Many people look for great fascinating museums where visitors walk out with a smile and a light heart. What we forget is that museums are keepers of all sides of human stories and the interesting ones only tell part of the story. Museums that depict scary aspects of human life are themselves scary and hard to face. It is tough to seek out a museum whose visit will haunt you every night after you leave, but that didn’t stop some people from creating museums full of items that our eyes would rather not see. Some of these museums are so scary; you can only visit on appointment and with a proven clean bill of health. Here is a look at the ten museums faint-hearted people can’t approach.
1 The Catacombs of the Capuchins
A session with the dead is always scary for many people, but the crypt of Capuchin in Sicily is a place where you get to come face to face with more than 8000 corpses. Believed to be one of the most haunted sites in Italy, many visitors to the crypt report strange sights while others pass out before ending their tour. The crypt was opened in the 15th century strictly for the burial of mummified capuchin monks. The public was allowed to visit and later, bring their loved ones as well to be part of the vast collection of bodies.
The result is a horrifying scene, too grotesque for the faint hearted, displaying bodies of all ages and sizes at different stages of decay. As you walk deeper inside, the air becomes thin while the dimly lit walkways get tense as corpses with different poses and appearance seem to be closing in on you. Some bodies have peeled all skin into skeletons while others still retain hair and mustaches all of them lined along the walls and some in open tombs.
2 Lombroso’s Museum of Criminal Anthropology
Criminals are bad, but a museum full of skulls of criminals is definitely a no-go zone for most people, which is why this museum in Turin Italy is one of the creepiest in the world. Cesare Lombroso was a 19th-century anthropologist who died in 1909 after collecting one of the largest numbers of artifacts on criminals in the whole world. Lombroso believed that criminals were not made; instead, they are born that way, and a deformity causes it in their skulls caused by an evolutionary setback. To support his theory, he started collecting heads of autopsied criminals putting their heads on display in his museum. He also collected artwork and body parts of criminals and madmen throughout Turin and around Italy studying and comparing them.
The collection was given to the University of Turin and expanded into a museum that also contains the former Gallows of Turin. The museum also contains tools used by criminals to kill people and skeletons of people killed by criminals with details on how they died. The collection gets scarier as you meet the wax models of former criminals ending with heads of some people preserved in glass containers including the head of Lombroso himself.
3 The Mutter Museum
This is the most macabre museum in Philadelphia and probably all of the USA. It is located in downtown Philadelphia started by Dr. Thomas Mutter in 1863. The doctor had collected over 1700 specimens for his research, and in his will, he directed the Philadelphia college of physicians to improve the collection and improve it has had over 20,000 human specimens now. The first site you find on the entrance is a wall of skulls labeled in detail from age, and nationality to the cause of death. Inside the museum are more medical specimens, mostly deformed human fetuses. The most iconic items are the brain of Albert Einstein, a lady whose body turned to the soap after her death and an abnormally huge human colon. The museum also stores a tumor removed from President Grover Cleveland and tissues of two presidential assassins.
4 The Medieval Torture Museum
According to this museum located in Singel, Amsterdam, modern abuse of human rights is just similar to the torture habits adopted across the world a few centuries ago. The museum house a collection of torture devices used across the globe for many years. Though there are no dead bodies here, the very sight of their collection of torture tools is sufficient to send chills down your spine. The first device you meet is thick wooden coffin with a door fitted with spikes on the inside. The person being tortured was put inside then the door opened and closed as many times as the torturer wanted, stabbing the offender many times, maybe even causing death. Other tools include the skull cracker, a chair with spikes, thumb screws, and other tools used to inflict pain on people’s private parts. It is a very chilling site that gives you a clear idea of how depraved humanity has been for many years.
5 The Purgatory Museum
This is also called the museum of poor souls found in Parti, Rome near the Vatican housing evidence of some of the creepiest visitations you wouldn’t want to experience. What happens when someone dies? Well, no one really knows, but the Catholics believe that errant souls go to a place of torment called purgatory until their sins are atoned. This belief was being doubted by many faithfuls until 1897 when a fire in the chapel of our lady of the Rosary in Rome ended leaving the imprint of a suffering person on the wall.
Fr. Julius Chevalier then decided to look for other artifacts that proved the existence of visitations by souls in purgatory to the living and find he did.
