Monday, July 21, 2014

Holy Gore! Ghostly Taxonomies! King of the Sideshow! Anatomical Drawing Workshops! Bodysnatching and Victorian Literature! This Week and Beyond at The Morbid Anatomy Museum


We have a very busy week at the newly opened Morbid Anatomy Museum, with events nearly every day and night!

First up: tomorrow night--Tuesday July 22--we hope to see you at From “Holy Gore” to Santa Muerte: Death and Catholicism in Mexico, an illustrated lecture with Kurt Hollander, author/photographer of Several Ways to Die in Mexico City: An Autobiography of Death in Mexico City. Tickets can be found here. The very next night--Wednesday July 23--we have Dis Manibus: A Taxonomy of Ghosts from Popular Forms, an illustrated lecture by Professor Robert Williams, University of Cumbria (tickets here); followed by, on Thursday, July 24, a book party for Ward Hall: King of the Sideshow with sideshow legend Ward Hall and author Tim O’Brien in partnership with The Huffington Post. This event will be followed be a free after party at The Rock Shop featuring sideshow performances by the likes of Todd Robbins (of "Play Dead" fame); a two-hour happy hour; and free drinks sponsored by Hendrick’s Gin, Bulleit Bourbon, Narragansett Beer and HobNob Wines. (Please note: event begins at 6:30; tickets can be purchased here). Following, on Friday July 25th, we have Street Anatomy: A Night of Art, Anatomy and Pop Culture with Street Anatomy’s Vanessa Ruiz, An Illustrated Lecture with Vanessa Ruiz, creator of the blog Street Anatomy (Tickets here).

This weekend, hope to see you at one of two excellent anatomical drawing workshops: Dissection and Drawing Workshop with Real Anatomical Specimens Samuel Strong Dunlap, PhD (Saturday, July 26; tickets here) or Carbon Dust Drawing Workshop Featuring Real Anatomical Specimens with Marie Dauenheimer (Sunday, July 27; tickets here).


We also have two newly announced events in August: Invasion of the Bodysnatcher: Medical Students, Gothic Novels, and the Contest for the Corpse in Antebellum America: an Illustrated Lecture by Tiffany DeRewal of Temple University (Tuesday, August 12th; Tickets here) and our second iteration of Phantom Creep Cinema: Vintage Horror Films, Cartoons, Popcorn and Nonsense, an afternoon of vintage horror films, cartoons, horror, sci-fi, comedy, and cartoons, all projected from super8, 8mm and 16mm prints (and free popcorn! Sunday, August 17th; Tickets here).

Following is a full list of all upcoming Morbid Anatomy Museum events. You can also see them in a more graphic fashion on our spiffy new website calendar by clicking here.
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From “Holy Gore” to Santa Muerte: Death and Catholicism in Mexico
Illustrated lecture with Kurt Hollander, author/photographer of Several Ways to Die in Mexico City: An Autobiography of Death in Mexico City
Date: THIS WEEK Tuesday, July 22
Time: 8 pm
Admission: $8 (Tickets here)

In tonight’s heavily illustrated lecture, Kurt Hollander–Mexico City-based author and photographer of Several Ways to Die in Mexico City–will discuss images of death in Mexico city, beginning with what he terms Mexico’s “holy gore”–the unusually macabre and violent religious statues–and ending with la Santa Muerte, Mexico’s newest cult saint worshiped by the criminal class and the disenfranchised and loathed by the Catholic church.

More here.

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Dis Manibus: A Taxonomy of Ghosts from Popular Forms
Illustrated lecture by Professor Robert Williams, University of Cumbria
Date: Wednesday, July 23:
Time: 8pm
Admission: $8 (tickets here)


In tonight's talk, join artist and academic Robert Williams of the University of Cumbria for an illustrated talk about a taxonomy of ghosts and ghostly phenomena as explored in his recent publication Dis Manibus: A Taxonomy of Ghosts from Popular Forms.

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Ward Hall: King of the Sideshow Lecture and Book Party with Afterparty at The Rockshop
Illustrated Lecture and Book Party with Legendary Sideshow Impresario Ward Hall and Author Tim O’Brien followed by Afterparty at The Rockshop
Date:
THIS WEEK Thursday, July 24
Time: 6:30 pm
Admission: $5 (Tickets here)
At this event, sideshow legend Ward Hall will regale us with "stories about Percilla The Money Girl, Emmett the Alligator Skin Man, bearded ladies, giants, pinheads, conjoined twins and other marvels the 84-year-old has worked with in his 70 years working in carnivals, sideshows and circuses big and small." Books will be available for sale and signing, and following will be a free (!!!) afterparty at The Rock Shop featuring sideshow performances by the likes of Todd Robbins (of "Play Dead" fame); a two-hour happy hour; and free drinks sponsored by Hendrick’s Gin, Bulleit Bourbon, Narragansett Beer and HobNob Wines.
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Street Anatomy: A Night of Art, Anatomy and Pop Culture with Street Anatomy’s Vanessa Ruiz
An Illustrated Lecture with Vanessa Ruiz, creator of the blog Street Anatomy
Date: THIS WEEK Friday, July 25th
Time: 8pm
Admission: $8 (Tickets here)

Tonight, join Morbid Anatomy Museum Artist and Anatomist in Residence Emily Evans and Street Anatomy founder Vanessa Ruiz for an illustrated discussion which will range from the current state of anatomical art and its expanding community to the ways in which fostering relationships with artists helps connect and strengthen this niche subject.

More here.

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Dissection and Drawing Workshop with Real Anatomical Specimens Samuel Strong Dunlap, PhD
Date: THIS WEEK Saturday, July 26
Time: 10:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Admission: $60 (Tickets here)

In today’s workshop we will dissect and draw human hands (Homo sapiens) and the forelimb of Didelphis virginiana, the North American opossum. The opossum is considered to be a good model for a basl – i.e. early or original – mammal. Many comparative skeletal materials will be available for examination and illustration, and additional specimens may also be available.

More here.

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Carbon Dust Drawing Workshop Featuring Real Anatomical Specimens with Marie Dauenheimer
Date: THIS WEEK Sunday, July 27
Time: 10:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Class size limited to 15
Admission: $75 (includes materials cost)
Tickets here

In today's workshop, learn the art of carbon dust illustration, a technique perfected by medical artist Max Brodel at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in the late 19th century. This technique–which, until the digital age, was an essential component of medical illustration education–allows the artist to create luminous, textural, three-dimensional drawings by layering carbon dust on prepared paper.

More here.

