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Content warning: This article contains references to murder and sexual assault some may find upsetting. Reader discretion is advised.
If someone uses the term "serial killer eyes" as a descriptor, a specific color, shape, or size might not come to mind, but you'd certainly know what they're talking about. You might even assume that those serial killer eyes might be peeking out from behind a pair of wire-rimmed aviators, a style of glasses that became notorious thanks to Jeffrey Dahmer.
In Monster: the Jeffrey Dahmer Story on Netflix, Evan Peters plays serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer as the TV series tells the story of his life from infancy to death at the hands of a fellow inmate. Throughout his time as a teen living with parents Lionel and Joyce Dahmer up until his trial in 1992, Dahmer wore a pair of '70s-style aviator eyeglasses as well as bright yellow colored contacts. Here's what we know about his thought process behind that choice.
Did Jeffrey Dahmer ever take off his glasses?
Yes, but only for a very specific reason. Dahmer, despite having worn his glasses for a significant portion of his life, removed his glasses in the courtroom. His stepmom Shari Dahmer told Inside Edition in 1992, "He's not wearing glasses so that he can't see people. He panics."
Dahmer put on his glasses one time throughout his court proceedings — when he received 15 consecutive life sentences to be served out in prison. Dahmer was unable to receive the death penalty due to the practice being abolished in the state of Wisconsin many years prior. "Frankly, I wanted death for myself," Dahmer had stated.
Why did Jeffrey Dahmer wear yellow contacts?
If you have ever wondered why Dahmer (and therefore Evan Peters, cast in the role of Dahmer) has such creepy, unsettling eyes, it might be because of the colored contacts that he wore. Originally blue-eyed, Dahmer would often wear bright yellow contacts before going to scope out gay bars for men to attack.
Gisela K., author of "The Milwaukee Monster," explained that Dahmer was obsessed with Star Wars' Emperor Palpatine as well as The Exorcist III. The killer would channel both the movie villains and get into character by wearing yellow contacts. In her book, Gisela K. wrote, "At his trial, The Exorcist III became a focal point as it was his favorite movie that he watched at least two to three times per week for about six months before he was caught." She continued, "He resonated so much with the main antagonist, the Gemini killer, that he bought yellow contact lenses to feel and look like him."
Why does it seem like other serial killers wore the same glasses?
Dorothea Puente, the Zodiac Killer, Harold Shipman, Wayne Williams, Dennis Nilsen, the BTK Strangler a.k.a. Dennis Rader, and Ed Kemper all happened to wear glasses — some (Rader, Kemper) even donned pairs of aviators that looked eerily similar to Dahmer's signature glasses.
It's hard to know why so many serial killers from the '70s and '80s wore glasses, but the common thread could partially be attributed to the fact that glasses obscure a portion of the face, as a sort of mask. Those frames were also popular, commonly-worn styles of the times that may have just happened to be worn in multiple serial killers’ mugshots.
Where are Jeffrey Dahmer's glasses now?
Dahmer's glasses that he wore in prison are currently on sale for $150,000. Collectors who are looking to purchase the serial killer's gold, wire-rimmed frames will need to reach deep into their pockets and hand over $150k to Taylor James, owner of Vancouver-based business Cult Collectibles.
As per TMZ, James acquired the frames after being contacted by Lionel Dahmer's former housekeeper. James agreed to sell the glasses along with other Jeffrey Dahmer-related items (paperwork, cutlery, photos, and a Bible) for a cut of the profits.
Watch all 10 episodes of "Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story" on Netflix.
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