Death is Everywhere…

Museum+of+Death+photo+by%3A+Jacquelyn+Moreno+

Museum of Death photo by: Jacquelyn Moreno

Death is a reality for all of the living. One day we will all face the day that we die. We are constantly fed the idea of life and the pleasures within it. What if there was somewhere to escape the realm of life and enter one surrounded with death? Would you enter? 

Arriving to the Museum of Death you hear the passing of cars on Hollywood Blvd. and the wind brushes against your face as people walk by. The massive skeleton with “Museum of Death” written on the forehead smiles as you approach the gated fence. The red neon signs read, “DIE” and “Death is everywhere” in front of the museum doors. Once your ticket is bought the moment you’ve been waiting for has arrived and an overwhelming feeling falls in the pit of your stomach as you pull apart the curtain. 

Paintings, Colorful Drawings, and Letters of Serial Killers 

What stands out the most are John Wayne Gacy’s paintings. Gacy dressed up as “Pogo” the clown for the community and even during his killings. He was convicted of brutally raping and murdering 33 young boys. One of the paintings was of the seven dwarfs in the snow without Snow White. What makes this one eerie is that this was the only normal painting displayed. The rest were of creepy clowns with knives in the side of his head. Vibrant colors like yellow, purple, red, and blue were either background colors or used for clothing. Another was a man in a blue suit with a knife in his hand and the grim reaper following him.

A smaller less vibrantly colored display of drawing is done by David Berkowitz who was also known as Son of Sam. Berkowitz called himself “Son of Sam” because he believed that his neighbor Sam Carr was a demon and his dog told him to kill. Berkowitz used a .44 caliber gun to kill six people during the 1970s while they were casually sitting in their cars. He named this drawing “Top Secret Plan” under the subject it said, “How to Kill a Fat Lady While Enjoying Yourself”. He goes through 13 different steps of what you need to do to lure a woman into killing her. This sadistic drawing drops your jaw when he said, “Start chewing and watch her drool. Watch her eyes get dizzy. Watch her eyes begin to pop out of their sockets.” He then ends with saying see her run, dead, and then buried. Almost every step has a eerie cartoon along with it in the entire “Top Secret Plan” including the gravestone of the 13th step of her being buried. Ryan Lichten who is a coordinator of the museum has passed by Berkowitz drawing several times and said, “If I had to select one serial killer who ‘terrifies’ me it would be David Berkowitz aka Son of Sam. He randomly targeted people who were often times just sitting in their cars, shooting them through the car windows.  This is particularly scary because in this day and age we spend a lot of time sitting idle in our vehicles, whether it be for texting, checking social media, or even adjusting the radio.”

The Blood Stained Clothing and Electric Chair 

Walking into the second room is what seems massive in size is the electric chair used to execute inmates. Displayed on the wall is Wayne Robert Felde who was executed in 1988 and convicted for killing a police officer. His last words were, “You can kill the messenger, but you can’t kill the message.” His white t-shirt is soaked with old dingy blood and once of his pant legs is cut because that’s where they attach the electrode when being electrocuted. 

In picture frames on the wall are black and white photos of people being hung from their necks during the 1800s. In a glass case are different types of weapons called shanks, which are put together by inmates with items in their cells to stab enemies.  

Nike’s, Comet, and Pudding??

A religious cult named “Heaven’s Gate” was lead by Marshall Applewhite who ended up convincing his members to commit a mass suicide by drinking a lethal dose of phenobarbital and vodka. In 1997, Applewhite rented a mansion in San Diego, CA. because he was convinced that the Hale-Bopp Comet would take their bodies to an alien space craft if they all left Earth. His instructions for suicide said, “Drink the vodka, eat a few teaspoons of pudding or applesauce, stir the powder and eat quickly. Drink some more of the ‘vodka medicine’ and lay back and relax. After breathing has slowed down, use a plastic bag to be sure.” In the museum they have on display of a bunkbed with a dummy reenacting the way the members were laying down on the bed with a purple blanket over their head, wearing a black jumpsuit, and Nike’s on their feet. Playing on TV in the background is the video made by Applewhite talking about his theories with all the ingredients for this cult suicide on top. 

Death on the Wall 

In the hallways you can get stuck amongst other visitors of the museum who are also in awe of the photographs displayed. Bodies being dismembered by drug fueled couples, dismembered heads, and car accidents with passengers ejected from the vehicle are for all to see. A director of photography visiting the museum named Chris Lind, 27, said, “I came out here to the Museum of Death today because I’ve always had an interest in horror, the bizarre, the unique, basically just dark tours in general. That esthetic has always been apart of the culture I’ve belonged to.” Even though this is something that intrigues Lind, what he found most disturbing was the photographs of aftermath car accidents. He was reminded of how often people in Los Angeles drive and the dangers that brings to anyone. 

There’s not a specific reason why people go to the museum of death besides curiosity. The unknown can be captivating and the absurd death can become the bigger spectrum of different ways death has occurred opens wide. The museum building itself has history of once being a recording studio to legends such as Pink Floyd, Liberace, The Rolling Stones, and Frank Sinatra. Some still living, but some deceased. When asked if there have been any experience of paranormal experience on the job Lichten said, “No, I have never experienced anything paranormal at the museum, I am too worried about the living to be concerned with the dead.”

The Museum of Death is open from Sun.- Thurs.10 a.m.-8p.m., Fri. 10 a.m.-9 p.m., and Sat. 10 a.m.- 10 p.m.