Writer Michael McDowell’s “Death Collection” will be unveiled at Northwestern University on Thursday, just in time for Halloween! The collection includes 76 boxes of items “all relating to the subject of death in various manifestations,” according to curator Scot Krafft.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Michael McDowell’s work, here is something that is sure to catch your attention. McDowell collaborated with Tim Burton on the film “Beetlejuice” and according to ABC News, McDowell‘s career included penning more than two dozen novels, screenplays for King’s novel “Thinner” and director Tim Burton’s movies and “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” He also wrote episodes for such macabre television shows as “Tales from the Darkside” and “Alfred Hitchcock Presents.”
CBS Chicago stated that over a time span of 30 years, McDowell collected a unique collection of death related items. Krafft stated that the collection includes a wide variety of things:
“There are crime scene photographs, execution scenes, accident scenes. For example, a photograph of somebody whose body was cut in half by a passing train. Some of them are really quite gruesome.”
Benn Joseph, a manuscript librarian at Northwestern University spent months with a few others going through all the materials. According to the Chicago Tribune, both Krafft and Joseph told reporters that after first going through the 76 boxes, they both had had nightmares. Joseph said, “It was very disturbing. I was kind of alarmed.”
ABC News continued to quote Joseph as he stated the following:
“We are very removed from death today, and a lot of this stuff we see in this collection gives us a snapshot in how people have dealt with death generations ago in ways very different from today. We look at it nowadays and think this is inappropriate or gory… but when it was done, it was very much acceptable.”
While the whole Death Collection won’t be made available to the public just yet, one major piece will be. ABC News reported that a children’s coffin that was apart of the collection will be on display in the library reading room, and to make it a little less creepy, it will be filled with candy for Halloween.
[Image via Shutterstock/Andrey Armyagov]