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Phil Chalmers new podcast gifts serial killers BTK Dennis Rader Charles Manson John Wayne Gacy

A drawing from BTK serial killer Dennis Rader. A violin made from popsicle sticks from William Clyde Gibson, who killed three women and buried one in his backyard in Indiana. A Christmas card from Charles Manson.

For more than three decades, Phil Chalmers has been interviewing, corresponding with and talking by phone to murderers and serial killers. ‘You get things. You get letters. You get Christmas cards. You get paintings,’ he told DailyMail.com.

His private collection includes donations from others and law enforcement, such as a doll head that an investigator found in the storage shed of Rader, two unpublished books written and a painting of Jesus by John Wayne Gacy, and a wrapper from the chocolate factory that Jeffrey Dahmer worked at in Milwaukee.

In addition to his assemblage, he has written books and launched a new true crime podcast, Where the Bodies are Buried, in August. Each episode features his interviews with a serial killer. The first chapter was David Berkowitz, known as the Son of Sam. 

Chalmers said he does this work to solve cold cases, locate bodies and bring closure to the victims’ families.

‘I’m not a fan of true crime. I talk to a lot of victims and their families. I see the pain that these crimes bring. I speak for the dead.’

Phil Chalmers started researching teen killers in around 1985 and by 1990, he conducted his first in-person interview in prison with Sean Sellers, a 17-year-old who was convicted of killing his mother, stepfather and a convenience store clerk in Oklahoma. Sellers died in 1999 by lethal injection. Chalmers told DailyMail.com that he has interviewed hundreds of murderers and serial killers. Some have sent him gifts, like the drawing seen above from Dennis Rader, known as BTK, that are now part of his collection

Phil Chalmers started researching teen killers in around 1985 and by 1990, he conducted his first in-person interview in prison with Sean Sellers, a 17-year-old who was convicted of killing his mother, stepfather and a convenience store clerk in Oklahoma. Sellers died in 1999 by lethal injection. Chalmers told DailyMail.com that he has interviewed hundreds of murderers and serial killers. Some have sent him gifts, like the drawing seen above from Dennis Rader, known as BTK, that are now part of his collection

'You get things. You get letters. You get Christmas cards. You get paintings,' Chalmers told DailyMail.com. Above, a Christmas card from Charles Manson, a cult leader whose followers committed murders, including killing actress Sharon Tate in 1969. Manson was convicted of first degree murder for several deaths and died in a California prison in 2017 at the age of 83

‘You get things. You get letters. You get Christmas cards. You get paintings,’ Chalmers told DailyMail.com. Above, a Christmas card from Charles Manson, a cult leader whose followers committed murders, including killing actress Sharon Tate in 1969. Manson was convicted of first degree murder for several deaths and died in a California prison in 2017 at the age of 83

Above, an origami butterfly signed by Charles Ng, who was convicted of 11 murders and is currently on death row

Serial killer Charles Ng

At one point, Chalmers started to focus on adult serial killers. He told DailyMail.com that he starts contact with them by writing a letter and introducing himself. ‘I’m real upfront with them.’ Depending on who he is corresponding with, he said, they sometimes ask for something in return, such as food, clothing or stamps. Left, an origami butterfly signed by Charles Ng, above right, who was convicted of 11 murders and is currently on death row

Above, a wrapper from the candy factory that Jeffrey Dahmer worked at in Milwaukee

Above, serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer in July 1991

Jeffrey Dahmer, left, was convicted of 16 murders and is believed to have killed 17 men between the late 1970s until 1991. He was serving consecutive life sentences when he was beaten to death by a fellow inmate in 1994. Above, a wrapper from the chocolate factory where Dahmer worked at in Milwaukee, according to Chalmers

A handprint from convicted killer Michael Madison sent Phil Chalmers

Michael Madison was convicted of killing three women

Chalmers said that it was typical to get handprints from convicted killers in prison. ‘They can’t draw. They can’t paint,’ he said. Above, a handprint from Michael Madison, who was convicted of three murders in Ohio. In July, the Ohio Supreme Court upheld his death sentence for killing three women and Madison, right, is currently on death row, according to Cleveland.com. Chalmers said that he has spoken to Madison and that he will likely be on an upcoming episode of his new podcast, Where the Bodies are Buried

Above, a painting of Jesus by serial killer John Wayne Gacy, which is part of Chalmers' collection. He told DailyMail.com that some pieces are gifts sent to him while some things are donated and given to him by law enforcement and others

Above, a painting of Jesus by serial killer John Wayne Gacy, which is part of Chalmers’ collection. He told DailyMail.com that some pieces are gifts sent to him while some things are donated and given to him by law enforcement and others