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The Arctic Theatre Royal, A Magic Lantern Show by The Wonder Show
Narrated Magic Lantern Show with original projectors, moving panoramas, and more
Date: Friday, August 1
Time: 8 pm
Admission: $15 (Tickets here
The Arctic Theatre Royal is a narrated magic lantern show incorporating original 1880s magic lantern projectors, a hand-cranked moving panorama, recorded music, and other media. The piece was inspired by materials found in the Providence Athenaeum’s Travel and Exploration collection.

More here.

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The Victorian Art of Hair Jewelry
Workshop with Art Historian and Master Jeweler Karen Bachmann
Date: Saturday, August 2
Time: 1 – 5 PM
Admission: $100 (Tickets here)

Hair jewelry was an enormously popular form of commemorative art that began in the late 17th century and reached its zenith during the Victorian Era. Hair, either of someone living or deceased, was encased in metal lockers or woven to enshrine the human relic of a loved one. This class will explore a modern take on the genre.

More here.

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Anthropomorphic Mouse (One or Two Headed!) Taxidermy Class with Divya Anantharaman
Date: Sunday August 3
Time: 12pm – 5pm
Price: $110 one headed/$125 two headed (includes all materials for use in class, students go home with their own finished piece, and the knowledge to create their own pieces in the future)
Tickets here 
In this class, students will learn to create–from start to finish–anthropomorphic mice inspired by the charming and imaginative work of Victorian taxidermist Walter Potter.

More here.

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Death, Dystopia and Technology Circa 1970: Night 1 of Tales from the Celluloid Coffin
A Death-themed Series of Screenings curated by Morbid Anatomy Scholar in Residence John Troyer, Ph.D., Centre for Death and Society, University of Bath
Date: Monday, August 4
Time: 8pm
Admission: $5 (tickets here)


In tonight’s offering: Science Fiction Films about dystopian futures often use the relationship between death and technology as a core plot point to scare the bejesus out of audiences. Especially films released during the early 1970′s and featuring well known actors who frequently starred in disaster movies.

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Cabarets of Death: Illustrated Lecture and Rare Film Clips with Mel Gordon, Author of Voluptuous Panic and DJ in residence Friese Undine

Date: Friday August 8
Time: 8pm
Admission: $12 (Tickets here)
During Paris’ Belle Époque, three exotic nightspots surfaced overnight in the red-light Montmartre district. Each was devoted to a ghastly and/or hedonistic vision of death and promised an otherworldly experience with unique menus and drinks, comic religious presentations, technological optical tricks, and nudist displays. These tourist attractions lasted into the 1950s and created an enduring folklore that still can be found on Websites and in the imaginations of retro-nightclub producers.

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Afternoon Mourning: Screening with Tonya Hurley and Terrarium Workshop with Flower Artist Emily Thompson
Date: Sunday August 10
Time: 1pm
Admission: $200 (Tickets here)
Today, join us for a afternoon of mourning curated by a author, filmmaker and Morbid Anatomy Museum board member Tonya Hurley including the screening of two award-winning short films by Hurley, mourning themed pastries and tea followed by a graveyard terrarium workshop led by Floral artist Emily Thompson Flowers.

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Death, Color and Memory: Night 2 of Tales from the Celluloid Coffin
A Death-themed Series of Screenings curated by Morbid Anatomy Scholar in Residence John Troyer, Ph.D., Centre for Death and Society, University of Bath
Date: Monday, August 11
Time: 8pm
Admission: $5 (tickets here)


Memorialization of the dead and dying takes on many forms. Sometimes a single color comes to represent what dying can mean in the modern world, even though 'images of death' suffocate the living with visual excess. What if a person's entire death could be distilled into one, singular important hue.
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Invasion of the Bodysnatcher: Medical Students, Gothic Novels, and the Contest for the Corpse in Antebellum America
An Illustrated Lecture by Tiffany DeRewal, Ph.D. candidate in American Literature at Temple University in Philadelphia.
Date: Tuesday, August 12th
Time: 8pm
Admission: $8 (Tickets here)


This talk explores the ways in which 19th century novels, such as the 1836 Sheppard Lee: Written by Himself, found inspiration in the rise of anatomical dissection and the graverobbing which accompanied made it possible.

More here.

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Phantom Creep Cinema: Vintage Horror Films, Cartoons, Popcorn and Nonsense
Vintage Horror Films, Cartoons, Popcorn and Nonsense with Mighty Moloch, Isadora Spivey, Ek the Ghoul, and more
Date: Sunday, August 17th
Time: 3-7 pm
Admission: $8 (Tickets here)

An afternoon of vintage horror films, Cartoons, popcorn and nonsense including hours and hours of digest-length horror, sci-fi, comedy, and cartoons, all projected from super8, 8mm and 16mm prints! Plus, free popcorn!

More here.

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Necrophilia: Night 3 of Tales from the Celluloid Coffin
A Death-themed Series of Screenings curated by Morbid Anatomy Scholar in Residence John Troyer, Ph.D., Centre for Death and Society, University of Bath
Date: Monday, August 18
Time: 8pm
Admission: $5 (tickets here)


Necrophilia is the one dead body topic 'normal' people can't discuss enough. It's so thrilling. Unbelievably intriguing. And of course, disgusting -- just in case anyone is concerned about being labelled abnormal. Films about necrophilia rarely imagine corpse abuse as a love story. Indeed, a love that dare not speak its name. Or be kissed.

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Eva Peron and an Iconography of The Flesh: How Corpses Mean as Matter, Illustrated Lecture by Margaret Schwartz

Date: Tuesday, August 19th
Time: 8pm
Admission: $8 (tickets here)


This talk will trace the shocking story of afterlife of the corpse of Eva Peron's corpse, ie "Evita." In the process, this fantastic tale will help elaborate the complex relationship between the visual image and embodiment in our contemporary practices of death, mourning, and in the end, meaning-making

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The Burden of Proof: 20th Century ESP Research and the Search for the Soul
Date: Sunday, August 24th
Time: 8pm
Admission: $8.00 (tickets here)


This lecture will explore the so-called "survival hypothesis"—the belief in the survival of consciousness beyond death—and its connection to J.B. Rhine's research on ESP and psychokinesis at the Duke Parapsychology Lab from 1930 to 1965.

