Since 1991, Necromance has rested between the trendy clothing stores, hip galleries and happening eateries along Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles. Indeed a strange place for a unique and unpredictable store smack in the middle of the more common Melrose establishments.
The name comes from the word "necromancy," which is a type of black magic where a person conjures up the spirits of the dead in order to tell the future.
Creepy? Yes. Insane? No. Necromance specializes in entomology, medical, conchology, osteology, botany and zoology items. Its goods come from all over the world and are obtained through various sources like medical suppliers.
The store is coated from floor to ceiling with all things mysterious, antique and bizarre. Youll definitely find something youve never seen before and the squeamish shouldnt investigate too deeply for they are sure to find something that makes them feel uneasy.
Some of the more frightening yet interesting items to peruse while listening to the eerie sounds of a classical choir playing overhead are human skulls, specimen jars filled with chick embryos, piglets or sharks and a variety of taxidermy animals. From a full taxidermy boar to a pair of standing mice dressed as a bride and groom, discovering the unusual is sure to occur.
Although owner Nancy Smith says the stores jewelry sells most often, it does offer a more intriguing look into the world of science through specimens, books and bones. Who knew science could be so ghastly? Some of the most colorful and striking jewelry the store carries is actually made of insect parts.
Animal bones such as mink penis (gulp!), bison teeth, goat mandibles and goat feet sit in specimen jars that line the countertops. Spine-tingling, cold medical instruments like speculums, bone saws and scalpels twinkle under the dim lights of the display cabinets.
Some of the items at Necromance are fake, but if it looks real, it most likely is. Its easy to spot the fake human skulls from the real ones and the rubber rats from the taxidermy ones.
Less grotesque items like books, postcards, dried flowers, beads, cigarette cases, old photographs, circa 1920s poison bottles and key chains are also available.
Lotus slippers used in Chinese feet binding and diaphanous animals are some of the more bizarre and hard-to-find objects the shop carries. (Diaphanous snakes, rats and sea creatures are prepared by staining the skeletons while leaving the skin transparent to enable easier study of the animals bones.)
Some of the most exquisite and fascinating sea life is on display here. Brittle stars, seahorses, nautilus shells and many other colorful shells can be purchased.
For those who see beauty in death, are amazed by science, or who love to view human oddities, Necromance will easily occupy your eyes for a good chunk of the day. Dont leave without your freeze-dried bat, gecko or flying lizard.
Store hours: Mon-Sat noon-7 p.m., Sun 2-6 p.m. For more information or to shop online, visit www.necromance.com.