When you're a kid, museums tend to range from mildly boring to incredibly boring vacation ruiners. Well, as part of our continuing mission to prove that things could always be worse, here are some museums that will have you sleeping with a nightlight for the next few years.
Those people are standing in a cave, but those aren't stalactites. That, dear readers, is human hair.
You are looking at the personal collection of Turkish potter Chez Galip. And not only is he not a serial killer, as far as anyone knows, but he happily shares his collection of 16,000 locks of hair with the world.
In his cave.
His human hair cave.
No, that's not a metaphor.
The "collecting" began in 1979, when Galip thought he might boost participation in the pottery courses he taught in his shop above the cave ... by collecting hair samples from participants and hanging them on the cave wall beneath the studio. We can only take his word that this was actually how he procured all those samples and that there aren't 16,000 shriveled heads silently screaming for release from their cavernous coffins.
Colored note cards would have looked a lot less like dessicated scalp.
Undaunted by the lack of escape routes, women apparently continue to shed a lock for Galip's collection to this day. And if a visitor sees a tress that tickles his creep fancy, he might be able to find the owner. For you see, Galip thoughtfully COLLECTED ADDRESSES WITH EACH LOCK OF HAIR.
If there's one building that has every right to be haunted, it's the Seodaemun Prison complex in Seoul.
From 1908 to 1945, the colonial Japanese government used Seodaemun to hold and torture dissenters. And then following Japan's defeat in WWII, the South Korean government used the buildings to hold their own inmates before reopening the building as a museum in 1992. So with every step you take at Seodaemun, you are literally walking across the collective agony of almost a century's worth of damned souls. Seodaemun's curators apparently found that palpable human anguish to be underwhelming, which is why they went one step further and put together elaborate displays like this one:
That man's torturing those women by staining their dresses with ketchup!
It's like they reimagined torture through the eyes of Team America: World Police. The museum is chock-full of life-size wax figure displays, such as red hot chili water being forced down an inmate's nose, bamboo shoots being thrust under prisoners' fingernails and old fashioned hangings.
"We call this the gravitea bong."
Oh, and don't imagine for one second that this is a strictly 18 and up venue just because of all the explicit torture dioramas. Kids are more than welcome to experience South Korea's past, warts and all!
Yeah, we had the same reaction as the girl on the left when we noticed the fucking blood stains.
Have you ever wondered what Noah's Ark would have looked like if it got nuked on Judgement Day? Well, there's your answer.
The Gallery of Paleontology and Compared Anatomy is part of the family of museums that make up the French Natural History Museum. Seen from a distance or its balcony, the Gallery looks like a mundane, orderly collection of fossils chronicling evolution's march through time. Nothing too outrageous until -- GOOD LORD. Is that an inter-primate rape scene?!
OK, who gave Stanley Kubrick modeling clay?
Sure is! Notice the lusty glee of the little one on the right. But also the orangutan strangling the human to death. Notice that this unfortunate human's last horrific moments are ending with every terrible circumstance possible: strangled by an orangutan while his kid watched? Check. Naked? Check. Frozen in stone for all eternity to be gawked at by children? Check.
We're just getting started. We have to imagine it's the "Compared Anatomy" portion of the gallery that is responsible for things like this:
"Rub your face in that. You can really feel a similarity to the mutilated dog display."
Because how can you properly compare animals unless they've been flayed of all their skin and sprawled out like a uptown lady waiting for her Brazilian wax? Oh, and just to keep things from getting weird, you might as well replace internal organs with wax fruit so the orangutan is a cornucopia of sorts.
Like many of us, the creators of the the museum wondered what underdeveloped human fetuses looked like if they were ripped from their mother's bodies, decomposed, then propped up for our entertainment. Especially if the open-skulled trio could be made to look like they're having a GREAT time, like we just caught them mid-guffaw.
"Man, that 'you've really lost weight' joke never gets old!"