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Future Death Circa 1990: Night 4 of Tales from the Celluloid Coffin

A Death-themed Series of Screenings curated by Morbid Anatomy Scholar in Residence John Troyer, Ph.D., Centre for Death and Society, University of Bath
Date: Monday, August 25:  
Time: 8pm
Admission: $5 (tickets here)


The future of human death seems increasingly bound to digital technology and the internet. Understanding these implications is both practical and futuristic, in ways that make many people uncomfortable. But how did our long ago relatives in the early 1990s imagine what death on the web might be like? And how do concepts of future internet technology potentially shape what 'being dead' will mean in the near future if and when an individual's social media accounts recreate that person after they die?
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Spirits and Ghosts I Have Known and LovedIllustrated Presentation with Dr. Stanley Krippner, Saybrook University
Date: Tuesday, October 28
Time: 8pm
Admission: $12 (tickets here)

Presented by Shannon Taggart, Morbid Anatomy Museum Programmer in Residence

In this presentation, Dr. Stanley Krippner--professor of psychology at Saybrook University in San Francisco, California-- will discuss his long history of investigating the spooks that are reported to be especially active at Halloween.

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From Purifying Flames: The Heated History of Cremation

Illustrated lecture with Licensed funeral director Amy Cunningham
Date: Tuesday, August 5
Time: 8pm
Admission: $8 (tickets here)

Tonight's tour of cremation's history with Licensed funeral director Amy Cunningham will take us from Julius Caesar's raging pyre on the Roman Forum, to Percy Bysshe Shelley's beachside burning (under Lord Byron's supervision), to Ghandi's funeral on the cover of "Life" magazine, to Jessica Mitford's "Communist" pro-cremation leanings.

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Future Dead Body Technology
Illustrated lecture by John Troyer, Ph.D., Centre for Death and Society, University of Bath and Morbid Anatomy Scholar in Residence
Date: Wednesday, August 6
Time: 8pm
Admission: $8 (Tickets here)

This illustrated talk with John Troyer, Ph.D., Centre for Death and Society, University of Bath and Morbid Anatomy Scholar in Residence will discuss the present and future technologies surrounding the human corpse.

More here.

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Demonically Possessed Cats: Illustrated Lecture with Dr. Paul Koudounaris
Date: Thursday, August 7
Time: 8:00
Admission: $8 (Tickets here)
**Copies of Empire of Death and Heavenly Bodies will be available for sale and signing 
Tonight's illustrated lecture by Dr. Paul Koudounaris--author of Empire of Death and Heavenly Bodies--will trace the history of demonically-possessed cats. Felines were once considered by theologians to be easy prey for demons, who could enter their bodies and wreck incredible havoc on mankind. And did you know . . . demonically-possessed cats are still believed to be with us today!

More here.

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Morbid Ink: The Permanence of Memorial TattoosIllustrated lecture by John Troyer, Ph.D., Centre for Death and Society, University of Bath and Morbid Anatomy Scholar in Residence
Date: Wednesday, August 13
Time: 8pm
Admission: $8 (Tickets here
This illustrated talk with John Troyer, Ph.D., Centre for Death and Society, University of Bath and Morbid Anatomy Scholar in Residence will discuss the fascinating world of "memorial tattoos," or tattoos in memory of the deceased.

More here.

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Abusing the Corpse: Understanding Necrophilia Laws in the USA
Illustrated lecture by John Troyer, Ph.D., Centre for Death and Society, University of Bath and Morbid Anatomy Scholar in Residence
Date: Wednesday, August 20
Time: 8pm
Admission: $8 (Tickets here
This illustrated talk with John Troyer, Ph.D., Centre for Death and Society, University of Bath and Morbid Anatomy Scholar in Residence will discuss the surprising world of laws around necrophilia.

More here.

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Fancy Chicken Taxidermy Class with Taxidermist in Residence Divya Ananthamaran
Date: Saturday August 23rd
Time: 12pm – 6pm
Price: $400 (includes all materials)
Tickets here 
In this workshop, students will be immersed in the world of the fancy chicken and classic bird taxidermy. They will leave class with a finished piece and knowledge to make their own pieces in the future.

More here.

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The Future is Death and Death is the Future: Technology, Politics, and the Dead Body
Illustrated lecture by John Troyer, Ph.D., Centre for Death and Society, University of Bath and Morbid Anatomy Scholar in Residence
Date: Wednesday, August 27
Admission: $8 (Tickets here)

This illustrated lecture with John Troyer, Ph.D., Centre for Death and Society, University of Bath and Morbid Anatomy Scholar in Residence will explore the present and the future technologies of the dead body.

More here.

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Ancestor Cults in the Ancient World
Illustrated lecture with Ava Forte Vitali, Metropolitan Museum of Art
Date: Thursday, August 28
Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: $8 (Tickets here)

This illustrated lecture with Egyptologist in Residence Ava Forte Vitali will discuss the many different ways the dead interacted with the living in ancient Egypt and the way the living interacted with the dead, from household cults, to festivals, and even a fairly active postal system of letters to the afterworld.

More here.

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Dr. Mütter’s Marvels: A True Tale of Intrigue and Innovation at the Dawn of Modern Medicine
An Illustrated lecture and book signing with author Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz
Date: Wednesday, September 10th
Time: 8pm
Admission: $5 (Tickets here)
***Copies of “Dr. Mütter’s Marvels” will be available for sale and signing


Tonight, join author and poet Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz for the story of Dr. Thomas Dent Mütter, the man behind Philadelphia’s iconic Mütter Museum, widely considered to be America’s finest medical museum.

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Industrial Ladies
Illustrated Lecture by Evan Michelson, Morbid Anatomy Library Scholar in Residence, TV's Oddities
Date: Thursday, September 11
Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: $8 (Tickets here)

Illustrated lecture about uncanny and fascinating early 19th wax department store mannequins by Evan Michelson, Morbid Anatomy Library Scholar in Residence, TV's Oddities.

More here.

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Fur-Ever Friends: Animal Mummies
Illustrated lecture with Ava Forte Vitali, Metropolitan Museum of Art
Date: Thursday, September 25
Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: $8 (Tickets here
This illustrated lecture with Egyptologist in Residence Ava Forte Vitali will discuss the variety of reasons the Egyptians had for mummifying animals, the ways in which they did it, and sometimes – the ways in which they scammed their unsuspecting clients!

More here.

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Halloween: The Curious Story of America’s Most Horrible Holiday
Illustrated Lecture by Lesley Bannatyne, author of Halloween: An American Holiday, An American History
Date: Sunday, October 26th
Time: 8:00 PM (Tickets here)
Admission: $8 
Tonight, join Halloween scholar Lesley Bannatyne as she traces our onetime children’s holiday-turned-blood-and-guts carnival from its tiny origins in northwestern Europe through its recent explosion in popularity in the States.

