May 20, 2022 - 6:11 pm
Updated May 22, 2022 - 6:40 am
After a corpse was found in a barrel at Lake Mead this month, a Las Vegas business owner capitalized on the macabre discovery with her own creepy concoction.
Charlie Hanks, 42, owner of Blaspheme Boutique, a metaphysical shop located on South Rainbow Boulevard, started making her own bottled “Lake Mead Corpse Water” as a joke. But the corpse water has gone viral and drawn attention nationwide, she said.
Hanks first started selling the corpse water on May 13 for an event called Market Macabre at which locals could come and buy dark, spooky and metaphysical items.
“As a joke, I said, ‘I should do Lake Mead corpse water, because of the corpses in the lake,’ and then I made it.” Hanks said. “I had it and I posted some pictures of it and then it kind of went viral on Instagram and Facebook and social media.”
The small bottles sell at $7.77 — the numbers a nod to the classic Las Vegas jackpot — and contain a concoction of water, dirt, glass stones and green mica to give it a Lake Mead hue.
None of the water inside the bottle comes from Lake Mead. “I wouldn’t steal water from our already depleting water source,” Hanks said.
Levels at Lake Mead continue to drop, with the lake at 34 percent capacity. With depleting water levels, parts of the lake are being exposed, revealing areas and items not seen before, including the barrel containing a corpse.
“So far, we’ve sold 75 bottles online, we sold about 50 in store and in person before that,” Hanks said. “I am hand-making every bottle with every label that I designed, everything.”
The corpse water Hanks sells contains no metaphysical properties, but she notes that real corpse water comes from the first wash of a dead body in a mortuary.
Most of the feedback on the water has been positive, she said.
“Most people think it’s funny,” Hanks said. “Most Las Vegas residents, we question our quality of water already.”
But some people don’t find it humorous, Hanks said.
“Any negativity is just people thinking that I’m exploiting the fact that someone died to make a profit. And that’s not my intention at all,” she said. “Most of my products are funny jokes, or dark humor in one way or another.”
Hanks’ dark humor is the overarching theme of the boutique with hutches filled with preserved animals, handmade shirts that say “666” or “Death before Decaf,” and unique tarot card decks spread around the shop.
Blaspheme Boutique started as an online Etsy store in 2015 and kept growing until Hanks decided to open the physical store in June 2021.
In addition to shopping, visitors can take part in astrology classes, get a tarot reading or learn from local witchcraft practitioners.
“The community that we have supporting us is awesome. It’s been wonderful, like totally a dream come true,” said Hanks, who notes she is a practicing eclectic witch. “We’ve had a great response and I feel super lucky.”
With the shop’s one-year anniversary next month, the corpse water notoriety is welcome, Hanks said. “This is like the perfect amount of attention that we needed for (our) anniversary,” she said.