Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Serial Killer Groupies

Male Bonding

 

While Newton makes a point that serial killers have "an almost hypnotic effect on the opposite sex," in fact not all fans of male serial killers are female. Many Web sites devoted to the subject are maintained and authored by males, and the tone of exclusive ownership apparent in the chat lists and guest books suggests an obsession nearly equal to that of women who become infatuated with criminals. A case in point is the book written by Jason Moss about his own intense fascination with serial killers. While in interviews he downplays it all, as if it were just a project, one can see a high degree of excitement in his planning and in his writing.

As dubious as some of his claims are when he describes being in danger, he tells the compelling tale of how he began one day at the age of 18 to start up correspondences with serial killers. Among them were Jeffrey Dahmer, Charles Manson, and Richard Ramirez. While those associations were short-lived, his most intense obsession developed with John Wayne Gacy, killer of 33 young men and boys during the 1970s. Moss indicates that each letter from any of the killers to him brought him a step closer to them, inspiring him to learn everything he could about their criminal acts and perversions.

To keep Gacy interested, Moss read gay novels to learn how to pretend he was a gay hustler so he could offer beguiling descriptions. He eventually arranged a visit to the man at Menard Correctional Center in Chester, Ill., claiming that Gacy had bribed the guards to leave them alone in a private room. Moss writes that he was very nearly Gacy's final victim.

It's interesting to note that no news journalist ever called the prison to see if such conditions could have occurred (opening the prison and guards up to a potential lawsuit), and that Moss waited until after Gacy was dead to produce his book. Gacy had no way to counter the tale. For all anyone knows, these two may only have had a pleasant chat.

In any event, Moss's apparent desire to grab some notoriety by association with a sinister killer is akin to that of the females who get involved with serial killers as a way to get attention for themselves. In an interview with Salon.com, Moss indicated that he received letters from people all over the country who wished they had been in his shoes — who thought he shared with them a passion for the dark side. While he claimed that he was shocked by such sentiments, his words ring false against the manner in which he wrote the book. There's no doubt that he was just as caught up as any of the SKGs described above.

On June 6, 2006, Jason Moss shot himself in the head in the bathroom of his Henderson, Nevada, home. He had become a criminal defense attorney and was married. There was some suggestion that he had picked 6/6/06 for its symbolic association (much has been made of the 666 connection with the Book of Revelations and "the Beast"), but he apparently did not leave an explanatory note. Only weeks before, he had sounded "harried," according to his co-author, Jeffrey Kottler, as quoted in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. To Kottler, it seemed to be "Jason as usual," with no indication that he was depressed. If a movie is ever made of the book, perhaps more clarification will be forthcoming.

To find people enamored in this way with serial killers, one need only go on the Internet and check out some of the sites dedicated to serial killers. While some are merely informational, others contain opportunities for expressing the desire to associate with dangerous men and material from those who would die to meet a killer — literally.

 

 

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