BlackBook Exclusive: A Most Unusual ‘Oddities’ Holiday Gift Guide


Holiday gift guides can be such a bore. Pricey sweaters you’ll only wear thrice; an expensive new iPhone you really don’t need; and, of course, a gym membership you’ll never, ever use.

With that in mind, BlackBook decided to slide our 2018 wish list over to the magnificent realm of marginalia; and so contacted that renowned impresario of all things mystical and macabre, Ryan Matthew Cohn. Should you require edification, RMC was the star of the fantastical Discovery Channel show Oddities, and is currently the co-founder, with his wife Regina, of the Oddities Flea Market Curated by Ryan Matthew Cohn. He is also the co-owner and curator of Brooklyn’s iconoclastic House Of Wax bar.

To that ultimate end, we asked him to dip into his cabinet of curiosities, and check his calendar of eerily enigmatic experiences – resulting in a holiday gift guide shot full, as we had hoped, of bewitching bewilderment. Batteries not included.


Catacomb Culture “Human Skull Cereal Bowl” (pictured top)

Have you always longed to eat your breakfast out of a human skull? I know, I do too – but it gets so messy with all of those porous bones in the cranium, not to mention that pesky occipital bone. The solution? This “food safe,” plastic rendition of the cranial classic.

“Articulate a Cat Skeleton” Class with Ryan Matthew Cohn

This is for people interested in bones/skeletal articulation – perfect for that osteological beginner or skeletal novice. In this class you are granted the rare opportunity to pose and piece together a complete real cat skeleton, and give new life a deceased feline friend. You will be provided all supplies, base, and all required tools for building your skeleton.
Each student will leave with a fully finished piece. This class takes place January 12, 2PM – 6PM, at Brooklyn’s most curious and macabre full service drinking establishment,  House of Wax Bar in Downtown Brooklyn. Note: All cat skeletons are humanely and ethically sourced.



Golden Grove Custom Memento Mori Ring

Are you mourning the loss of a recently deceased pet or loved one? Well, you really never have to say goodbye with one of Margaret Cross’s “Memento Mori” rings. Each is custom crafted in a series of designs. The ashes or hair locks from the deceased are then added to the final piece as part of the hauntingly beautiful “Love & Loss” series.



A Print or Book by Belgian Artist Duo Mothmeister

Mothmeister is the nonstop morphing alter ego of two artistic soulmates based in Belgium, home of surrealism. Through their eerie, imaginary postmortem fairy tales they portray a series of masked, grotesque characters – often accompanied by stuffed animals and a variety of curiosa from their private collection.
Similar to the Victorian era, when dear dead loved ones were photographed as a memento mori for the relatives, Mothmeister immortalizes animals in a weird and wonderful fairytale world. Their book Post Mortem Fairy Tales is highly recommended.



Madame Morbid Haunted History Trolley Tour

If you live in or are visiting NYC, take a ride with Madame Morbid in a custom-made turn of the century trolley, to relive New York’s dark history. The service offers Brooklyn’s only trolley tour that will uncover stories about ghosts, vampires and aliens throughout the borough. Equipped with cushioned leather seats, chandeliers and curtains inspired by Gone With the Wind, the 22-seat trolley is perfect for hosting large groups. #RideOrDie



Honorable mention: coffin shaped bathbombs by Witch Baby SoapsBurke & Hare candles, insult teacups by Miss Havisham, and prints by the incredibly talented Karen Jerzyk Photography.
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