Eric Holler is the creator and webmaster of Serial Killers Ink, a site that sells crime-related memorabilia (also known as “murderabilia”). Visit his site here.
(Holler with a painting made by serial killer John Wayne Gacy)
Who are you? How did you end up working in this business? Tell us your story!
My name is Eric Holler. I own and run serialkillersink.net. I began writing to infamous killers in the mid 1990s. Shortly thereafter I began selling their items, artwork craft items, signed photograph etc, on eBay. The items were so in demand that bidding wars would go down on the item listings. Fast forward a few years later and the websitesite serialkillersink.net was born. The rest, as they say, is history.
Where do you obtain the items you sell on your site?
I get most items directly from the inmates themselves although I do trade with private collectors to some extent.
What is the most expensive/unique item you have ever sold on Serial Killers Ink?
I’d have to say any John Wayne Gacy painting would qualify as most expensive, they top off around $3100-$3500. The most unique item would have to be bullet fragments taken from the body of surviving victim Carli Richards. Carli survived being shot by James Holmes in the 2012 Aurora, Colorado Batman movie massacre. Carli offered up two shotgun pellets that had been removed from her body. We also sold the bullet riddled purse and jacket that she had on that night.
Another unique item would have to be the full Santa Claus suit that serial killer John Robinson wore to entertain children at Christmas parties.
What is the “Holy Grail” of murderabilia, the one item everyone is after?
For me it would be John Wayne Gacy’s clown suit or the hoodie and sunglasses which belonged to the Unabomber. I was lucky enough to have a private viewing of the hoodie and sunglasses back in 2011 while I was being filmed for a segment of the National Geographic Channel television show Taboo.
How do the families and friends of victims react to your site? Have you ever had legal problems because of your site/store?
It’s not my concern how someone may or may not react to what I do for a living – positive or negatively – to each their own. …That’s what makes this country that I live in so great – that we are free to voice our opinions without fear of government reprisal.
I have never had any legal issues regarding my business.
Why do people buy “murderabilia”, in your opinion? What is the allure?
I cannot answer for why others buy or collect these items – I can only answer as to why it is a passion of mine – I love history and preserving pieces of history – even if it is dark or taboo. These collectibles are indeed important pieces of history and this industry is very dear to me.
Who is your average customer? Is there such a thing?
We do not have an average customer. We sell to people of all walks of life from all around the world. To try and pin it to one specific demographic would be impossible.
Is there a favorite serial killer among your customers? Manson? Ramirez?
Items from Richard Ramirez have always sold very well. John Wayne Gacy paintings are very in demand. Manson of course…basically the well-known killers are the ones who are in demand and sell very well – and rightfully so.
And finally, my standard questions for all my guests: What are your top 3 films and top 3 books?
Cannibal Holocaust – It was one of the first horror movies that I had ever rented from my neighborhood video store when I was kid back in the 1980s – and to this day that movie has stayed with me. I absolutely loved it the first time I saw it and I can watch it now and it still has the same effect on me all these years later. Brilliant film making! The stigma it has earned even after all these years is testament to the films genius.
Old Boy (Original South Korean release) – Again, a movie with a stigma attached to it…another genius in film making. I discovered this movie 5 or 6 years ago and it had roughly the same effect that Cannibal Holocaust had on me all those years prior – which is a very deep and strong psychological effect. It’s such an amazing movie and for those who have never seen it that enjoy a good and intelligent mind fuck…see it!
Texas Chainsaw Massacre (the original) – Another psychological movie – it was another horror movie that I had seen from my early youth. Again, this one has always stayed with me as well – a classic that still stands up very well today. Deeply psychological – it didn’t need overt blood and guts to get the point across – another example of genius in film making.
Books – I’ve never really been a book person but a few stand outs would be:
Making of a Serial Killer: The Real Story of the Gainesville Student Murders in the Killer’s Own Words by Sondra London and Danny Harold Rolling. It’s a very graphic book with extreme and well written details of the murders. The Gainesville murders happened not too far from where I live here in Florida – so it also has local appeal to me.
I: The Creation of a Serial Killer by Jack Olsen and Keith Hunter Jesperson. Another graphic telling of murder. The murders committed by Keith Jesperson are highly detailed and reported on. The book is very well written and very factual.
Born Evil: A True Story of Cannibalism and Serial Murder by Adrian Havill – Book about the life and crimes of Hadden Clark. Very well written book. The Hadden Clark case is one of my favorite cases to read about. The guy is completely nuts. The chapter detailing the initial interrogation of Hadden is such an amazing read – as is the entire book.