More here.

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Monsters on the Brain: A Natural History of Horror
Illustrated lecture with Professor Stephen T. Asma, author of Stuffed Animals and Pickled Heads and On Monsters
Date: Thursday, October 30
Time: 8 pm
Admission: $8 (Tickets here
In this talk Professor Stephen Asma–author of On Monsters–will use horror as an interdisciplinary bridge between humanities and scientific methodologies —a kind of case study for triangulating philosophy, psychology and biology. Recent research into the neuroscience of fear and cognition will be applied to some of the perennial monsters of our imagination.

More here.

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Muerte en Mexico: A Special Field Trip to Mexico City and Oaxaca for for Day of the Dead to Visit Sites Important to the History of Death in Mexico
Dates: October 31 – November 4 2014 (**Must reserve by July 15)
 $675.00 USD (includes all hotels in double-rooms, luxury ground transportation, museum admissions, guided visits, and breakfasts; airfares not included); email info@borderlineprojects.com to reserve a space. Please send payments via PayPal to: info@borderlineprojects.com.

A 4-day trip to Mexico City and Oaxaca for Day of the Dead; curated, organized and guided by Mexican writer and scholar Salvador Olguín for Borderline Projects, and Morbid Anatomy. Includes day of the dead celebrations, markets, churches, luxury bus travel, hotels, tickets to museums and breakfasts.

More here.
  1. Photo by Kurt Hollander
  2. Corey Riddell and Natalie Wilkin.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Behind the Scenes Tours, Special Access, and Private Events: Become a Morbid Anatomy Museum Founding Donor Today!

The Morbid Anatomy Museum (see above) opened its doors two weeks ago, against all odds. Since then, we've had attendance well over our expectations, with enormous interest from our core community, international visitors, and media outlets such as The New York Times, The Daily Beast, The LA Review of Books, Newsweek and Brazil's O Globo. This museum could simply not have been without the support of our community thus far (for which, thank you!!!) as well as our Founding Donor Program.

Founding Donors are individuals who have chosen to support this unique project in a significant financial way. Their vision helps shape the future of the museum, and they underwrite our exhibitions, help us expand and care for our permanent collection, and support our outreach and educational programming. Founding Donors also receive a number of special benefits and privileges, including exclusive behind-the-scenes access and tours; special access to the collections; and private events with renowned curators, authors, and collectors. Their names will also be permanently enshrined (literally and figuratively) via our soon-to-be Founding Donor ex voto wall.

The Morbid Anatomy Museum is unlike any museum in the United States. It is a new kind of institution, one that prizes and celebrates rogue scholarship, forgotten material culture, and learning for the sake of fun. If these are values you hold dear, please consider supporting the museum as a Founding Donor. Your support will help ensure the strength and longevity of this unique cultural offering.

The list of perks for founding donors follows; if you are interested in becoming a founding donor, email colin@morbidanatomymuseum.org. All donations are tax deductible.

$1,000
  • All Morbid Anatomy publications
  • Preview nights for all Morbid Anatomy Museum exhibits
$5,000
  • All Morbid Anatomy publications
  • Preview nights for all Morbid Anatomy Museum exhibits
  • Bi-annual founding donors party in a special location
  • Special private events with internationally renowned museum curators, authors, and collectors
$10,000
  • All Morbid Anatomy publications
  • Preview nights for all Morbid Anatomy Museum exhibits
  • Bi-annual founding donors party in a special location
  • Special private events with internationally renowned museum curators, authors, and collectors
  • Host your own private event in The Museum

Monday, July 14, 2014

Ward Hall King of the Sideshow! Mexico Day of the Dead Field Trip! Skull Drawing and Children's Anatomy Workshops! Upcoming Events at The Morbid Anatomy Museum

We have many great upcoming events at the newly opened Morbid Anatomy Museum!

In the "Just Announced" category: On Thursday, July 24, we are so very excited to be hosting a book party for Ward Hall: King of the Sideshow with sideshow legend Ward Hall and author Tim O’Brien in partnership with The Huffington Post! At this event, Hall will regale us with "stories about Percilla The Money Girl, Emmett the Alligator Skin Man, bearded ladies, giants, pinheads, conjoined twins and other marvels the 84-year-old has worked with in his 70 years working in carnivals, sideshows and circuses big and small." Books will be available for sale and signing, and following will be a free after party at The Rock Shop featuring sideshow performances by the likes of Todd Robbins (of "Play Dead" fame); a two-hour happy hour; and free drinks sponsored by Hendrick’s Gin, Bulleit Bourbon, Narragansett Beer and HobNob Wines. The event begins at Morbid Anatomy Museum at 6:30; tickets can be purchased here. We also hope to see you at an illustrated lecture and book signing for Dr. Mütter’s Marvels: A True Tale of Intrigue and Innovation at the Dawn of Modern Medicine with author Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz on Wednesday, September 10th; tickets here.

We also have several great events happening this very week, including Understanding the Aspective Art of Ancient Egypt: an Illustrated lecture with Ava Forte Vitali, Metropolitan Museum of Art (Thursday, July 17 Tickets here); The Skull Beneath the Skin: Drawing the Human Skull with NYU’s Chris Muller with real human skulls loaned by Ryan Mathew Cohn of TV’s Oddities (Saturday, July 19; tickets here) and a Free Kid’s Anatomy Workshop with Morbid Anatomy Artist and Anatomist in Residence Emily Evans (Sunday, July 20; 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm; FREE NO TICKETS NECESSARY)

This week also marks the final day to register for our very special field trip to Mexico City and Oaxaca for Day of the Dead! This trip will take place from October 31 – November 4, and tickets must be reserved by July 15; you can do so by emailing info@borderlineprojects.com.

Following is a full list of all Morbid Anatomy Museum upcoming events. You can also see them in a more graphic fashion on our spiffy new website calendar by clicking here.
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Understanding the Aspective Art of Ancient Egypt

Illustrated lecture with Ava Forte Vitali, Metropolitan Museum of Art
Date: THIS WEEK Thursday, July 17
Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: $8 (Tickets here)

This illustrated lecture with Egyptologist in Residence Ava Forte Vitali will explain the cultural reasoning behind this style of depiction, the link between Egyptian art and the written word, and will provide you with the knowledge to interpret almost any piece of Egyptian art, and impress friends on museum visits for years to come! 
More here.

