I have always had a fascination for all things Vampire. I love the movies, the classics not the shtick blood or sex movies, but the ones that stick to the true vampire lore. I read all the books I can find on the subject. Some of the ancient books are educational where we can learn not only the lore but how people in simpler times used vampires to explain some of the unknowns they faced every day.
Vampires have been around since ancient Egypt. We see references to vampires in the bible as the Alukah or “barren one.” Hebrew scholar R. E. L. Masters describes the 'Alukah as "a Hebrew succubus and vampire derived from Babylonian demonology. Vampires are referenced in every civilization in one form or another. They may be called by different names, but they all have one thing in common, the lust for sanguinem vivum or living blood.
With vampires all around us since ancient times; to survive, we had to develop a method of destroying the undead. Thus came the invention of the Vampire Hunting Kit. I have always wanted to see a real authentic hunting kit and in 2021 I got my chance.
On a beautiful June day, my son and his wife took my wife and me to the most fascinating museum I have ever visited. Tucked away on the second floor of an antique store in the small town of Lambertville New Jersey my wish to see a vampire hunter's kit was fulfilled.
The museum is the brainchild of Edmondo Crimi, owner, and collector extraordinaire. The space is jam-packed with ancient artifacts, bibles, ornate stakes to impale the undead as well as private collections from the likes of Bella Lugosi, Vincent Price, Carlos Villiaris, and others who either played a vampire or hunted them for real.
These are not simple stakes but incredible works of art, finely decorated with ancient symbols to assure the vampire can not rise again. The books and manuscripts are painstakingly handwritten and rival anything you may see from a religious scriptorium. Each item is beautifully displayed, has a description of its provenance, and tells the story of its history and acquisition. Some are even for sale!
The museum boasts much more than stakes and bibles. No, here we are introduced to a 19th-century German exorcism chair, replete with a copy of the ancient rite of exorcism. The walls are decorated with artifacts from angles to devils and everything in between. Displayed are ancient Ouija and Spirit boards, statues of Archangels, and as well a bust of Harry Houdini himself. There is a sled made of human bones once owned by Vincent Price. The collection goes on and on.
For those interested in possession, proudly displayed in a far corner of the room is a niche filled with various dolls purported to be demonically possessed. There is a plaque outside the niche warning the visitor not to take pictures, speak to the dolls displayed, or otherwise interact with them for fear their spirit may attach and follow you home. To cap this disp[lay off is a strange assortment of clowns that would scare the hell out of anyone suffering from Coulrophobia (fear of clowns).
The museum is a must-see for anyone interested in the macabre, superstition, vampires, or a healthy fascination with the unknown. I know I will be going back and hope to see you roaming the halls.