Netflix “Conversations with a Killer:
The Jeffrey Dahmer Tapes is a documentary series that is both fascinating and scary at the same time. That’s because it looks at every aspect of the serial killer’s horrific exploits, both through his own recorded history and through first-hand accounts from people who knew him well. Michael Ross is one of them. He knew Jeffrey and was friends with some of his victims. Now if you want to know more about him, you have the important facts.
What is the name of Michael Ross?
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, when Michael was a young man living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, he often went to gay bars to truly be himself in a place where community mattered. That’s where he seems to have first met Jeffrey, along with Anthony Sears, Anthony “Tony” Hughes, Edward Smith, and many others. However, over time, Jeffrey began to target her. Michael recalls that when the truth about Jeffrey came out, “several people in the bars said, ‘I remember him’ … Well, of course we all did. That’s how big Milwaukee is.”
Michael says in the docuseries that the gay lifestyle in the Midwestern city was “really on the rise” at the time, but the truth is they still had a lot of issues to contend with. “You could just be yourself. You had freedom, so you felt comfortable,” he said, later adding, “We all just became what we are; to accept ourselves.” A lot of these people had good hearts.” But because of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and other personal issues, some people just disappeared or left town, so it was kind of normal that some were never seen again.
“A lot of times when you walked into a bar, people would say, ‘Kid! Another isn’t there.” You’d say, “What? Who isn’t here?’” Michael described. “Because Milwaukee is so small, especially the black gay people. So if you haven’t seen someone for two to three weeks, you’d think they’d moved. But then, I’d say about once a week, someone else would say, “So-and-so’s gone.” Even his friend Earnest Miller disappeared in early September 1990, and he remembers vividly the last time he saw one of his closest friends, Tony Hughes, in May 1991 when Hughes left Michael at the bar to dance with Jeffrey.
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What is Michael Ross doing now?
Michael could never have imagined that Jeffrey horribly killed many of the missing people in his apartment, but it is true, and it came to light in July 1991. Though he also believes law enforcement was at least partly to blame because “I was in the bars a lot,” he says. Nobody has asked me who I know.” He said, “No police officer or detective has ever approached me and asked what I knew about this or that person.” It didn’t last a few weeks or a few months; it was like that for years. Had the victims been white and gay, the search should have been more thorough.
“Every time I think of one of these men, it makes me sad,” Michael said honestly. “Because like everyone else back then, they were trying to figure out who they were. You didn’t expect to die.” As for Michael himself, as far as we can tell, he still lives near Milwaukee, Wisconsin and keeps out of the limelight by living a quiet life. We don’t know much about his personal or professional life at the moment, which is a shame. All that matters is that the former prison officer seems content with who he is and where he is now.
Dahmer was born on May 21, 1960 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He was the first of his parents’ two sons. His mother, Joyce Annette (née Flint; February 7, 1936 – November 27, 2000), taught people how to use teletype machines. His father, Lionel Herbert Dahmer (born July 29, 1936), studied chemistry at Marquette University and later worked as a research chemist. Lionel Dahmer’s ancestors came from Germany and Wales, Joyce Dahmer’s from Norway and Ireland.
Some sources say Dahmer was not nursed as a baby. Other sources, however, state that both of Dahmer’s parents spoiled him as a baby and toddler, although his mother was known to be tense, craving attention and pity, and argumentative with her husband and neighbors.
When Dahmer entered the first grade, Lionel spent most of his time at the university. When he was at home, his hypochondriacal and depressed wife, who was always ill, demanded constant attention and spent more and more time in bed. At least once, she used Equanil to attempt suicide. So both parents didn’t spend much time with their son. He later said that from an early age he felt “insecure about the stability of the family” because he recalled his parents being very angry with each other and arguing a lot when he was young.
Dahmer was an “active and happy kid,” but he’s changed a lot after having surgery on two hernias just before his fourth birthday. In elementary school, Dahmer was considered shy and quiet. One of his teachers later said that he showed early signs of abandonment due to his father’s absence and his mother’s illnesses, which worsened when she was expecting her second child.  Still, Dahmer had a few friends when he was in elementary school.
