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Morbid Curiosities: Book Launch at the Morbid Anatomy Museum

Join author Paul Gambino at the Morbid Anatomy Museum with collectors featured in his new book Morbid Curiosities: Collections of the Uncommon and the Bizarre.
Morbid Curiosities book by Paul Gambino
The collection of Ryan and Regina Cohn featured in Morbid Curiosities.

Date: Monday, November 14th
Time: 7pm
Admission: $5
Location: Morbid Anatomy Museum, 424 Third Avenue, 11215 Brooklyn NY

The Morbid Anatomy Museum is presenting an evening with author Paul Gambino and the collectors featured in his new book Morbid Curiosities, including Calvin Von Crush, Ryan Matthew Cohn, D.L. Marian, Dani Devereux, Daniel Erenberg, and Nathan Roberts.

From the event description:

Hosted by Evan Michelson (who is also featured in the book) the evening would be a dynamic, informative, and entertaining glimpse into the world of serious collecting of the macabre from a diverse group of collectors.

Topics to be introduced and discussed will include the obligatory How did you get started in this niche of collecting? and What was the oddest item you have ever had in your collection or have seen in someone elses collection? to the more sophisticated areas like Have you ever turned down a piece because of moral or ethical reasons? and What have been some of the recent consequences of collectors who sell illegal and/or stolen items online.

Each of the six collectors will bring their own unique spin on a group of collectors who many lay people have painted with a broad brush. In addition to the Roundtable section of the evening, the collectors will also bring three of their favorite pieces to put on display and discuss with the audience.

A collection of wax anatomical models featured in Morbid Curiosities

Morbid Curiosities is featured on the Cult of Weird Fall Reading List.

Buy it on Amazon right here.

Documentary to Explore the Mad Mind of Carl Von Cosel

Proposed documentary will explore the morbid obsession of Carl Von Cosel with the dead girl he stole from the grave.

View the Kickstarter campaign right here.

Sure, it’s hard to pass up a film that promises puppetry and necrophilia, but there are other reasons to head over to Kickstarter and back this new documentary project from Morbid Anatomy Museum filmmaker in residence Ronni Thomas, creator of Fragments of Faith, Ghosts and Gadgets, The Art of Ryan Matthew Cohn and other fascinating short films. I can’t think of anyone I would rather see take on the bizarre legend of the doctor who carried on a seven year relationship with a dead girl he exhumed from the grave.

German immigrant Karl Tanzler, otherwise known as Count Carl Von Cosel, was working as a radiologic technologist at a hospital in Key West, Florida in 1930 when he met Elena Hoyos. Her mother brought her in for an examination, which eventually concluded she had tuberculosis. Cosel, who believed he had earlier vision of the Cuban-American beauty, befriended the family and attempted to treat Elena with his own self-professed medical knowledge to no avail. She died the following year, and was interred in the Key West Cemetery in a tomb Cosel commissioned himself.

Cosel visited the tomb often, claiming her spirit would visit him and tell him to take her away. So, nearly two years after her death, Cosel broke into the tomb and stole Elena’s corpse. For the next seven years he would keep her in his bed, replacing rotting skin with wax, silk, and plaster of paris, until Elena’s sister discovered her body in Cosel’s home in 1940.

But, as Ronni Thomas puts it, the most interesting thing about this story is the fact that those disturbing details are the least interesting thing about this story. Von Cosel spent years experimenting with science, alchemy, and ancient mysticism in hopes of resurrecting his beloved.

Carl Von Cosel with Elena Hoyos

No Place for the Living

From the press release:

NO PLACE FOR THE LIVING will feature experts including Key West historians, authorities on the occult, artists and psychologists to provide insight into Von Cosel’s story as it connects to the age old conflict between science and spirituality that has absorbed mankind to this very day. Taking inspiration from the poetic dreamscapes of filmmakers like Tim Burton and David Lynch, Thomas will tell the Ed Wood-Like story of Carl Von Cosel and his sensational tale of macabre matrimony with the help of artfully made puppets used to reenact key moments of his life, as described in detail in Von Cosel’s own published journal.

