Online shopping is a little different for those of us who were around pre-Amazon. Or pre-current Amazon, when it was just an online bookstore and not the fuel-source for the Demon of Greed. We witnessed the birth of not only the internet but also Web 2.0. We cut our teeth on eBay and Craigslist, the Wild West of online shopping. Back in the good old days, you were never quite sure what you’d get when you bought something at auction. And before the Buy It Now option on eBay, it was an actual struggle to even get an item without someone swooping in last minute to out-bid you. Plus, you had to check and double-check you weren’t getting scammed. But accidentally buying crap once in a while is worth a place where you can encounter weird listings for bizarre objects.
Five Weirdest eBay Listings
Not just any crypt, but the one right over Marilyn Monroe. Joe DiMaggio was the original owner but sold it when the couple divorced. A guy named Richard Poncher bought it and requested a face down interring to spend eternity staring at Monroe. That’s not creepy at all. He was placed in the crypt as requested, leaving his widow to be buried all by herself. Instead, she listed the crypt on eBay for $500 thousand, hoping to pay off her mortgage. It finally sold for $4.6 million. All the bets were fake, however, leaving Poncher where he is. His wife is now in the crypt next to him, face up.
Golden Palace, the casino, buys up weird items on eBay for press coverage. They bought the grilled cheese toasted with an image of the Virgin Mary, and then they bought a ghost for $65 thousand. Mary Anderson, an Indiana resident, listed her father’s cane on the auction site after he passed away. Her son feared his grandfather’s ghost would haunt him. Anderson told him the spirit would follow the cane wherever it went. The listing came with the stipulation that the buyer writer her son a letter confirming the ghost was with them and was very happy. Golden Palace fulfilled her unusual request.
A Life Unlimited
Ian Usher went through a divorce and found himself just sick of it all. He sold, “Everything I have and everything I am,” on eBay. His entire life, including house, jet ski, and car, brought him $305,000. He used the money to execute a 100-item bucket list in 100 weeks with things like piloting a helicopter, riding an ostrich, and dog sledding. He wrote a book, bought an island, and of course, give a TEDx Talk. Now he lives off-grid on his private island off the coast of Panama.
A Ghost Town
Back in 2007, the ghost town of Albert, Texas went up on eBay with a reserve price of $2.5 million. It got a bit of press but no bids. Not until 2009 and a series of price reductions. The Easley family purchased the entire town for $883,000. They don’t live there (no one does), but they run an event venue and a bar called the Icehouse that’s open every night of the week. There’s live music, and it sounds like a delightful–if abandoned and uninhabited–town.
A Kidney Stone
I love this story because it stars William Shatner behaving the most William Shatner-y. He passed a kidney stone so large, “you’d want to wear it on your finger.” Again, the weird casino Golden Palace stepped up to buy it on eBay for $15 thousand. Shatner, claiming that Star Trek memorabilia sells for a lot more, countered the bid and asked Golden Palace for $25 thousand. I just love that Shatner considers his kidney stone to be Star Trek memorabilia, as valuable as his costumes and props. The money was going to Habitat for Humanity, so Golden Palace accepted his counter-offer and shelled out the $25K.