Originally posted Feb 18, 2017
Jaunt to These 7 Chilling Museums…If You Dare
If you’re a fan of horror, the supernatural or anything else macabre, here are seven must-see museums you’ll want to check out:
- International Cryptozoology Museum
This museum in Portland, Maine, houses artifacts from American cryptozoologist Loren Coleman’s collection. “The world’s only cryptozoology museum,” is not just about Bigfoot and Nessie, however. Although, their collection does contain samples of hair thought to belong to Abominable Snowmen, Bigfoot, Yeti, Yowie, and Orang Pendek, and yes they do have a Lake Monster exhibition. However, they also display crypto-inspired artwork, newspaper articles, and movie props. One fan even created a Sasquatch baby for the museum made from a “reborn” doll.
The museum is closed on Tuesdays, but welcomes visitors the rest of the days of the week.
- Mothman Museum
Located in Point Pleasant, West Virginia (the “Home of the Mothman”), this museum is dedicated to the famous Mothman sightings and encounters that happened there from 1966 to 1967. They have original press clippings and video footage, handwritten police reports from the original eyewitnesses, and props from the Mothman Prophecies movie. If you want to delve deeper into this creepy mystery, this is the best place to do it.
Their hours vary depending on the day of the week, but they’re open 7 days of week, excluding major holidays.
- Museum of Death
This museum has two locations, one in Hollywood, California, and the other in New Orleans, Louisiana. The California location was originally opened by JD Healy and Cathee Shultz, who “realized the void in the death education in this country and decided to make death their life’s work.” In addition to the largest collection of serial murderer artwork, you’ll also be able to see things like original photos from the Charles Manson and Black Dahlia murders, a coffin and body bag collection, and replicas of full-sized execution devices. They also play a lot of videos of autopsies and serial killer interviews. There is no age limit to enter the museum, but they do suggest it’s more suitable for more mature audiences.
The New Orleans location is open 7 days a week from 10 am – 7 pm. The Hollywood location is also open 7 days a week, but their hours vary depending on the day.
- Salem Witch Museum
The creepiest thing about this museum located in Salem, Massachusetts, is how ignorance and fear can lead people to commit heinous acts against each other. Twenty people lost their lives during the Witch Trials of 1692. This museum brings their stories to life. A combination of stage sets and live guides educates visitors about what was happening during that point of history that facilitated the witch-hunts. They also discuss witch stereotypes and explain witchcraft today.
The museum is open 10 am – 5 pm daily (and until 7 pm July and August). They’re also open year-round except for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day, with extended hours in October.
- The Hollywood Horror Museum
This museum hasn’t officially opened in its physical location (it’s due to in 2019), but it is also a traveling museum that will begin its “World Tour” in 2017. (Likely around October.) It will have two different sections, “Classic Horror” and “Modern Horror.” Classic Horror will be suitable for all ages. Modern Horror will deal with gore and sexuality so it will be more appropriate for teens and adults. Exhibits will include classic movie scenes, props, costumes and replica sets. If you are a fan of horror in any of is guises (books, movies, or TV), this will be a definite must-see museum as soon as it opens!
- The Traveling Museum of the Paranormal and the Occult
It bills itself as the “only paranormal museum where you can actually hold real haunted objects.” If you’d be brave enough to do that. But that’s just it. Greg Newkirk and Dana Matthews, the museum’s curators, want the curious to hold, photograph, and even test their haunted and cursed objects. This museum doesn’t have a brick-and-mortar location, but it can be experienced in two ways. The first is online, where they have pictures and descriptions of all of their artifacts. It can also be seen at many popular convention and events, such as ScareFest, Strange Escapes, and at some Nick Groff Tour appearances. They even have a live webcam where they rotate haunted objects and encourage people to email them if they notice anything unusual.
- Willow Creek – China Flat Museum
This museum preserves history pertinent to the eastern part of Humboldt County and the western portion of Trinity County in California. This includes pioneer, mining and Native American artifacts as well as their very popular Bigfoot exhibit. You see, Humboldt County is where the famous Patterson-Gimlin movie was taken. If you’re not familiar with it, the movie was shot in 1967 and created (still creates) quite a stir because of the alleged real-life Bigfoot caught on film. You can see print casts, photos, and maps in the museum. There’s even a Bigfoot research center there. Definitely a must-see for Bigfoot fans.
The museum is closed November through April. From May through October, the days and hours that they are open vary. This is one it’s advisable to plan your visit ahead.
Courtney Lynn Mroch is the Ambassador of Dark and Paranormal Tourism for Haunt Jaunts, a travel site for restless spirits, which she created while battling cancer. Her novels include Beneath the Morvan Moon and The Ghost of Laurie Floyd, and she’s a four-time contributor to Chicken Soup for the Soul publications. She also writes horror as C. Le Mroch. Under that nom de plume she edited an anthology called Shadow People and Cursed Objects: 13 Tales of Terror Based on True Stories…or are they?
When she’s not exploring haunted places or writing, it’s a safe bet you’ll find her on a tennis court or a yoga mat somewhere. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband and their cats, Tigger and Tabby. For more about Courtney Lynn Mroch, visit her site at: http://www.hauntjaunts.net