Fish-tailed monkey “mermaids.” A snuff box for storing pubic hair. Enough creepy dolls to fill a haunted schoolhouse.
With their doors closed due to the pandemic, museums in the UK and beyond have been taking to Twitter to showcase the most terrifying items in their collections, and it might be enough to make you glad to be safe at home.
England’s Yorkshire Museum threw down the gauntlet on April 17 by sharing a bun of human hair which once crowned the head of a Roman woman.
Berlin’s Deutsches Historisches Museum launched itself into #CURATORBATTLE by sharing a very on-trend plague mask, while Canada’s PEI Museum led a charge of cursed children’s toys.
The PEI Museum’s one-eyed “Wheelie” boasts strange kinetic powers, England’s Norwich Castle’s tiny pincushion is filled with infant heads, while England’s Egham Museum – pictured at the top of this article – has some fine examples of “dolls to scare the bejeesus out of you.”
There was a strong showing for Fiji mermaids – a taxidermy fad for stitching together monkey-fish hybrids – with Natural Science NMS’s rose-hued lovely winning this particular beauty pageant.
Taxidermy tableaux, arguably one of the finest legacies of the Victorian era, were well represented by York Castle Museum’s claw-headed creatures playing cards and Australia’s MONA Museum’s kitten tea party.
“Pickled stuff in jars” is a perennial favorite of connoisseurs of the weird, and Wales’ Bangor University made sure not to disappoint by offering up a double-whammy of a monkey’s head in a jar and a two-headed lamb.
Cornwall’s Museum of Witchcraft, meanwhile, carried on the uncanny theme with a fox wearing a human death mask.
The Yorkshire Museum has been running its Curator Battles on a weekly basis, with another epic showdown scheduled for this Friday. The museum’s communication manager, Lee Clark, tells CNN Travel that its Twitter account has gained 2,600 new followers in the past few days.
So who’s the winner of this impressive battle? It’s clearly us readers, who – while museums worldwide have had to shut up shop – can still peruse pictures of snaggle-toothed rat creatures and woodwormed ventriloquist’s dummies.
The Yorkshire Museum, and all the other institutions who’ve been working hard to keep us creepily entertained during these weirdest of times, welcomes your donations.
After all, Penshurst Place’s bear needs your pennies to fund its drinking habit.