Imagine all things creepy, crawly, weird, and mildly offensive. This is what you will find at Pennsylvania’s Trundle Manor. [Disclaimer from Trundle’s website – "We are not killers, we are collectors! Nothing in the Manor was tortured or killed by Mr. Arm or Velda. Most of our taxidermy is older than we are."]
Has your interest been properly piqued?
Trundle Manor is the reason Jake and I went to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Manor sits just outside of downtown, nestled in an unassuming neighborhood on top of a hill and brick paved streets. Once we stepped out of our car, we saw a crash-landed UFO in the lawn, a test tube displaying an alien, and skeletons embracing. We knew we were in for something – and just hoped it didn’t entail one of our fingers / organs / heads getting added to the collection. I had no idea how Jake was going to react to Trundle. For all I knew, he was going to start crying or leave me in the dust as he darted back to Ohio. One thing I knew for certain was that no matter what, this night would contain one of the most unique adventures either one of us had ever been on.
We rang the doorbell, hoping we weren’t going to get swept away by the trapdoor in front of the entrance. A stunning real-life Morticia Adams with blonde hair answered the door and introduced herself as Velda Von Minx. She graciously welcomed us into her home, and waved us into the first room of the tour.
Overwhelming is a descriptor that would downplay the effect of Trundle. When you’re there, you’re surrounded by so many dead, weird, neat, and artistic curiosities. Trundle Manor appears to be an experiment of what happens when two insanely talented and slightly macabre artists fall in love (with the strange, and with each other) and open their private collection to the public.
One of the first things I saw in the Manor was a sizeable box with 20-30 speculums in it, so the owners of Trundle have forever won my respect. (If you do not know what this is, do yourself a favor and do not Google it.) They were donated by a woman who recognized them as a form of female torture.
Once I had a good laugh and looked beyond the box, I saw two rooms filled with modified animals, beautiful antiques, gorgeous costumes, and hundreds of items that I did not yet understand.
A dark fairytale can be seen across the walls of Trundle’s parlor: Goldilocks and the Three Bears…mounted on the wall.
The Mind of Mr. Arm
It is easy to get swept away in the once-live animals and animal parts in Trundle. However, Mr. Arm (the master of the Manor) and his fiancé Velda are amazing artists in addition to their taxidermy work. Mr. Arm in particular has a masterful talent for creating all things steampunk.
We were lucky to arrive the same day that Mr. Arm finished a secret door that leads into the kitchen.
Meet Trixy – Mr. Arm’s ride. A series of levers pushed and pulled in the right order will start her engine.
I barely knew we were in a kitchen when Velda showed it to us. Live creepy, crawly creatures known as pets were on the counter. Velda lifted up a detailed control panel to reveal an otherwise invisible sink. Another custom-made piece moved away to reveal a dishwasher.
The Love Story
How did Mr. Arm and Velda fall in love? She says that she got herself invited to Trundle…where they had their first date performing taxidermy on the below squirrels. Velda mentioned that the squirrels will be the ring bearers for their impending nuptials.
But if all of this hasn't scared you off...
What does it cost to visit Trundle Manor? A donation. Whether it is cash, booze, a dead animal, an old torture device, or crime scene evidence, the type of donation is up to you.
Oh – and if you want to book a tour (you must have a reservation) or find out more, go to www.trundlemanor.com. Or check out The Trundlecast or the live video of the house via The Trundlecam. I’ve been watching the live feed since I started this post (and I feel like the BIGGEST creeper). Surprisingly, we’re both watching Frasier!