“Puppetry is the art of animating the inanimate, making it the perfect approach for a story like this,” said Thomas. “Von Cosel not only pulled the strings on a physical corpse he was trying to reanimate, but metaphorically he pulled everyone’s strings, manipulating Hoyos’ family, the justice system, even public opinion.”

Working alongside Thomas to bring this story to life are puppeteer Robin Frohardt, special FX designer Shane Morton and his Silver Scream FX lab, and composer Stephen Coates (lead singer, The Real Tuesday Weld). Among our list of specialists who have jumped to the occasion to discuss this captivating window into the wayward are true crime author Harold Schechter, occult expert Mitch Horowitz, TV’s ODDITIES co-star Evan Michaelson, …And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead frontman Conrad Keely, and author of Von Cosel’s biography, Tom Swicegood. The film will feature narration from Von Cosel’s journal read by celebrated indie filmmaker Richard Stanley (HARDWARE, DUST DEVIL).

Carl Von Cosel documentary by Morbid Anatomy filmmaker Ronni Thomas

If you are as excited to see this project become a reality as I am, you can support the Kickstarter campaign right here.

Ghosts And Gadgets: Communicating with the Spirits

Morbid Anatomy presents this short film by Ronni Thomas exploring Brandon Hodge’s incredible personal collection of planchettes and other devices used to communicate with the spirit world.

From his profile on the Talking Board Historical Society:

Brandon Hodge is a collector, author, historian, and the prevailing authority on automatic writing planchettes and early spirit communication devices. Long fascinated by the bizarre occult world of tipping tables, séances, Spiritualism, and ghostly encounters, Brandon acquired his first automatic writer—a boxed E.I.H. Scientific Planchette—nearly two decades ago. He has since traveled the globe documenting, collecting, and lecturing on the world’s rarest séance artifacts.

For more, check out his website at mysteriousplanchette.com

via The Daily Grail

Ghosts and gadgets: Brandon Hodge and his collection of spirit communication devices

Fragments of Faith: From Religious Relics to Victorian Hair Jewelery

Historian and Morbid Anatomy Museum Instructor Karen Bachman discusses the origins of the strange and romantic art of Victorian hair work.

Art historian and master jeweler Karen Bachman discusses the history of Victorian hair work for the Morbid Anatomy Museum.

With it’s origins in the religious relics and reliquaries of dead saints, the art of memorial hair work in the 18th and 19th centuries became a popular way to honor and remember loved ones. Locks of hair from the deceased was woven into jewelry, chains and intricate works of art.

Victorian hair work

Vendors Bring the Weird to the Morbid Anatomy Museum Spring Flea Market

Where do you go to find skeletons, bone saws, vintage books, jewelry and other weird things? The Morbid Anatomy Museum’s spring flea market was the place to find it last weekend.

Last Sunday the Morbid Anatomy Museum held their first flea market of the year, which featured bones, skulls, and other weird things from a variety of vendors.

The Morbid Anatomy Spring Flea Market at the Morbid Anatomy Museum (424-A Third Avenue) in Brooklyn was born from French expat Laetitia Barbier’s memories of hitting up flea markets on Sundays in Paris, which were full of all sorts of items, from the traditional to the strange (strange as in, full skeletons).

“When I was in Paris I would go to the flea market all the time,” Barbier says. “It’s an afternoon of fun, and you don’t have to spend a lot of money.”

She’s done her part to bring that experience to the Morbid Anatomy Museum, where she’s head librarian and program director, organizing the flea every few months between March and Christmas. This past Sunday was the first flea of the year, which included nine vendors who sold a variety of items, from antiques and old books to jewelry made of bones and live taxidermy.

via The Village Voice

Morbid Anatomy Museum spring flea market