Some people collect stamps or coins, but for some reason, that's just not enough to keep them interested. So they do what any reasonable person would do: collect the most disgusting, creepiest things imaginable.
Here's six collections that are great conversation starters, if you want the conversation to be about whether or not you're a serial killer.
Celebrities--is there nothing the public won't ravage them of? People rifle through their trash, reporters snap pictures of their genitals with telephoto lenses. What's left? How about owning an actual piece of a famous person? Of course, lopping off a finger or ear is still against the law, but you can still settle for a hunk of their hair.
Who would collect this?
Everyone. In the last decade the number of serious hair collectors has skyrocketed from about 150 to over 2,000. Why? Well you already know there's no non-creepy answer to that question, but the interest seems to be tied to all the recent breakthroughs in DNA research, so people are collecting on the vague idea that they can clone themselves a celebrity some day. Seriously.
It's just a matter of time
A few strands from JFK sold online for $205. The clump of hair pictured below is from Che Guevara, which sold for $100,000 in October 2007. You hear that? A damn commie socialist outsold John Fucking Kennedy. How about a little American pride in our fur trappings?
The leading hair dealers are Louis Mushro, a Michigan collector who deals on eBay, and John Reznikoff, who's the Guinness world record holder for his huge human hair collection (once again proving that it's not that hard to get into the Guinness Book of World Records).
Reznikoff has pieces from Marilyn Monroe, Napoleon, Albert Einstein and even Abe Lincoln, complete with chunks of brain matter from his assassination. Hell, he even has some hair from the man who shot him (Wilkes Booth got clipped while being dragged from his burning barn hideout).
So how do the still-living celebrities feel about this? Well, in 2005 Reznikoff struck a deal with Neil Armstrong's barber on some snippets, but when Armstrong heard of the transaction he tried to block it. His efforts failed, and Reznikoff donated several thousand dollars to his favorite charities as a consolation. Money he'll surely make back when he clones his spaceman army).
"Murderabilia" is what they call works of art produced by serial killers. Prison wardens encourage killers to pursue such creative outlets, it makes a guy more manageable while keeping a paintbrush in his shankin' hand. While behind bars famous psychopath John Wayne Gacy had art exhibitions, and was a leader for terrifying clown awareness.
Meanwhile cult leader and swastika enthusiast Charles Manson spent his alloted arts and crafts time painting, sketching and making spiders out of yarn and string. In fact he scribbled down two pages of instructions on how to make a genuine Manson yarn spider, all in his native language of crazy.
Page three details how the yarn spider should be stored in a cool dry place and continuously fed the blood of innocents.
Who would collect this?
There are no exact figures but the sale of murderabilia is hugely successful online with daily transactions at MurderAuction.com and DaisySeven.com, whose slogan "Where crime pays. Everyday." just barely beat out the alternative "For people who masturbate to CourtTV".
Louisiana mortician Rick Stanton was a pioneer in selling murder doodles and organized the first art exhibitions of famous killers' work. Stanton is considered by many to be the originator of the collectible craze, saying the murderers' art is, " ... the stuff where the feelings are everything, where the person is everything ... They're not concerned with trends, or with sales in the art world."
Another piece by Charles Manson
It should be noted that serial killers probably aren't concerned with sales mostly because of laws that prevent them from making any money. In 1977, a little doggy told David Berkowitz he could make a truckload of cash from a tell-all book, and publishers came running. These events lead to the formation of "Son of Sam laws," which prohibit a felon from profiting off their crimes, and preventing mediocre art school students from going on a killing spree.
Also, a brief analysis of the works by the killers themselves shows no correlation between depravity and talent. It turns out a shitty painter will remain shitty even after disemboweling a hobo. For instance:
Above is an orgy skull dreamed up by Gacy when he got tired of painting clowns. Yes, it's a skull made of dongs. This is way scary, and not laughable or pathetic in the least.
This depiction of a mermaid tickling a shark was miscarried into the world by killer Charles Ng, whose body count totaled over 25 people. He felt the compulsion to bring more suffering into the world and designed the poster for Jaws vs. SPLASH!.
Attempting world domination isn't all throaty speeches and fancy goose-step parades, you've also got to mass produce a lot of crap with your logo on it. Nazi Germany made an enormous amount of wartime paraphernalia. Everything from swastika armbands to ornamental knives, all of which is important when you're trying to get your brand out there.
Over the decades, quite a market has developed for all this leftover Nazi gear, from pins and jackets to ceremonial daggers. Find a jackboot at a garage sale? Good. Still got a Nazi foot inside? Better. If it was used by a Nazi to kick a puppy, that's probably the equivalent of a Micky Mantle rookie card.
Who hasn't held a Nazi tea party now and then?
Who would collect this?
We should point out right away that it's not just neo-Nazis collecting this stuff. There's plenty of attraction for history buffs and antique collectors who want nothing to do with creepy guys in Prussian Blue concert tees.
Still, the obsession with the Nazi trinkets borders on fetishism in some circles, as in recent years when SS Christmas cards were sold at auction along with a negligee belonging to Eva Braun.
Rare bottle of Hitler wine: 4,000 pounds
EBay has refused to deal in Nazi memorabilia and Yahoo! was sued over a past auction of Hitler's speech notes. Of course, like porn, the taboo is part of the appeal. Maybe that's why they started selling new Nazi merchandise a few year ago in Hong Kong.