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The Skull Beneath the Skin: Drawing the Human Skull with NYU’s Chris Muller
Skull drawing with real human skulls loaned by Ryan Mathew Cohn of TV’s Oddities
Date: THIS WEEK Saturday, July 19
Time: 1 – 4 PM
Admission: $30 (Tickets here)
This class is part of The Morbid Anatomy Art Academy

The Morbid Anatomy Art Academy offers a workshop on drawing the skull, both from observation and from the imagination."

More here.

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Free Kid’s Anatomy Workshop with Morbid Anatomy Artist and Anatomist in Residence Emily Evans
Date: THIS WEEK Sunday, July 20
Time: 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Admission: FREE

Today, stop by The Morbid Anatomy Museum to enjoy an excellent cup of coffee and browse of the museum while Artist and Anatomist in Residence Emily Evans teaches your kids how to make their own anatomical artworks!

More here.

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From “Holy Gore” to Santa Muerte: Death and Catholicism in Mexico
Illustrated lecture with Kurt Hollander, author/photographer of Several Ways to Die in Mexico City: An Autobiography of Death in Mexico City
Date: Tuesday, July 22
Time: 8 pm
Admission: $8 (Tickets here)

In tonight’s heavily illustrated lecture, Kurt Hollander–Mexico City-based author and photographer of Several Ways to Die in Mexico City–will discuss images of death in Mexico city, beginning with what he terms Mexico’s “holy gore”–the unusually macabre and violent religious statues–and ending with la Santa Muerte, Mexico’s newest cult saint worshiped by the criminal class and the disenfranchised and loathed by the Catholic church.

More here.

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Dis Manibus: A Taxonomy of Ghosts from Popular Forms
Illustrated lecture by Professor Robert Williams, University of Cumbria
Date: Wednesday, July 23:
Time: 8pm
Admission: $8 (tickets here)


In tonight's talk, join artist and academic Robert Williams of the University of Cumbria for an illustrated talk about a taxonomy of ghosts and ghostly phenomena as explored in his recent publication Dis Manibus: A Taxonomy of Ghosts from Popular Forms.

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Ward Hall: King of the Sideshow Lecture and Book Party with Afterparty at The Rockshop
Illustrated Lecture and Book Party with Legendary Sideshow Impresario Ward Hall and Author Tim O’Brien followed by Afterparty at The Rockshop
Date: Thursday, July 24
Time: 6:30 pm
Admission: $5 (Tickets here)
At this event, sideshow legend Ward Hall will regale us with "stories about Percilla The Money Girl, Emmett the Alligator Skin Man, bearded ladies, giants, pinheads, conjoined twins and other marvels the 84-year-old has worked with in his 70 years working in carnivals, sideshows and circuses big and small." Books will be available for sale and signing, and following will be a free (!!!) afterparty at The Rock Shop featuring sideshow performances by the likes of Todd Robbins (of "Play Dead" fame); a two-hour happy hour; and free drinks sponsored by Hendrick’s Gin, Bulleit Bourbon, Narragansett Beer and HobNob Wines.
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Street Anatomy: A Night of Art, Anatomy and Pop Culture with Street Anatomy’s Vanessa Ruiz
An Illustrated Lecture with Vanessa Ruiz, creator of the blog Street Anatomy
Date: Friday, July 25th
Time: 8pm
Admission: $8 (Tickets here)

Tonight, join Morbid Anatomy Museum Artist and Anatomist in Residence Emily Evans and Street Anatomy founder Vanessa Ruiz for an illustrated discussion which will range from the current state of anatomical art and its expanding community to the ways in which fostering relationships with artists helps connect and strengthen this niche subject.

More here.

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Dissection and Drawing Workshop with Real Anatomical Specimens Samuel Strong Dunlap, PhD
Date: Saturday, July 26
Time: 10:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Admission: $60 (Tickets here)

In today’s workshop we will dissect and draw human hands (Homo sapiens) and the forelimb of Didelphis virginiana, the North American opossum. The opossum is considered to be a good model for a basl – i.e. early or original – mammal. Many comparative skeletal materials will be available for examination and illustration, and additional specimens may also be available.

More here.

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Carbon Dust Drawing Workshop Featuring Real Anatomical Specimens with Marie Dauenheimer
Date: Sunday, July 27
Time: 10:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Class size limited to 15
Admission: $75 (includes materials cost)
Tickets here

In today's workshop, learn the art of carbon dust illustration, a technique perfected by medical artist Max Brodel at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in the late 19th century. This technique–which, until the digital age, was an essential component of medical illustration education–allows the artist to create luminous, textural, three-dimensional drawings by layering carbon dust on prepared paper.

More here.

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The Arctic Theatre Royal, A Magic Lantern Show by The Wonder Show
Narrated Magic Lantern Show with original projectors, moving panoramas, and more
Date: Friday, August 1
Time: 8 pm
Admission: $15 (Tickets here
The Arctic Theatre Royal is a narrated magic lantern show incorporating original 1880s magic lantern projectors, a hand-cranked moving panorama, recorded music, and other media. The piece was inspired by materials found in the Providence Athenaeum’s Travel and Exploration collection.

More here.

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The Victorian Art of Hair Jewelry
Workshop with Art Historian and Master Jeweler Karen Bachmann
Date: Saturday, August 2nd
Time: 1 – 5 PM
Admission: $100 (Tickets here)

Hair jewelry was an enormously popular form of commemorative art that began in the late 17th century and reached its zenith during the Victorian Era. Hair, either of someone living or deceased, was encased in metal lockers or woven to enshrine the human relic of a loved one. This class will explore a modern take on the genre.

More here.

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Anthropomorphic Mouse (One or Two Headed!) Taxidermy Class with Divya Anantharaman
Date: Sunday August 3rd
Time: 12pm – 5pm
Price: $110 one headed/$125 two headed (includes all materials for use in class, students go home with their own finished piece, and the knowledge to create their own pieces in the future)
Tickets here 
In this class, students will learn to create–from start to finish–anthropomorphic mice inspired by the charming and imaginative work of Victorian taxidermist Walter Potter.

More here.

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Death, Dystopia and Technology Circa 1970: Night 1 of Tales from the Celluloid Coffin
A Death-themed Series of Screenings curated by Morbid Anatomy Scholar in Residence John Troyer, Ph.D., Centre for Death and Society, University of Bath
Date: Monday, August 4
Time: 8pm
Admission: $5 (tickets here)


In tonight’s offering: Science Fiction Films about dystopian futures often use the relationship between death and technology as a core plot point to scare the bejesus out of audiences. Especially films released during the early 1970′s and featuring well known actors who frequently starred in disaster movies.

