Jamie Frater is an interesting man whose led an interesting life. While he has partaken in everything from singing in Opera to running his own line of perfumes, I first heard about Jamie from his popular website Listverse. I first hopped on board way back in 2010, right after they released their first book, and the sites only grown since then.
Morbid as it may be, the most fascinating lists on the site for me pertain to criminals, in particular serial killers. My philosophy on the matter has always been that to study the darkest of humanity better helps the rest of us appreciate the light. Plus I just thinks it’s kind of cool, sue me. I’m far from alone in my interests however. In fact, the crime section of Listverse happens to be one of it’s most popular.
Jamie was kind enough to take the time to answer a few of my questions on the matter, and help delve further into what makes such macabre matter interesting reading.
The Blood Shed: Thank you for joining us Mr. Frater. I’ve been a fan of Listverse for a long time. I remember buying your book when it first came out.
Jamie Frater: Thanks Jeff! We certainly had some enjoyable conversations on the lists back then! It is hard to believe Listverse is approaching it’s nine-year anniversary.
Shed: While your site has content for just about any taste, Blood Shed readers will probably take the most interest in True Crime. There are numerous lists on your site on the subject, from cultists, mass murderers, and just about every kind of serial killer imaginable. Why do you thing people take such an interest in the subject?
Jamie: I think, like horror movies, people love to be scared. The main difference between ﬁctional horror and the stories we publish is that they are typically tales of things that could really happen – because they already have! There is probably also an attraction based on the fear of the unknown and morbid curiosity.
The tales of serial killers enthrall us on many levels because the men and women who perpetrate these crimes are so often just like us with the exception of the whole serial murder thing. I guess we all want to know what makes them tick and to try to unlock the mystery of what turns a seemingly normal person into a monster.
Shed: One popular topic on your site is cannibalism. To be frank, it’s a little disturbing there are enough cannibals out there to populate so many lists. Do you think more gruesome crimes like this attract higher traffic than more mundane murders?
Jamie: There is no doubt at all that the more gruesome the topic, the more popular the list. Cannibalism pretty much tops the rank for revolting tales. In fact the only thing slightly worse is cannibals who are children! The stark contrast between such a heinous act perpetrated by those we deem innocents shocks us on a whole other level.
Shed: As both a personal fan of, and a journalist in, the horror genre I’ve taken in a lot of content chronicling serial killers, cannibals, and all kinds of monsters, real and imagined. Do you think this influx of violent media has made for a jaded populace, who sometimes forgets the brutality of these criminal acts which fascinate them?
Jamie: From my own experience I can say for certain that I am far more jaded now about real life crimes than I was when I ﬁrst started writing Listverse. Years of looking for featured images has led me to see crime scene photos you wouldn’t believe. And while ﬁctional crimes are not real, I think the more gruesome movies probably do desensitize us in a similar way – though perhaps not on quite the same psychological level. After all, when watching a movie you can always remind yourself “this isn’t real”. Not so when looking at photos or reading about real cases.
Shed: One list of yours I particularly enjoyed was 10 Disturbing Items Of Murderabilia, essentially souvenirs from murder scenes and items related to serial killers, a famous example being John Wayne Gacy’s Pogo paintings. The idea of items like this being sold 50, or even 25 years ago is somewhat outrageous, but today it’s almost an occurrence barely worth an eye role. How do you think can these interests entered the mainstream like they did?
Jamie: In the eighteenth century men often collected unusual items and displayed them in their socalled cabinets of curiosity. These eventually led to the ﬁrst museums. That desire to possess something unusual and unique is in all of us to a certain extent. For those interested in crime it makes perfect sense that you would want to own rare items relating to that interest.
I have an interest in the morbid and bizarre so my home is filled with taxidermy and objects relating to human death such as human bones and medical tools used in autopsies. if my interest was more about murder rather than death on the whole, I would absolutely want to own a Gacy painting. Okay, I really want to own one anyway! I don’t think it is any different from a well-dressed lady wanting to own the latest shoes from Manolo Blahnik – something rare and special that no one else possesses.
Shed: Well thank you for taking the time to join us Mr. Frater. Any final words?
Frater: You are most welcome. Thank you for inviting me to talk to your audience. My last words on this matter are simply: read listverse.com!
Jamie is a pretty great guy even beyond his fantastic website, and certainly a man who can dispense some interesting conversation. So a big thanks goes out to him for lending his time and intellect, and a big recommendation that you check out his site or purchase some of his fantastic books. And as always, keep your eyes nailed to The Shed for all the quality horror news you can swallow down.
Jeff is a writer for The Blood Shed, and eats, drinks, and bleeds horror. You can send him harassing messages at firstname.lastname@example.org
Notify me of follow-up comments by email.
Notify me of new posts by email.