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While death is forever, Death Becomes Us – A True Crime Festival is only two days. However we thought it would be cool to give you a little true crime festival warm up. We got together with our pals at Smithsonian Associates to get your blood pumping with a couple of true crime events that would be a crime to miss (can’t believe we waited this long to say this).

Morbid Curiosity: Presidential Last Moments Preserved

Death mask of President William McKinley, 1901 (Division of Political History, National Museum of American History)

Sara Murphy and Bethany Beemis, museum specialists in the division of political history at the American History Museum, are fascinated by death. Hey, join the club! In fact they enjoy staring death right in its face, literally. Join them at the S. Dillon Ripley Center October 22 as they take us through a fascinating tour of things fallen presidents have left behind. From locks of hair to coffin fragments they’ll leave no gravestone unturned.

The Beefeater and the Birds: Meet the Tower of London’s Ravenmaster

Chris Skaife, the Ravenmaster (Courtesy of the Tower of London)

This event is for the birds, well it’s about the birds. Chris Skaife is a Ravenmaster at the Tower of London which sounds like something out of Harry Potter. It’s Chris’ responsibility to care for the ravens. Legend has it that if a raven should ever leave the Tower then the kingdom would fall. Since the kingdom hasn’t fallen we’ll assume Chris is doing his job. Before this he was a Yeoman Wader or as they’re more commonly known, a Beefeater. And while that sounds like something out of a horror movie it’s a very prestigious position to hold. Beefeaters are soldiers with at least 22 years of unblemished military service who are the Tower’s ceremonial guards. Once upon a time they were charged with looking after prisoners and guarding the Crown Jewels but now they act as custodians of the Tower’s history and it’s those stories Chris will be sharing with us October 24 at S. Dillon Ripley Center.