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Monday, May 14, 2018

Southern California Vol. 22 - The Museum of Death

This week’s suggested destination is definitely not for everyone.  In fact, I’d say at least two thirds of you reading this would probably detest a visit to this museum but I can’t discuss weird museums in L.A. and not talk about The Museum of Death.  Now, don’t get this mixed up with the famous gift shop at the L.A.County Department of Coroner.  This is entirely different and honestly makes a visit to the Coroner's Gift Shop seem like a visit to Disneyland. 

The Museum of Death literally collects and displays items having to do with… well… death.  Right inside the door, you’ll be confronted with photos of decomposing bodies.  You’ll find, old mortuary equipment, embalming training films (that run on a loop), caskets and other bits and pieces of funerary custom.  

And that’s the tame stuff.

The museum’s owners and staff make it a point to tell people before they buy a ticket that this place is not for the faint at heart.  You’re given a couple of different chances to back out and it’s not just some P.T. Barnum trick to draw you in.  They’re serious. 

Aside from what I mentioned in the paragraph above, you’ll get to see the actual head of Henri Desire Landru a.k.a. The Bluebeard of France.  He was responsible for the deaths of over 200 women and was executed in 1922.  How The Museum of Death got possession of his head is a story I’d love to hear at some point.

There are photos taken by murderers after they’d committed their crimes.  There are  displays about cult suicides like the Heaven’s Gate group.  There are graphic displays on the Manson murders, prison art by John Wayne Gacy and much more.   It’s a sobering exhibit if you let it sink in and there are those out there (myself included) who occasionally like that sort of thing.

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