A few weeks ago I accidentally told my boss every single thing I know about Richard Speck. It took about 35 minutes. The finale of my story was the fact that the man convicted of torturing, raping and murdering eight nurses was incarcerated 20 minutes from my childhood home, and his ashes were rumored to be scattered in the area.
Let me get something straight. I do not celebrate or admire murderers. In fact, in 1994 when serial killer John Wayne Gacy was executed in my hometown prison (are you starting to understand certain things about me?) I asked my mom to bring me to the impromptu party on the prison grounds but she said no. Fuck him, I wanted to shake my little kid fist angrily in his general direction.
I don’t admire these heinous acts, but I am fascinated by how and why they happen. And I gravitate toward other people with the same fascination. (Yes, I am a Murderino, thanks.) About 15 years ago I bought some iron-on letters and made myself a t-shirt that simply read, “Albert Fish” so that I could seek out and make friends with people who wanted to talk about him and all the completely insane things he did.
And that was the inspiration for this week’s Friday Five – morbid, possibly tasteless conversation pieces. Items that, if worn or displayed, will inspire conversations with your fellow weirdos. If this is not your bag, I completely understand and promise to do another list about candy or vegan dog treats soon. If it is, you’re now my best friend, so let’s get creepy:
1. Jim Jones People’s Temple Punch Purse
Let’s start with a bang, huh? I mean… I really can’t tell you how much I want this purse. Do you know how many cool people will talk to me on the bus when I carry this? Jim Jones, for those of you who are not psychos, was a cult leader responsible for the mass suicide of 918 of his followers – most of them died after drinking cyanide-laced Flavor Aid. If you’re interested in cult behavior and need to carry your keys and a lipstick somewhere, this is the purse for you.
2. Pogo the Clown Decorative Pillow
This is the perfect home accessory for folks obsessed with true crime who don’t necessarily want to hang portraits of serial killers on the walls. Kid-friendly murder memorabilia? Yes! Plus, how cute is this handmade throw pillow? Bonus: My (female) dog humps EVERYTHING. I really enjoy the idea of one of my tiny, fluffy dog defiling this absolute garbage pile of a person’s memory.
3. My Friend Dahmer
This graphic novel by a childhood acquaintance of Jeffrey Dahmer, Derf Backderf, was recently adapted for a film of the same name, which is hitting theaters this fall. I hesitate to say it paints a sympathetic picture of the Midwest’s most notorious cannibal, but it does shed light on some the elements in Dahmer’s life that lead him down his dark path. Perfect bathtub reading.
4. Serial Killer Sreen Prints
OK, now let’s say you’re just the kind of horrible person who is willing to decorate your house with a Pogo the Clown pillow AND portraits of serial killers. Well, then might I suggest these 7″ x 11″ prints from FriendPrices? That little girl who wanted to go dance on John Wayne Gacy’s grave in me really loves seeing these monsters cartoonishly represented in a style that sort of reminds me of the temporary tattoos that came wrapped around sticks of Fruit Stripe gum.
5. My Favorite Murder Stickers
Finally, four low-key ways to identify members of our tribe. These stickers feature some of my favorite quotes from the My Favorite Murder podcast, my all-time favorite being, “You’re in a cult, call your dad.” If you’re uncomfortable wearing or displaying the likeness of an actual murderer, but still want to rep true crime, stick these on your phone cover or laptop and be prepared to exchange knowing glances with other people who know to stay out of the forest.
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