The magical belief in the aura of celebrity memorabilia

It seems obvious that people would pay more for celebrity memorabilia from, say, JFK or Marilyn Monroe, if they think the star actually touched the item at some point. But did you know that people apparently will pay less for the item if it was owned by a nasty person like Bernie Madoff? This strange phenomenon appeared in a new study from Yale University psychologists who looked at auction prices for memorabilia tied of those three famous folks. And it got even stranger once the researchers told study participants that the items were professionally "sterilized," removing the celebrity's "essence."

Science Explores Our Magical Belief in the Power of Celebrity (Smithsonian)

Above, a relevant scene from Richard Linklater's Slacker (1991).