Phil Chalmers, above, told DailyMail.com that he interviewed hundreds of murderers and serial killers since he started researching teen killers in 1985. His new podcast, Where the Bodies are Buried, launched in August. Each episode features his interviews with a serial killer. The first chapter was David Berkowitz, known as the Son of Sam. Chalmers said he does this work to solve cold cases, locate bodies and bring closure to the victims' families

Phil Chalmers, above, told DailyMail.com that he interviewed hundreds of murderers and serial killers since he started researching teen killers in 1985. His new podcast, Where the Bodies are Buried, launched in August. Each episode features his interviews with a serial killer. The first chapter was David Berkowitz, known as the Son of Sam. Chalmers said he does this work to solve cold cases, locate bodies and bring closure to the victims’ families

Chalmers, who does not have a background in criminal justice or psychology, said he started researching teen killers in around 1985. He said he grew up with an alcoholic father in Cleveland, Ohio. ‘I can kind of relate with some of their stories of dysfunction,’ Chalmers said.

He interviewed his first murderer in person in 1990: Sean Sellers in Oklahoma. Sellers, 17, was found guilty of killing his mother, stepfather and a convenience store clerk and received the death penalty in 1986. Chalmers said that Sellers ‘went from a Satanic serial killer… to a religious person.’

Sellers died in 1999 from lethal injection, according to a local news report.

Chalmers said that he was trying to understand why a teen killed their parents or carried out a school shooting. ‘The only way I could do that is to interview them personally.’

He said he has interviewed hundreds of murderers and serial killers. ‘My education came from talking to killers for 35 years,’ he said.

Chalmers has written two books, Inside the Mind of a Teen Killer, which was published in 2009, and The Teen Killer Whisperer, which was published late last year.

After focusing on teens, he turned his attention to adults. To set up an interview, he said he is honest with them. ‘You send them a letter, introduce yourself. I’m real upfront with them.’

And depending who he is corresponding with, he said, they ask for something in return, such as food, clothing or stamps.

‘I’m trying to get confessions of unsolved murders,’ Chalmers explained. ‘I’m trying to solve cold cases. I’m trying to locate bodies and I’m trying to bring closure to the victims’ families.’

Chalmers said he hasn’t really gotten push back from families about his collection, and that he does not sell its items. He sees it more as a historical thing and to ‘help understand what makes these guys tick.

‘Usually the families are glad that I’m doing what I’m doing.’ 

Currently, the collection remains private, but he said he might open a museum down the road.

John Wayne Gacy was a notorious serial killer, known as the Killer Clown, who was convicted of killing 33 people. He died by lethal injection in 1994 at the age of 52. Chalmers said that Gacy wrote two books, one of which is seen above. 'They never got published,' Chalmers said

John Wayne Gacy was a notorious serial killer, known as the Killer Clown, who was convicted of killing 33 people. He died by lethal injection in 1994 at the age of 52. Chalmers said that Gacy wrote two books, one of which is seen above. ‘They never got published,’ Chalmers said

Above, an image of one of two unpublished books John Wayne Gacy wrote

Above, John Wayne Gacy in an undated police photo

Serial killer John Wayne Gacy, above, in an undated police photo with an image of one of his two unpublished books, left. The two books are part of Phil Chalmers’ private collection. He told DailyMail.com he might open a museum down the road. Chalmers said that he doesn’t sell any of the things that he has been collecting. ‘It’s more of a historical thing for me,’ he said, adding it is to ‘help understand what makes these guys tick’

Above, a violin that convicted killer William Clyde Gibson out of popsicle sticks and sent to Phil Chalmers

William Clyde Gibson was convicted of killing three women

A violin, left, that William Clyde Gibson made out of popsicle sticks and sent to Phil Chalmers. Gibson, right, killed three women and is currently on death row. Chalmers said that he made the instrument with no equipment. He told DailyMail.com that he studies both those killers that are well-known and those that are not

Above, a drawing by Dennis Rader, known as the BTK Strangler

BTK Serial Killer Dennis Rader in mugshot from 2005

Serial killer Dennis Rader, right, and one of his drawings, left, that is part of Chalmers’ collection. Rader gave himself his moniker, BTK, which stands for bind, torture, kill. Chalmers said that he has talked to Rader and exchanged letters with him, but has not been able to interview him in person due to the rules of the prison he is in in Kansas. Rader is serving ten life sentences for the 10 murders he was convicted of

A painting by serial killer Anthony Sowell

Serial killer Anthony Sowell

In 2011, Anthony Sowell, left, has been convicted of killing and raping 11 women, raping two others and an attempted rape, according to Cleveland.com. In May, an appeals court in Ohio rejected his plea to overturn his conviction. He is currently on death row.  Sowell hid the bodies of his victims at his home and Chalmers said Sowell did the above painting

For his new podcast, Where the Bodies are Buried, Chalmers explained that each episode is about 40 minutes. He said that he usually interviewed people for three to four sessions and that how long they spoke depended on the prison where they are being held. Some inmates can spend 15 minutes on the phone while others can talk for 30 minutes. 

