If you’ve driven down Charleston Boulevard lately you may have noticed a few billboards announcing a mysterious new museum “coming soon” to Las Vegas. Zak Bagans’ Haunted Museum will be exactly what it sounds like, a museum of haunted items collected by the famed ghost hunter and Las Vegas resident. A cursed mirror owned by Bela Lugosi, an assortment of dolls, and Ed Gein’s shovel are but some of the macabre items to be put on display once the museum opens its doors to the public.
The museum will be comprised of Zak Bagans’ personal collection of haunted and bizarre items he has collected over the years. Bagans rose to fame as the lead investigator of the hit Travel Channel show Ghost Adventures. He later hosted his own show, Deadly Possessions, which was based around his every growing collection of haunted curios.
The Haunted Museum will be contained within a legitimate historic mansion in the Downtown Art’s District. The Wengert House dates to 1938 and was the former home of the Wengert family. Built in the Tudor style, the mansion certainly looks haunted and should be a great fit for the upcoming museum.
Cyril Wengert arrived in Las Vegas in 1907 at the ripe age of 18 and started off as an ice wagon driver. He became involved in banking around 1911 and later helped to found the Southern Nevada Power Company—now known as NV Energy. He and his wife Lottie were very active with numerous social organizations such as the Rotary Club, Elks Lodge, and Knights of Columbus. The Cyril S. Wengert Elementary School was named in his honor, and Wengert Avenue, which runs parallel just south of Charleston BLVD, is also in their memory.
The Wengert family sold the mansion in 1972 after the deaths of Cyril and Lottie and since then has mainly used for law offices and title companies. In 1997 The Wengert House served as the headquarters of the State Bar of Nevada until the association moved down the street to their current location. Hellfire Media, owned by Bagans, purchased the building for $1.4 million in December of 2015. The museum has been underway since then and will hopefully be open soon, as the advertisements promise.
Bagans is not the first celebrity to attempt a morbid business in Las Vegas. Eli Roth opened The Goretorium on the Strip in 2012. The idea was that The Goretorium would be part year round haunted house and part nightclub, but unfortunately it did not last long—it went bankrupt after barely a year. Of course, that was a very different concept than the Haunted Museum, plus spooky old Wengert House is a much better location than the third floor of Walgreens.
According to Zak Bagans, the Wengert House is in fact haunted. In an interview with vegasseven.com, he stated that several construction workers have walked off the job after going down into the basement of the mansion. Bagans himself has only gone down there a few times and says he will keep that area off-limits due to some very negative energy down there. He believes that the basement was used for Satanic rituals in the 1970s. In an interview with dreadcentral.com, he said that he was able to confirm that a few people have died inside the house over the years as well.
The collection itself will span more than just haunted items. Serial killer artifacts, such as a bloody handprint of Charles Manson, artwork by Richard Ramirez (AKA The Night Stalker), Jack Kevorkian’s suicide van, as well as circus memorabilia, and all manner of oddities he has come by will be displayed in the Haunted Museum.
The Zak Bagans’ Haunted Museum sounds like it will be quite an experience. Unfortunately, a solid opening date is yet to been released. Peeking through the fence, it looks like the place is coming along. Gargoyle statues greet visitors near the front door, and an old carriage of sorts is next to the walkway. Some yellow tape and orange cones are still to be found in the yard though. I’m guessing an October opening is not unreasonable to expect, but that is purely speculation. The museum is located at 600 East Charleston Boulevard, next door to the Masonic Temple.