Edward’s claims and noticed a foul smell upon entering the premises.
Mueller searched Dahmer’s bedroom and discovered his bedside drawer was full of polaroid pictures, depicting graphic images of dismembered bodies. It’s reported that the police officer went into the living room to show the pictures to his partner saying “These are real.”
According to The Sun, the photographs included images of the victim’s decapitated heads and the serial killer engaging in necrophilia.
How many photos were there?
Officer Mueller discovered almost 80 polaroid photos which all revealed Dahmer posing the dismembered bodies at different stages of the murder process. The photographs allowed police to identify some of the men and boys that Dahmer had brutally killed, with the youngest being 14-year-old Konerak Sinthasomphone.
Sinthasomphone had managed to escape Dahmer, but was lead back to the serial killer’s apartment by police officers after Dahmer claimed he was his drunk boyfriend.
What happened to Jeffrey Dahmer?
After the discovery of the polaroids Dahmer was arrested and confessed to his crimes. Milwaukee’s Criminal Investigation Bureau carried out a complete search of Dahmer’s home and discovered four severed human heads in his kitchen, seven human skulls, two human hearts, two whole human skeletons, a mummified scalp and three dismembered torsos dissolving in a 57 gallon drum of acid.
In an interview in November 1991, Dahmer commented that the altar he had planned was dedicated to “Myself. It was a place where I could feel at home.” Adding it was a “place for meditation,” and that “If this [his arrest] had happened six months later, that’s what they would have found.”
Dahmer was found guilty in 1992 and sentenced to 16 life imprisonments for his crimes. The notorious serial killer died in prison in 1994 after being beaten to death by fellow prisoner Christopher Scarver.
What is the Jeffrey Dahmer: TikTok polaroid challenge?
Following the popularity of the Netflix series, there has been a trend on the social media platform TikTok of people trying to find Dahmer’s polaroid photos and then sharing videos of their reaction.
Users have been calling out accounts that are sharing this content, with questions raised as to why the graphic polaroid photos are even available online.