Monthly Archives: October 2015

Why collectors are drawn to ‘murderabilia’

By Wyatt Massey, Special to CNN

As the saying goes, you can buy anything online. Just ask Eric Holler.

Holler runs Serial Killers Ink, an Internet marketplace specializing in “murderabilia”: collectible items related to murders or violent crimes. They include handwritten letters and artwork such as an oil painting of a clown by John Wayne Gacy, who was executed in 1994 for murdering 33 boys and young men in Chicago.

Some people may find his venture distasteful. But Holler sees little difference between selling items associated with violent crime and the many movies, TV shows and video games that capitalize on it.

“Murder and mayhem is a moneymaking business,” he said. “I think there’s a little bit of darkness in us all. We all want to walk to the edge.”
In this Halloween season, Holler is certainly not alone in his ghoulish fascination. A collection of watercolors and drawings by Adolf Hitler sold for nearly $450,000 at auction last summer in Germany. One of the most popular exhibits at Washington’s recently shuttered Crime Museum was a display of paintings by Gacy, who buried dozens of his victims in a crawl space below his home.

And a number of true-crime aficionados collect items related to notorious killers. Holler says sales have increased every year since he launched his website in 2009.

Buying and selling “murderabilia” is legal. But is it moral? For some observers, that’s a much more difficult question.

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