Image by Hayden Walker.
Final song: Pour Endormir les Démons – Merle Bardenoir – Chants D’Avant L’AubePLAYLIST
Artist – Title – Album
To Rococo Rot — She Understands the Dynamics — She Understands the Dynamics
Floating Points — Elaenia — Elaenia
Felicia Atkinson — Grey & Green (Original Mix) — O-Re-Gon
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith — Labyrinth — Euclid
To Rococo Rot — Baritone — Instrument
Ekkehard Ehlers/Joseph Suchy/Franz Hautzinger — Soundchambers 5 — Soundchambers
Christopher Willits — Light and Dark — Horizon
Felicia Atkinson — I’m Following You — Hand In Hand
Murcof — Ultimatum — Utopia
alva noto — Xerrox 2ndevol — Xerrox Vol. 3
Johnny Scott — Race the Sun — Further Nuggets: Luke Vibert’s Selection
alva noto — Uni Rec — Univrs
John Lurie — Tiffany’s Bedroom — African Swim/Manny and Lo
Gidge — Eyes Open — LNLNN
Felicia Atkinson —Monstera Deliciosa — Hand In Hand
The Synthonic Orchestra, Band & Choir — A Long, Slow Waltz — Day Dreaming Spring
Cliff Martinez — What Are You — The Neon Demon
Actress — Rainy Dub — Rainy Dub
Bohren & Der Club Of Gore — Constant Fear — Bohren For Beginners
Datach’i — Nebulae V2 — System
Cyclob — Calling — Bounds Green
Charles Manson — Look At Your Game, Girl (alt. version) — Sings
Susumu Yokota — 2 Skys – Kaleidoscope
Raymond Scott — Portofino 1 – Manhattan Research, Inc
Merle Bardenoir – Pour Endormir les Démons – Chants D’Avant L’Aube
Will Harder – Collector
Well, let’s say you are in California, I might say howdy! How’s it going on your part of California? William is my name, and I’m a… [coughs] Let me start over again. What was the question? I completely lost my train of thought.
You said you have kind of a spiel…
Oh, my spiel, yeah… Okay, let me start over again. If I was gonna write to you, I would probably ask you how you’re doing and say something to the effect of “You’ve probably been better”, and I’d say that I can’t complain and I’d say where I live. It’s x amount of miles South of San Francisco, x amount of miles North of Los Angeles, and I’d say it’s right smack dab in the middle of nofuckingwhere’s ville.
I’d start a paragraph kind of explaining a little bit about myself. I’d say my age, I’d talk about my interpersonal relationships, I’d mention my vegan diet; my wife and I have elected not to have any children. I’d go into saying children are definitely the opposite of fun.
I sometimes will print off jokes that I find really funny and send five to fifteen pages of printouts. Yeah, that’s about it.
When you actually can formulate a friendship, when you find that niche relationship and you have it going, it transcends all the nonsense. Some people wanna go out and help the homeless, some people wanna go visit old people that don’t have anybody visiting them in nursing homes and that’s great. Everybody’s got their place, it just happens that I do it with these types of people.
A friend of mine who I consider to be a rather wise person one time told me “In life you have to know what you stand for, you have to choose a side.” I thought about what they said; I know where I stand, I know the side I’ve chosen. This person was a Charles Manson supporter.
I always wondered how far up was up, like where up stopped. My mom was Roman-Catholic, so she said “You go up to heaven”, so I thought “Okay, heaven… There’s a brick wall and it stops there.” Then I thought “What’s behind that?” and it started bothering me, and then I became not mortal fear aware, but I knew I was gonna die, and I didn’t like that concept at 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 years old.
My parents wanted to culture me as much as they could, so we did take a long trip in particular. We euro-railed from South Spain through France, Austria, Germany… There’s so much history in Europe, but a lot of it is violent. When you go into the Tower of London, there’s torture devices everywhere, and you think about “Holy smokes, that does not look comfortable.”
