Do you love learning about all of the interesting places around the city of Detroit?

Maybe you’ve driven by the Psychedelic Healing Shack right off of Woodward just south of 7 Mile and wondered what in the heck was inside.

Well, author Karen Dybis has done all of the work for you and has put it in a handy book called Secret Detroit: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure.

The book comes out Monday, April 16. You can order it at your favorite bookstore or here on Amazon.

Sven sat down with Dybis for a short interview on the News Byte. You an check out that interview here.

We were able to get a sneak peek of the book for our readers. Here is an excerpt from Secret Detroit.


A Tribute to the Dead

Where can you find a history of embalming fluid alongside burial records for some of Detroit’s most famous?

Wayne State University’s Mortuary Science program includes classroom, laboratory and practical instruction on everything from grief to conflict resolution to the psychology of death and dying. But one room stands as truly unique. This is no ordinary college-campus classroom. Open the door to the Wayne State University Mortuary Science Museum, and you’ll see a century’s worth of funeral history.

There is a bevy of caskets, embalming tools, medicine bags, religious iconography and other materials used in the preparation of the body for burial. There are portable embalming kits, which funeral directors of old carried with them as they traveled to clients’ homes to prepare the dead for burial. There are cases of glass bottles with elaborate paper labels that formerly held embalming fluid and other chemicals used as part of the process. There also are books that outline how funeral directors kept records of the services held at their facilities, documenting the traditions that surround the end of life from Detroit’s earliest history to today.

The Museum developed in part because WSU Mortuary Science graduates donated items found in their funeral homes or from their personal collections, said Program Director Mark T. Evely. Students tour the museum as part of the curriculum, learning about funeral-service history, highlighting how the way people memorialize the dead has changed throughout history as well as a social and religious change. Talking about death may not easy, but learning about the process both in terms of the science and the religious aspects surrounding the end of life is fascinating through this well-organized museum. 

Wayne State University Mortuary Science Museum 

Where: 5439 Woodward Avenue

Cost: Free

Pro tip: Call ahead to the WSU Mortuary Science department to schedule an appointment to view the museum.

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