The museum has a collection of strange imprints including a strange imprint of a human hand on the sleeve of a shirt that belonged to Joseph Leleux from France whose dead mother visited one night and touched him to remind him to make mass and prayer for her suffering soul. Another imprint shows what looks like fingers on fire, having touched a book said to be another suffering soul in purgatory. The museum has Bibles and books full of strange imprints as well as drawings of suffering people displaying what a sad scene purgatory is.
6 Vent Haven Museum
Ventriloquism has been associated with mystical powers of summoning spirits and demons since the Egyptian empire, but ventriloquists still love experiencing time with their dolls. These macabre looking dolls can scare the faint-hearted, especially when you find yourself in a dark room with them, which is why this museum in Fort Mitchel Kentucky is so unique. It has a collection of more than 1000 dummies from all over the world donated by actors and other ventriloquist enthusiasts.
The image you get on entry is a dim lit hall full of dummies with large scary eyes staring right at you as they fill every seat in the museum’s auditorium. There is no room to watch from a distance, meaning you have to come face to face with this little devils throughout the four-block museum as you watch from the stage. To an onlooker, it appears more like a hall full of little demons enjoying a show.
7 The Glore Psychiatric Museum
As the name sounds, this is a museum dedicated to the history of the treatment of psychiatric patients, but the truth is historical, Psychiatric cases were handled as demonic possessions which is why this museum’s artifacts are just a collection of torture tools. The museum run by St. Joseph’s Hospital in Missouri was then called St. Joseph’s Lunatic asylum until 1997 when it changed to the St. Joseph’s psychiatric hospital. On entry, the first thing you see are cages that look like coffins formerly used to restrain patients now occupied by dummies. The museum also has bleeding tools that were used to drain patients’ blood allegedly to remove their demons.
The wooden lunatic boxes also occupied by dummies add to the creepy image of the museum. The most disturbing tool at the museum is the tranquilizer chair, which looks just like an electric chair except, this one was designed to rotate very fast allegedly to improve blood circulation to a patient’s brain. Other tools include surgical tools and restraining equipment used on patients. The whole experience is chilling, giving a grim image of how the approach to psychiatric treatment was inhuman a few years ago.
8 The House on the Rock
This is one of the most popular centers for thrill hunters because it is a museum for almost everything. The only fact about this museum is that words can hardly explain what it feels to be in there. Alex Jordan himself just described it as “what it is.” Unlike regular museums where you find everything nicely planned and displayed, the house on the rock keeps artifacts in the dark rooms with no specific order of arrangement at all. You are never sure what you will see next as every room you pop into is dimly lit and some are full of the smell of rot. The house is vast with fountains and trees growing inside, with an open roof that gives you a clear view of the countryside, which provides you with a break from the grim inside.
This was the vision of Alex Jordan, who wanted to create a center for everything exciting and thrilling as his home. He just let his house which is built on a rock in Spring Green Wisconsin speak for itself. The artifacts in the ghostly chamber include red and white wide-eyed mannequins and a giant sea monster half whale half shark fighting a giant squid. The old music boxes also increase the thrill with tense music as you move through the four sections of the huge house.
9 Museum of Vampires & Legendary Creatures
Many people call it the museum of vampires and scary creatures because that is all this museum in Paris is all about. It is the creation of Jacques Sirgent, an ardent researcher of vampirism, demonology and occidental folklore. On entrance, you can mistake it for a cemetery, but a closer look at the tree branches will show you genuine human remains and mummified animals including rabbits. Inside is a display of several vampirical rituals that have taken place around Paris and a collection of vampire killing kits owned by “legendary vampire hunters.” You also get a view of translations of strange texts believed to have been the communication by strange creatures. The trip is never complete without a close look at the drawings of various stages of Dracula’s vampirism. It is quite a creepy place to visit with as you feel haunted throughout the site, which is why a visit is by appointment only.
10 The Museum of Anatomy
Honore Fragonard was the director of Ecole Veterinaire d’Alfort, one of the world’s oldest veterinary universities now a national university in Paris. He was obsessed with flying animals and human bodies, leaving flesh and skeletons exposed. He was relieved on duty as his colleagues thought he was mad but not before leaving behind enough unusual sights to make a museum. The collection includes a lion killed in mid-roar and flayed leaving tendons and veins exposed.
There is also a horse flayed in full gallop with the model of its rider attached to its skinless body where veins, tendons, and muscles are still visible. There is also preserved corpses of Siamese twins, deformed fetuses with conjoined legs that look like a mermaid and an antelope that is believed to have exploded. His method of removing skin and flesh was so accurate that no one really knows his recipe. The museum is, however, a whole level of horror that needs a strong stomach to enjoy the visit.