Remember being bored out of your skull because your parents dragged you to some stupid museum when you were a kid? Well, it could have been worse. Much worse.
Because there are apparently museums out there capable of inflicting the kind of trauma a person never recovers from.
Location: Guanajuato, Mexico
The El Museo is the museum of HOLY SHIT WHAT IS THAT!
Why... does that exist anywhere?
To say this is a museum full of mummies doesn't even come close to conveying the unspeakable horror of this place. How about this: In ancient Rome, and college fraternities, there is a brutal and humiliating tradition known as running the gauntlet, during which you strip naked and run through a valley of horrors. Guanajuato's El Museo De Las Momias ("Museum of the Mummies") is just like that, except that it's the spectators who are naked. And dead.
You know one of those hands will reach out and grab you.
The Mummies of Guanajuato are naturally preserved bodies from a cholera outbreak that hit Guanajuato way back in 1833. Since this is basically just a huge open grave with floodlights, its legality and moral status continues to be the subject of much discussion everywhere except in Mexico.
Most of the mummies on display were corpses whose families could not afford to pay a grave tax levied on their families once they died. If you failed to pay the taxes, you guessed it...
You went up on display.
Hey, have we mentioned the babies?
"Come play with us..."
Oh, and while we're on the subject of nightmarish carnivals of the rotting dead...
Location: Palermo, Sicily
Welcome to Catacombe dei Cappuccini: the Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo, Sicily. Described as a "human library," the Catacombs serve as an invaluable historic record on everything from clothing trends to fear tolerance.
In 1599, the monks who lived here discovered a great new method for embalming the dead, and as the situation warranted, they went to work embalming each other. Then wealthy locals wanted to be interred in the Capuchin Catacombs as a status thing.
Despite being as old as Galileo and bombed to hell during World War II, some of the inhabitants of the Capuchin Catacombs still look pretty fresh...
...And all of them dressed in the finest clothes, eagerly awaiting the Resurrection.
Seriously, what the fuck...
Location: St. Joseph, Missouri
The Glore Psychiatric Museum, formally known as Missouri's State Lunatic Asylum No. 2, is like the Event Horizon of art galleries.
They call this one "Schizophrenia."
The museum takes its name from one George Glore, who in the 60s, put his patients/inmates at the St. Joseph State Hospital to work building full-size replicas of some of the most horrific psychiatric practices from the last few centuries--which makes about as much sense as making the inmates at Guantanamo Bay build Big Macs until they love America.
Apparently, building creepy shit like this is a damn good way to get sane.
The result is a weird and terrifying excursion through the minds of a hundred lunatics, displaying patient art which ranges from sophisticated...
To South Park...
But the, uh, highlight of the museum has to be this magnificent mosaic, which was constructed entirely from the stomach contents of a woman suffering from compulsive swallowing.
That horror is 100 percent stomach contents.
It is actually hard to picture anyone going crazy over anything in Missouri, but now that we have seen what their hospitals look like, it is probably best to avoid the state. After all, the woman who swallowed those 1,446 objects died in surgery. So who the fuck made the mosaic?
Location: New Carrollton, Maryland
We're all adults here, hopefully. Menstruation isn't any more disgusting than the other bodily functions we don't discuss in polite company. So what's wrong with having a museum dedicated to the subject?
How about the fact that it's in some random dude's basement in lower Maryland.
While there genuinely is a long history to menstruation's imprint on culture, from its symbolic record to its inclusion in Cervantes' Don Quixote, the Museum of Menstruation & Women's Health is really just the story of one man with a dream: Harry Finley.
Since 1995, this humble, middle-aged American has devoted his life to making his private collection of feminine hygiene products and mutilated mannequins available to the public. His work has received accolades from Johns Hopkins University and The New York Times--at least according to his website--and Harry's reputation has since blossomed from local neighborhood character to a character from a Thomas Harris novel.
Among the museum's collections are a dress made out of tampons...
...well kept archives...
...whatever the hell these are...
...and finally, the intimacy of knowing that you and Harry are the only people in the house. For real. Since 1999, all visits to the museum/Harry's basement have had to be done by appointment and in private.
We imagine so that no one can hear you scream.