Almost everyone collects something, but only very few people consider themselves "collectors." Those who do usually have such an impressive knowledge of their preferred items that listening to them speak is almost like a lesson in history. If you're looking for such a lesson, perhaps about items considered a bit more on the strange side, then here is a book for you.
"Morbid and macabre: Dark obsessions of the world's most extreme collectors" is a book by Paul Gambino that looks into some of the strangest collections in the world. Some collectors enjoy gathering the personal effects of serial killers, while others are fond of shrunken heads or fetal skeletons. There is something strange on every page.
But what makes this collection of collections different is that Gambino doesn't look at these collectors as strange or eccentric people, but rather as amateur historians or archeologists. He looks beyond their collections and looks at why they collect what they collect, or how it came about.
Gambino speaks with a tattoo artist who started collecting bones after a trip to Europe. He discusses medical curiosities with a collector and shop owner in France. He even shares the history of a man who started collecting animal bones as a child who now owns a collection of rare, medical, scientific, and anthropologically related antiquities.
"They're urban archeologists, historians, and, ultimately, scholarly curators of their ever-growing and evolving personal collections," Gambino said of the people he spoke with. "Be lucky enough to garner an invitation to view one of these collections and ask a question of origin on any particular piece – then get ready to be educated and entertained."