10 Creepy Museums Around The World
Welcome to Part Three of our three part Halloween Blog! Today we have ten museums around the world that explore the strange, the bizarre and the macabre for those brave enough to visit.
Below are a variety of images, some of which are...not for the sensitive. All images used in today's blog are from Wikipedia (unless otherwise noted), under the common license and one should be able to find them by searching in Wikipedia for the museum.
The Mummy Museum, Guanajuato Mexico
While science has revealed that some were embalmed, this museum is home to over 100 naturally mummified bodies – victims of an 1833 cholera outbreak in Guanajuato Mexico. 59 of the bodies are on display. In 1870 a law was enacted requiring families to pay a burial tax to ensure loved ones maintained their burial plot. Those who could not pay found their family members removed from their plots...and many found a new home here. The natural mummification process is largely thanks to the area’s climate.
The Torture Museum, Amsterdam Netherlands
Listen, the medieval period saw some pretty sadistic law enforcement practices. While this museum is not the only of it’s kind (I’ve visited similar museums in Edinburgh and Prague), this museum has a wide range of instruments, some authentic and some reconstruction. They’ll also host events and educational tours, including a session on torture and the death penalty in today’s civilized world.
Museum of Death, Los Angeles and New Orleans
I love that the goal of this museum is “to make people happy to be alive”. Founded by JD Healy and Catherine Shultz largely as a hobby to start with, this museum in Los Angeles has a growing collection of all things related to death including letters and artwork from serial killers, films of autopsies, crime scene photos, taxidermied animals, Manson Family Memorabilia, antique funeral ephemera, room dedicated to the Heaven’s Gate mass suicide including original beds and the head of Henri Landru. You can even go sign up to be in their Black Dahlia look-alike competition. They’ve recently opened a second location in New Orleans. Photography and cell phone use are not allowed.
Museum of Vampires and Legendary Creatures, Paris
And you thought Paris was only about love and croissants! This private museum, located through the back entrance at 14, Rue Jules David in the Lilas outskirts, is dedicated to vampires and mythology. Visiting is by appointment and you’ll get to spend time with the curator, Jacques Sirgent (who speaks both French and English). To make an appointment one has to phone. The main number is a recorded French message that provides Sirgent’s cell number – 06 20 12 28 32 – which you call to chat with the Vampire Expert himself to arrange a visit. If you’re not super into vampires or the occult, this museum is a bit of a hike to get to, though accessible by Metro, and is small. But if you’re into this sort of thing, the collection is impressive and the time spent with Sirgent is the highlight as he shares the history of Paris and tales of the vampiric therein.
Unfortunately, there were no photos I could find that I felt comfortable using (for licensing purposes)
The Museum of Witchcraft and Magic, Cornwall UK
With exhibits on folk magic, ceremonial magic, freemasonry and Wicca, it’s said to be one of the largest collections in the world and is highly respected by the British occult community – described as some as a place of pilgrimage for British Witches. The museum’s history knows conflict as there was opposition to the opening of the museum, which was timed to coincide with the repeal of the Witchcraft and Vagrancy Acts. Today, the museum houses artifacts once owned by prominent historical figures in the magic and witchcraft community and is constantly growing. The museum is often a named beneficiary by practitioners of witchcraft and magic who leave their tools to the museum in their wills.
Jack the Ripper Museum, London UK
You have to give credit to the museum founders for creativity – opened in August 2015, this museum was green lit by the Tower Hamlets Council because they were told it would be a museum that recognized and celebrated the women of London’s East End. When it opened there were protests and the museums own architect was angered to realize what he had built (he too was in the dark). In an attempt to salvage reputation, the owner brought on an all female advisory board. There are mixed reviews online, some saying it doesn't do enough to tell the victim's stories, but if you’re interested in Jack the Ripper, add this one to your consideration list.
Salem Witch Museum, Salem Massachusetts
Dedicated to the Salem Witch Trials (see the last blog), this museum features larger set pieces and wax figures to tell the story of Salem in 1692. It also explores the views on witches from the 17th century through to today. Reviews state it’s overpriced, but informative.
Siriraj Medical Museum, Bangkok
Nicknamed the Museum of Death (not to be confused with the Museum of Death listed above), this museum is actually five smaller medical museums that explores a variety of medical (and…not so medical?) exhibits. You’ll find the mummified remains of serial killer Si Quey on display, over 2000 organs available for anatomical education, bones from the Lampang man, skulls, body parts and a variety of parasites. Lonely planet even says that a bloodied T-shirt from a victim stabbed to death with a dildo is on display. So…there’s that going for it too.
The Voodoo Museum, New Orleans Louisiana
Louisiana Voodoo dates back to roughly 1719 when enslaved Africans brought West African Dahomeyan Vodum with them to the US. The Africans outnumbered the French colony in Louisiana and the new religion was able to thrive since the Africans were held in large groups, allowing the preservation of their indigenous culture and practices. Additionally, the respect of elders allowed the practices to flourish as the elderly lived longer than enslaved Africans in other parts of the US. However, Christian practices were also fused into the faith, creating a unique spirituality. The museum was founded in 1972 by an artist named Gandolfo who had a passion for Voodoo and today a voodoo priest is on site to give readings.
The Mutter Museum, Philadelphia Pennsylvania
Originally intended for biomedical research and education, this medical museum contains and impressive 20,000 specimens, though reportedly only 13% are on display. The most notable element is the Osteological specimens, or skeletal displays. This collection of 3000 includes the tallest human skeleton on exhibit in North America, which stands 7’6” tall, the skeleton of Harry Eastlack, the only fully articulated skeleton in North America with Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva (a disease that turns tissue like muscles and tendons into bone), and a collection of 139 skulls which was intended to showcase the diversity of skull anatomy. There are also 1500 wet specimens including cysts and tumors and nearly every organ in the human body. It’s also the only place members of the public can view pieces of Albert Einstein’s brain.