Most field trips you took as a school kid were probably to science, technology or natural history museums, planetariums or aquariums. For some reason, we doubt the following museums were ever included in a grade school’s curriculum. If they were, lucky you. As for the rest of us, we had to find out about these things the old-fashioned way - scared, in the dark and alone – online. Besides, who could we even get to agree to go with us? Here are ten very odd museums from around the world.
This Philly physiological attraction has the cure for the sickness that is your dark obsession. Dr. Thomas Dent Mütter donated his personal collection of medical “specimens” to a local school in order to help further reform medical education. Like you, Mütter liked the fringe cases; the museum keeps it classy and follows suit boasting an almost 10-ft long fecal-impacted human colon, a wall of skulls, and other anatomical artifacts and medical supplies.
Sulabh Museum of Toilets
Come, join the sanitation crusade. You are guaranteed to learn something, because what seems like a strange novelty collection is truly an outlet for a larger issue: lack of proper plumbing and clean toilets. The Sulabh Museum of Toilets tackles the role of educating the public about toilets and sanitation issues in Indian communities; hoping that people come there for more than taking photos with their favorite Johns. Personally, I’m torn between the one that looks like the piano bench and the one that looks like my mom’s fine China.
Meguro Parasitological Museum
“Try to think about parasites without a feeling of fear, and take the time to learn about the wonderful world of the Parasites." Let’s see, par·a·site: an organism that lives on or in an organism of another species. Fear is exactly what I’m feeling. But are those typically unwanted guests such as ticks, leeches, lice, bed bugs, tapeworms, roundworms really doing any harm? Yes, some; but the Meguro Parasitological Museum in Japan will enlighten you to the fact that many parasites can live in harmony with their plant or animal host. The two-floored museum gives its visitors the chance to see 300 specimens held in a 5% formalin solution, and luckily not their hosts.
Iceland Phallological Museum
This museum always has its members rising; and why wouldn’t it when its mission is for "individuals to undertake serious study into the field of phallology in an organized, scientific fashion." Organization must be a top priority when you’ve categorized hundreds of Icelandic mammalian penises into order, family, genus and species. Spoiler alert: the largest one there is bigger than yours. (Hopefully not the smallest one, too.)
Museums of Torture
Grab your BDSM cap and leave your human rights at the door. Dating back to antiquity, people were coming up with ways to torture people. From the Inquisitions to the witch trials and present era torture, the painful methods of mayhem are documented and displayed by museums the world over for your curiosity. Evidenced by spiked iron coffins, racks and tables used to stretch and pull your limbs apart, thumbscrews to crush your thumbs, and other pokes and prods, it is here where you can learn which methods inflicted the most isolated pain, gave up snitches, and which were just too convoluted to end up with anything but accidental death and disaster.
In the depths of the City of Lights’ bowels, amongst the sewer lines lies the Le Musée des Égouts de Paris (Paris Sewer Museum). The museum pays homage to the city’s elaborate sewer system, with tours dating back over 200 years. These Parisian sewers are large enough to accommodate comfortable walkways so tourists can navigate the streets subterranean-style, as the sewers have matching streets signs and addresses to the inlets for the drains above. Be warned, though: these are sewers of one of the top 25 most populated cities on the planet. So no matter how exquisite the system is, the stench can be unbearable at times.
Leila's Hair Museum
French braids look tough, but this, this is something else. Celebrating the Victorian tradition of ornate hair-wreaths, Leila Cohoon’s Hair Museum in Independence, Missouri has hundreds of wreaths, jewelry and hair-raising art pieces on display. I imagine this would be less of a top destination for hairdressers and more of one for the creepy kid in the back of your class who had a hair voodoo doll of someone.
Vent Haven: Ventriloquism Museum
You won’t truly know if you have automatonophobia, the fear of false sentient beings like ventriloquist dummies, until you visit this place. Walls lined with eerie eyes that follow you closer than Mona Lisa’s welcome you to a Ventriloquist’s wet dream. The museum has dummies from current ventriloquist and stand-up comedian Jeff Dunham, other early entertainers and Russian POW prisoners. Fun!
Cesare Lombroso's Museum of Criminal Anthropology
This museum is so dedicated to Italian criminologist Cesare Lombroso that they have his head on display in a glass chamber. A man whose personal beliefs and research into detecting criminality through physiognomy, assessing a person’s character from one’s outer facial appearance, took him on a wild ride of examining criminal’s skulls for "median occipital fossette" and other biological anomalies. Along with his head, his specimens, weapons and criminal evidence are on display. His methods were both accepted and rejected here and across the pond (we hear he was racist, too). Check it out, and maybe you can be the judge of what’s “criminal.”
Next: Crazy Japanese Products
Psychiatry: An Industry of Death Museum
As if we didn’t already know that pretty much every industry is driven by profit, this place is dedicated to enlightening the world about the farce that is psychiatry and its hidden agendas and profit motives, and for the world to see its overall evil influence. Granted psychiatry does have a rocky past, any ill feelings and lightheadedness you experience after seeing their exhibits might just be their original approach. Did we forget to mention that this museum is owned and operated by an anti-psychiatry organization founded by the Church of Scientology?