I was very sad to hear that Wolf’s Museum of Mystery in St. Augustine burned down this morning. (Post from their Facebook page)
Wolf’s was one of our personal favorite places in St. Augustine.
I usually stay away from anything that I perceive as gory. But my daughter Amanda loves oddities. She is always searching out the strangest places to visit and that is how we happened into Wolf’s that first time. It was so interesting and strange, that we have since visited a few times over the years. I came to regard it as a favorite, and it was kind of like a Ripley’s on steroids.
A little about its history…
It started as the personal home of Wolfgang Von Mertz. A man who traveled and collected rare items from all over the world. Because they continually bought and sold exhibit items, you never knew what you might see when visiting.
Wolfgang Von Mertz was born in 1974 is a successful Florida attorney, well-educated and traveled. He is the youngest of eight, whom he has described as hoarders, stating “when they got tired of their stuff they’d kick it down to me.” Wolf and his wife Ali opened their Victorian home and personal collection up to the public in 2013.
Wolf’s Museum of Mystery was considered a “full retail museum” in that everything in it was also offered for sale. Each area seemed to have a theme. There was An Alien Mortuary, A Shotgunned Sasquatch Exhibit, A Mermaid Lair, The Horror Movie Theatre Room, An Exotic & Dark Art Gallery (my personal favorite), Lizzie Borden’s Bloody Boudoir, a Cannibal Kitchen, and a Mayan Sacrifice Red Room.
A tidbit that I always found interesting was that the oldest personal item in the museum was a collage of risque Marilyn Monroe postcards that Wolf collected when he was just 13. Not because of what it was, but because it really showed that this was an embedded eclectic interest for him to collect and share, not just a gimmick for sales.
Of the many photos I have taken there, these are some of my favorites (or at least the most interesting)