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Cabarets of Death: Illustrated Lecture and Rare Film Clips with Mel Gordon, Author of Voluptuous Panic and DJ in residence Friese Undine

Date: Friday August 8
Time: 8pm
Admission: $12 (Tickets here)
During Paris’ Belle Époque, three exotic nightspots surfaced overnight in the red-light Montmartre district. Each was devoted to a ghastly and/or hedonistic vision of death and promised an otherworldly experience with unique menus and drinks, comic religious presentations, technological optical tricks, and nudist displays. These tourist attractions lasted into the 1950s and created an enduring folklore that still can be found on Websites and in the imaginations of retro-nightclub producers.

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Afternoon Mourning: Screening with Tonya Hurley and Terrarium Workshop with Flower Artist Emily Thompson
Date: Sunday August 10
Time: 1pm
Admission: $200 (Tickets here)
Today, join us for a afternoon of mourning curated by a author, filmmaker and Morbid Anatomy Museum board member Tonya Hurley including the screening of two award-winning short films by Hurley, mourning themed pastries and tea followed by a graveyard terrarium workshop led by Floral artist Emily Thompson Flowers.

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Death, Color and Memory: Night 2 of Tales from the Celluloid Coffin
A Death-themed Series of Screenings curated by Morbid Anatomy Scholar in Residence John Troyer, Ph.D., Centre for Death and Society, University of Bath
Date: Monday, August 11
Time: 8pm
Admission: $5 (tickets here)


Memorialization of the dead and dying takes on many forms. Sometimes a single color comes to represent what dying can mean in the modern world, even though 'images of death' suffocate the living with visual excess. What if a person's entire death could be distilled into one, singular important hue.

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Necrophilia: Night 3 of Tales from the Celluloid Coffin
A Death-themed Series of Screenings curated by Morbid Anatomy Scholar in Residence John Troyer, Ph.D., Centre for Death and Society, University of Bath
Date: Monday, August 18
Time: 8pm
Admission: $5 (tickets here)


Necrophilia is the one dead body topic 'normal' people can't discuss enough. It's so thrilling. Unbelievably intriguing. And of course, disgusting -- just in case anyone is concerned about being labelled abnormal. Films about necrophilia rarely imagine corpse abuse as a love story. Indeed, a love that dare not speak its name. Or be kissed.

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Eva Peron and an Iconography of The Flesh: How Corpses Mean as Matter, Illustrated Lecture by Margaret Schwartz

Date: Tuesday, August 19th
Time: 8pm
Admission: $8 (tickets here)


This talk will trace the shocking story of afterlife of the corpse of Eva Peron's corpse, ie "Evita." In the process, this fantastic tale will help elaborate the complex relationship between the visual image and embodiment in our contemporary practices of death, mourning, and in the end, meaning-making

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The Burden of Proof: 20th Century ESP Research and the Search for the Soul
Date: Sunday, August 24th
Time: 8pm
Admission: $8.00 (tickets here)


This lecture will explore the so-called "survival hypothesis"—the belief in the survival of consciousness beyond death—and its connection to J.B. Rhine's research on ESP and psychokinesis at the Duke Parapsychology Lab from 1930 to 1965.

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Future Death Circa 1990: Night 4 of Tales from the Celluloid Coffin

A Death-themed Series of Screenings curated by Morbid Anatomy Scholar in Residence John Troyer, Ph.D., Centre for Death and Society, University of Bath
Date: Monday, August 25:  
Time: 8pm
Admission: $5 (tickets here)


The future of human death seems increasingly bound to digital technology and the internet. Understanding these implications is both practical and futuristic, in ways that make many people uncomfortable. But how did our long ago relatives in the early 1990s imagine what death on the web might be like? And how do concepts of future internet technology potentially shape what 'being dead' will mean in the near future if and when an individual's social media accounts recreate that person after they die?
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Spirits and Ghosts I Have Known and LovedIllustrated Presentation with Dr. Stanley Krippner, Saybrook University
Date: Tuesday, October 28
Time: 8pm
Admission: $12 (tickets here)

Presented by Shannon Taggart, Morbid Anatomy Museum Programmer in Residence

In this presentation, Dr. Stanley Krippner--professor of psychology at Saybrook University in San Francisco, California-- will discuss his long history of investigating the spooks that are reported to be especially active at Halloween.

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From Purifying Flames: The Heated History of Cremation

Illustrated lecture with Licensed funeral director Amy Cunningham
Date: Tuesday, August 5
Time: 8pm
Admission: $8 (tickets here)

Tonight's tour of cremation's history with Licensed funeral director Amy Cunningham will take us from Julius Caesar's raging pyre on the Roman Forum, to Percy Bysshe Shelley's beachside burning (under Lord Byron's supervision), to Ghandi's funeral on the cover of "Life" magazine, to Jessica Mitford's "Communist" pro-cremation leanings.

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Future Dead Body Technology
Illustrated lecture by John Troyer, Ph.D., Centre for Death and Society, University of Bath and Morbid Anatomy Scholar in Residence
Date: Wednesday, August 6
Time: 8pm
Admission: $8 (Tickets here)

This illustrated talk with John Troyer, Ph.D., Centre for Death and Society, University of Bath and Morbid Anatomy Scholar in Residence will discuss the present and future technologies surrounding the human corpse.

More here.

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Demonically Possessed Cats: Illustrated Lecture with Dr. Paul Koudounaris
Date: Thursday, August 7
Time: 8:00
Admission: $8 (Tickets here)
**Copies of Empire of Death and Heavenly Bodies will be available for sale and signing 
Tonight's illustrated lecture by Dr. Paul Koudounaris--author of Empire of Death and Heavenly Bodies--will trace the history of demonically-possessed cats. Felines were once considered by theologians to be easy prey for demons, who could enter their bodies and wreck incredible havoc on mankind. And did you know . . . demonically-possessed cats are still believed to be with us today!

More here.

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Morbid Ink: The Permanence of Memorial TattoosIllustrated lecture by John Troyer, Ph.D., Centre for Death and Society, University of Bath and Morbid Anatomy Scholar in Residence
Date: Wednesday, August 13
Time: 8pm
Admission: $8 (Tickets here
This illustrated talk with John Troyer, Ph.D., Centre for Death and Society, University of Bath and Morbid Anatomy Scholar in Residence will discuss the fascinating world of "memorial tattoos," or tattoos in memory of the deceased.

More here.

