Murderabilia: Selling Serial Killer Artifacts Anyone who has ever watched The Silence of the Lambs with macabre delight knows the fascination gruesome death can provoke. But no fictional horror can produce the frisson generated by real items currently being sold on websites like SerialKillersInk.net and MurderAuction.com: artifacts, relics and artwork straight from the crime scenes and prison cells of the worlds most famous serial killers.

Current listings on the websites include a handwritten confession letter from Gary Ridgway, aka the "Green River Killer," who strangled women in Washington ("Scarce!" the ad reads); a handwritten letter from Ted Kaczynski, aka the "Unabomber"; and a self-portrait by Danny Rolling, aka the "Gainesville Ripper," who mutilated the bodies of his victims and posed them in strange positions before leaving the scene of the crime.

"It is a 100% real thing," the listing for Rolling's portrait reads. The seller, a vendor from Japan with 79 five-star reviews, is asking $2,000 for the portrait.

"Every man has to have a hobby," MurderAuction.com's site banner reads.

According to a recent ABC story, there are six websites in the U.S. that cater to this macabre market. Dealers obtain items by befriending prisoners and giving them the attention they often crave, according to the network's interview with the founder of Serial Killers Ink, Eric Gein.

"You can't write Manson and say, 'Send me some artwork.' It doesn't work like that," Gein told ABC. "The relationship we have with these infamous serial killers, it takes time, it takes trust. You have to build a friendship, build a relationship just like you would with anyone else."

While it's illegal for criminals to profit from their own crimes -- whether it be through memorabilia or movie rights -- third parties can sell items as long as none of the profits go directly to inmates. Still, vendors send gifts and the occasional check.

Banned on eBay, but Still Sought After


There have always been collectors of perverse and controversial objects -- Nazi flags, crime scene debris, etc. -- the murder memorabilia market emerged in full force with the rise of the Web. In 2001, eBay banned "items deemed offensive, including true crime memorabilia," according to MurderAuction's website. In 2005, Murder Auction became the first site of its kind to launch, with a unique collection of serial killer items.

Now, there are spin-off sites, serial killer Christmas and Birthday cards, and even a trade magazine, MurderZine 3, which features art and articles written by serial killers as well as "exclusive interviews" conducted by Serial Killers Ink. "The magazine your Mother warned you about!" the publication boasts.

Online visibility has also brought about criticism from advocacy groups, families of victims, and media. "The media is exceptionally good at altering facts and presenting one sided accounts," SerialKillersInk's site reads. "They know that the only viable option for them is to present this hobby in a negative light."

"We do sympathize with the families of victims," the "About Us" continues. "We're sure they have a tremendous amount of pain to bare, but we make no apologies for our business. We are not breaking any laws. This is America and we have a right to make a living."

But families of victims continue to be shocked and disgusted by what they find on the websites. Pam Hobbs of West Memphis, Tenn., told her local TV station, WMC-TV earlier this week that the sale of crime scene and autopsy photos from the murder of her son on MuderAuction.com was "sick."

Asked Hobbs: "What type of sick individual would want to make a profit off of showing my dead baby?"

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Intro to Retirement

Get started early planning for your long term future.

View Course »

How much house can I afford

Home buying 101, evaluating one of your most important financial decisions.

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

116 Comments

Filter by:
Jason Korbus

This Saturday night on Strange Frequencies Radio, we'll be talking to the owner/administrator of MurderAuction.com about this very topic. Anyone on either side of the debate is welcome to come by to share your opinions. Check out www.strangefrequenciesradio.net or drop me a line for more info.

January 30 2012 at 4:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Maxwell

Pam Hobbs is the mother of one of the eight year old little boy in West Memphis, Arkansas. To want a photo of her child is, as she says "SICK." The West Mephis Three, didn't do this. They were convicted because they had slimey Public Defenders. Just recently experts finally found DNA that belonged to one of the PARENTS. The WM3 were finally released. Damien Echols recieved the DEATH PENALTY, Jason Baldwin got life w/o parole, and Jesse Miskelly was given a lesser sentence because acorrding to his slimey defender Miskelly had an IQ of under 70. That's not true either.

November 14 2011 at 2:16 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Maxwell's comment
savemycountry911

I like crime TV also.

November 14 2011 at 9:02 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to savemycountry911's comment
savemycountry911

I like to see the bad guys get caught and punished.

November 14 2011 at 9:03 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down
Loren

It would have been so cool if Ted Bundy could have gone through my home town in the mid 70s and taken out a few of my elementary school teachers.

November 14 2011 at 1:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mustangmaniac01

Some of the stuff would interest me but I wouldnt be willing to pay much for it. I've read tons of books and I'm a big fan of serial killers especially the Zodiac. I've even visited famous murder sites by the Zodiac, the Zebra Killers, John List, Andrew Cunanan, and the Boston Massacre. Some people might think its weird but I guess having your aunt murdered by a serial killer would get your interests up too.

November 14 2011 at 9:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to mustangmaniac01's comment
savemycountry911

You are one sick puppy.

November 14 2011 at 9:03 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
furtura1

who wants this b.s.

November 14 2011 at 8:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to furtura1's comment
Maxwell

Who wants this? You'd be surprised. Park Diets who was an FBI criminal profiler has this stuff hanging all over his office wall. It's sick!

November 14 2011 at 2:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
suspense94

Ah, Memories..................................................some like 'em bad and some like 'em good.

November 13 2011 at 7:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sandy

BAAAAD karma....very, very bad.

November 13 2011 at 8:20 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
hpycmpr155

Having something like that in my house would totally creep me out.
I would not be able to sleep at night.
Creepy, macabre preoccupation with death and murder???No thanks.

November 12 2011 at 3:55 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to hpycmpr155's comment
sdodge4574

I enjoy some of the crime shows, but it's just TV. I agree, there is no way I would want items, related to "real" murders, in my house. NO - way too creepy!

November 12 2011 at 4:49 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Jeffrey

A friend of mine was on death row in Arizona. I believe they killed him in 95. He used to tell me, everytime he was given a death warrent (a date with the excutioner) it was worth at least 5 grand. He'd make copies of it in the law library and send it, along with a letter, to college campuses asking for correspondence. He'd get so much mail that they didn't even search all his envelopes. He'd get postage stamps, money orders and photos of women in various stages of undress. He was on Arizona's death row for 19 or 20 years. Jim "Fuzzy" Jeffers, was his name

November 12 2011 at 3:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Welcome Phyllis

Totally disgusting, just think what the parents and loved ones are going through knowing this mess is out there, as far as I am concerned, anyone that buys/sells this stuff is as bad as the murderer!!!

November 12 2011 at 3:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply