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Boo! 4 spooky museum exhibits

Fort East Martello Museum

Robert the Haunted Doll is the most popular -- and most feared -- item at the Fort East Martello Museum in Key West, Fla.

If you’ve got ghosts, goblins and witches on the brain, but are a little too old for trick or treating, consider a jaunt instead to one of these spooky museum exhibits.

Seattle’s Experience Music Project and Science Fiction Museum recently opened “Can't Look Away: The Lure of Horror Film.” The exhibit examines the role horror plays in the human experience and includes both classic horror films and iconic artifacts such as Jack Torrance's axe from The Shiningand Bram Stoker's “Dracula” manuscript. A monster timeline (Who came first: Frankenstein or The Mummy?) and a soundproof booth where visitors are filmed screaming while watching horror film clips are included.          

The Halloween season is a busy time of year for Robert the Haunted Doll, the most popular – and feared – item at the Fort East Martello Museum in Key West, Fla. The straw-filled toy is more than 100 years old, and many believe it to be the ultimate embodiment of evil. Blamed for a wide range of strange events and mishaps in his early years, Robert spent many years locked away in an attic where, local legend has it, the doll taunted schoolchildren and other passersby from a window. “Robert is now locked safely behind glass,” said museum spokesperson Michael Gieda, “and while he still gets blamed for some mischief, we’re sure – well, pretty sure – that he can’t get out.” 

In Harpers Ferry, W.Va., the haunted cottage known as the Booth House is also home to the Paranormal History Museum, a shrine to psychic phenomena, ghosts and hauntings. In the museum’s Exhibition of the Supernatural, guests can learn about psychic history and séances, conspiracy theories, and the secrets, myths and legends surrounding mysteries such as Sasquatch, the Figi Mermaid and, of course, vampires.

Castle Halloween Museum

The Castle Halloween Museum in Benwood, W. Va., features 35,000 antiques, postcards, folk art items, artifact and other Halloween memorabilia.

At the Castle Halloween Museum in Benwood, W.Va., curator and collector Pamela Apkarian-Russell displays 35,000 antiques, postcards, folk art items, artifact and all manner of other memorabilia related to the history and celebration of Halloween. “It has nothing to do with haunted houses. This is a social history museum,” said Apkarian-Russell. “We’ll show you costumes and candy containers, and we’ll tell you what’s really Halloween-related and what’s not. But no one is going to jump out at you from a closet.”

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