by Barry Stiglets
Allow me to paint a picture for you. You’re weird. I mean you’re really weird. You wear a lot of black, you love horror movies, and if your family is deeply Catholic there may have been talk of an exorcism. Point is, wherever you are, you’re kinda screwed unless you find some people who like the same stuff you do. Maybe you find a little esoteric bookstore in the closest major city. There might be a goth night at a club that your friends think isn’t as good as it used to be, before the posers. You just end up staying at home on a Saturday night (maybe a friend or two hanging with you) and find something to watching one of the countless under-baked horror films on Netflix.
Then you move to Los Angeles.
The great thing about living in Los Angeles is that to a horror fan, this is frankly our mecca. One of the gems of Los Angeles is the Bearded Lady’s Mystic Museum. Both an oddity shop and museum space, if you are lover of the dark, the dead, and the horrible…or if you need a thigh bone, this is the place (seriously, bring your mom in). The real treat of frequenting this location however, are the exhibits. First things first…
Depending from which direction you approach, you are greeted by a coffin letting you know that you’re at the right place. Then you enter. When you walk in, you suddenly come to the realization that anytime you’ve ever seen a movie where our hero, in need of advice and counsel, this is that place. You really expect Dick Miller to appear out of the back, holding a grimoire, brandishing a New York accent, and asking why you want to know about killing werewolves.*
There is also a possibility, within reason, that some of the objects in this store are cursed.
An antique store by default and an oddities shop by design, the Mystic Museum greets you with walls and floor space, almost entirely occupied by creepy dolls, dead animals encased in lucite, movie posters, criminally obsolete medical equipment, and bones, bones, bones. And it’s all for sale. This IS that store you’ve always wanted to wander into, but there’s still more to explore.**
Past the Mystic Museum automated fortune telling machine (like the one from Big but with way better fashion sense), you’ll enter what amounts to a Blackcraft Cult pop-up store mixed in with like minded merch. Need a Baphomet statue? They’ve got it. Black goat plush toys? Got it. Pins, tarot cards, books about the occult…I don’t like to plug stores in general but this place is literally filled with stuff that in any other part of the world, you would have to order off the internet. However, for the aspiring occultist or witch, hey, this is a great place to drop by and pick up a gift.
So let’s talk about the museum space***. This is the reason to keep coming back over and over again. The events that are put on by the museum are varied in themes without ever losing the main reason they were booked in the first place. In writing this article, I have gone to three events: An occult art exhibit, an occult speakeasy event, and finally an art show built around the first families of horror, the Munsters and the Addams Family.
Each event is really its own thing. There are always pieces available from an incredible range of talented artists, but the things that are brought in for these events will boggle the mind. The people that show up for these events are exactly the kind of people you would expect: sexy, intelligent, and fun. Oh yeah, and into the occult. I would love to go through the individual art pieces that I’ve seen but I have found it impossible to document them all. I leave that to you.
In conclusion, I have nothing snarky to say. This is the sort of place I have always wanted in my neighborhood, I just had to move to Los Angeles to find it. The thing the museum provides more of than anything….it’s a sense of community. There is a place out there where all the people that like all the same stuff you do go to hang out.
When in Los Angeles, you must visit these fine people and pick up something to support the store and if you ask the non-Dick Miller behind the desk for some sort of sticker, I bet you’ll get it.
*While Dick Miller doesn’t work here and has sadly shuffled loose from this, our mortal coil, I will say that the staff is excellent. I don’t say this often, but they are super sweet people.
** I’m reminded of the MST3K Episode Merlin’s Shop of Mystical Wonders
*** If you are one of the Devil’s legions, a demon, or really any sort of foul entity, be careful of the Devil’s trap in the rear of the museum. Although this is a wonderful place to get stuck, that sigil is painted and is durable. However if you’re a fan of Supernatural, it’s a great photo op.
Writer. Wrestling mark. Dog parent. Halloween enthusiast. Always wondering about the me on Earth 616 and what he/she/it’s up to. Currently residing in Los Angeles.