Tucked away on the second floor of an antiques store in a small New Jersey town lies a shockingly large collection of antique vampire-killing sets.
Covering the walls are the standard tools of the vampire hunter: the stake, the crucifix, the holy water bottle. But the stakes are far more than pointy, wooden sticks. Believed to date back centuries, all the weapons have been beautifully decorated with a variety of religious and allegorical carvings. They are spectacular objets d’art from every corner of the world, including several personal collections from actors who played Dracula in films. One wooden “traveling vampire hunter kit,” from around 1870 was owned by actor Carlos Villarias, who portrayed the famous count in a Spanish language Dracula.
Edmondo Crimi, the owner of the museum, was an antiques dealer who traveled the world collecting these weird and wonderful objects for the past half century. Whether or not any of these weapons has killed a vampire of course remains unsubstantiated, but the mere existence of these historic pieces of craftsmanship speaks to the enduring power of vampire folklore.
But it isn’t all vampire-related artifacts. There are also antique Ouija boards, statues of the archangel Michael, and a chair used for exorcisms in 19th-century Germany. If it’s odd, supernatural, and beautiful, they probably have one at this gem of a museum.
Know Before You Go
Admission is $10. The museum is tucked away on the second floor of the People's Store. It is open 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Check the website for days.