“Reams of stories reeled me in
Cocked my ears and hooked my chin,
A Friday dinner, a fish-drunk sinner,
Pull me down, Lord, put me in….”-from “Lost and Found”, by Johnny Flynn
A while back-about seven or eight months ago-I got interested in serial kilers.
It all started with this crazy-huge book called “True Crime” that I found in my parents’ library when I was a kid. It read like a thesis on criminal psychology written by a tabloid sub-editor. It was a sensationalist, error-ridden tome, full to the brim with indignant retellings of the most gruesome crimes imaginable. I loved it, and still tote it around with me to shock people with.
Anyway, the book devoted an impressive twenty-one pages to the notorious-I quote-“sadist cannibal” Jeffrey Dahmer. The author made a real effort on this guy, and it’s still, for me, the most memorable entry in the entire book. I read Dahmer’s horrible story over and over, and when I figured out how to use the Internet I looked him up obsessively. I revisited him a couple of years later, and Wikipedia ever-so-helpfully pointed me in the direction of such luminaries as Ed Gein, John Wayne Gacy, and Dennis Nilsen. Trutv’s Crime Library didn’t help.
But, as I devoured these tales of debauchery, selfishness, and broken moral compasses, I noticed something that made me think a little. Along with every killer, there was a long, sterile list of The Victims. Names, ages, maybe the odd picture of a sepia-tinted, smiley-faced nobody. Apart from that? Nothing.
And then, one day, I decided to look Dahmer up on a popular online artistic community called deviantArt-y’know, just to see if there was anything interesting going down.
Sweet Jehovahs, did I ever get a shock.
There were pages beyond number of “artwork”, literature, and poems glorifying him. And worse-I will deign to say that I never knew that Jeff was romantically involved with Ted Bundy. And not a word was said about the murders, unless it was in some comic context. “You gonna eat that?” The victims had been written out of the history books. They never existed. They didn’t matter. Out of sight, out of mind….
Well, says I, that’s gonna stop now. Out of curiousity, I meandered around the web, picking up little snippets of information on those nameless, faceless ghosts. I was astonished at what I found-a whole new side to the whole “serial murder” spiel. A whole bunch of interesting, intriuging people, whose lives and troubles far exceeded those of their killers in value, were languishing at the back of the public imagination, only alluded to briefly, if ever. I will be frank-it made me mad, thinking of all those stupid fangirls (and others) who endlessly “squee’d” over smirking psychopaths. I set out to turn that attitude completely on its head.
So that’s what this blog is gonna be about. One victim at a time, where possible, will be pulled out into the spotlight and given the attention they damn well deserve. Their killers will be mentioned, but only to mock them. (Believe me-they are a rich source of “roast”-style comedy.)
In certain cases, I will not be able to do each and every victim, because of lack of identification, lack of information freely available, or because there is a large number of victims. In such cases, there will be multiple victims in the one post , but no less attention will be afforded to them because of that.
The next post will be up in a few days’ time, because I’m up to my optic nerves in exams at the moment. The first group of posts will concern the Dahmer victims, and I’m starting with Stephen Hicks, the young hitchhiker he killed first. Stay tuned….