Museum personnel

The Collector (write to the Collector )

The Collector is as curious as he is evanescent. While he is very much a real person, it is impossible to determine whether his duties have been handed down from one individual to another for generations or if, in fact, one and the same person has succeeded in slowing down the ageing process by a subtle alchemical principle. It is true that the museum closely guards the secret formula for a long-life elixir in its secret vaults, as well as a time machine.
An extreme sensitive, he cannot bear extended physical contact with his fellow men, as their lack of soul makes his head spin; hence his isolation from the world. Nevertheless, he can detect potential sensitives amongst the urban fauna; he then recruits or protects them, assisted by the Curator of the Surnateum. You will never be able to find him, but the Curator can.
He has a rather odd sense of humour. The little he has allowed us to publish about him can be summed up in a few lines:

  • Following in the footsteps of Professor Rhine at Duke University, and passionately interested in the occult and secret knowledge, he created the secretive Foundation for the Exploration of Dreams, also known as the Institute. The Museum of Supernatural History is the archaeological wing of the Institute. Another section of the Institute focuses on detecting 'sensitives' and developing their unusual capabilities. The S&D (Search and Destroy) Section rectifies any experiments by which veer out of control within the museum's various departments.
  • He uses his wealth to fund this research and refuses to be bothered by charlatans of the paranormal who are prepared to engage in the most underhanded and despicable acts in order to obtain a drop of 'magic power'. Sometimes his sense of humour creates great enmity.
  • He can write supercalifragilisticexpialidocious without making a single mistake and he can also pronounce antidisestablishmentarianism.

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The Curator: Department of Research, Investigations, Documentation and Reactivation of Haunted Antiques (write to the Curator)

Christian Chelman is the current Curator of the Surnateum.
A graduate of the ISEPK (Institute for Secret, Esoteric and Parapsychological Knowledge) and the Foundation for the Exploration of Dreams, the Curator is sometimes called upon to stand in for the Collector. His duties include mastering the forces contained within the objects housed in the Surnateum and expanding the museum's collections.
A cross between Indiana Jones (the hero created by Italian cartoonist Sergio Toppi) and the cursed antique dealer in Friday the 13th, Christian Chelman is totally dedicated to studying magic in all of its forms. For years, he has been exploring the most unknown aspects of conjuring and prestidigitation, as well as the magic practised in Antiquity, by secret societies and amongst the so-called 'primitive' peoples - all on behalf of the Museum of Supernatural History.
Attracted by forbidden knowledge, fascinated by human myths, legends and superstitions, he digs up strange stories, rescuing them from oblivion. Like Schliemann, who discovered Troy in the late 19th century, the Curator and his co-workers track down forgotten legendary objects buried under the dust of centuries. His unusual personality opens many doors, including those to occult libraries, demonic collections, lairs of cursed magicians and vile dives. His black belt in judo and expertise in close combat techniques help him successfully conclude certain transactions that may have got off on the wrong foot. One can never be too careful!
After being possessed by a formidable voodoo entity (the Trickster Eshu/Loki) during a shamanic ritual, his personality is now forever split in two - Chelman/Youki - and is very hard to control.
Over the course of numerous voyages, meetings and research trips, he has amassed a unique collection of magical artefacts on behalf of the museum, irrefutable proof of the presence of the supernatural and the fantastic within our societies.
As the collection is not currently open to the public, this virtual museum gives you a chance to look at these extremely rare items.

Christian Chelman is the author of various books and articles on conjuring, magic and the fantastic, que de la filiation sémantique entre les mythes du Graal et certains rituels initiatiques contemporains.
Capricornian Tales was published in 1994 in the United States, Rhésus (with artist Yves Swolfs) was published in 1999 in Brussels and Légendes Urbaines in Paris in 1999.
Hauntics is in the pre-publishing phase in the United States.
Christian Chelman designs shows for the event organisation industry and gives seminars on conjuring and communication. He served as the technical adviser and created most of the effects for a televised mental magic special.
In 1993 he won the prestigious MacMillan competition in London, elevating him to the ranks of leading contemporary conjurers.

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Secret Expeditions, Stagecraft (write to Nicolas Stevens)

Nicolas Stevens studies stagecraft at the La Cambre School of Visual Arts in Brussels.
As he has not been trained in advanced combat techniques, Nicolas sometimes travels with his twin brother, who is kind enough to be attacked in his place.
Well known for never forgetting to take out repatriation insurance whenever he travels abroad (allowing him to travel in economy class on the way out, but in first class on the way back), he is the very picture of caution.
Specialising in cryptozoological research, he has many discoveries to his credit, including bringing back the Nepalese shaman's kit displayed on this site.
He also helped the Curator fight a particularly vicious 'vampire'.
Nicolas Stevens is the Chief Investigator and designer of this site - even though his computer was apparently delivered with a highly efficient 'crash and burn' programme.

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Curator of the Museum of Cryptozoology (write to G.A. van Horn )

G.A. van Horn, an art historian and archaeologist, is the honorary curator of the Museum of Cryptozoology. In addition to his conventional museography work (restoration of whale skeletons for the Grande Galerie at the Muséum de Paris, a sperm whale model for the Maritime Museum of the Azores, designer of exhibitions, etc.), he carries out bibliographical research and is a keen enthusiast of lost archives and secret cabinets.
A curator of a wide range of collections (Alexandre Humboldt-Fonteyne, Victor Huysenaer, Adrien Lepoutre, etc.), he is often out in the field. Although he is a hard man to track down, he keeps us informed of his progress.
G.A. van Horn does not practice any known martial art, as he finds them of very little use against the tentacular creatures he regularly he comes across in abandoned conservatoires. A naturally non-violent man with the soul of a philosopher, he quite rightly feels that the judicious use of formol or ether against a polymorphous attackers is the wisest course of action.
He is the author of Alexandre Humboldt-Fonteyne: La Collection Interdite, published under a pseudonym by Éditions Labor, as well as a number of small volumes on Jack the Ripper, the Elephant Man and the Secret des Glaciaires.

