The Secret Museum and cabinets of curiosities

We haven’t had what I consider a truly odd and delightfully provocative online find in quite a while.

The last honest-to-god strange website discovery I made was probably the ossuary in the Czech Republic.

However, I have come across, in my inimitable 8th house fashion (while researching Galen and everything to do with medicine, humours, temperaments, and other related human oddities) a website that quite fascinates me: The Secret Museum, which is a “photographic exhibition exploring the poetics of hidden, untouched and curious collections from around the world in photographs and artifacts, by Joanna Ebenstein, founder of the Morbid Anatomy blog and library.

The Morbid Anatomy blog is a rare find online, in that it is here you get to see the history of death and mortality portrayed with sensitivity from a scientific and humanistic perspective. That is unusual.

Mostly, if you want to understand physical death, you are forced to wade through some pretty grisly information that is curious, yes, but doesn’t ever really satisfy my desire to analyze the psychological facets about the end of life.

Did I forget to say at the outset that if you have five planets in the 8th, you do tend to be extremely concerned, shall we say, with all that represents death? The owner of the Morbid blog says she has an “obsession” with death, and that’s a rare thing to hear admitted.

I too have an “obsession” with death, but not to the point of creating an entire collection about it. I’d rather discuss and observe it than collect objets d’art in cabinets of curiosities, but then, I tend to throw things away, rather than keep them.

Images I’ve included in the slideshow below are fairly mild compared to some that I am simply not in the mood to show you, like the collection of babies’ skeletons. The use of anatomically correct wax models that doctors used to teach with and practice on are interesting enough on a queasy stomach.

However, think of all of this as a rather long preamble to what we’re going to be discussing when it comes time to talk about Galen and his legacy to the study of astrology.

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The Morbid Anatomy blog is fascinating. It claims to “survey the interstices of art and medicine, death and culture,” and if you’re in New York City, you can visit them: “Visit Morbid Anatomy in Brooklyn, New York, at The Morbid Anatomy Library, a research library and private collection available to the interested public.

The library makes available a collection of books, photographs, ephemera, and artifacts relating to medical museums, anatomical art, collectors and collecting, cabinets of curiosity, the history of medicine, death and mortality, memorial practice, art and natural history, arcane media, and other topics explored on this blog.”

Issues of the 8th house come up for me on a daily basis, hence my curiosity and fascination with anything to do with death.