“The most morbid gift shop in America”
Los Angeles has never been accused of having good taste, but when the city coroner's office actually has a gift shop to sell novelty body bags, you know L.A. fully embraces its reputation. The Skeleton's Closet, located inside the offices of the L.A. Coroner's Office, is the weirdest gift shop this side of The Berkeley Acid Pit. Instead of selling the usual vacation souvenirs, The Skeleton's Closet sells key chains modeled after toe tags, skull-shaped business card holders, and bath towels with murder scenes on them. If it sounds like some kind of morbid joke, you'd be right...that's actually how this whole thing started. Back in 1992, Secretary Marilyn Lewis had a few novelty tee-shirts printed up with a police chalk outline and the L.A. Coroner's Office logo on the front. The shirts were a dark play on the kind of souvenir shirts you find at any number of Los Angeles landmarks in a time when the city's murder rate was at an all time high. Hey, when you work with death all day, you need to have a sense of humor. The shirts ended up being such a hit with the staff that an unofficial supply cabinet was created, full of shirts, mugs, and other items with the macabre branding. Eventually, people outside of the office caught wind of the eerie items and they become highly sought collectibles. Realizing their opportunity, the L.A. Coroner's office decided to open an official gift shop with all proceeds going to city programs that kept at-risk youth from becoming future "clients". Today, the strange novelty shop has turned into a full-fledged store that brings in over $300,000 annually. If you want to visit the Los Angeles Coroner's Office and leave with some souvenirs that don't require caskets, just head to the old L.A. General Hospital and let the nice folks at the front desk know you're there to visit the Skeleton's Closet. They'll give you a parking pass that grants you access to the building, but be sure to be respectful with your photographs and general presence...after all, there are people there on business.
Been there and got a Coroner shirt and a patch!
A MUST for those with quirky or morbid mindsets! A couple of years ago my son and I visited Southern California. We enjoyed our visit to the LA County Coroner's Office gift shop more than we did Disneyland!
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Skeletons in the Closet (Coroner's Gift Shop)
- Mon - Fri: 8:30 am - 4:30 am
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