Effect: A number of body parts taken from Jeffrey Dahmer’s apartment are
displayed. A spectator makes an apparently free choice of one of several
photographs of Dahmer’s victims. When the photograph of the chosen victim is
turned over, the back reveals that it was his heart that Dahmer saved as a
trophy. Suddenly, a heartbeat is heard from within a box, but when the box is
opened, the heartbeat stops. And then, when the spectator reaches in to touch
the heart, it begins beating again, this time both audibly and visibly.
The Story: Jeffrey Dahmer was a serial killer who operated in and around the
Milwaukee area between 1987 and 1991, during which time he committed the
murder and dismemberment of sixteen men and boys. Many of his murders
involved cannibalism and the preservation of various body parts from his
victims. He was convicted of 15 of the murders and was sentenced to 15 terms
of life imprisonment on February 17, 1992. He was beaten to death by a fellow
inmate at the Columbia Correctional Institution in Portage, Wisconsin on
November 28, 1994.
Dahmer’s modus operandi involved a clever means of enticing these young men and boys to his apartment. He would pose as a photographer, promising his
prospective victims a photo shoot that might well lead to their employment at a
local modeling agency. Once he had a victim inside, he would photograph him,
torture him, kill him, and dismember his body before dining on a portion of the
remains. And, of course, in the tradition of the classic serial killer, he would
retain a trophy from each victim, usually in the form of a body part.
I have here a collection of some of Dahmer’s trophies, taken from the evidence
room of the Milwaukee Police Department: a finger, a collar bone (obviously
picked clean of any flesh), an ear.
Here are photographs of ten of Dahmer’s victims, part of his personal collection
that contained literally dozens of images. You will notice that on the back of
each photo, Dahmer kept notes as to the victim’s name, the date on which he
killed them, and the trophy he kept in remembrance of their brief relationship. I
would like you to randomly select one of these photographs by simply giving me
a number between 1 and 10.
The heart was very significant in Dahmer’s case. As he was interviewed by a
great number of psychologists and psychiatrists, one common theme ran
through the lot of them: The heart. As Dahmer would sit for the interviews, his
head would nod rhythmically, as if mirroring the beat of his victim’s heart. Most
of the doctors concluded that this was in fact the case, that the beating of his
victims’ hearts had become a permanent part of his psyche. The heart was
As for the police, none of the officers wantedto be anywhere near the evidence
locker which held the artifacts in this case, especially after midnight. In fact,
more than one officer swore he could hear the faint beating of a heart coming
from Dahmer’s evidence material. Since the case was closed and Dahmer was
dead, the police were only too happy to relinquish control of these morbid items.
That’s how I got them.
One evening, just before midnight, a district attorney who was working on the
case went into the evidence locker to get some materials. As he approached
the Dahmer files, he swore he could hear that faint heart beat coming from the
box that housed one of the victim’s hearts. When he opened the box, the sound
stopped. Curious, he reached in to touch the heart, and…well…just touch the
Perhaps Dahmer’s Delight wasn’t so delightful to the rest of us!
What you receive:
- A box, with a small hole in the back
-- A wire connected to a small block of wood
- A piece of foam rubber
- A small battery-powered bluetooth speaker
- A piece of black cloth
- An artificial collar bone
- A silicone ear
- A silicone finger
- A silicone heart
- A recording o0f a heartbeat (provided on a thumb drive)
- 12 photographs (11 of victims and one of Dahmer)
- An instruction manual, printed on parchment-like paper, including suggested