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Abusing the Corpse: Understanding Necrophilia Laws in the USA
Illustrated lecture by John Troyer, Ph.D., Centre for Death and Society, University of Bath and Morbid Anatomy Scholar in Residence
Date: Wednesday, August 20
Time: 8pm
Admission: $8 (Tickets here
This illustrated talk with John Troyer, Ph.D., Centre for Death and Society, University of Bath and Morbid Anatomy Scholar in Residence will discuss the surprising world of laws around necrophilia.

More here.

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Fancy Chicken Taxidermy Class with Taxidermist in Residence Divya Ananthamaran
Date: Saturday August 23rd
Time: 12pm – 6pm
Price: $400 (includes all materials)
Tickets here 
In this workshop, students will be immersed in the world of the fancy chicken and classic bird taxidermy. They will leave class with a finished piece and knowledge to make their own pieces in the future.

More here.

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The Future is Death and Death is the Future: Technology, Politics, and the Dead Body
Illustrated lecture by John Troyer, Ph.D., Centre for Death and Society, University of Bath and Morbid Anatomy Scholar in Residence
Date: Wednesday, August 27
Admission: $8 (Tickets here)

This illustrated lecture with John Troyer, Ph.D., Centre for Death and Society, University of Bath and Morbid Anatomy Scholar in Residence will explore the present and the future technologies of the dead body.

More here.

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Ancestor Cults in the Ancient World
Illustrated lecture with Ava Forte Vitali, Metropolitan Museum of Art
Date: Thursday, August 28
Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: $8 (Tickets here)

This illustrated lecture with Egyptologist in Residence Ava Forte Vitali will discuss the many different ways the dead interacted with the living in ancient Egypt and the way the living interacted with the dead, from household cults, to festivals, and even a fairly active postal system of letters to the afterworld.

More here.

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Dr. Mütter’s Marvels: A True Tale of Intrigue and Innovation at the Dawn of Modern Medicine
An Illustrated lecture and book signing with author Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz
Date: Wednesday, September 10th
Time: 8pm
Admission: $5 (Tickets here)
***Copies of “Dr. Mütter’s Marvels” will be available for sale and signing


Tonight, join author and poet Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz for the story of Dr. Thomas Dent Mütter, the man behind Philadelphia’s iconic Mütter Museum, widely considered to be America’s finest medical museum.

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Industrial Ladies
Illustrated Lecture by Evan Michelson, Morbid Anatomy Library Scholar in Residence, TV's Oddities
Date: Thursday, September 11
Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: $8 (Tickets here)

Illustrated lecture about uncanny and fascinating early 19th wax department store mannequins by Evan Michelson, Morbid Anatomy Library Scholar in Residence, TV's Oddities.

More here.

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Fur-Ever Friends: Animal Mummies
Illustrated lecture with Ava Forte Vitali, Metropolitan Museum of Art
Date: Thursday, September 25
Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: $8 (Tickets here
This illustrated lecture with Egyptologist in Residence Ava Forte Vitali will discuss the variety of reasons the Egyptians had for mummifying animals, the ways in which they did it, and sometimes – the ways in which they scammed their unsuspecting clients!

More here.

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Halloween: The Curious Story of America’s Most Horrible Holiday
Illustrated Lecture by Lesley Bannatyne, author of Halloween: An American Holiday, An American History
Date: Sunday, October 26th
Time: 8:00 PM (Tickets here)
Admission: $8 
Tonight, join Halloween scholar Lesley Bannatyne as she traces our onetime children’s holiday-turned-blood-and-guts carnival from its tiny origins in northwestern Europe through its recent explosion in popularity in the States.

More here.

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Monsters on the Brain: A Natural History of Horror
Illustrated lecture with Professor Stephen T. Asma, author of Stuffed Animals and Pickled Heads and On Monsters
Date: Thursday, October 30
Time: 8 pm
Admission: $8 (Tickets here
In this talk Professor Stephen Asma–author of On Monsters–will use horror as an interdisciplinary bridge between humanities and scientific methodologies —a kind of case study for triangulating philosophy, psychology and biology. Recent research into the neuroscience of fear and cognition will be applied to some of the perennial monsters of our imagination.

More here.

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Muerte en Mexico: A Special Field Trip to Mexico City and Oaxaca for for Day of the Dead to Visit Sites Important to the History of Death in Mexico
Dates: October 31 – November 4 2014 (**Must reserve by July 15)
 $675.00 USD (includes all hotels in double-rooms, luxury ground transportation, museum admissions, guided visits, and breakfasts; airfares not included); email info@borderlineprojects.com to reserve a space. Please send payments via PayPal to: info@borderlineprojects.com.

A 4-day trip to Mexico City and Oaxaca for Day of the Dead; curated, organized and guided by Mexican writer and scholar Salvador Olguín for Borderline Projects, and Morbid Anatomy. Includes day of the dead celebrations, markets, churches, luxury bus travel, hotels, tickets to museums and breakfasts.

More here.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

A Trip to Hell at Tiger Balm (Haw Par) Gardens, Hong Kong : Guest Post by Eric Huang

The delightful Eric Huang (aka dinoboy) recently paid a visit to a theme park which quite simply defies imagination: Tiger Balm (Haw Par) Gardens of Hong Kong. This attraction, built in 1937, is a sort of theme park filled with tableaux illustrating Buddhist and Chinese mythology. The highlight: a depiction of "The Ten Courts of Hell" and the punishments enacted there.

Eric kindly agreed to write a guest post for the readers of Morbid Anatomy about this amazing place, which follows; all photos above are also his own!
I heard about the Tiger Balm Gardens whilst visiting a friend in Hong Kong. The park near where she grew up was once one of three gardens built by the heirs to the Tiger Balm fortune, brothers Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par. Only the Singapore garden, called Haw Par Villa after the brothers - exists today. The park in the Fujian province of China was never completed, and is now a museum. The Hong Kong gardens closed in 2004, though the mansion where Aw Boon Haw lived has been preserved.

What a garden Haw Par is! Roughly the size of Fantasyland at the Disney theme parks, the attraction built in 1937 is a maze of grottoes, monuments, and tableaux of Buddhist morality and Chinese mythology. Many will likely recognize Monkey from the Buddhist legend, Journey to the West, that spawned numerous TV series and films as well as the Damon Albarn musical/opera, but the familiar bits are the least interesting.

Human-beast hybrid monsters abound, mainly aquatic: yes there are mermaids, but also scallop shell ladies, crab women, manta ray men, fish dudes – and all are angry, in mid-battle wielding feudal and magical weapons, seducing silly humans, and cavorting with any thing – living or otherwise - nearby. Most are players in epic legends involving the gods and their loves, jealousies, and savage revenge on each other and on helpless (but hot) humans.