The family moved to Doylestown, Ohio in October 1966. When Joyce had a baby in December, Jeffrey had to choose the name for his new brother. He chose David. Lionel graduated and that same year got a job as an analytical chemist in nearby Akron, Ohio.
Dahmer was interested in dead animals from a young age. He may have been interested in dead animals when he was four years old and saw his father retrieve animal bones from under the family home. Lionel said that Dahmer was “strangely excited” about the sound the bones made and became obsessed with them. He initially called them his “fiddlesticks”. Sometimes he would search under and around the family home for more bones. He also looked inside the bodies of living animals to find out where their bones were.
In 1968 the family moved to the community of Bath in Summit County, Ohio. This was their third home in two years and their sixth home since they got married. The house was on an acre of woods, and Dahmer began collecting large bugs, such as dragonflies and moths, and the bones of small animals, such as chipmunks and squirrels, in a small hut near the house. Some of these bones were kept in formaldehyde jars at the hut.
Two years later, while having chicken dinner with Lionel, Dahmer asked him what would happen if he soaked chicken bones in bleach. Lionel was happy that his son seemed interested in science, so he showed him how to safely bleach and store animal bones. Dahmer used these techniques to preserve the bones he collected. He also began collecting dead animals, including roadkill, which he would dissect and bury near the cabin. Sometimes he placed the skulls on makeshift crosses. One of Dahmer’s friends said he told him he was interested in how animals “fit together.” In 1975, Dahmer cut off the head of a dead dog, nailed his body to a tree, and stuck the dog’s head on a stick in the woods behind his house. He later invited a friend to see the exhibit and said he found the bones by accident as a “prank.”
Lionel taught his son how to preserve animal bones the same year that Joyce began taking more Equanil, laxatives, and sleeping pills each day. This made it even more difficult for her to talk to her husband and children.
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The teenage years and high school
Ever since he was a freshman at Revere High School, Dahmer has been known as a weirdo. By the time he was 14, he was drinking beer and liquor during the day.  He often hid his alcohol in the jacket he wore to school. He told a classmate who asked him why he drank scotch in a morning history class that the alcohol he drank was “my medicine.” The staff thought Dahmer was polite, very smart, and had average grades in his freshman year, although he didn’t talk much. He enjoyed playing tennis and was in the high school band for a short time.
Dahmer found out he was gay when he turned 13, but he didn’t tell his parents. Early in his teens, he had a brief relationship with another teenager, but they never met. Dahmer later said that he began fantasizing about dominating and controlling a totally submissive male partner when he was in his early to mid-teens. His masturbatory fantasies gradually changed so that he focused his fantasies on men’s chests and upper bodies. Over time, these fantasies became mixed up with dissections. When Dahmer was about 16, he had a fantasy that he would KO a certain male jogger he found attractive and then use his body sexually. Dahmer once hid in the bushes with a baseball bat to wait for this man, but he didn’t come by that day. Dahmer later said that this was his first attempt at attacking someone and making them obey him.
Dahmer was sort of a class clown at RHS. He often played pranks, which became known as “doing a dahmer”. For example, he would bitch and pretend he had epileptic seizures or cerebral palsy at school and in stores. Dahmer sometimes did these things to get money so he could buy alcohol.
Until 1977, Dahmer got worse grades. His parents paid for a private tutor, but it didn’t work out very well. That same year, his parents tried to save their marriage by going to a counseling center. They kept fighting all the time. In September 1977, Lionel found out that Joyce was having a brief affair. He and Joyce decided to divorce and told their sons they wanted to do it amicably. In early 1978, Lionel moved out of the house and stayed for a while in a motel on North Cleveland’s Massillon Road.
Dahmer dropped out of high school in May 1978. A few weeks before graduating, one of Dahmer’s teachers saw him downing several cans of beer while sitting near the school parking lot. When the teacher threatened to tell the principal, Dahmer told him he had “a lot of problems” at home and that the school counselor knew about it. In the spring of that year, Joyce and David left the family home and moved to Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin to live with relatives. Dahmer had just turned 18 and was still living at home with his family. On July 24, 1978, Dahmer’s parents finally separated. Joyce has to keep her younger son and gets child support.
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