Dr. Gloom's Crypt of Curiosities – Baltimore, Maryland - Atlas Obscura

Baltimore, Maryland

Dr. Gloom's Crypt of Curiosities

Fiji mermaids, mummified remains, and recreated cryptids are among the morbid oddities at this Baltimore museum. 

Baltimore’s always been a little weird, but this creepy little museum might push it over the edge. If you’re bored with vanilla tourist destinations like the Inner Harbor, look no further than Dr. Gloom’s Crypt of Curiosities.  Tucked in the back room of Protean Books & Records, the collection is a morbid tour through peculiar artifacts from around the world, as well as ghastly recreations of cryptids and characters from folklore. 

The original Crypt of Curiosities was first opened in 1954 in Greencastle, Indiana by Dr. Augustus Gloom. Born in 1917, Gloom was intrigued by the strange and unusual from a very young age. His morbid interest in death customs and bizarre tribal rituals lead his fellow students at Adamson University to refer to him as “Gloomy Gus.” With this morose moniker adopted proudly, Gloom doubled down on his peculiar hobbies and began to amass the most incredible collection of outlandish artifacts in the continental United States

While Dr. Gloom worked toward his PhD in Archeology, his sister Beatrice attended to the daily operations of the museum. It remained in Greencastle until the spring of 1977, when Dr. Gloom was killed in a freak ferris wheel accident while on a sideshow-gaffe-buying expedition. 

Beatrice Gloom sold the entire collection to the public library of Elm Buff, Alabama. The collection stayed in storage for a decade when it was purchased by notable cryptozoology enthusiast, Geena “Mean Geen” Bartolli. She converted her garage into what would become the modern Crypt of Curiosities. For decades, she gave small-group tours to eager visitors from around the world.

In the winter of 2015, Bartolli met the current curator, horror filmmaker Chris LaMartina. Impressed by his motion picture, Call Girl of Cthulhu and his clearly Sicilian surname, she asked if he would be interested in maintaining the museum upon her retirement. LaMartina agreed on the condition that he could relocate the museum to his hometown of Baltimore, where the fourth incarnation of the beloved Crypt of Curiosities is located today.

Know Before You Go

Dr. Gloom's Crypt of Curiosities is located inside Protean Books & Records. It's open when they're open, but make sure to tell a staff member you're going inside so they can turn on additional lights to brighten up the displays. Free and open to all ages (although parental discretion is advised).