In the rarified world of hardcore art collectors, William Harder is not a household name. Yet he owns one of the largest collections of one-of-a-kind work in the world — the vast majority of it created by convicted murderers, rapists, and serial killers.
"I've just always had this interest in people killing each other and I don't know why," Harder says. "Even when I was little, I was fascinated with the Freddy Krueger's and the Jason Voorhees. As an adult, I'm not as into that as I am the [Charles] Manson's and the [Richard] Ramirez's."
Harder started writing letters to Manson and Ramirez in the early aughts, long after their killing sprees had ended. He started to visit them in prison, and eventually became friends with both. He started writing, visiting, and building up similar friendships with a ton of other perhaps less well-known, but equally (if not more) ghastly, characters. And he has artwork and memorabilia from all of them, which he loves to show off. Harder even runs a website called MurderAuction.com, a sort of eBay for this so-called "murderbilia."
While he says that most of the stuff on the site isn't his, he acts as a self-styled broker for the small, but fervent community of people who collect.