Meanwhile, here's a happy pod of skeletonized whales, that appear to be about to feast on Han Solo frozen in carbonite:
Above: The best idea George Lucas ever cut.
There's a reason why we mentioned Noah's Ark in the beginning. Have you ever wondered what happens to zoo animals when they die? Well, in the 1890s, the French used the Jardin des Plantes Zoo's pile of dead animal remains for many of the exhibits in The Gallery of Paleontology and Compared Anatomy. Then they decided the only leader for such a parade of the undead is a man who has shed his skin like an annoying fleshy, pink encumbrance.
"Chad, we need to talk to you about your circumcision technique."
Welcome to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, the converted Cambodian school where at least 15,000 dissidents were tortured and killed under the Khmer Rouge. And while museums of other atrocities like Auschwitz delicately display collections of victims' suitcases and eyeglasses, Tuol Sleng went right for the skulls. Like, the actual skulls of those killed. Either haphazardly displaying them in glass cases ...
We'd give anything for an X-Files episode where Mulder says, "That case is so skully."
Or as you saw above, glued onto a map like the world's most terrible macaroni art.
And speaking of art, that's exactly what this museum is chock-full of.
One of the very, very few survivors of the torture school painted pictures to show us how bad it was. So why not display those paintings right alongside the actual torture devices depicted in them?
"And if you step into this room, we can show you the actual torture, demonstrated on live volunteers."
But there's also photographs of the last victims who died in the hours before the Khmer Rouge fled the building. So picture walking into a bare room and seeing a rusty bed frame. Then you look up to see the photograph of the last person who died chained to this actual bed. Oh, and he's dead in the picture. THAT'S what Tuol Sleng is all about.
Two years ago we examined the extensive collection of penises on display at the Icelandic Phallological Museum. But we know what you really want. You want to go inside the penises. For that, we suggest you stick your head into the William P. Didusch Center for Urologic History at the American Urological Association's headquarters. It's a whole museum dedicated to the instruments doctors have been slipping into men's dongs since the invention of nightmares.
William P. Didusch Center for Urologic History
Dear Lord, it's a testi-coil.
The museum was the brainchild of a man who apparently amassed so much graphic material on urological history that the only option left was to give it back to the world. According to the museum's website, the museum was financed through a surprise "testimonial dinner" to honor Dr. Didusch and his many contributions to American urology. The result is nothing short of the penis-themed time machine that can send you to virtually every moment in history when a penis got poked. At times, it's almost steampunk.
Good God, even a screenshot of the site design is almost too much to handle.
On your way out, be sure to do a quick check to make sure no one slipped a toothpick or something in your parts when you weren't looking. Oh, and don't forget to pick up a gallstone in the gift shop!
William P. Didusch Center for Urologic History
Two for a dollar, and your sense of well-being.
In the early 17th Century, the Capuchin monks asked, "Why just bury someone when you could decorate with them?" You know, because Jesus loved to work with human bones when he was a carpenter. Combine the solid work ethic of a bunch of monks with thousands of human bones and you get what some might call "art" and others might call "Hell, if Salvidor Dali was in charge."
What you're actually looking at are the bones of the friars who served and lived at this chapel, lovingly arranged and glued (?) by their brothers in faith. So you can imagine that as Father Antonio gets a little too creative with the pelvis collection he's shaping into a throne, he calls shotgun on a sweet spot for his own future skull. It could happen. When walking into an underground room elaborately decorated with the bones of the faithful, anything can happen. Hey look, PELVISES:
Notice the priests who weren't dismantled. Instead, they were left intact and made to lay on beds made of the bones of their brethren. Lucky bastards.
If you squint, you can imagine you're at Disneyland with the next picture. Can you see it?
The kids will never know the difference!
For more reasons to never go to sleep again, check out 8 Terrifying Skeletons of Adorable Animals and The 14 Most Unintentionally Terrifying Statues in the World.