I remember going to Italy, I remember being pretty dirty and hearing my parents kind of explaining to me about the Coliseum, feeding Christians to lions… I remember when we got to the Coliseum, as I walked up and I looked at the floor, there was no floor anymore; it was all the underground, different cells and places where they would store the animals. It didn’t look like the pictures, and that kind of bothered me. I was like “Man, it looked so much better in the pictures…”
I remember this picture really clearly; it was a picture of a Coliseum battle and the victor was standing over the defeated gladiator. The audience was all thumbs down, booing, and that meant the guy was gonna get killed, and it wasn’t a good fight.
I couldn’t wrap my head around a person stabbing another person. Man, what if it was me? It scared me. You might think this is bizarre for a six to seven-year-old to think to himself. If I had to kill somebody, I didn’t see how they could push a sword in up close like that. And then the other thing I didn’t get is how people would watch that as enjoyment. This was probably my first introduction to violence in the sense that it was entertainment.
So if you come into my house and you look to your right, next to the door is a Ted Bundy subpoena, above that is a self-portrait by Charles Manson, and then above that is a birth announcement greeting card sent from Plainfield’s prodigal son Edward Gein.
Then if you look directly in front of you, there’s kind of a display case that has five human skulls in it, and one of the old baby pullers that looks like a pair of forceps, kind of creepy.
A screwdriver on the top which came out of the trunk of a murderer’s car… And as you walk into my living room, to the right – seventy crucifixes I have on one wall, the O.J. Simpson football, a signed Church of Satan priesthood certificate, hand tracing by Danny Rolling, and then feathers that are just painted. Yes, yes, I know it’s not vegan, but whatever; we bought them at a museum.
I kind of call this the Manson Corner. A small portrait of Charles Manson, six guitar strings and a guitar pick. Charles Manson courtroom sketches, Charles Manson lunchbox.
Continue to walk, there’s a Dr. Kevorkian medication bottle. Huge art pieces on the wall… Saddam Hussain’s signed regime documents, John Gacy paintings, a large Arthur Shawcross pieces… In short, that’s kind of the main living spaces of my home, which still doesn’t even begin to cover — like, our bathrooms are murdered theme; they have bloody handprints everywhere, and bloody feet mats…
If there was a serial killer culture, if there is a true crime type lifestyle, I’m living it here.
I don’t know if you have a favorite piece or a favorite item around your house, but I was hoping we could have you pick one.
It’s not tangible, it’s the visits. My favorite piece is the collective visiting experience. I mean gosh, how do you put — it’s not in terms of favorite; these were close friends of mine.
The first serial killing case I was ever interested in was the case of Shawn Sellers. Shawn was a young kid, troubled, parents were divorced, his dad was a drug addict, alcoholic; he was a big avid player of Dungeons and Dragons and he ended up dabbling in the occult…[I began to think of demons as my friends…]
…and got it in his head that he wanted to kill people.[…so we began to prove our allegiance to Satan by breaking God’s commandments. In the end, there was only one that remained unbroken – “You shall not murder.”]
When he was 16 he shot a store clerk.[The bullet went in through his heart and through his lungs, and blood completely splattered on the opposite wall, and we walked out. We didn’t take any money, we didn’t take any merchandise. We only took the life of an innocent man for Satan.]
He managed to get away with that crime, and then six months later he murdered his stepfather and mother while they slept.[I walked in my parents’ bedroom. I remember I was looking down at them, and and I pointed it at my father’s head… And I squeezed the trigger. Then I immediately went to where my mother’s head was and squeezed the trigger again. Then I turned the lights on and I looked at what was before me, and I felt like this big rock had just been taken off my shoulders. This great burden had been lifted from me, and I began to laugh.]
Why when you were a teenager did you feel that connection to that case?
I mean, he was 16, I think I was 15 when I first started reading about his case… He blamed demonic possession; I was studying a cult philosophy at the time. I identified as a Satanist at the time. Me being a troubled kid, I was always worried that somehow this was gonna be my lot in life. I was reading books like Kids That Kill, Walking Time bombs… It made me get worried somehow I was gonna just explode, like I was gonna be a walking time bomb. Yeah, it never did happen…
Because it was one of two cases that really got me thinking about crime when I was in my mid-teens, I just call it my favorite. It makes it easier when I’m dealing with the people I visit; if they ask me “What case are you most interested in?” or “What’s your ‘favorite case’?”, I can say somebody whom I’ve never met and isn’t alive, so it doesn’t make anybody feel like “Oh, I wish I had eaten brains” or “I wish I would have killed more people.”
Is that a thing that actually happens, that people wanted you to pick them as their favorite serial killer?
I actually had one person say that to me, a young lady, who was convicted a double murder… She said “Man, I wish I would have killed more people”, and I was just like “No, ma’am that’s…” But I understood what she was saying, and it was bad.
Some of these people have rage behind their murders, so I didn’t want to offend anybody. I guess speaking back to when it all started, it was something I needed, because I didn’t have anything going. I was really unhappy with my station in life. I was using drugs back then, pretty strung out, just gotten off parole, I didn’t have the greatest job on the planet, my girlfriend had just got done sleeping with my two best friends…
Yeah, I was really heartbroken and decided one night — I didn’t know how to work the internet really. I had been on a little bit, but the whole explosion happened with me in prison. I didn’t know about Google, I didn’t know how to search, but I decided to type into a search engine; I typed in “Richard Ramirez.”[In the summer of 1985, Southern California was held hostage by a rabid creature of the night.]
It was called the Nightstalker Crime Spree.[…someone who has no morals, no scruples and no affects.]
Particularly heinous. He started as a burglar and moved into molesting children and robbing houses, and eventually he started doing home invasion style…[…and if he found a couple, a male and a female, he would eliminate the male as quickly as possible.]
He found recreation in killing people, inflicting pain, unconsensual violent sex and sodomy as a form of recreation to rape a woman, and then try to cut her heart out or remove her eyes… It was pretty nasty stuff.
I remember coming across a website that had some Richard Ramirez art. Even in my depression and alcohol and drug use and all this negative things in my life, seeing the artwork kind of sparked that sense of excitement, interest… So I decided to track down Richard Ramirez’s prison number. When I found his prison number, I wrote him a letter.
What inside you was saying “I’m gonna sit down today and I’m gonna write this letter to Richard Ramirez?
Because I wanted one of those goddamn pieces of artwork, that’s why… And I knew I wasn’t gonna go to Walmart and get one. I was already interested in the concept of taking life and doing it for recreation and enjoyment. I wanted stuff connected to it. I wanted something put together in Ramirez’s hand, the same hand that committed all those crimes. I wanted that.
He responded back. A very short missive, didn’t say much.
“Greetings. Got your letter. I’m not allowed to sell my drawings, but I’ll see what I can do about sending you a free one in the future. I’ll think about answering a few of your questions. I don’t much go into religion or my case on paper; mail is censored. Do you write other prisoners? Do you have family, work or go to school? Send pictures if you can.
Take it easy, Richard.”
And that’s it. I remember when I got it, it just… Man, it put a smile on my face! We started writing back and forth. He did two satanic-themed drawings for me, real violent-styled art, but he got in trouble. He went to the hole and stopped doing the real satanic stuff. The rest of it just became cheesy dinosaurs and stuff like that.
I remember we asked him to do a SpongeBob SquarePants, and he did one. My wife was very young when I met her, and she was a bit of a SpongeBob fan, and I became one, kind of, too. It just became one of the little things we did. We had a couple other serial killers do SpongeBob.
I will say I definitely got more out of my visits with him than all his letters combined, really. In January 2005 I was sitting behind a pane of glass in front of Richard Ramirez in San Quentin State Prison. That was my first visit with “serial killer” or “mass murderer.”
Back then San Quentin had a much bigger budget, so there was guards everywhere. You went in, you filled out the little visitation slip, you went through a metal detector, your stuff went through an X-ray machine, then you had to stop at another checkpoint where they had three officers that sat in an air-conditioned room who did nothing.
Anyway, once we got in, I remember seven of these windows in a row… And this isn’t like a Texas death row or a big picture window; this was a real small window that’s 18 inches by 20 inches. Only one of them has a phone, and it just happens to be the one Ramirez is at.
The rest of them have this awful speaker thing that you have to speak through, and Ramirez told me this, that you would have to talk through this awful speaker, and he wanted us to try to memorize American sign. Let me tell you what we didn’t memorize…
He said “Oh, it’s lucky we have the phone”, and then he immediately starts trying to talk to me in sign language, and I’m looking at him like “Yeah, no…” And he’s like “Oh, you didn’t study the sign language sheets I sent?” and I was like “Yeah… No…”
When I looked at this hands, I remember thinking to myself ‘Man, this guy… Those hands tried to rip hearts out, stabbing them out of people’s chest. Those hands plucked out eyes”, and I remember thinking to myself “Man, you can’t get this out of a book.” There’s so many people that wanna watch documentaries or look up interviews on YouTube, and here I am, I’m getting my own personal interview. It was all mine. Nobody else was there, it was just me and Ramirez, and it was a lot of fun.
When you looked at him — I mean, he was just a man, but he was a killer, a vicious monster of an individual, but he was soft-spoken, his fingernails were neatly trimmed… His teeth were pretty messed up.
One time he had his shirt — he missed a button. I mean, you couldn’t help but feel in a way kind of sorry because he was so socially awkward. He really had this bashful, boyish side. Unless you knew about his case, he was actually cordial and plain. He had a dark sense of humor, and he appreciated humor and he’d laugh.
For about two and a half years the only person I wrote was Ramirez. We exchanged probably a letter every three weeks. I was actually rather disappointed with our correspondence. It got to where it’s like “Well, shit, I guess I should write Richard back.” You might as well have been getting letters from an 11-year-old.
“Hey, how’s it going? Do you like cars? My favorite car is Corvette. Are there any public pools where you live? Make sure to get some pictures of hot chicks. Could you send some stamps? I’ll end here.
Your friend, Richard.”
I don’t think Richard Ramirez was really my friend. I realized that I never really got to know him, and even though I got to talk to him and stuff and he was polite and cordial, probably if he was given the opportunity, he would murder me and would rape my wife and not think twice about it.
I fuckin’ think I rambled on too much, man! [No, no, no…!] Let me try it one more — are you sure it was good, man? I felt like I talked way too much; I’m trying to… I don’t know why we’ve talked so much. This is one thing I think I’m getting wrong. Hang on, let me ask my wife something… “What would you say…?”
A year later I was visiting with Charles Manson. It just spiraled, became this big part of my life. Ramirez would call, or Manson would call, and it’s just like “Oh, yeah, there’s Charlie. Oh, there’s Richard. Hey, how’s it going?”
Before you know it, I was traveling to other states, and staying at people who paroled homes, meeting their families, their parents… It just became all-consuming.
I haven’t really sat down and made a list of every inmate I visited in quite some time. I know it’s well over 80. I visited the Cleveland Strangler, the Party Monster in New York, Tommy Lynn Sells, who was executed…[The first time I killed somebody, it was such a rush.]
…Charles Ng. On death row, I’ve seen Sunset Slayer (Douglas Clark), Toolbox Killer Lawrence Bittaker and, Riverside Prostitute Killer Bill Suff…[When an individual goes above and beyond what is necessary to kill the person, it tells you just how gratifying it is for him to expose himself to…]
On and on and on… There’s just so many people I visited, and sometimes I’ll forget one in the back of my mind. In August I was in France and I was able to spend some time with the Vampire of Paris, Nicolas Claux, paroled murderer, grave robber and cannibal. I stayed in the man’s home with him, he was a wonderful host. My wife was a little concerned he might eat us.[Imagine buying a painting from a guy who mutilated and murdered at least six young boys.] [The collecting and sale of items tied to some of the most notorious killers in American history.] [Serial killer trading cards and action figures.] [Memorabilia from serial killers… It’s called murderabilia.]