Chalmer said he has not been able to interview Dennis Rader, known as the BTK Strangler, in person because the prison he is in, El Dorado Correctional Facility in Kansas, does not allow it. Rader gave himself his moniker with BTK standing for ‘bind, torture, kill,’ and he pleaded guilty to 10 murders in 2005 for killings that started in 1974.

As part of his collection, Chalmers has letters and drawings from Rader. A member of law enforcement gave him a doll head that was found at Rader’s storage shed, he said. Reportedly, Rader sent doll heads to the police and newspapers after he committed a murder, he said.

Chalmers has received other items, such as paintings and handprints. He explained that it is typical for a handprint to be sent because some can’t draw or paint.

His mission, he said, is to ‘talk to as many killers are possible and find out why they did what they did and how we could stop them.’

'I'm trying to get confessions of unsolved murders,' Chalmers told DailyMail.com about why he talks to serial killers. 'I'm trying to solve cold cases. I'm trying to locate bodies and I'm trying to bring closure to the victims' families.' Above, a confession from William Clyde Gibson, who was convicted of killing three women, that is part of Chalmers' collection

‘I’m trying to get confessions of unsolved murders,’ Chalmers told DailyMail.com about why he talks to serial killers. ‘I’m trying to solve cold cases. I’m trying to locate bodies and I’m trying to bring closure to the victims’ families.’ Above, a confession from William Clyde Gibson, who was convicted of killing three women, that is part of Chalmers’ collection

Above, a painting by William Bonin, who was convicted of 14 murders

Serial killer William Bonin, who died in 1996, in a file photo from 1983

Above, a painting by William Bonin, who was known as the Freeway Killer because he deposed of his victims along the freeways of Southern California. Bonin, right, was convicted of 14 murders but is suspected of committing more. He received the death penalty and died by lethal injection in 1996 at the age of 49

Albert Desalvo confessed to being the Boston Strangler that killed 13 women in the 1960s and was sentenced to life in prison. He was stabbed to death in 1973 at the age of 42. Chalmers said that he started making necklaces, like the one seen above, while in prison

Albert Desalvo confessed to being the Boston Strangler that killed 13 women in the 1960s and was sentenced to life in prison. He was stabbed to death in 1973 at the age of 42. Chalmers said that he started making necklaces, like the one seen above, while in prison

Above, a check written by Charles Manson that is part of Chalmers' collection

Above, a check written by Charles Manson that is part of Chalmers’ collection

A letter to Phil Chalmers from David Berkowitz, a killer who is known as the Son of Sam

Serial killer David Berkowitz, known as the Son of Same, in an undated police mug shot

Above, a letter to Chalmers from David Berkowitz, who is known as the Son of Sam, who pleaded guilty to shooting eight people in New York City during the summer of 1976. His notorious crimes terrorized the city. Chalmers has interviewed Berkowitz, left, who is serving life sentences, and the first episode of his new podcast, Where the Bodies are Buried, focuses on Berkowitz

Above, a painting by Roy Norris who went to prison for helping to kidnap and kill five teen girls in Southern California in 1979

Roy Norris, above in 2018, kidnapped, raped and killed five teen girls in Southern California with Lawrence Bittaker. Norris died earlier this year

Roy Norris, right, and Lawrence Bittaker kidnapped, raped, tortured and killed five teen girls in Southern California in 1979. Bittaker was sentenced to death but died of natural causes in prison while on death row, according to news reports and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Norris cooperated with authorities and testified against Bittaker. He was sentenced to life in prison and died of natural causes in February this year, according to The Mercury News. Chalmers said the above painting was made by Norris

Ed Gein, seen above, confessed to killing two women in the 1950s in Plainfield, Wisconsin. He was called the Plainfield Ghoul because he exhumed bodies from cemeteries. He died in 1984 at the age of 77. The newspaper clipping and images are part of Chalmers' collection

Ed Gein, seen above, confessed to killing two women in the 1950s in Plainfield, Wisconsin. He was called the Plainfield Ghoul because he exhumed bodies from cemeteries. He died in 1984 at the age of 77. The newspaper clipping and images are part of Chalmers’ collection

Above, an image for Phil Chalmers' new podcast called Where the Bodies are Buried, which launched in August. Chalmers told DailyMail.com that he interviews serial killers to solve cold cases, locate bodies and bring closure to the victims' families. 'I'm not a fan of true crime. I talk to a lot of victims and their families. I see the pain that these crimes bring. I speak for the dead'

Above, an image for Phil Chalmers’ new podcast called Where the Bodies are Buried, which launched in August. Chalmers told DailyMail.com that he interviews serial killers to solve cold cases, locate bodies and bring closure to the victims’ families. ‘I’m not a fan of true crime. I talk to a lot of victims and their families. I see the pain that these crimes bring. I speak for the dead’

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