October 24, 2009, Austin, TX – When most people think of Austin, they think of live music, world-class food, and film productions that are running from the high price of Hollywood. Austin’s 6th Street is famous for all of the above, combining a night-life with a bohemian attitude that really can’t be duplicated. But now it’s known for more as the Lucky Lizard Curios and Gifts has opened up a permanent attraction in the back of the shop: The Museum of the Weird.
While the front of the storefront is exactly as the name implies, a curio shop of strange and unusual items, most made by local artisans, it’s what goes on behind the back curtain that is sure to fascinate and entrance. First opened in 2005, the Museum of the Weird began as a bizarre idea by owner Steve Busti, who said he always wanted to own “one of those creepy little curiosity shops you see in late-night B-horror movies.” From there, he began building an impressive collection that includes mummies, two-headed animals, wax figures, a “hand of glory,” and even one of P.T. Barnum’s fabled “Fiji Mermaids.” Also taking up permanent residence were Busti’s pets: Two enormous iguanas, a pair of large bearded dragons, and a 60-plus-pound Nile Monitor named Torgu.
This past weekend, Busti opened up a new exhibit dedicated to the darker side of Austin’s history. The haunted side, to be precise. To help celebrate, the museum hosted horror author and folklorist Scott A. Johnson, who came out to tell stories and sign copies of his book, Haunted Austin, Texas.
Other exhibits in the museum include wax figures of classic Universal monsters and an animatronic gargoyle from Tales from the Darkside. There is a large display of “Bigfoot” evidence, as well as a long cabinet dedicated to animals born with two heads and other deformities. There are also implements of torture, mummies, and more shrunken heads that any sane person’s seen in one place at a time. And the exhibit is ever-changing.
“The museum is constantly being added upon and refined,” says Busti. “We recently underwent a complete renovation and had all the display cabinets custom built to house the wax figures. We’ve quickly filled up most of the available space for large exhibits, but we still have a couple of blank walls left. I’m planning on adding more to the recently added “Austin’s Haunted History” exhibit, and I’m doing an exhibit on UFO’s, specifically the 1897 Airship crash in Aurora, Texas. I’ll also be revamping an old exhibit we had called “The Truth About Zombies!” People have been missing our old Pygmy Zombie character featured on our posters and t-shirts, so it’s time to bring him back. Expect more exhibits on cryptozoology as well.”
Dude…You had me at “Pigmy Zombie.”