VOICES: I Got High and Contemplated Mortality at the Museum of Death

Edibles and death don't always make the best combo.

Have you heard of Green Hornet edibles? If you have, let me suggest banning them from your house immediately, like I did. If you haven’t, allow me to explain.

A Green Hornet edible is essentially a gummy snack that packs a walloping 100mg of THC. They are the devil’s candy. And I experienced one for the first time after living in Los Angeles for only two months.

My boyfriend knew I was feeling upset about not having my college dog around, being in a new city, and barely having any friends. He suggested we walk around West Hollywood, high on edibles. He planned to take us out for burgers, and to Bark N’ Bitches, a local dog shop that allows dogs to roam free. I, unfortunately and unbeknown to us at-the-time, had other plans. 

I didn’t know exactly how much of the edible I should eat. As soon as my boyfriend placed it in my hand, I naturally shoved the entire thing in my mouth.

I hovered above my body, watching myself make a fool in front of a guy I had only been seeing for a short time.

We walked along WeHo’s tree-filled streets, observing the lovely, expensive houses we would never be able to own. The beat dropped. I equate eating this Green Hornet to house music. Both assault my body and ears in pretty much the same way.

I told my lover, my supplier that I needed to sit down.

We sat on the sidewalk for 20 minutes as I scrolled through my phone in an attempt to steady my mind. The feeling brought on by the Green Hornet was superb. I was seeing colors for the first time and hearing sounds I had never noticed before. I hovered above my body, watching myself make a fool in front of a guy I had only been seeing for a short time. 

“I have an idea,” I said. “Want to visit a museum?”

The Uber ride to the Museum of Death––a Hollywood institution that celebrates the end of vitality––was a short 10 minutes. My hands vibrated as our driver prattled on about the summer heat. His words echoed in my ears. I could only pay attention to my sweaty shirt clinging to the backseat. The driver deposited us at our destination, and my boyfriend turned his gaze directly toward the front entrance––an intimidating black and red door. He gave me a sharp look.

The Museum of Death, which sits above the 101 freeway on Hollywood Boulevard, never claimed to be charming. The sinister vibes the building gave off, while I was on edibles, were completely justified. Above the entrance was a spray-painted skull. This building seemed less inviting than Bark N’ Bitches, but I have always been drawn to disgusting shit

Image via Tripadvisor

“It’ll be fun!” I said and took his hand in mine, leading him through the front door, with my eyes glazed over. I’ll level with you: I could have been at a Chuck-E-Cheese on Pluto, and I wouldn’t have known the difference––Green hornets are like that.

Inside the Museum of Death smelled like mothballs and vinegar. Scrunching up my nose, I approached a heavy-set man behind the counter.

 “Two tickets please.” I handed him a balled-up $20 I had held in my fist the entire ride over. 

“Are you sure you’re ready for this?” He pulled out a binder and placed it in my hands. “If you can make it through this, you’ll be able to make it through there.”

I flipped the pages open and was greeted by grisly crime scene photos of murdered and otherwise violently slain bodies.

My boyfriend was looking at pictures of John Wayne Gacy on the other side of the entrance. I quickly closed the binder and told the guy: “We’re good.”

"Edibles are really fun until they’re not."

The first room we entered was covered in pictures painted by none other than the Killer Clown, a/k/a John Wayne Gacy. The walls were lined with letters he had written, and photos of the house where he had murdered and stored the remains of more than 33 young men. If you’re not familiar with John Wayne Gacy’s history, he dressed like a clown and lured young men over to his house for sexual assault and strangulation. Even though the room was lukewarm in the L.A. heat, I shivered and pushed my boyfriend on.

I went into this experience thinking the Museum of Death would elaborate on how different cultures dealt with death. It is mostly filled with what is essentially snuff porn that you pay to see. Each room we entered seemed to be dedicated to a different crime. There was the Charles Manson room. I saw crime-scene photos of his blood-soaked victims. There was a room dedicated to Jim Jones, and the 1978 massacre in Jonestown, South America, that claimed 900 men, women, and children with Kool-Aid laced with cyanide. One room told the grisly story of the Black Dahlia; another contained photos from unsolved murders that have lingered in my mind since that day.

You know, the usual.

As the Green Hornet ravaged my system, I sweated and considered my own mortality. Would I live to see next month? Next week? Tomorrow?

I grabbed my boyfriend’s hand to steady myself. We headed into a room that charmingly told the story of a woman who beheaded her husband, then posed for photos with the head. She sat at a dining table as if she were hosting an elaborate dinner party. Her smile struck a chord in me.

I rushed through the remainder of the museum and found myself back at the entrance.

“How was it?” the guy at the counter asked with a half-chuckle. I shot him a glare and proceeded outside into the daylight. Away from photographs of child rapists and homicidal wives, I began to breathe easy again.

“What happened to you in there?” my boyfriend asked, tousling his brown hair and squinting in the sunlight.

I thought that would be fun, but it was actually fucked,” I said. I pulled him down the street by his hand. 

After walking a few blocks, we stumbled across an L. Ron Hubbard/Scientology exhibit just off of Sunset Boulevard. Because I was determined to get the most out of this Green Hornet, I pulled us inside.

We waited 15 minutes for our tour guide to show up. She never did; so we walked through the tour on our own. It was equipped with mood music and animatronic people that resembled fucked-up It’s A Small World rejects. Immersing myself in cult history after being bombarded with images of dead bodies was the icing on the cake. I felt the hair on my ears perk up, and a voice called out from stairs I hadn’t realized were there. 

“Um, hi, are you lost?” A stern looking Scientologist—I assume she was our tour guide—had me in her sites. 

“No….you’re lost!” I screamed and bolted for the door.

Edibles are really fun until they’re not. I forced my boyfriend to summon an Uber and take us to In-N-Out in an attempt to salvage the day. As we pulled through the drive-thru, I laughed uncontrollably.

“What..What is so funny?” he asked.

“I’m sorry I took us to the Museum of Death.” I tried to catch my breath in-between fits of laughter.

When we got home, I banned Green Hornets from my household. I suggest going to the Museum of Death only if you need a stark reminder that being high is meant to make you feel more alive, not remind you of the inescapable pull of death.