The Yorkshire Museum, Yorkshire, UK, started a weekly #CuratorBattle on Twitter. Every Friday, the museum staff select a theme and start the Twitter feed. On April 17, they created the #CreepiestObject Challenge. And the entries did not disappoint!
Kicking off the challenge was a bun of hair from a buried Roman woman. Museums and individuals began posting some of the most disturbing images housed in collections all over the world.
A few of my favorites include:
A Victorian vignette of miners, which are crabs, playing cards.
Ripley’s Believe It or Not, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, submitted images of the mummified head of German serial killer Peter Kurten (5.26.1883-7.2.1931). He was found guilty of savagely killing 9 people and attempting to murder 7. Because he liked to drink his victims’ blood, he garnered the nickname “Vampire of Dusseldorf.”
The Norwich Castle, part of the Yorkshire Museum group, posted an image of a pin cushion with the heads of children tucked in a pea pod.
The rural Museum of Fear and Wonder (Alberta, Canada https://www.fearandwonder.ca/) proffered a melted waxwork. The head of a child was stored in a hot attic, and the face melted to make the nose look like a pig’s snout. Once we’re able to travel again, I’m heading to Canada to visit this museum. Their mission is “to highlight the psychological and narrative qualities of objects.”
My favorite offering is a Plague Mask dating from 1650-1750. It belongs to the Deutsches Historisches Museum, https://www.dhm.de/. Kept in the permanent collection, the mask is made of cotton velvet and designed with a long beak that held herbs or material soaked in vinegar. Glass filled the eye holes to protect the wearer in case the disease spread through the eyes. The mask was coated in wax, another layer of protection. Truly terrifying!
Check @YorkshireMuseum every Friday to see the latest challenge.