I tend to stay away from the word murderabilia. I just like to call it what it is – it’s true crime-related memorabilia.[Those are found chiefly in the more shadowy provinces of the ecommerce world, websites like MurderAuction.com…]
I didn’t set out to make this a business; it just kind of kept building and building naturally on itself. If you’re into collecting and this is your niche, MurderAuction’s the hub.
This isn’t new. When Dillinger was shot, people were running, dipping handkerchiefs in his blood. When Abraham Lincoln was shot, they were tearing apart the house he died in. I mean, I don’t know how many Jesse James guns were sold by his widowed wife, but she had a whole barrel of them. “Oh yeah, this was a gun my husband owned” – boom! And she was selling them all day. I didn’t start this.
The most common way for an item to come onto the market is a person – usually a male in his early 20’s will write under the guise of a friendship as a woman, be flirtatious, and then the inmate will feel important, a connection, and they will do artwork for that “female.” The man who receives the artwork, once they get it, they will turn around and sell it for profit, completely unbeknownst to the inmate.[Would you pay money for a greeting card signed by a serial killer…?] [Charles Manson’s hair that was sold in the form of a swastika. $149.
Foot scrapings from the Railway Killers own foot. $150] [Money is being made off of people’s murders and other violent crimes, sometimes by the killers themselves.]
Believe me, the inmates aren’t making money off of this; they’re not. I’ve never just up and paid an inmate. Let’s say for example it’s being done and somebody sells a $20 letter. How much can you really send back to the inmate? I mean, a living inmate who let’s say killed five people, whose letters sell for (we’ll just say) $30. I mean, really… How many ways can you split $30?
You mentioned that there are some things that you won’t allow to be sold on the site though, is that right?
Yeah, there needed to be a line… There was one incident – I’m talking about some grave dirt from the grave of Texas Dragging Death victim James Byrd Jr.; it was up on the site with a piece of the road where he was dragged, and it did create a pretty big stir. It certainly affected the town of Jasper. While the items were up, I kind of thought to myself, if — let’s say I had an eight-year-old girl and some son of a bitch raped her and killed her and did that to (let’s say) 11 other girls… And somebody came to my daughter’s resting place and scooped up a bag of dirt and put it online, that would probably piss me off. I would feel really helpless and I would feel like perhaps my daughter’s gravesite had been defiled.
So yeah, I made a rule about victim burial plots, even grave rubbing, which is a completely — I wouldn’t say normal, but it’s a hobby that people do. Grave rubbings, dirt, photos, flower petals – nothing related to a victim’s burial plot can be sold. The other items are photographs of children of either offenders or victims; that would be disallowed. The other item is anything that’s related to the victims of the 9/11 attacks.
There was somebody who brought a TSA listing for flight 93. It had the TSA printout, the manifest with all the names of the passengers, and they contacted me and asked if they could sell it, and I told them it was a historical piece and it belonged to the museum, but it couldn’t be sold on my website. The guy asked me why, and I told him “Because. Because I said.”
It wasn’t like I just randomly picked these things. I really thought long and hard about, you know, why didn’t I include the Holocaust? Well, that’s not really an American thing. If I was Europe-born, perhaps that would be a rule, instead of 9/11 items. There had to be something, because these other sites that are owned by individuals, they go to graves and take stuff, and I don’t wanna be a part of that.
I’m just curious about whether there has ever been any kind of monetary exchange, and if so, what for?
I sent every inmate that I wrote and visited to in Texas money, and I was banned from visiting Texas for that. People fail to realize that the inmates are completely dependent on help from the outside, and unfortunately, most people choose to abandon their loved ones when they become convicted of crimes, so they don’t have any support. They don’t have jobs. I have to send money for them to buy stamps.
And yeah, the inmates that did artwork for me, I did send them more money, because they had to get the art supplies. I know I’m talking very fast right now. I try to talk slower when I’m answering your questions. My wife always tells me I talk too fast, and I talk too fast when I’m trying to say things, because I’m always just trying to get everything in as fast as I can. I’m not on drugs.
