Morbid Anatomy Museum Explores Occult Art And Zombie Science

Coney Island's Morbid Anatomy Museum explores the darker sciences.

By Tony Sokol

Morbid Anatomy Museum will present "The Cut in Creation: An Introduction to Psychoanalysis, Art and the Occult” with Dr. Vanessa Sinclair on Monday, January 11th at 8 p.m. The event costs eight bucks. The morbid museum will also present “Placebos, Nocebos and Voodoo Medicine, An Illustrated Lecture,” with Mark W Green MD, FAAN Professor of Neurology, on Friday, January 8th, at 7 p.m. Admission is $12. The Morbid Anatomy Museum is located at 424 Third Avenue, Brooklyn N.Y.

"The Cut in Creation” is the inaugural event of a series exploring the intersection, integration and application of psychoanalytic theory, the arts, and the occult. The series is curated by Dr. Vanessa Sinclair, a psychoanalyst and clinical psychologist in private practice in New York City.

Sinclair will host psychoanalysts, psychologists, artists and occultists from a range of backgrounds and theoretical orientations. Presenters will discuss their work, personal experience and areas of research interest, opening up a dialogue between practitioners in fields of study that rarely have a chance to engage with one another yet often operate in similar and complementary ways.

In this first discussion, Sinclair and artist Katelan Foisy will present their ongoing research “into the implications of the cut-up method of Brion Gysin and William S. Burroughs, specifically when integrated with theory and practice of chaos magic, witchcraft and psychoanalysis,” according to the Museum’s website.

Foisy and Sinclair are currently working on a book paying tribute to Burroughs and Gysin's seminal work The Third Mind. Through a series of experimentations, some taken directly from The Third Mind while others inspired by it, Foisy and Sinclair will explore “the spaces that can be created when systems are broken down. By calling upon the work of artists who highlight the importance of the cut in their own work, the pair examine the essential nature of the cut in creation.”

Katelan Foisy is a multimedia artist, writer and witch. Her fine art pieces have been displayed at The Worcester Art Museum, Ohio History Museum, MODA, WEAM, A&D Gallery, and Last Rights.

Sinclair is a founding member of Das Unbehagen: A Free Association for Psychoanalysis, which facilitates psychoanalytic lectures, classes and events in and around New York City.

“Many think of placebo as an inactive substance used in clinical trials or to fool someone, but placebo means far more than that, as the neurobiology of placebos is becoming increasingly understood,” reads the introduction to the “Placebos, Nocebos and Voodoo Medicine” lecture. “The opposite can also be true: harm can also come from the use of inactive substances, known as "nocebos."

Voodoo death, also known as "psychogenic death" or "psychosomatic death" is a term coined by biological psychologist Walter Cannon to describe the observed phenomenon of individuals who died after believing themselves to be cursed, or being condemned by witch doctors or tribal courts. One such well documented case, recorded by Cannon in 1942, involved a Maori woman who, after learning that a fruit she had eaten had been sourced from a taboo location, died within a day.

Dr. Mark W. Green is the Director of Headache and Pain Medicine and Professor of Neurology, Anesthesiology, and Rehabilitation Medicine at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. He is certified in Neurology by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, were he is a fellow, and in Headache Medicine through the United Council for Neurologic Subspecialties. 

Other upcoming events at the Museum of Morbid Anatomy will include “The History of Leopard Print: An Illustrated Lecture” with Jo Weldon on Thursday, January 7th, 8 pm, $10. “Placebos, Nocebos and Voodoo Medicine, An Illustrated Lecture” with Mark W Green MD, FAAN Professor of Neurology on Friday, January 8th, 7 p.m. $12.  

In February the museum will present “Death is in Our Hearts: Meditations on Death's at Attractional Force, an Illustrated Lecture” with Carl Abrahamsson on Friday, February 5th, 7 pm, $12. “Stalking Weird History: A Conversation” with Robert Damon Schneck and Mitch Horowitz, on Thursday, February 25th, at 7 p.m. $10.  Morbid Academy Presents “The Real Paranormal: A Conversation with Stacy Horn and Mitch Horowitz” on Wednesday, March 16th, 7 pm, $10.  

For more information about the Morbid Anatomy Museum, go to their website.

Published January 13th, 2016


Tony Sokol is a writer, playwright and musician. He writes for Den of GeekThe Chiseler, KpopStarz.com and wrote for Altvariety, Coed.com, Daily Offbeat. Dark Media Press, Wicked Mystic and other magazines. He has had over 20 plays produced in NYC, including Vampyr Theatre and the rock opera "AssassiNation: We Killed JFK." He appeared on the Joan Rivers (TV) Show, Strange Universe and Britain's "The Girlie Show."