Jeffrey Lionel Dahmer, aka the Milwaukee Cannibal, committed the rape, murder and also dismemberment of 17 men and also boys in between 1978 and 1991, with countless of his later murders likewise involving necrophilia, cannibalism and the permanent preservation of human body parts. Dahmer to be sentenced to 15 terms of life imprisonment top top February 15, 1992. Photo: Curt Borgwardt/Sygma via Getty photos
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Jeffrey Dahmer, Albert Fish and More: Why carry out Some Serial Killers Turn into Cannibals?

AuthorSarah Watts

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Jeffrey Dahmer, Albert Fish and also More: Why carry out Some Serial Killers Turn right into Cannibals?



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October 14, 2021


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When we hear words “cannibal,” the very first thing that pertains to mind for many human being is the  Silence that the Lambs villain, Hannibal Lecter, a serial killer that would eat his victims’ organs v a glass of wine. But while Lecter is a fictitious character, he is based upon several real-life murderers who dined on their victims after ~ a kill.

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Cannibals have constantly existed throughout human being history, according to anthropologists: as a cure for overpopulation, a means of survival throughout a famine, or even a means to complete with grief, almost every culture has consumed people for some factor at one suggest in time.

But what’s no so common are murderers who kill because that sport and also then devour their victims. That the approximated 2,000 energetic serial killers in the united States, in between five and 10 are probably cannibals as well, says Dr. Eric Hickey, professor the forensic psychology at Walden University.
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Cannibals, says Hickey, are nearly never true psychopaths, who have actually trouble making meaningful connections with other human beings. In general, they often tend to build extreme attachments come people and also suffer indigenous neediness and also low self-esteem.

“Cannibals often tend to feel really insecure and also can’t have actually normal relationships,” Hickey says. “Eating your victims offers them a feeling of power, since their victims can never leave.”

Because cannibals have the right to have emotional attachments, your victims’ deaths room usually quick, wanting to spare the other person pain. “They’re not interested in your victim suffering, choose Ted Bundy was. They’re not in search of sadism. They simply want accessibility to the body,” claims Hickey.

What’s more, cannibalism is commonly a sex-related act: “Whenever killers eat other people, they’re acting out a fantasy around relationships and intimacy,” Hickey says. “They start exploring with sexual fantasies around voyeurism and necrophilia, and also as they’re fantasizing they check out that behavior. Friend don’t typically see civilization jump from killing to eating. That starts through watching world sleep, climate drugging victims, climate you desire to be v someone who’s buried or unconscious—and that progresses from there.”

Here are six killers that stalked, murdered and eventually consumed their victims. Please note, the following content consists of disturbing accounts of too much violence and sexual violence.  Discretion is advised.

Jeffrey Dahmer

Jeffrey Dahmer’s crimes were so heinous they do headlines roughly the world. For much more than a decade, Dahmer lured men to his apartment through the promise of sex or money and drugged his victims before dismembering them. As soon as police raided his apartment in July 1991, they found various body components from his 17 victims, such as severed heads, arms and also torsos, stored in his freezer. Dahmer later on admitted to eat the thighs, hearts and organs of numerous of his victims.

During his jail sentence, Dahmer would supposedly fashion his food into severed limbs—complete through ketchup “blood”—to shock the other inmates. This “taunting” led to fellow inmate, Christopher Scarver beating Dahmer to fatality in 1994.

Albert Fish

In January 1936, Albert Fish was executed for the murder of 10-year-old elegant Budd, whom he had lured away from her parents 2 years earlier under the pretense that going come a date of birth party. Fish had taken grace to an exit house, strangled her to death and also dismembered her body—but he didn’t protect against there.

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After Grace’s murder, Fish sent out a letter to she grieving family, detailing how he had eaten parts of her body after she died. As soon as police captured up v Fish, the confessed to two other murders and also told police he had likewise consumed the body parts of a 4-year-old boy called Billy Gaffney. In a letter come his attorney, Fish confessed the he drank Gaffney’s blood and also had do a stew out of his organs.

Boone Helm

Born in 1828, Levi Boone Helm invested his teenager years goading people into fights and also ran off to California in his beforehand 20s after ~ murdering his cousin. In California, and also then later on in Oregon, Helm started to develop a taste for human being flesh, cannibalizing a friend that had died by suicide and also then killing and eating ranchers and other fugitives if he was on the operation from legislation enforcement.

But Helm claims he had a ethical duty to dispose the the stays of his victims in such a gruesome way. Before his capture and also execution on January 14, 1864, Helm confessed to friends that he had actually killed several men and had “been obliged to feed on few of ’em.”

Gregory Scott Hale

Before his June 8, 2014 arrest, Gregory Scott Hale the Summitville, Tennessee was posting some disturbing points on his an individual Facebook page. According to reports, Hale frequently joked around killing, eating and also burying people in his backyard.

But Hale’s musings quickly came to be a reality: After choose up a woman at a regional liquor store, Hale lugged her back to his house, murdered her and then admitted to police later that the had consumed a component of she body.

When policemans searched Hale’s backyard, they uncovered the decapitated head, hands and also feet the his victim, 36-year-old Lisa Marie Hyder. The victim’s heart was later uncovered in a neighbor’s yard, wherein Hale had thrown it before his arrest.

Andrei Chikatilo

Nicknamed “The Butcher the Rostov” and also “The Red Ripper,” Andrei Chikatilo was among the most prolific killers in Ukraine, confessing come 56 killing (though just charged v 53) during his 12-year-long crime spree.

Some experts think Chikatilo, who started killing in the late 1970s, ended up being interested in cannibalism at very early age. He declared his mom would call him about an older brothers who had actually been killed and also cannibalized by their neighbors. Back the story was never verified, that would match up with the aftermath of the great Ukrainian starvation of the 1930s in which extensive cannibalism to be documented.

As one adult, Chikatilo would attract young women into the woods, rape and mutilate them, and then eat their sexual organs, as well as removing other body parts like your nose and eyes. Chikatilo was arrested in 1990 and executed because that his crime in 1994.

Issei Sagawa

Born in Japan in 1949, Issei Sagawa skilled “cannibalistic urges” in ~ a young age. In an interview with Vice News, Sagawa describes looking at his elementary-school classmates and also longing to eat their flesh, stating that he became obsessed with eating “tall, healthy-looking western women” due to an inferiority complex.

At age 27, Sagawa moved to Paris to study at the Sorbonne, where he later on met classmate Renee Hartevelt and persuaded she to come back to his apartment to interpret poetry for him. There, Sagawa shot and killed Hartevelt, raped her corpse and also ate parts of her body over the next several days.

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Sagawa, later on nicknamed the “Paris Cannibal,” was eventually caught and also deported to Japan, where he was committed to a mental institution—but because of a technicality, Sagawa might not it is in legally detained and was collection free. Sagawa remains free to this day, and lives ~ above his very own in Kawasaki, Japan.

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