Collections of the Uncommon and the Bizarre
By Paul Gambino
In “Morbid Curiosities: Collections of the Uncommon and the Bizarre”, the reader (from the relative safety of their favorite arm chair) will travel along with me as I as document some of the world’s most macabre and bizarre collections. It’s a wild, no holds barred, first person account where every destination harbors a collection of someone’s worst nightmare — shrunken heads, serial killer art, freaks of nature, skulls, medical quackery, haunted antiques, murder weapons and human organs, to name just a few. Provocative commentary, fascinating historical facts and striking photos are combined with compelling interviews, quirky anecdotes and some absolutely frightening revelations.
One hundred and fifty-eight out of every one thousand children would die. That staggering death rate of infants in England and Wales during the late 1800’s, combined with the delicate beauty of that period’s immortalizing photography spawned my 20-year fascination and an extensive collection of Victorian-era memorial photographs. Through this 20-year quest for my “Holy Grail” of memorial photographs I’ve met hundreds of collectors, all practicing different degrees of serious collecting. I’ve been invited into private “odditoriums” with collections that could rival a small museum’s — in quantity, quality and presentation.
In many cases the people who are committed to assembling these marvelous collections are as fascinating as the artifacts themselves. I’ve experienced the sensitive side of a woman who is searching for a human head to hang on her wall, and witnessed the aggressive, underhanded behavior of collectors who are all vying for the same pair of mummified hands. It’s a fascinating world of relics rich in history, and collectors rich in character — all are immortalized in the pages of “Morbid Curiosities: Collections of the Uncommon and the Bizarre”.