If you’ve ever been filled with wonder and joy when considering the human imagination, this thread will cure you of that. We are all monsters with too much time on our hands to make horrifying things. A lot of those things have ended up in museums because after enough time has passed, the creepy stuff you make becomes “history” and thus valuable.
Museum curators are up to their ears in weird crap, some of which isn’t fit for display. There are lots of niche museums out there, too, who don’t get the kind of attention the Smithsonian receives. They’re about local history or specific interests, and their collections are the strangest of all.
The Yorkshire Museum is all about “Britain’s finest archaeological treasures, and a walk through the Jurassic landscapes of Yorkshire,” according to their website. They also have their own bizarre items, one of which they showcased to start a Twitter thread about creepiest museum objects. It’s a hair bun. They don’t say who removed the hair bun from the head, they just show the picture of it:
MUSEUMS ASSEMBLE! It’s time for #CURATORBATTLE! 💥
Today’s theme, chosen by you, is #CreepiestObject!
We’re kicking things off with this 3rd/4th century hair bun from the burial of a #Roman lady, still with the jet pins in place…
CAN YOU BEAT IT? 💥 pic.twitter.com/ntPiXDuM6v
— Yorkshire Museum (@YorkshireMuseum) April 17, 2020
And they called for other museums to compete with their creepiest objects. Turns out, the world is full of insane stuff you would never have pictured in a million years. Scroll through and you won’t be able to un-picture them:
1. Gold-pegged teeth
— Ayala Museum (@ayalamuseum) April 20, 2020
2. An embalmed mermaid
— Natural Sciences NMS (@NatSciNMS) April 17, 2020
3. Human figures made of crab claws
STEP ASIDE ALL.
These are hand-made models of figures playing cards and of gold miners hauling gold nuggets to the surface. BUT the figures are made from crab’s legs and claws… Typical Victorians, they loved weird/creepy stuff. #CreepiestObject pic.twitter.com/A5NHiPGnVh
— York Castle Museum (@YorkCastle) April 17, 2020
4. A literal “curse doll”
The #CreepiestObject in the archives of the museum I volunteer at is definitely this Victorian curse doll. Found in the brickwork of a Hereford house, the note curses a ‘Mary Ann’ to ‘never rest nor eat nor sleep’ 😬
— Emilia 💀 (@EmiliaEtc) April 17, 2020
5.A baby head pin cushion
@RedHeadedAli how can we ignore such a call to arms?
This particular item has caused a few nightmares for our followers this week.
— Norwich Castle (@NorwichCastle) April 17, 2020
6. Pubic hair snuff box
Just had a thought. Not our object but we did once borrow a silver snuffbox from @MuseumsUniStA that is said to contain the pubic hair of one of George IV’s mistresses.
— Fairfax House (@fairfax_house) April 17, 2020
7. I don’t want to know
— Nova Scotia Museum (@NS_Museum) April 17, 2020
8. A spell breaker…made of sheep heart
Sheep’s heart stuck with pins and nails and strung on a loop of cord. Made in South Devon, circa 1911, “for breaking evil spells”, @Pitt_Rivers collections #CreepiestObject #CuratorBattle pic.twitter.com/z5vdCFCU4S
— Dan Hicks (@profdanhicks) April 17, 2020
9. Or how bout a pigeon heart?
— SMT Collections Team (@SMT_Collections) April 17, 2020
10. Wheelie, the haunted children’s toy
Bringin’ our A-game for this #CURATORBATTLE! What is it? Just a CURSED CHILDREN’S TOY that we found inside the walls of a 155-year-old mansion. We call it “Wheelie” – and it MOVES ON ITS OWN: Staff put it in one place and find it in another spot later on…. #Creepiestobject pic.twitter.com/FQzMzacr8a
— PEI Museum (@PEIMuseum) April 17, 2020