It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
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 ghoulslikeus.com, shoppers can buy or bid on autographs, artwork, personal effects and other artifacts connected to killers of all kind.
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 murderauction.com, both to placate his own passion and to create a forum for collectors. He recently sold it to Harder and launched ghoulslikeus.com, 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.
"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."
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?