My friend and I, we have one thing in common. We both like skulls, skeletons and anything with bones that rattle about. She’s a nurse. I have no excuse.
So a couple of years ago she asked if I wanted to go to the Museum of Death here in Los Angeles on Hollywood Boulevard – the sketchy part of the Boulevard, of course.
What was in store for us, though, would be much more than what we expected. Except for our giggles, “icks,” and “oh my Gods,” I barely remember any of it because we got out of there so fast.
But now I’m two years older so I thought I’d give the Museum another try. A solo visit this time. And that’s what I did.
According to their website, The World Famous Museum of Death was founded in June, 1995, and was originally located in San Diego’s 1st mortuary in a building once owned by Wyatt Earp. It was realized that there was a void in death education and that has how it came to be. The Museum soon moved to Hollywood. In New Orleans stands another.
Even though the gnawing at the back of my mind is urging me to go, I put off visiting the museum a couple of times. I am a little chicken. I remember. It’s not for the wimpy. Nevertheless, I finally decide to suck it up and go.
The parking lot is hidden and empty so it creeps me out bit, but even more so because it’s in the back of a death museum. It’s daytime, though. I’m not worried.
The front of the building is wrapped in gorgeous Bougainvillea and a beautiful skull is painted beside the front door. A guy with kind eyes welcomes me as I walk in. This makes me feel calm. “No photographs,” are his first words. His second? “$15, please.” We start chatting a bit.
This is a self-guided tour starting the visitor off in the Serial Killers room which is chock-full of newspaper articles, pictures, and letters from serial killers – the Son of Sam and The Nightstalker, to name a couple. There is plenty to read, and the visitor is assured by the FBI documentary playing that the chances of getting murdered by a serial killer are slim to none. This makes me feel better. The plaque that boasts that Los Angeles is famous for the most serial killers does not. It’s still a good start to the tour, though. Because it’s about to get grisly.
Some of the other highlights are the “Putting Fun Back into Funeral” room and the “Mortician and Funeral Room” where there are blow by blow instructions on how to embalm a corpse. The room also holds a display of instruments used in autopsies from way back when. I won’t give it all away. You’ll have to check it out for yourself.
Some of the other features? The California Death Room is special. The gruesome crime scene photos are fun. The skull room is my favorite. Of course, there is a Kennedy wall and a lot of Black Dahlia paraphernalia. Also, Jack Kevorkian’s artwork and Jane’s Mansfield’s stuffed chihuahua are an added bonus. And there’s much much more.
Ending the tour about an hour later, I am dumped into a gift shop. There is a variety of merchandise suitable for any type of visitor who walks through the Museum. The T-shirts, hoodies, caps, shot-glasses, mugs… and baby onesies available for purchase are designed so cleverly to forever remind you of your fondness for this place.
They even sell Serial Killer board games. Today, these are sold out.
You can find The Museum of Death at 6031 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90028 – I double-dog dare you to go!
Go to http://www.museumofdeath.net/info for more information about the Hollywood location
Go to http://www.museumofdeath.net/nola for more information about the New Orleans location