HARRISONBURG, Va -- Eric Gein runs a website for a living, but it is not like any website. This one features works of art and things like poems, stories and even locks of hair from serial killers.
The website is called “Serial Killers Ink,” and it is one of several in America today, specializing in something called, "murderabilia."
Gein says ever since he started selling these items, his customer base has been growing.
"I think the general public has always had an interest in the taboo or dark history. The general public seems to have a vast interest in these items. My customers are what have made me a success," said Gein.
Gein said his customer base covers just about anyone, like college students, who may like a painting they see or a letter they can use for a thesis.
"We have psychologists who are customers. I've got a criminal law professor, who buys letters to help teach his classes."
Beth Bright is one of his customers. She's 55-years old and lives in Pennsylvania. Beth said ever since she was a little girl, she has been interested in learning more about the criminal mind.
"For me to able to look at to look at and hold and read their letters, it's an awesome thing to me as I try to gain an insight into what went so terribly terribly wrong in these people's lives," said Bright.
Customers, like Beth, say the type of things you can learn by having these items can offer a brand new insight into who the criminals are and how they feel after committing crimes.
"When you read these letters, I was surprised. These people talked about their families, repentance, lost dreams."
Killers who have their items sold on sites, like Serial Killers Ink, can't make any money off the sales because of the "Son of Sam Law," which bars them from making a profit off their crimes.
Gein said after he writes to the criminals, however, and gets items to sell from them, he gives them a small share of what makes. They can use that towards things like food, drinks, and hygiene products as they serve time in jail.
"He's not making money as far as off his crimes or for his items. Because I'm not paying him for these pieces," said Gein.
Gein said there is a high demand for murderabilia and as far as the future is concerned, he only expects the popularity to grow.
There are plenty of different items on murderabilia websites. Gein said these items can cost anywhere from $15 all the way up to thousands of dollars. He also said any item regarding Charles Manson in particular is quick to sell.