Museums range from entirely boring to boring to so boring we start doing math in our heads for fun, and we're fucking terrible at math. But those are just the ones you're forced to attend on field trips. Sorry, Iowa Tractor Museum, but these terrifying museums really highlight the fact that you're the "Gary from accounting" of educational institutions.
You already have the necropants branded onto your temporal lobe, but they're just one of several disquieting wonders you'll find at the Museum Of Icelandic Sorcery And Witchcraft in the tiny town of Holmavik. This adorable little guy, for example, is a tilberi:
It was believed that a witch could create this two-headed turd-snake by stealing a rib bone from a graveyard early on Whit Sunday, wrapping it in wool and storing it between her breasts. Next, she'd spit holy wine onto it at the next three Communions, after which it would come to life and start to grow. When it could no longer fit between Mama's jugs, she'd cut a nipple into her thigh for it to suckle.
Once it got big enough, the creature would roll its way to a neighbor's field and "lie across a sheep's back and suck two tits at the same time." When it was close to bursting, it would roll back home and vomit the milk into a bucket. The witch presumably did all this for the extremely vitamin-rich cursed-worm vomit-milk that Icelandic nutritionists are always touting.
Then there's the invisibility spell, which involved collecting "three drops of blood from the index finger of your left hand, three from the ring finger of your right hand, two from your right nipple, and one from your left nipple. Mix the blood with six drops of blood from the heart of a living raven, and melt it all with the raven's brain and pieces of a human stomach."
At first glance, Juan Antonio Lara Jurado's private museum (and life's work), the Museo Lara in Ronda, Spain, looks fairly mundane. There are clocks and guns and, because this is Spain, the obligatory Inquisition exhibit. But then you turn a corner and -- oh, hey, there's a topless mermaid with Jack Skellington hands:
Then there's a werewolf, ostensibly created from an actual canine skeleton:
And don't miss the rare winged mohawk lizard:
Or ... this thing:
Did we mention that the creepiest parts of Jurado's "private" museum are housed in his cellar? Survivors -- er, visitors -- also report seeing a child's heart in a jar down there. We're sure it's fine, though. It takes a dead mermaid, a werewolf carcass, and two child hearts to open a Hell portal and summon forth Agablag, He Who Rules The Pits Of Shit. Hey, no reason, but did you know that every Tuesday is "bring a child you will not miss" day? Half-price admission!
Gruyeres is a tiny Swiss mountain town that's less famous than its cheese. If you were to stroll down its cobblestone streets and approach Chateau St. Germain, the town's medieval castle, you'd probably be expecting an afternoon filled with suits of armor, tapestries, and paintings of dudes in codpieces -- you know, castle stuff. But that's when you'd notice the Xenomorph crouched above the entrance ...
After perusing the downright diuretic collections, pick up your facehugger fridge magnet and work up the nerve to check out at a cashier's desk that looks like it only accepts payment in pounds of flesh:
In need of a little liquid courage? Luckily, the H.R. Giger Museum has its very own bar (thaaat's what museums are missing!). Here's where you're getting drunk tonight:
The vaulted ceilings are composed of vertebral arches, and every surface is created from a polished concrete and fiberglass mixture that Giger specially concocted to feel like cool, otherworldly skin. If you'd like to replicate the atmosphere of your hometown bar, you can opt for the wall-o-babies:
Or there are the Harkonnen chairs, designed for Alejandro Jodorowsky's ill-fated adaptation of Dune.
Or sit at one of the many tables and just have your crotch uncomfortably stared down by the tiny faces trapped within.
Oklahoma City's Museum Of Osteology bills itself as "America's ONLY Skeleton Museum" -- a claim which you, too, would be a bit skeptical of if you'd met our creepy neighbor Frank. To their credit, however, they may in fact be the only museum of skeletons created by flesh-eating beetles.
Rending the flesh from a dead thing is delicate business, at least if you want to end up with something museum-quality afterward (the lack of quality specimens is probably why nobody takes you up on your offer to "check out the basement," Frank). Scraping the skeleton clean with a scalpel is tedious and introduces the possibility of breaking particularly fragile bones, and no one really wants to handle flesh-burning chemicals, because flesh-burning chemicals. That's why many museums, including the Smithsonian, employ hordes of dermestid beetles to do the dirty work, just as they would in nature.
But while most museums have the common decency to do so out of sight, the Museum Of Osteology does it front and center.
The dermestid colony on display at the museum is smaller than the one the staff uses backstage, due to the simple fact that the beetles tend to smell exactly the way you'd expect something that feasts on (and subsequently shits out) putrefying flesh to smell. Which, yes, is yet another reason basement attendance is down this year, Frank. Spray some Febreze or something, man. Dang.
That up there is the shriveled-up visage of Si Quey, Thailand's very first serial killer, who murdered six children back in the '50s before eating their hearts and livers. He reportedly believed this would help him achieve immortality, and in a way we suppose he was right.
Just look at him. Stare into his forever-gaze, and feel your soul slowly begin to resemble his mummified husk. Now, meet his posse!
That's right: Si Quey is just one of several violent criminals on display at the Songkran Niyomsane Forensic Medicine Museum, part of the larger Siriraj Medical Museum in Bangkok. There they stand like history's most disturbing Slim Jim display rack, serving as a deterrent to aspiring psychopaths and a powerful laxative to unsuspecting field trip groups.
And just in case you're thinking the museum doesn't give victims their fair share of face time, be assured that you can get up close and personal with the grisly results of everything from gunshot wounds to propeller mishaps.
Still don't feel like you've gotten your money's worth? Well, you can always step over to the other museums in the Siriraj complex: At the Parasitology Museum you can see a 77-pound, infected human testicle, and at the Congdon Anatomical Museum you can see ... dead babies. So many dead babies.
Museum visitors have a tradition of leaving them toys, just in case they awake at night wanting to play. Hey, better a Stretch Armstrong than your screeching immortal soul.
Laura H loves eating gluten and exploring the Great Indoors. Follow her on Twitter.
There's terror lurking in the most unlikely of places. Like learn about how the Scooby-Doo universe is actually a destitute landscape in 6 Classic Kids Shows Secretly Set In Nightmarish Universes. Or see why today's horror movies have nothing on the 19th Century in 9 Terrifying Old Movies That Put Modern Horror To Shame.
Subscribe to our YouTube channel to see the secret terror hiding in advertisements in 4 Famous TV Ads That Invented Horrifying Fictional Universes, and watch other videos you won't see on the site!
Also follow us on Facebook. Or don't. We don't care. (Or do we?)