Zak Bagans Adds John Wayne Gacy's Clown Self-Portrait to His Extensive Collection of Oddities

Ghost Adventures host Zak Bagans recently purchased a bunch of serial killer John Wayne Gacy's personal belongings, including the infamous self-portrait of the murderer dressed as "Pogo" the clown.

TMZ reported that Bagans purchased the art along with letters from Gacy's stepdaughter Tammy Hoff, who reportedly lived in Illinois with the killer during his murder spree. Despite the fact that they lived together, Hoff didn't know her stepfather was a murderer. He sent her the paintings from prison.

Hoff lives near Bagans' Haunted Museum in Las Vegas and reached out to the Ghost Adventures star to sell the killer's possessions. According to TMZ, the possessions "piqued his interest because they make Gacy seem like a loving stepfather, despite murdering 33 people."

The letter Bagans acquired certainly supports the idea that the work portrays Gacy as a "loving father." The letter, dated April 23, 1989, seems more like a banal note from a father, rather than that of a killer. "It was nice talking to you on the phone today, and I am happy to know your [sic] feeling find and things going good for you," he wrote in the introduction. Gacy signed the letter "Love and hugs, Daddy."

Besides the creepy clown portrait, Bagans also bought paintings by Gacy that depicted a tranquil waterfall and the seven dwarves from Disney's Snow White film. He also purchased some of Gacy's final Polaroid pictures, a letter sent to Hoff, and the last pack of cigarettes he smoked from before his execution in May 1994.

Serial killers' old belongings aren't out of the ordinary for Bagans. The Haunted Museum owner has acquired a number of items that were once in some of America's most infamous serial killers' hands like Ted Bundy's glasses, Charles Manson's hospital gown, and some more macabre items like Manson's bones and Gacy's brain. His collection does have a few less grizzly items like props and costumes from the original Ghostbusters films.

One of America's most notorious serial killers, Gacy lured boys and young men to his home for sex, where he raped and murdered them, burying most of his victims' bodies in his basement, with others on his property, The New York Times reported at the time of his death. He was convicted in 1980 and sentenced to death row for murdering 33 young boys and men. He was killed by lethal injection in May 1994.

At the time of his death, the artwork Gacy created sold from $200 to $20,000, The Times reported. According to The Observer in 2018, his paintings more recently sold for between $6,000 and $175,000.

Bagans' agent did not respond to Newsweek's emailed request for comment in time for publication.

John Wayne Gacy
John Wayne Gacy artwork that Bagans bought included the infamous "Pogo the Clown" self-portrait the killer painted in prison. Getty/Steve Eichner/WireImage
Zak Bagans Adds John Wayne Gacy's Clown Self-Portrait to His Extensive Collection of Oddities | Culture