On the Trail of the Golem

Born sometime in first quarter of the 16th century (sketchy records place the year somewhere between 1512 and 1526), Loew was from a successful family. His uncle Jakob ben Chajim was Reichsrabbiner of the Holy Roman Empire, sort of the liaison between Judaism and the Holy Roman authority in Europe. Loew’s brother was a well-respected rabbinical scholar as well, but Judah Loew himself never received any official or organized religious training, rising instead through the ranks on the might of his own keen intellect and appetite for study.


Mysteria Pragensia

If Prague’s Museum of Medieval Torture Instruments proves a little too well-behaved and respectable for you, then perhaps you should switch gears a little bit and explore the two museums that make up the Mysteria Pragensia. Tapping into Prague’s rich occult and magickal history, the Museum of Alchemists and Magicians, and its sister museum down the street, The Museum of Ghosts and Legends, offer up all the gruesome wax dummies and delicious strange lore you want from a proper tourist trap museum.


Prague Museum of Medieval Torture Instruments

I think every city of even modest size in Europe has at least one museum dedicated to the cruel and imaginative ways Europeans tortured one another during the Middle Ages. Prague, being a city that deals quite cannily with tourists, has a few torture museums. I’ve heard that many of the implements displayed in these types of museums were dreamed up mostly for the museums themselves, but I’m no scholar of medieval torture, so I can’t say.


Terrifying Tales of Macabre Manhattan

It’s no surprise that among our eight million residents are more than a few ghosts. Our brownstones and Revolutionary War mansions, our cobblestone streets, and our occasional nightmarish gambrel rooftops host a number of spooks and specters, many of them famous in life, some famous only in death. From the ghost of a Ziegfeld Follies girl to Mark Twain’s House of Death, here are some of my favorite New York haunts.


Ghosts of Green-Wood

Brooklyn’s sprawling, historic Green-Wood Cemetery has fast become one of my favorite places in the city. This cemetery-as-park serves as the last resting place for many of the city’s most famous figures, as well as a few of its most infamous. On a recent walking tour of the cemetery, I visited some of the most…


Last Resting Place of the Frito-Lay Magician

Not too long ago, whilst back in my home town of Louisville, we went on a brief late-afternoon sojourn to the city’s historic Cave Hill Cemetery, of which we shall make mention many times in the future. The cemetery is well worth an entire day spent exploring it, but we were running late and looking…