The New York Grimpendium: Ripley’s Shrunken Head Collection

My new book, The New York Grimpendium, comes out October 1 [UPDATE: Available now]. Like its predecessor The New England Grimpendium, it covers my experiences traveling to hundreds of death-related locations and artifacts in the region. Below is one of a series of photo essays from sites in the book that I’ll be posting over the next few weeks. If you live in or like New York, the book is for you. If you’re a bit morbid, the book is also for you, even if you’ve never been to the Empire State. After all, death is a punch line we all get.

September 27, 2012 — I know, I know. If my book is filled with obvious tourist destinations like the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum in Times Square, then there’s no real reason to read it. The thing is, I couldn’t write a comprehensive book about death-related sites and artifacts in New York and not include this particular location of the famous museum chain. First, because they have a range of amazing and morbid artifacts that include a mummified hand, trepanned skulls, a vampire killing kit, medieval torture devices, a cross section of the head of an 18th century French criminal, and a series of skulls and worn as jewelry or used for decoration by various exotic peoples. Mostly, though, Ripley’s Times Square is in the Grimpendium because they have the largest collection of authentic shrunken heads on display in the world, 24 in all. Sadly, that’s 24 more than I have.

Read all about my visit to the Ripley's Believe It or Not! Times Square Museum in The New York Grimpendium, which is on sale now: