When Jason Moss was an 18-year-old college freshman, he had an obsession with success. Moss' goal was a career in law enforcement, specifically the FBI. As a way to ensure his future ambitions, Moss got creative.
For his honors thesis at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Moss became pen pals with five of America's most notorious incarcerated serial killers. Those murderers including John Wayne Gacy, Charles Manson, and Jeffrey Dahmer.
Moss reasoned that gaining the trust of a serial killer (and possibly learning about some of their unsolved murders) was a way to distinguish himself as a candidate for the FBI. With this is mind, Moss began to meticulously research America's famous incarcerated serial killers. To gain their trust, in each letter Moss posed as someone who he believed would interest the killers.
Over the course of a few letters, Moss eventually established relationships with Richard Ramirez, Henry Lee Lucas, Jeffrey Dahmer, Charles Manson, and John Wayne Gacy. In his letters to them, Moss assumed the roles of disciple, admirer, surrogate, and potential victim respectively.
However, the killer that Moss established the best relationship with was John Wayne Gacy.
Gacy, also known as the Killer Clown, was one of the most prolific serial killers in American history. Between 1972 and 1978, Gacy was responsible for the deaths of at least 33 teenage boys and young men in the Chicago area.
Moss wrote to Gacy posing as a potential victim: a young, naive, insecure gay man who could be easily manipulated.
From Moss's point of view, he appeared to be successful in manipulating Gacy by posing as a potential victim. To continue the correspondence, Moss continued to invent a personality and life in line with one of Gacy's victims.
Gacy sent him letters with graphic and disturbing instructions for sexual acts that Moss was to commit for Gacy's pleasure. Over the course of their correspondence Moss received over 100 letters from Gacy, some of which included hand drawn pictures.
After several months of writing each other, Moss and Gacy began to talk on the phone every Sunday morning. The two frequently discussed sex, and Gacy's sexual fantasies.
Eventually, Gacy asked Moss to come visit him in prison where he was on death row awaiting execution. After assuring his mother that he would be safe, Moss left for Illinois. Moss arrived at the prison and was led to a room where Gacy was. However, instead of being supervised by the guards, the door to the room was locked, and the security camera was turned to face the wall.
Now alone with Gacy in the room, Moss saw that in fact the table were turned. He wasn't manipulating Gacy, Gacy was manipulating him.
Alone in that room, Gacy began to psychologically torture and belittle Moss. During the course of the two day visit, Gacy made it very clear to Moss that he was in his power and that he had the power to kill him at any moment. Later, Moss recounted that it was obvious Gacy wanted to have sex with him during that visit. Lucky for Moss, just as Gacy was becoming even more unstable, a guard knocked at the door and Moss got out of there.
After his face-to-face encounter with Gacy, Moss cut off contact with all of his serial killer pen pals. A few months later, Gacy was executed by lethal injection on May 10, 1994. Moss fell into a depression after his serial killer experiment went so wrong.
He felt that even though he had not been physically harmed, in many ways he was like Gacy's last victim. Eventually as a way of processing his emotions, he turned his experiences into a best-selling book The Last Victim. Sadly Moss never fully recovered from his experiences and committed suicide on June 6, 2006.
In 1999 Jason Moss and his relationship with John Gacy was the subject of an episode of the ABC show 20/20. You can check both parts of the episode embedded below.
I can understand the impulse for Moss to try something like this, but there is no doubt that he wholly unequipped to venture into the twisted minds of these killers. You can find his book The Last Victim for sale on Amazon.