The True Crime Community is a loose affiliation of blogs (usually Tumblrs) dedicated to discussing, debating, and sometimes fawning over serial killers. The subculture exhibits the usual characteristics of internet hobbyism: there's lots of amateur artwork, fan fiction, and a general hunger for conspiracy theories. And for some reason, certain names attract more attention than others. High school shooters such as the Columbine killers loom large in the community, as do the usual collection of big name psychopaths—Ted Bundy, Jeffery Dahmer, and John Wayne Gacy.
But, perhaps most interestingly of all, is the way that a lot of the community's discussion is driven by teenage girls.
To understand the fascination and (occasional) sexual attraction that these bloggers display for monsters, we reached out to one 16-year-old, US-based blogger behind a Tumblr called "Cherry-pipe-bomb." And due to her age we'll keep her anonymous, and call her Cherry.
VICE: Hey Cherry tell us about your Tumblr? What do you post?
Cherry: It’s a mixed blog. I have information on mass murderers, serial killers, the tragedies themselves, photos of crime scenes, and lists of victims.
Who are the killers you find most interesting and why?
If I had to pick, my top two would be Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris [of Columbine infamy]. They’re interesting to me because I see bits and pieces of myself in their stories. The harassment and torment they went through during their years at Columbine High school, the journal entries they wrote, and the home videos they created to escape reality. The anger and sadness that built up inside of them, and Dylan’s hopeless romantic attitude—they’re all things I can relate to on some level. You can really see what kind of people they truly were.
Also the case itself is so full of information. It’s almost insane to see what kind of information people find when they’re dedicated to their research. It seems that even after 19 years, new information is still being pieced together about their case. New photos are still being found. The current hope within the community is for the release of the basement tapes. This keeps all the Columbine researchers excited, just to see what we'll find out next.
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What are some of the misconceptions about the True Crime Community?
People often assume that everyone finds killers attractive, or wants to have sex or be intimate with killers. I can confirm that isn’t true. Not everyone associated with the TCC wants to be intimate with them. We just find some people attractive, nothing more.
Have you ever fantasised about a serial killer?
I’ve only ever dreamed of one person in a romantic way, and that was Dylan Klebold. I once fell asleep listening to a soft melody and I ended up imagining what it would have been like to be there, before the massacre, when Dylan was just a normal teenage boy. I dreamed that we went out to the range and goofed off with his friends. We shot some silly home videos, stopped by his work after school to grab a slice. We relaxed, played video games, and stayed up all night to have nothing but deep and heartfelt conversations. He was such a caring person, and I think that maybe if I could have been the person he cared for—if I had listened and tried to help—I could have prevented the massacre and the world could have been so different. I can’t help but dream about how it would have been if his life had taken a different path.
Are you saying you've dreamed about dating Dylan Klebold?
Only if I dated him before the massacre. When it comes to the shooting on April 20th 1999, I would have to say I would never have been able to support him. He was wrong in doing what he did, and no amount of love, admiration, or care from me would have ever changed that.
But, if I were to date Dylan before he became the person he did, I honestly would have loved to have taken him to a bowling alley. He has pieces in his journal where he wrote about the bowling alley and how much fun he had there, also a lot of people that knew him said when he was feeling down or had a free day, he would spend almost the entire day with friends bowling and goofing off. Eric on the other hand, I'd stay at home to binge on horror movies. Eric seemed to love horror movies.
Who, in your opinion, is the most attractive serial killer?
In my opinion, based on the person alone and not their acts, I would personally choose Ted Bundy. He had the looks, he had the brain and he was just so… mysterious. There's so much to this day we still don't know about him. I don't understand it myself but for some reason, it interests me. Again, I DO NOT stand for what he did, it was wrong and horrid, but if looks could kill, he’d be a murderer no matter what path he chose.
How do you respond to people who think you condone violence?
Well, I simply tell them that at one point, I did actually condone the acts of violence. At one point I believed that these people had good reason to do what they did, but I now know that I was wrong to think that.
What happened was that I had a friend who was the victim of violence, and didn’t survive. I was already a part of the TCC at that time. So when I got the call and learned what had happened to my friend, it tore me apart. I witnessed first hand the pain and suffering these people were putting others through by taking away the people that they loved and cared for.
They were leaving wounds over hearts that would never fully heal. That’s when I realised that no matter what their reasons are for committing these acts, they’re wrong.
What were some of the reactions you got from people when you told them about your blog?
Well, the first person I told was my mother. She was worried at first, she didn’t find my interests “normal” but she was open-minded and told me that as long as I was happy and finding joy in doing something such as researching these people, I should be open and happy to doing it.
Other people aren't so understanding. I actually lost a few friends over my interests in True Crime. They thought I was weird. These people actually reported me to my high school principal, saying that they were “concerned about my interests.” I ended up being brought into an office with the school’s three assistant principals, the principal herself, and a campus resource officer.I was talked to and questioned for two hours. They asked to see my blog and I happily obliged.
I handed over my phone and let them look through all I had, I wasn’t ashamed. After that, they requested the campus resource officer escort me to my classes for the next two days, because my interests worried them. When some people saw an officer walking me around the school they thought that I was becoming a threat and began to avoid me. I couldn’t care less honestly, I’m a proud member of this community, and no one will ever change that.
Do you feel sympathy for certain killers?
I have sympathy for all killers, because they throw their lives away. The fact that they had to become monsters and commit such violent acts to feel “ok” is terrible. What’s even worse is that they thought what they were doing was ok. That doesn’t mean I think they’re innocent, hell no.
I don’t understand why they did the things they did, but I will always have sorrow for what these people went through and what they thought they had to do, the feelings of despair they suffered from. I will always have a lingering sadness knowing that people are pushed to the brink of madness because they feel unaccepted or unloved.
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