The eBay corporate logo.
A Casey Anthony mask sold on eBay for nearly $1 million. (Photo Credit: CC BY-ND/Ryan Fanshaw/Flickr)

Casey Anthony was acquitted of the murder of her 2-year-old daughter Caylee Anthony, but that hasn’t hindered her rise to pop culture fame. KTLA Los Angeles reports that a latex mask re-creation of the “Tot Mom’s” face sold Wednesday on eBay for nearly $1 million. Casey Anthony was accused of asphyxiating her daughter, and the mom’s mug apparently qualifies as murderabilia.

Casey Anthony mask received 105 bids

An eBay bidder going by the username “9***6” placed the winning bid on the Casey Anthony mask. The starting bid was $25. After 105 total bids on the item, which is the sixth of nine Casey Anthony masks created by the pop artist/sculptor Torro, the final selling price was $999,900. According to the Los Angeles-based eBay seller “prophunter,” the series of latex masks were created by Torro for a parody video.

The seller billed the Casey Anthony mask as “a significant piece of crime history.” In addition, prophunter expressed confidence in the mask’s unique qualities:

“Forget Freddy, Jason, Meyers, here’s your chance to scare the *#&% out of everyone and win every costume contest with this amazing Tot Mom latex rubber mask, possibly the most frightening mask on the planet. And I can almost guarantee it’s the ‘only’ Casey mask on the planet,” reads the eBay listing.

Cornering the market on murder

While Casey Anthony doesn’t qualify as a serial killer, her emergence has cleared placed her within that subset of American popular culture that is fascinated by murder. As a prized collectible, the mask qualifies as murderabilia, even though Anthony wasn’t convicted. As the study “Natural Born Celebrities” reminds us, when stardom and violence come together, the brew is too intoxicating for onlookers to resist. Entrepreneurs on eBay and beyond are aware of this fact.

We who are about to kill

Why does murder fascinate us? The answers are complex, but the blog Everyday Psychology pins down some key ideas. As a matter of practical duty, we share in understanding the means and motivation involved in murder. Through understanding, future crimes may be preventable.

The taboo element of taking a life plays into what many psychologists would argue is a fundamental human impulse. We assuage our conscience via distancing, saying the killer is deranged and we aren’t. We search for clues to confirm we’re safe, from murderers and ourselves. In a moment of passion, would we lose sight of the line in the sand drawn by civilized society? Or is civilized society an illusion, as Heath Ledger’s characterization of The Joker in “The Dark Knight” suggests?

“When the chips are down, these civilized people (will) eat each other… Madness is like gravity. All it takes is a little push.”

The face of Casey Anthony

Sources

eBay listing: http://bit.ly/nhZ4TF

Everyday Psychology: http://everydaypsychology.com/2011/05/why-are-we-so-fascinated-with-murder.html

KTLA Los Angeles: http://www.ktla.com/news/landing/ktla-casey-anthony-halloween-mask,0,6241340.story

“Natural Born Celebrities: Serial Killers in American Culture”: http://bit.ly/4aQK8s

TruTV: http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/criminal_mind/psychology/s_k_culture/1.html

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