Many people dream of quitting our jobs to remain at house practising a bizarre interest each day, and a taxidermist and horror-lover from south Wales has achieved simply that. Father-of-two Dave Roberts opened his Morbitorium in 2018 in the home which neighbours his associate’s property within the quiet village of Pontywaun nestled between Cwmcarn and Crosskeys.
He knocked by means of the wall to attach the 2 small homes and has stacked the constructing with curiosities he’s collected during the last decade to create what is unquestionably one of many strangest locations to go to within the nation. His home of horrors is one thing to behold on the in any other case unremarkable road and the villagers love him. They even provided to have a whip-around to exchange his lifesize skeleton Mort when he was damaged by vandals.
The home, which is free to enter and the place guests should purchase a lot of the bizarre objects, has develop into so widespread that final 12 months the 51-year-old ex-IT employee from Penarth handed his discover in and determined to develop into a full-time grasp of the Morbitorium.
Dave, who dons a velvet smoking cap and a pair of spherical daring spectacles, directs us to a tiny cranium sitting in a pristine glass dome inside his taxidermy workshop behind the home. “That’s my previous pet cat Gene. He died just a few years in the past, he bought knocked over and I buried him within the again backyard. Then we had one other cat that bought run over and we buried that one, so I dug him up and wished to do one thing with him. I used to be going to articulate his skeleton however whereas unearthing him he was so scattered I didn’t wish to make a multitude of him, so I simply went along with his cranium. I’m going so as to add some stuff and make somewhat tribute to him.”
Alongside Gene his most weird displays inside are an abundance of stuffed animals he has created, a mummified cat which was discovered underneath the floorboards of a Tudor home, and moist specimens of moles, a pet and a canine’s testicles – preserved for years by injecting chemical compounds into the specimens and placing them in a jar of alcohol.
“It’s a bit extra Physician Frankenstein, however some individuals who come listed below are actually drawn to it [the wet specimens] and really want it to the taxidermy,” Dave stated. “I’m hoping to begin performing some moist specimen lessons sooner or later.”
He began taxidermy workshops after perfecting the method ever since his associate purchased him a category for Christmas round ten years in the past. “I did that first,” Dave stated, pointing to the moderately unnerving giant hare within the workshop surrounded by a few of his different creations. “He’s knocking on a bit now.”
His taxidermy lessons are surprisingly hottest with middle-aged ladies who now flock to the morbitorium of their droves. “They’ve informed me how they’ve actually gone for it with their curiosity in horror since they’ve bought older and perhaps have extra time on their arms. That’s what’s occurred for me too. We even have some from the choice crowd who come. Folks come and I put a frozen rat or rabbit in entrance of them, for instance, and I speak them by means of the entire thing and take it aside and make it look good once more. Once I began educating I used to be doing it within the kitchen subsequent door however we’ve slowly bought higher and extra skilled.
“The animals that I take advantage of for the lessons are reptile feed. They arrive pre-frozen and clear. I’ve bought some stuff within the freezer that the cat has introduced in however I’d by no means use that in a category.”
He exhibits us the top of a dormouse with its fur flattened behind it like a well-ironed cape. “Right here’s one which’s not but completed,” he demonstrates. “We begin off with a correct mouse and on the finish of the morning we find yourself with one thing like this. It’s simply taking the highest layer off. If you find yourself with guts you’re not doing it proper. Then within the afternoon we sew it up after making a brand new physique from wooden shavings.”
His favourites are one among his mummified cats and Chester his dodo-peacock hybrid which sits on a cupboard close to the entrance door and greets guests. “I’ve had a few mummified cats, however that one I’m positively conserving. The primary one I had was from a man in Neath who’d opened a tattoo studio. He went right down to the basement and the mummified cat was there. However this one was discovered underneath the floorboards of a home. You may inform its age by the color – the others I’ve had have been a form of dusty gray.
“I noticed Chester at an public sale and I used to be type of not stunned but in addition very stunned that I used to be the one one that bid for it. Chester can be classed as rogue taxidermy the place you assemble one thing from one thing that’s actual however make one thing solely completely different. There are individuals who make their dwelling from it.”
Dave isn’t doing badly from his new enterprise both. “It’s paying all my payments and the mortgage. It was my five-year plan to get out of IT and do the Morbitorium full time however then lockdown occurred and that accelerated every little thing. I may do my job from a forest however they wished us within the workplace once more on a regular basis after lockdown and it turned an excessive amount of, so I jumped ship. It was a bit too early and it’s been tough at instances nevertheless it’s been manageable. I don’t have a lot of a pension so I do know I’m going to be working till I drop, so I’d moderately spend it right here than elsewhere.”
He invitations a priestess from a coven in Mountain Ash to carry out tarot card studying workshops on the home which is getting busier with new oddities every week. His dozen ouija boards which cowl an entire wall have nearly all been donated to him by folks hoping he’d take them off their arms.
An indication on the wall reads: “Most of the ouija boards on show have been despatched to us from individuals who have had adverse experiences while utilizing them. These boards usually are not on the market and we politely ask that you don’t contact or play with them. Morbitorium accepts no duty for any experiences or attachments chances are you’ll encounter on account of contact with these donated boards.”
Many of the boards have been despatched with accompanying letters explaining scary experiences. He has saved the letters and flicks by means of them. “They’re fairly startling when you learn by means of them. They’re largely from America. A few of them simply flip up however most write to me first.” One arrived by means of the letterbox randomly from a person named Lennie with an accompanying notice: “Please settle for this as a present and use or eliminate it as you see match.”
Dave is predictably unmoved by the letters. “The speculation is when you give them to others they develop into clean slates once more. I smoke cleanse them after they arrive simply in case.”
What does his household consider his modified life? “My associate is all proper with it, she’s fairly various too. She wouldn’t accumulate it herself however as a result of I’ve bought it she’s into it. When my children had been youthful they weren’t certain however as a result of they’ve grown up with it they like it now.”
The locals are all in too. “It’s the perfect place I’ve ever lived. The primary public dealing with factor we did was with Mort. He was seven-foot tall and was out the entrance of the home – fairly an imposing determine. In the future throughout lockdown two folks got here and snapped him in half, and the village provided to boost the cash to get me a brand new one which was actually cool. The youngsters used to like him as they went previous each day on the varsity bus.
“Once in a while the native children bear in mind I exist and are available in each night time for per week. It’s at all times: ‘Is that this actual? Is that actual?’ They’re fascinated by it. One night time I got here down and it was very quiet and a few the ladies had been within the entrance room with a ouija board on the ground asking: ‘Is anyone with us?’”