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I recently gave a TEDx Talk on the stigma and misconceptions attached to the American insane asylum.  I conclude by asking the listener to change their viewpoint - or if they cannot manage that, to at least acknowledge the history and preserve the buildings.  Please check it out & share with your followers to get the word out!

Jeffrey Dahmer’s Ancestry

I love Ancestry. I’ve wasted so much time leafing through records and tracing my family history back through time and over seas, it’s downright sad. I’ve also discovered how easy it is to abuse the resources provided and look up the families of strangers—celebrities both famous and infamous.

I finally bit the bullet and decided to dig for information on Jeffrey Dahmer’s lineage. (And I’m not the only person who has attempted this, since I found other Dahmer family trees made by other weirdos like me. At least one managed to go back to the 1500’s with the Flints, who are English/Welsh.) Since my Dad also uses the same account, I took some extra precautions and named it “Madell family tree”, a dead-end surname from my mother’s side. If he were to get curious and click on it, he would be in for a bit of a shock.

What have I learned that is of interest? Well, aside from common knowledge (the surname Dahmer is of German origin, obviously) being proven with censuses and birth certificates, there wasn’t much on his father’s side. I couldn’t go very far into his maternal grandmother’s line, (she has some Welsh ancestry, dunno what else) and since our subscription is limited to American records, I was unfortunately unable to chase the Dahmer family back into the Dark Ages.

Everything interesting was on his mother’s side. The Rundbergs, Joyce’s mother’s parents (Jeffrey’s great-grandparents) are listed as immigrants from Norway. I fully expect every Dahmer book written henceforth to refrain from the clipped “German and Welsh” description and add “*also Norwegian”. Either way he’s still white.

To the left we have Joyce’s father, Floyd Flint, who was known to have been an abusive alcoholic. His father, James Ernest Humphrey Flint, spent time in an insane asylum. No, really—the 1920 Federal Census lists him as an inmate of the Wisconsin State Hospital For the Insane, now known as the Mendota Mental Health Institute. Naturally, it doesn’t list why he was there, but I’m sure we can all imagine. Three generations of mental health issues is a hefty inheritance.

Let's talk about LeFou's growing awareness of Gaston's crazy & why he's scared of him...

And let’s address outing because that’s totally how I read LeFou’s fear of Gaston.

LeFou had made himself so vulnerable in his and Gaston’s friendship, with Gaston clearly turning a blind eye to LeFou’s blatant crush on him, because Gaston enjoys the pampering and hero worship that comes with LeFou being in love with him. We saw how LeFou behaved with Gaston in public, who knows what kind of dirt Gaston had on LeFou from their private lives.

When LeFou finally gets the courage to call Gaston on his shit, Gaston immediately tells him to be quiet or he’ll “be next” in the line of people he gets carted off to a mad house. When Gaston threatened LeFou with the insane asylum you could see the pure horror on LeFou’s face and his fear of being outed was definitely what it invoked for me.

(Side note: we also know that Gaston was SO STRONG he could literally lift LeFou up on one arm, not to mention so vicious along with this strength that he had SOMEHOW GOD KNOWS HOW permanently scarred his best friend with his teeth?? Like LeFou had hardcore conscious you guys, and also hardcore fear of the very strong straight man he was hardcore in love with.)

Former insane asylum in Buffalo, New York.

H.H. Richardson Complex

(They’re turning it into a hotel.)