There’s also a giant wall depicting the sins of urban life: dancing to gambling to liquor and loose women. Scenes of good deeds and piety mirror the sinful acts. The park opposite the wall is an odd assemblage of anthropomorphic animals, a giant gorilla family, frogs riding ostriches, and a load of Australian animals: kangaroos, koalas, and emus.

The very, very best attraction at Haw Par Gardens is undoubtedly the Ten Courts of Hell. The entrance is a park-like path lined with decapitated heads. It’s clear you’re about to enter something nasty – very Temple of Doom. The tableau nearby depicts a brutal war between rats and squirrels!

The Courts themselves are set inside a dark and appropriately hot – tropical, humid, Singapore hot – cave guarded by Ox-Head and Horse-Face, escorts of Hell. Don’t let their names fool you into thinking they’re funny circus animals. Ox-Head and Horse-Face chase newly arrived souls into Hell with a steel spear and an ivory stick.

Once inside the cave, the exhibit leads visitors through the process of judgement, sorting, punishment, and finally redemption through reincarnation. Each Court in Hell punishes those guilty of particular crimes. Many crimes have the same punishment. For example, in the Third Court of Hell, the following crimes are judged and punished:

Ungratefulness, Disrespect to elders, Escaping from prison = Heart cut out.

Drug addiction and trafficking, Grave robbing, Seducing people into a life of crime, Creating social unrest = Tied to a red-hot copper pillar and grilled.

To the modern visitor and unbeliever, the crimes and punishments are unlikely to make any logical sense. Money lenders with exorbitant interest rates face being thrown onto a hill of knives – quite right! The misuse of books and wasting food are both punishable by having your body sawn in two – not at the waist, but down your body in a lateral cut.

But fear not, even the most heinous of crimes – disobeying your siblings, for example – are eventually forgiven. Once souls have been punished for the prescribed length of time, they are led through the Pavilion of Forgetfulness where a draught of magic tea administered by an elderly woman named Men Po causes all to forget their past life. Then it’s off to Samsara and the Wheel of Incarnation. Depending on the crimes committed in the past life and the punishment meted out, the soul will be reincarnated either as an invertebrate, a sea creature, a land animal (mammal), a flying creature, someone poor or foreign, or Han Chinese nobility – in that order.

The Courts are beautifully gruesome and very camp at the same time. It’s worth it to go to Singapore just to see the Courts of Hell themselves. Sadly the gift shop was closed when I visited. I can only imagine the souvenirs I might have purchased. Maybe this is the just one of the punishments I deserve for my crimes …

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Dental casts of the Extraordinary Aztec Children, 1853 : Guest Post by Kristin Hussey, Hunterian Museum, London

Kristin Hussey--Assistant Curator of the Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons with responsibility for the Odontological Collection--has kindly agreed to write a series of guest posts for Morbid Anatomy about some of the most curious objects in her collection.

The eighth post from that series--entitled "Dental casts of the Extraordinary Aztec Children, 1853"--follows; you can view all posts in this series by clicking here.
"…he looked over an immense plain, extending to Yucatan and the Gulf of Mexico, and saw at a great distance a large city spread over a great space, and with turrets white and glittering in the sun…"
– John Lloyd Stephens, Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas and Yucatan
In the mid-19th century, explorers like John Lloyd Stephens believed in the existence of a mythical Aztec city lost to time and somehow protected from European incursions. It is not surprising that when two inhabitants of this mystical city appeared on the shores of Britain it caused an instant sensation. In June 1853, Pedro Velasquez of San Salvador, Mexico arrived on the docks of Liverpool with two children he claimed to have taken from the high priesthood of the sacred city of Ixamaya. Known as the Aztec Children, Maximo and Bartola were exhibited across Europe and American for almost 40 years between the 1850s and 1890s. Their diminutive stature and distinctive head shape prompted the scientists of the age to wonder whether these children were indeed the last descendants of a lost ancient people.  For medical men such as Sir Richard Owen (1804-1892), the answer to whether the last of the Aztecs had been discovered lay in hidden in their teeth. 
In 1850 Velasquez published his book Memoir of an Eventful Expedition in Central America in which he described his discovery of the lost city of Iximaya and the Aztec Children. In his work, Velasquez included sketches of hieroglyphics in Central American temples showing the distinctive cranial shape of the ancient figures, which he claimed as proof that his Aztec Children were a direct link with a lost race. The ‘discovery’ caused much excitement in medical and phrenological circles. Maximo and Bartola began touring in the United States in 1850, eventually arriving in England in June 1853. So popular was the pair that in July of that year the Aztec Children were brought before the Ethnological Society of London where they were described and analysed by leading anatomical expert and Conservator of the Hunterian Museum, Professor Richard Owen. In order to determine whether the children were in fact Aztecs or something else altogether, Owen only had to look at their mouths. 
After a detailed examination, Owen approximated the age of Maximo and Bartola by analysing the development of their teeth. He determined that both were developing normally and that Maximo, the male, was approximately twelve years old and Bartola, a female was about seven. The teeth Owen saw were sound and not indicative of any disease nor any noticeable difference from a modern child. He did however note a lack of language development seemingly correlated to their cranial deformity. Owen concluded that the figures in the hieroglyphics and the Aztec children only superficially resembled one another. Maximo and Bartola were simply children with an abnormal cranial development. The casts in the Royal College of Surgeons were taken of the pair later that same year, in December 1853. The casts first appear in the Odontological Museum catalogue in 1904, although they were likely acquired earlier. 
We now know that the Aztec Children suffered from microcephaly, a neurodevelopmental disorder which results in restricted head circumference and reduced cognitive abilities. The striking deformity of the skull which accompanies the condition meant that people with this disorder were often exhibited as human curiosities. Despite Owen’s judgement, Maximo and Bartola successfully toured Europe and the United States for a further 40 years, eventually dropping the ‘children’ from their title. While the general public remained enthralled with the idea of their mystical origins, for those with an interest in teeth, the sacred city of Ixamaya may have lost some of its wonder.
Image top to bottom:
  1. Maximo and Bartola c.1867. Source: Wikipedia Commons
  2. Sketches of figures from Central American temples from Pedro Velasquez’s book. Source: Project Gutenberg
  3. Sourced http://www.sideshowworld.com
  4. Advertisement for the Aztecs, unknown date. Source: Wellcome Library, London
  5. Dental casts of Bartola (left) and Maximo (right). Courtesy of the Royal College of Surgeons of England