My cousin one time asked me what Charles Manson’s favorite ice cream was, and I asked him, and Charles Manson said “All. I love them all. All 31 flavors.” Yeah, it’s kind of a silly answer, but if you wonder that, you just get stuck wondering. I get to ask the questions, and I can ask whatever I want. I mean, I earned it.
I started to write Charles Manson back in 2005. I remember one time I was telling him that the environmental movement was picking up some steam. This is right when Al Gore was coming out with An Inconvenient Truth, and he said “Oh, truth you say?” and I go “Yeah, An Inconvenient Truth by Al Gore”, and Charlie’s response was “Al Gore, huh? Al Gore… We slaughtered nine fucking people and nobody listened to us!”
I didn’t know what to say to that. I was like “Okay, Charlie… Not bad…”[I like to clean up the water. I like to go up in the mountains and start at the top of the mountains and clean springs up.]
When they were in court, the environmental theme was something that constantly got brought up. They thought that the death of the environment was a more pressing issue that nine people being killed… And whether people had been killed or whether people hadn’t been killed, nobody was listening, and he feels people still aren’t doing enough and certainly not fast enough.[…because I’m living my child’s world now, I’m working on his world. My world already went to the gas chamber.]
He told me “I don’t know who Charles Manson is. His shoes are too big for me. I can’t fit into those shoes.”
Who was Charles Manson the person? How do you describe him?
He was a convict. He tried to get over where he could, he loved playing music… One of the early things he said to me, “If I had a brother like you and a father like you I don’t know where I’d be, but I know I would be here. I know I wouldn’t be here.”
If my mother walked out on me and abandoned me — you know, he ran away from a boys’ home to find her, and she just said “I don’t want you.” Then to be sexually assaulted when you’re 11 years old… That’s gotta do something negative to you. And I’m not trying to make excuses, but very few people just wake up and say “Man, I’m gonna kill somebody today” and enjoy it. In short, they’re just people.
Have you ever made that case to someone who has had a loved one murdered heinously by someone that has art on your website?
Those – and I mean this in the softest way, and I’m sure a victim or two is gonna be listening to this and it might piss them off, but those people are broken people. They are so hateful… And I’m not trying to say this to be like insensitive… If somebody raped and murdered my children or my wife, or even my dogs, I would have a reaction. I get it, but it doesn’t mean I can’t sell this. If there wasn’t a demand, I couldn’t do it, and I didn’t make this interest. We have a free press, and they sensationalize these cases, and then somebody decides they wanna buy this. Somebody has to sell it.
Have you had interactions that do make you think twice?
You know, when I’m buying the letters that I sell and I read them, I know that the person who wrote this is a man, posing as a woman, writing to these guys that have been in prison for 20 years and duping them, basically lying, saying “Hey, you want a pen pal?” I feel like I’m being part of this dishonest machine that’s lying and misleading inmates to get their items to sell.
I mean more from a victim or a victim’s advocate perspective. Has there been any interaction where someone has made you think about it from a different perspective at all?
No, there’s not.
You seem to be really compassionate and empathetic towards the inmates that you’ve met, but pretty dismissive of the suffering of victims and family members.
My heart goes out to the victims. It’s very tragic, the whole scene is usually tragic. But it’s not my place. I’m on the other team, so to speak. I know where I stand, and I know the side I’ve chosen. I stand with the incarcerated, the condemned, and innocent or guilt, serial murder or crime of passion – that doesn’t matter.
But if you wanted to be an advocate for the incarcerated, there’s probably more effective ways to do it than collecting artwork and memorabilia, right?
Yeah, no, I’m not an advocate per se. I mean, I’ve done what I can for the few people I’ve gotten to know, which I guess, in a roundabout sort of way, is being an advocate, but it’s just when you get to know somebody and you actually like them and become friend, it’s hard not to. I mean yeah, I don’t agree with the death penalty, I’d like to see it abolished, and yes, I do things to help inmates, but I’m not here to be an inmate advocate; that’s not why I started doing this.
