EVANSTON, Ill. (CBS) — Just in time for Halloween, Northwestern University’s library in Evanston has amassed a macabre collection of items.

WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports the 76 boxes of items came from the estate of the late horror writer Michael McDowell — “all relating to the subject of death in various manifestations,” according to curator Scot Krafft.

Krafft said McDowell was best known for his collaboration with director Tim Burton on the film Beetlejuice, but over 30 years, McDowell put together a unique and morbid collection of death items.

“There are crime scene photographs, execution scenes, accident scenes. For example, a photograph of somebody whose body was cut in half by a passing train. Some of them are really quite gruesome,” Krafft said.

He said the so-called “Death Collection” is of use to social historians interested in how society’s attitudes toward death evolved.

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