Nearly 100 of Dr. Jack Kevorkian’s worldly possessions went on the auction block on Friday, including his famed Thanatron, the assisted suicide device he designed in 1989. Built DIY-style, the machine was central to the deaths of two of the 130 people “Doctor Death” helped usher into the great beyond. But for some reason (the creep factor?) bids for the Thanatron failed to reach the minimum amount of $60,000 and it was withdrawn from sale.
In addition to the euthanasia machine, the objects collected for auction were a curious mingling of the mundane and the grotesque. They included a blue Mr. Rogers-esque cardigan, two used dictionaries, a thesaurus, letters variously encouraging and excoriating, his white bullet-proof vest, and a series of Kevorkian’s ghoulish paintings that manage to evoke something very ’90s.
It is a very human impulse to examine the objects of someone who has died, searching for insight into their motives and personal quirks — looking for clues as to what drove them and why they did the things they did. Click through for a slide show of the curated detritus of Dr. Kevorkian’s controversial life, and see what (if anything) you come up with.
Clam-shell style and made of plastic, this LG phone (“still in working order” according to the auction catalogue) sat on its shelf: lifeless, unremarkable, and identical to one I had in high school. Do we think it still has his contacts list? It sold for $70.