I’m an American. I’m for capitalism, freedom and free speech, and if I wanna sell this stuff, by golly, I can do it. And if they wanna make laws that say me selling my personal items is illegal, if that doesn’t worry people… I mean, you’re worried about your guns being taken away; goodness, what happens when I lose the right to sell my personal property?
If somebody gets blinded by things like right/wrong, moral/immoral, people like that don’t belong making laws, people like that belong in churches. The minute they say “Well, we’re making a moral law”, if they start doing that here and this becomes a Christian extremist country, I’ll leave because they’ll kill me; I’ll be put to death, for sure.
I don’t know if you want me to apologize or say “You know, now that I thought about this, man, I think I should stop…” Yeah, I thought about it; I’m not gonna stop because other people don’t like it. And don’t think — I’m not lashing out at you; I get it, you’re just asking questions and trying the field answer…
So don’t think I’m — I’m not yelling at you or at anybody. If you wanna dress up as a Nazi and march around your house screaming knock yourself out. I think it’s ridiculous, but if that’s what you wanna do, I’m not gonna tell you what you can’t do. I have a moral issue with wearing leather and fur, but I don’t stop anybody from wearing it. I can’t.
I’m gonna be dead in less than 40 years no matter how you slice it; I don’t care what other people really think. I’m not here to please anybody but me. The very essence of my belief system is the absence of faith; it’s the absence of faith that makes Satanism what it is. I don’t believe in a god or a bunch of gods, or good karma, bad karma… There just is, there is now, and I’m gonna live the most enjoyable life that I possibly can and not worry about reward or retribution in an afterlife.
Everything is subjective to the individual, to the situation, to society’s norms. I mean, I think it’s wrong to hang an animal upside down by a hook and cut its throat, and then cut it up into little pieces and eat it, but most people don’t even think twice about that. Are you gonna tell me that animals, that mammals that understand anger, fear, love, joy, don’t understand suffering? “Well, that’s different, because it’s not people…” – eh, people smeople. There’s so many of them. I’m not here to be the people person.
We’ve kind of asked you a bunch to rationalize ethically what you do and what you’re interested in, and it kind of seems like one part of this is maybe just as simple as you think it’s cool, and like you say, you can’t get all of this stuff at WalMart, and you like it.
I don’t know. I mean, I’ve never thought of a justification and I didn’t set out to do it, much like I would think a person who collects stamps didn’t set out to — who wants to collect stamps? I mean, it seems like a real boring hobby. Not to say it’s not as interesting as this, but it’s not. It’s stamps. I mean, I think it’s cool to go into prisons and visit; I don’t think it’s cool that people go around killing people. I mean, is it interesting that a person gets it in his head that it’s okay to murder a whole family? It’s sad, it’s cruel, it’s all those things. “Cool” wouldn’t be the word I would use to describe it. I would say “interesting” or “Well, that’s different. He ground up the woman afterwards and made a hamburger out of her.” A person who would do that is definitely set aside from a person who shoots his wife and her lover and then walks out of the room. That’s not interesting; that’s just what human beings do. Now, if the person then grinds up the lover and makes hamburgers out of them and eats them, that’s going the extra mile. I’d kind of like to know, “Hey, what made you wanna do that? I get the killing your wife’s lover part, but you ate him afterward…”
* * *
So what does your wife think about having the house kind of littered with all this stuff?
That’s exactly the word she would use. “Cluttered” is what she likes to say; I like to look at it as decorating. She gets it, but what she doesn’t like is when I wanna frame a letter or a card or a court document. Her response is “That’s not art!” And when I wanna frame something John Wayne Gacy did, she’s like “That’s shit!”
It’s not her bag, she’s not into this, but she knows it makes me happy. My wife’s a saint. I’m her ticket into heaven, for sure.
Nick van der Kolk, Host and Director
Max Green, Producer
Steven Jackson, Producer
Jessi Carrier, Producer