It would only seem natural that museums would host spirits of the “things” which live there, right? Mummies, the bones of Paleolithic era humans, and even so called “museums of the dead.” Even shrunken heads can be found in museums – and you know the owners of those heads met a cruel fate.
So which are the creepiest museums in the world. Are they haunted? What makes them give us chills? These disconcerting institutions make the list of the creepiest museums in the world.
Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, England
All the way up until the 1960s, head shrinking was a practice in the Amazon. And while it’s not widely used today, there are probably some instances that we just don’t know about.
Amazonian headhunters in the northwestern region of the rainforest would collect shrunken heads as trophies. First, they’d remove the skull from the head. Then, the skin and hair would be removed from the head. Eyelids were sewn shut, and the mouth was pegged closed. Then, the head was boiled.
After boiling, the head was turned inside out, and the head hunters would scrape off any remaining flesh. Turned right side out again, the head was filled with sand and hot rocks, causing the inside of the head to tan like leather.
In an otherwise ordinary museum like the Pitt Rivers Museum, these shrunken heads look out of place. And while their mouths are permanently sewn shut, visitors to the museum have sworn they’ve heard whispering.
Vent Haven Ventriloquist Museum, Fort Mitchell, Kentucky
What’s not to hate about ventriloquist dummies? Even in the prime of their career, they’re dolls that speak. Creepy.
And what’s even creepier than a ventriloquist dummy that’s talking? A ventriloquist dummy that’s not. If you’re looking for a few chills, visit the world’s largest (and only) ventriloquist museum in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky. With a collection of over 800 dolls, you can’t help but wonder what they’re planning next. Why aren’t they speaking?
Glore Psychiatric Museum, St. Joseph, Missouri
We’ve come a long way in the methods by which we treat those who suffer mental illnesses and disorders. It wasn’t too long ago that we were drilling holes in skulls, administering ice baths and performing other cruel acts of “therapy.”
And the patients in treatment suffered. As a release for their sorrow and fear, they’d create art, or write. There was little respite from the feeling that they were trapped in the institution to which they were confined, permanently.
The Glore Psychiatric Museum in Kentucky has on display some of the art, as well as exhibits of some of the treatments. Formerly State Lunatic Asylum Number 2, the Glore Museum’s claim to fame is a large mural of 1,446 non-edible items. The buttons, pins and other objects were removed from a woman’s stomach during her stay.
The Museum of Medieval Torture Instruments, Amsterdam
Think the tools at the psychiatric museum are creepy? Wait until you see the tools which were used to torture the enemy. One of the creepiest museums in the world is the Museum of Medieval Torture in the Netherlands.
You’ll find guillotines, iron maidens and a torture rack. Particularly disturbing is “the skullcracker.” The museum is set across the street from a flower market. Interestingly, they offer tours for school children, if you’re interested.
Museo de las Momias De Guanajuato, Guanajuato, Mexico
Throughout world history, there have been wars and outbreaks of disease with casualties so high that officials resorted to mass graves. The Catacombs are one example. Parisian cemeteries were simply full to capacity, so the city began to bury the dead in a mass grave under the city. Today, visitors can visit sections of this communal burial grounds and view the bones of French ancestors.
However, some places do it differently. The Museo de las Momias de Guanajuato is the home of the mummified remains of the Mexican dead. These poor souls died during the cholera outbreak in the middle of the 19th century.
Children and babies are mummified and displayed here alongside their parents. Their souls do not appear to be at rest – you can still see expressions of agony on their faces.
Pretty Much Any Wax Museum
As realistic as some are, there’s just something extremely unnerving about a wax statue. Their eyes don’t move except to follow you as you move. They look as if they’re about to spring into life at a moment’s notice. And while they’re a pretty close likeness to their living counterpart, there’s just something that’s, well, not quite right.
Wax museums are by far the creepiest museums in the world. There’s Madame Tussauds in London (and the one in Washington, D.C. is pretty creepy, too), the National Wax Museum of Dublin and Potter’s Wax Museum in Florida. There are plenty to choose from, you just need to decide if you’ve got the stomach to go.
Creepiest Museums in the World: Bonus Museum
So museums are pretty creepy, right? There are mummified babies, bizarre stomach contents arranged into a lovely mosaic, devices which were used to torture and maim and heads which were de-brained and shrunken down to pocket-sized totes.
But what’s creepier is the Museum of Menstruation and Women’s Health.
No, there’s nothing creepy or gross about the reproductive system of the human female. It’s just one of those things that women deal with. So what’s creepy about a museum advertising the tools and equipment women have used to address their monthly cycle for thousands of years?
The fact that it’s in the basement of a guy named Harry.
Harry Finley opened the Museum of Menstruation and Women’s Health in 1995. Admittedly, there’s some pretty cool stuff down in Finley’s basement, based on the pictures. Then, there are the other things.
A dress made from tampons. Self-portraits of Harry himself. And the fact that visits to the museum are conducted by appointment only, and are private.
We’ll check out the pictures of the items in Harry’s basement and leave the tour to some other brave soul.