Photo by Elizabeth Waugh
I am a huge fan of the Science Channel’s Oddities program and the fascinatingly eccentric mortician, model, and clothing designer Laura Flook.
Most viewers of the show will probably remember her from the episode where she requests the surgical table for a photo shoot. If you haven’t seen Oddities, it’s essentially a reality show about an antiques shop in New York called Obscura that sells strange and bizarre antique curiosities and the clientele that patronizes it.
What folks might not know about Laura is she is actually a native of Central Pennsylvania, has a comic book about her experiences as a mortician and will actually be in town with the Oddities crew hosting Dracula’s Ball tonight.
In anticipation for that she was kind enough to give me an interview about not only her reality TV work but also her many other endeavors as well. I couldn’t think of a better individual to be our Halloween Geek of the Week, enjoy the interview.
How did you come to be on the show Oddities?
Simply put, Ryan Matthews is an old friend of mine. As I understand it, just prior to shooting the first season of Oddities, (Discovery loved the concept of the show so much, I’m told, that they didn’t even require a pilot to be filmed), Evan, Mike and Ryan were interested in involving collectors they were already friends with, before things would presumably become a tad more impersonal.
Folks that watch the show know you have a pretty impressive collection of medical curiosities. Why did you start collecting?
Compared to others, I really do not have a large collection, but I am most pleased with and hold much value in the special items I do own. It was never an intention of mine to collect anything – in quantity…of any sort…ever. In my case, I suppose my personal interests (be it music, films, books, industrial adhesives or antique surgical instruments and the like) simply progress into what I might stand back from at some point and think ‘yeah.. I guess that could be considered a collection.’ Which was exactly what happened with Oddities.
When I was first asked to partake in the show ‘as a collector’, I was really surprised to even be thought of, as I had never before thought of myself to even have a collection of oddities. Everything I own has a story attached to it. I have never deliberately set out to acquire anything in order to add to a number of similar personal effects. It’s actually pretty rare that I purchase anything for myself that I cannot actively utilize in some way or another.
I have most definitely bought and gifted away more curiosities than I have kept for myself. I suppose it’s quite fitting then, that many of the objects in my ‘collection’ have been gifted to me from others, respectfully.
What are some of your favorite pieces currently in your collection?
Ooh.. favorites, that’s tough. I have no answer for that, because it’s just not simple enough to compare everything. My late 19th Century embalming kit is definitely amongst my most treasured of items, but then I must acknowledge my collection of trocars, drain tubes, teeth, and – I am most pleased (and almost a little bit frightened at times) to be the proud owner of a vintage (yet active) full pint bottle of Chloroform.
Screwed be the fellow that tries to break into my apartment while I’m home. I’m heavily armed and not always entirely stable.