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Murderabilia; a weird hobby or inspiring new killers?

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posted on Aug, 20 2011 @ 11:21 AM
Believe it or not folks, there's a market out there for serial killer memorabilia.

The folks who collect this stuff claim they have a fascination with crime scene evidence (probably inspired by such shows as CSI) and are just taking part in an unusual hobby. Others claim that they are creating a market profiting off of the misery of their fellow man.

It's 'murderabilia' and, yes, there is a market for serial-killer relics

YOU MIGHT THINK the hair and fingernail clippings stored neatly in Andy Kahan's filing cabinet would have withered to dust, given their biological origins.

Or at least that they'd be burning bright with the fire of eternal damnation, considering their previous owners.

Instead, they sit there, looking as worthless as something swept off the bathroom floor.

But Kahan paid good money for them. Once attached to some of the world's most notorious killers, the clippings are a creepy collectible, part of a "murderabilia" market that has flourished online as the public's passion for all things true-crime has grown.

On sites like murderauction. com and, shoppers can buy or bid on autographs, artwork, personal effects and other artifacts connected to killers of all kind.

The collectors claim that their hobby is driven by the thirst for knowledge ; they want to see inside the mind of a killer:

But murderabilia collectors are not freaks, one fan opined.

"People who collect this are not in admiration of the killer or intending to spit on the victim," said Tod Bohannon, whose collection is so vast it fills two bedrooms and the garage of his Georgia house. "It's our interest to know something we don't know, to see inside the mind of a killer."

Seven years ago, he started, both to placate his own passion and to create a forum for collectors. He recently sold it to Harder and launched, a forum for sellers and buyers to post newspaper-like classified ads.

Bohannon and Harder say the business isn't about profit. Neither makes enough to quit his day job. Both get much of what they market through friendships they've made with prisoners or by visiting crime scenes.

Bohannon and Harder say they don't pay prisoners for items that convicts give them, although both acknowledged they have mailed money for the inmates' commissary and other needs.

"I've met eight serial killers, and several of those I've met about 19 times," Bohannon boasted.

Others claim that this bizzarre hobby spits in the faces of the murder victims and worry that close contact with serial killer memorabilia and seeking to get into their minds could drive the collectors into a thirst for blood in order to fully satisfy their "thirst for knowledge".

"Like it or not, there's a small group of people out there that idolize serial killers," said Kahan, the Houston victims' advocate who coined the term "murderabilia" and amassed his own collection to aid his crusade against it. "But from my perspective, you shouldn't be able to rob, rape and murder, and then turn around and make a buck off it."

Kahan, who will present a murderabilia workshop Tuesday at the National Organization for Victim Assistance conference in Center City, has worked for two decades to persuade lawmakers to forbid the sale of murderabilia. Eight states, including New Jersey, outlaw such vending, but a federal bill introduced last year went nowhere.

"It has to do with basic human nature and how we feel about good and evil," said Jennifer Bishop-Jenkins, president of the National Organization of Victims of Juvenile Lifers, whose pregnant sister and brother-in-law were killed by a teenager in suburban Chicago in 1990. "There are physiological stimulations that people receive from scary or gross, evil behavior. [Collecting murderabilia] gives them a rush, I guess . . . there's no understanding on that from someone like me."

Peruto is more blunt when speculating on what motivates murderabilia collectors: "I think it's really a personality disorder."

Hey folks, its just capitalism right? If there's a market for something out there, somebody's gotta make a buck off of it.

One does have to wonder whether the people who collect this stuff aren't mentally imbalanced though. Who would really want to keep the nail clippings of a killer in their drawer somewhere? Some of these people may be telling the truth and they only want to have a piece of history based on their CSI fascination but, one has to wonder; if one of those collectors isn't altogether mentally stable, couldn't a hobby like this encourage them to become what they admire so much? Would it be possible that, seeing the market and fascination serial killer memorabilia has for the collectors, some mentally unstable person would want their possessions to someday be coveted by those collectors? In the drive to get their 15 minutes of fame, this seems like an incitement for someone to start a killing spree so they can be studied and admired by the collectors.

This whole business seems dangerous to me.

edit on 8/20/11 by FortAnthem because:

posted on Aug, 20 2011 @ 11:33 AM
In this economy, if you can make a buck off something good for you. I need to find me some murderabilia and make some cash. Does it need to be verified on paper, or can I just cut off a clip of my GF's hair and sell it as Sharon Tates? $$$

posted on Aug, 20 2011 @ 11:34 AM

There was an auction years ago where some of the objects taken from Jeffery Dahmer's apartment were put up for sale to help raise funds for the victims.

Innocent items like the blue barrel and the freezer.

The only good part of this story was that the entire lot was purchased by a single bidder who had everything destroyed.

Try selling ashes from Auschwitz, your life expectancy can be measured by an egg timer.

posted on Aug, 20 2011 @ 11:36 AM
reply to post by Griever666

That's something I wondered about; how do they verify this stuff actually came from the serial killer? How hard would it be to put some of your own hair clippings into a bag and sell them off claiming they belonged to some notorious murderer?

How does one verify the authenticity of this stuff?

posted on Aug, 20 2011 @ 11:37 AM
Wow, yet again you kind find anything on the internet. First blush, it kinda creeps me out that people would want to collect items from murderers. I can understand a fascination with something but not that kind of mindset.

I guess there's something out there for everyone, but I don't necessarily see the "business" as being dangerous to anyone. If someone were collecting items from a person that murdered a family member of mine, yeah I'd be angry, but there's not a whole lot I could do about it.

Weird stuff man

posted on Aug, 20 2011 @ 11:47 AM

Originally posted by FortAnthem
reply to post by Griever666

That's something I wondered about; how do they verify this stuff actually came from the serial killer? How hard would it be to put some of your own hair clippings into a bag and sell them off claiming they belonged to some notorious murderer?

How does one verify the authenticity of this stuff?

I guess one could verify authenticity with DNA results from a lab but that seems rather cost prohibitive and possibly difficult. Creepy and strange, but let's hope Congress doesn't catch wind of this and start a new Federal Agency to regulate it...

posted on Aug, 20 2011 @ 12:00 PM
a lot of people have weird hobbies, like one person I heard about collects telephones

posted on Aug, 20 2011 @ 09:37 PM
reply to post by WoundedByHonesty

I looked on both sites listed in the article and there was nothing on either of them guaranteeing the authenticity of the items sold. The closest thing was a rating of the seller but, the rating was done by the buyers who may or may not have been to particular about the authenticity of what they received.

Selling bogus stuff on one of those sites would appear to be very easy.

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