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The Uncanny Similarities Between Jeffrey Dahmer And Dennis Nilsen

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Exploring the eerie similarities between two notorious serial killers, Jeffrey Dahmer and Dennis Nilsen, sheds light on the disturbing connections that may have shaped their gruesome paths. Despite being separated by continents, their childhoods, military experiences, alcohol abuse and the year they began their murderous sprees intertwine in disturbing ways.

Similar childhood traumas:

Both Dahmer and Nilsen, despite their different upbringings, faced traumatic experiences in their early years. Dahmer’s bright demeanor turned dark after invasive surgery at the age of four, while Nilsen grappled with the unexpected death of his beloved grandfather at the age of six. These childhood wounds fueled their later psychopathic tendencies.

Problematic family backgrounds:

In examining the roots of psychopathy, problematic relationships with parents are emphasized. Dahmer’s difficult childhood included an absent father, an abusive mother, and his disturbing fascination with animal remains. Similarly, Nilsen’s upbringing in Scotland was marked by an absent father, sibling rivalry and the death of his beloved grandfather, leaving him unhappy.

Military service and hidden homosexuality:

Both murderers found themselves in the army, stationed in West Germany. Dahmer, a paramedic, sought solace in Frankfurt’s sex shops, while Nilsen, an army cook, hid his homosexuality for fear of exposure. Their military experiences became crucial in understanding their latent desires and inner struggles.

Alcohol abuse:

Dahmer and Nilsen shared a penchant for excessive drinking, a habit that took root in their early lives. Dahmer’s drinking escalated during his military days, often leading to drunken tears. Similarly, Nilsen’s military service saw him indulge in heavy drinking, intertwined with sexual fantasies that later influenced his crimes.

Initiation of crime in 1978.

Despite being born several years apart, Dahmer and Nilsen began their killing spree in the same year – in 1978. Dahmer’s first victim, Steven Hicks, fell into his trap of conversation and alcohol, mirroring Nilsen’s approach to his initial victim, Stephen Holmes, whom he killed after drinking.

Parallel crimes and methods:

In 1978, Dahmer and Nilsen targeted vulnerable young men, luring them into their homes for brutal murders. Violence often occurred when the victims expressed their intention to leave. The psychopathy of both killers manifested itself in a disturbing attraction to passive bodies, whether unconscious or dead. Dahmer killed 17, while Nilsen claimed between 12 and 15 victims.

Saving victims’ trophies:

A morbid fascination with the remains of their victims united Dahmer and Nilsen. Dahmer created trophies from body parts, bleached and painted skulls, displaying them on his fireplace. Nilsen, on the other hand, lived with the bodies for a long time, occasionally exhuming them to bathe and communicate, seeing his victims as “a new kind of roommate.”

Narrow escape from capture:

Both killers narrowly escaped capture when the victims fled. Dahmer’s victim, Konerak Sinthasomphone, covered in blood, encountered the police but was returned to Dahmer’s custody. Nilsen’s victim, Andrew Ho, escaped after the slavish encounter but chose not to involve the police, tragically allowing Dahmer and Nilsen to continue their murderous sprees.


The parallels between Jeffrey Dahmer and Dennis Nilsen offer a chilling glimpse into the intricate web of factors that can contribute to the creation of psychopathic killers. Their shared experiences, from traumatic childhoods to military service, alcohol abuse, and the gruesome nature of their crimes, underscore the complex interplay between nature and nurture in the development of psychopathy.

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