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9:45 PM - Tues 10.22.19

The Museum of Death

Well, even though I feel there are more pressing things to write about, I said I'd start this entry writing about Jane and my visit to the Museum of Death, so here we go...

I might be misremembering things, because of the similar names, but I think the Museum of Death used to be next door to the Psychiatry; An Industry of Death Museum run by the Scientologists, on Sunset; I just remember I really wanted to check them both out because they seemed kind of weird and creepy-cool.

But I was paranoid about the Scientologists, afraid they'd kidnap and brainwash me or something (Really, I just didn't want to risk the social awkwardness of possibly being proselytized to - I'm not a big fan of social awkwardness in general or religious pressure in particular). And whether the two places were ever actually right next to each other or not, I conflated them both as fronts for Scientology.

Anyway, the place had been on my radar, though I hadn't given it much thought in recent years, until Jane brought it up a couple months ago.

So we went, Sunday before last (First going to another Hollywood landmark I've never been to, Musso and Franks for an, at least for us, pricey late-lunch/early dinner).

We both were a little nervous about the Museum of Death, afraid of being grossed-out by the horrors awaiting us.

And I was, if anything, more concerned that it would throw me into some existential crisis of mortality - For years now, my own pending death has been a source of great anxiety, so I wasn't sure having a fuck-ton of death thrown at me all at once was the best idea ever for my delicate psyche.

But we didn't end up being "grossed out" (At least, not to the"running-for-the-exits-while-throwing-up" degree we feared), though there were certainly disturbing images all over the place.

(It was set up to basically "get worse" as you went - It was very funny when, at one point, I lagged behind, reading some of Jeffrey Dahmer's prison correspondence, and heard Jane exclaim as she rounded a corner to a new level of awfulness, "Okay, here we go...!" like the "ride" was now beginning in earnest.)

It was, by turns, interesting and awful and sad and weird (And in terms of at some of the serial-killer correspondence, strangely banal).

But while there was a lot of gross imagery in one place (photos of "death by a thousand cuts" executions spring to mind), it wasn't as if I've never seen such images before, so that wasn't a problem.

And to my surprise, the experience didn't leave me any more disturbed or alarmed by my own eventual death than I already am (Though it did leave me with a question - Does taxidermy ever produce results that don't look totally creepy?).

My big takeaway from the experience was to somehow feel even more secure in my beliefs - It seems impossible to witness all this mayhem and suffering and death and believe there's a loving God behind it all (Google "The Problem of Evil" if you want to explore that topic further).

And looking at a lot of mangled and mutilated bodies (The big "finish" to the exhibit was an instructional video - from maybe the 80s or 90s? - on performing an autopsy), while I felt sadness over the life lost and/or the suffering that was involved, in terms of the bodies themselves, they were just wrecked machines, like a car or a TV set, things that functioned for a time then were broken beyond repair.

And that being the case, it reaffirmed my feeling that once you're dead - whenver it happens, however it happens - you're dead, and this life is, in all likelihood, the one you're gonna get.

Well, even though I started this intending for the Museum of Death visit to just be the "opener", to the entry, I think I'm gonna leave it there (Though I imagine other thoughts on the Museum of Death may need to be written about in the days to come).

Till next time...if there is a "next time"...


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