Flashback to 1995: gas cost $1.09 a gallon; newspapers published the Unibomber’s 35,000-word manifesto; over 7,000 Muslim men were killed in genocidal war in Bosnia and Herzegovina; 244 people were killed after contracting the Ebola virus; 3,000 people died in a 5-day Midwestern heatwave (750 in Chicago alone); an earthquake in Japan killed over 6,000 people (another one in Russia killed nearly 2,000); there was a Sarin gas attack in a Tokyo subway, orchestrated by a doomsday death cult, that killed 15, and hospitalized over 5,000 people; in America, the Oklahoma City terrorist bombing killed 168 people; and OJ Simpson was found not guilty of murder. This was also the year JD Healy and Cathee Shultz opened The World Famous Museum of Death in Hollywood, California.
Originally located in a mortuary in San Diego, the Museum of Death is now found in the heart of Hollywood’s seedier side. Here you’ll find the world’s largest collection of authentic serial killer artwork, Manson Family memorabilia, crime scene photos, coroner’s instruments, taxidermied pets, a room devoted entirely to cannibalism, and antique funeral artifacts.
In 1999, the museum curators purchased various memorabilia from the Heaven’s Gate cult mass suicides at a police auction. Today, at the museum, you can see a perfect recreation of a room where Heavens Gate cultists committed suicide (complete with dressed mannequins on beds). It was this acquisition that put the Murder Museum on the map.
The museum offers a self-guided tour through their rabbit warren of exhibits, starting in the serial killer art room, which showcases pieces of art from such sociopaths as John Wayne Gacy and Richard Ramirez, as well as looped video featuring interviews with incarcerated killers. They say the tour lasts about 45-minutes, but to be honest, give yourself at least an hour or two to get the full experience. There is so much to read, look at, and watch, it could take a true crime aficionado a whole day to walk through it, and they’d still need more time. It’s basically the Smithsonian Museum of Macabre.
Some of the most disturbing pieces on display include actual crime photos from the Charles Manson murders; the severed head of Henri Landru (AKA the Blue Beard of Paris, killed by the guillotine); various baby coffins; one of Dr. Jack Kevorkian’s original suicide machines, the Thanatron; as well as rooms playing autopsies and other videos showcasing actual deaths.
There is no age limit for the Museum of Death because death affects us all, however we STRONGLY recommend the museum only for MATURE AUDIENCES! Some content within the exhibits may be too graphic or explicit for children, and no children will be allowed inside without a parent being present. There have been a number of “falling down ovations” (people fainting) throughout the years so we encourage you to prepare yourself before arriving!
There’s even a badass online store where you can load up on the creepiest stocking stuffers and birthday presents.