Best Human Skulls and Taxidermy Animal Bones

Necromancy, the ancient practice of summoning shamanic ancestral spirits so that the future may be foretold (but, sadly, not the Lotto numbers), is at best a dicey proposition, because you can’t hold it in the palm of your hand or take naughty photos of it. Necromance, the curio shop, however, gives you a little something to hold on to — a finger here, a rabbit foot there. The business card spells it out: “Animal & human skulls & bones, mounted insects, antique funerary + medical, antelope horns, oddities.” Other specialties: taxidermy dioramas in the front windows, animal-driven jewelry, fox-fur stoles, anatomical charts and antique gurneys. Owner Nancy Smith, who dabbled occasionally in production design for fetish films, founded Necromance in 1991. She recently split her holdings into two separate, now-spacious storefronts on the same block — one shop having to do with couture and the other more explicitly about bodies themselves. Selling frilly, froofy lace parasols, mink-­penis bones, human remains, tusks, teeth and disused poison bottles, the latter has, in fact, cornered the market on traces of death. Business is, ironically, thriving — due to a sudden resurgence in forensic science. Romanticized on TV shows like CSI and Cold Case, death is not as hidden away or stigmatized as it once was. At Necromance, the remains of a life can be examined, felt, weighed. Or possibly used for purposes of one-upmanship, or for bragging rights on the playground or at the golf course. These items are husks, curios — just things, really, and not vessels through which spirits are resurrected. Or are they? Necromance is one of the few places to shop where realizing that you feel weird about browsing through it is just as weird as finding yourself in the market for mink-penis bones in the first place.

Necromance 7220 Melrose Ave., L.A., (323) 934-8684 or


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