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Maintenance, Graphic Design and Technology (write to Benoît Drager)

Benoît Drager is the Surnateum's scientific technician. Born on Halloween in 1969, he graduated with a degree in plastic arts from a leading Brussels art college, and subsequently supplemented his training with courses in stage design. Nobody is better at restoring artefacts found in an advanced stage of decomposition and dilapidation. He helped designed part of the site, including the logo.
Capable of transforming a hairdryer into a jet-powered moped (but more often the opposite), he restores infernal machines, redesigns talismans obliterated by the ravages of time and manufactures formidable tools whose purpose is not always clear - including an amazing impossible puzzle designed to drive puzzle-lovers mad! An extremely imaginative man, he was the one who managed to get the temporisoscope back in working order.
Calm under all circumstances, he does not practice any martial art, but he can run very fast.
He found - but then almost immediately lost - an extremely rare grimoire of cannibal recipes from New Caledonia highly sought after by the Surnateum, but this lapse can be excused as he himself very nearly ended up on the menu.
He is currently designing the layout for the Compendium Sortilegionis, the natural continuation of the Liber Oneiromicon.
Benoît is also an Investigator.

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Restoration, Research and Documentation (write to Christian Bréard)

A walking encyclopaedia, Christian Bréard has the knack of being able to find hopelessly unobtainable manuscripts and unbelievable documents. Fascinated by the American Civil War, his only regret is that he will never be able to travel in the temporisoscope as his size simply will not permit it.
A specialist in fastidious and delicate restoration work, his knowledge of antique weapons is formidable, although admittedly halberd combat technique is of little practical interest to the Surnateum's explorers.
He is a friendly chap who never turns down an invitation to join a brawl when the occasion arises. Sometimes used by the S&D Section.
He also serves as an Investigator.

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Search and Destroy (write to Steve Goossens)

Steve Goossens leads the S&D Section at the Surnateum. A black belt in karate, an excellent marksman and a skilled diver, he sometimes resolves the apparently unsolvable problems unleashed by the Surnateum's sometimes careless staff (Department of Invocations.) He is the only one who has dared to take on the Curator in hand-to-hand combat, purely out of intellectual curiosity and as a form of friendly jousting. Upon his discharge from hospital, he set about advancing his martial arts knowledge - and was so successful that he was offered the chance to head up this section and the training of young sensitives.
His motto: "Shoot first, exorcise later!"
He is also an investigator and Assistant to the Collector at the Institute.

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The Librarian (write to the Librarian)

The Department of Forgotten Knowledge and Cursed Books is the preserve of the Librarian. A veritable walking card catalogue, Emmanuel Priels specialises in the study of languages which have been extinct for more than 1,000 years. Demotic, Syriac and Flemish hold no secret for him. And while he does not practice any martial art, he is nevertheless capable of putting any attacker to sleep by reciting - by heart and in a stultifying monotone - the Paris or London phonebook; he can also freeze assailants in their tracks with his highly disagreeable snigger. His acute observational skills allow him to, among other things, decode any doctor's prescription. Gifted with a nearly eidetic memory, he can find virtually any information in less than a minute.
He is an invoker and responsible for preparing rituals.

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Information Technology and Virtual Mysteries (write to the Virtual Cors@ir)

Xavier Vinh-Phuc Hang, easily confused with the celebrated Dr Fu Man Chu, is responsible for the website management and the virtual conservation of rare documents. As the only staff member who knows anything at all about IT and telecoms, he spends his leisure hours creating voracious bugs and dangerous viruses, alongside which anthrax is a sad joke. He does not really like being called a 'pirate', preferring the term 'virtual corsair'. If you give him any trouble, you'll find your electricity and telephone bills reaching gargantuan proportions for no apparent reason. Don't hesitate to contact him if you have any questions or comments.

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Sara Doke, lady of letters (write to Sara )

Sara - a writer, journalist, adventurer and modern-day Amelia - is a repository of knowledge who would be sorely missed if she were not part of the Surnateum.
An initiate of strange rites, such as the cult of the Spider Lady, she has a predilection for frequenting the most fantastic spots on earth in search of mysterious and unknown sisterhoods.
She handles journalistic duties and obscure inquiries on behalf of the Surnateum.

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Public Relations (write to Duc Nhien)

Duc Nhien recently joined the team as our Public Relations Officer.
(biography under construction)


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The Museum of Supernatural is also honoured to work with the following associates:

Karl 'Othello' Bosc lives in Paris and has his own collection of strange and haunted objects. A hunter of legends, this gifted sensitive tirelessly and successfully  tracks down hauntiques in the French capital.
The Surnateum also has highly developed Fraud and Cheating Section whose work focuses on exposing false magic and scams of all kinds.

François Odonnet and Pascal Chunlaud are the French correspondents of the Surnateum and the Institute. François Odonnet designed one of the tests for detecting sensitives still used regularly by the Collector. He is currently restoring a hauntique related to werewolves. (write to François Odonnet)

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