I have a bit of a morbid curiosity. Having never been skydiving and a phobia of open water taking scuba diving out of the picture, I visit cemeteries, caverns filled with oddities and generally feasting my eyes upon weird shit to get my blood pumping. So let's put the "i" in die and, in the words of Hunter S. Thompson, buy the ticket, take the ride.
"Death is their life's work" so there really is no better place to get your kicks than at this emporium of killer artifacts. Located about five minutes walk from Hollywood & Vine, The Museum of Death will give you goosebumps and sleepless nights. You can thank me and, in no small part, the on-loop execution documentary whose chapter on stoning made me want to hurl, IRL photography from the Black Dahlia murders and a whole happy section on mass suicides in cults. Safe to say the pet taxidermy chamber had me coffin with giggles, truly the light relief I needed.
Vienna's Kriminal Museum pays tribute to the city's nefarious history morbid curiosity. If it's bloodstained, rusty and/or is the embodiment of torturous past, you'll find it here.
Hamburg isn't getting off lightly here. Sure there's the dungeon but it's another of the city's Among many grisly maritime gems, the Hamburg Museum treasures the impaled head of Klaus Störtebeker. A sort of Robin Hood of the pirate world who after being beheaded in 1401 allegedly went for a wee stroll after his bodily separation. Talk about having his head in the game!
Put The Fun In Funerary Architecture
Set in romantic woodland in north London, Highgate Cemetery is the final resting place of Karl Marx, Douglas Adams and Patrick Caulfield. Go deeper into the cemetery's West side on a guided tour to experience the Colonade, Terrace Catacombs and Egyptian Avenue along a series of narrow, winding lanes. Worth noting that while George Michael has been laid to rest here, his grave is not in the public area of the cemetery so it's a no-go for non-family.
Père Lachaise is Paris' largest and most visited necropolis. Comprising on Haussmanian burial chambers and gothic graves, go in search of the likes of Jim Morrison, Chopin and Oscar Wilde as you wander the green path taking in views of the city below.
From Alfred Hitchcock and Patrick Swayze to Johnny Ramone and now Chris Cornell, many titans of entertainment, writers and artists are laid to rest in Hollywood Forever Cemetery. This infamous place features sublime art deco crypts contrasted with sweet and succulent monuments, and if you're lucky you may spot the aloof kitty patrolling the grounds.
Slightly left field but Thessaloniki, Greece sports a train cemetery. Yes, that's right. Rusting locomotives destined for the scrap heap make their swansong journey to the suburb of Nea Ionia. And this time, as the thousands of trains from days gone by found out the hard way, it's a one way ticket.
Paying your respects is pretty straight forward as most cemeteries operate on a self-guided tours level. It's not for me to tell you how to behave but bear in mind people's loved ones are resting here so don't be a dick.
Dungeons & Catacombs
Plucked straight out of a fairy tale and surrounded by beautiful gardens, Prague Castle isn't all sleeping beauties, elaborate decor and happily ever afters. At the end of the Golden Lane sits Daliborka: a dungeon tower complete with stomach flipping spikes, hooks, and a rank pulley system. Lovely.
From Palermo to Prague and Paris, Catacombs are bleak features of many a European city. Some, such as the Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo, are even rumored to be haunted with whispering mummies switching places just as you have your back turned. Spooky!
Tell me, where are you dying to go?