Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Museum of Unnatural History

The other thing to blab about from the Maryland Renaissance festival was a beautifully crafted museum of fabricated freaks, which was even more imaginative and interesting than any of the Ripley's museums I've been to. I only managed a couple of photos worth showing, but I'd rather not "spoil" the whole thing online anyway.

The water in the "cursing well" was dyed a nice blackish purple. The stone came out a lot grayer in the photograph...it was actually all tinted at least slightly green with algae.

Here's how most of the displays looked. Taking pictures with flash really only detracts from them, as you may notice. All of them were labeled, and often very cleverly, but I neglected to include them in all my shots or remember most of them, unfortunately. The spider was actually massive, the jar must have held around a gallon.

That's not supposed to be cute?!

Across from this was Medusa's Head, but it wasn't as impressive to me as a big old eyeball.

This delightful little monster was labeled "nightmare," and was impossible to take a non-flash picture of. Only a few inches tall, he was set far in the back of an exceptionally large display case with only the faintest light against his eyeballs. It was far more effective than it sounds...whoever put together these displays was brilliant.

While almost every other jar had fully sculpted, original creatures, flash revealed this jar to contain mostly a glove. A glove and...something else that looks clothing derived. What makes this one interesting enough to show? The label only red "two things CAN occupy the same space at the same time." Cryptic nonsense is a great way to make something unsettling.

Another good example!

This three-eyed tentacle creature, while simple, was one of my three favorite creatures. My other two favorites were right next to it, and happened to be the only animated "specimens." It seemed like this one should have been animated as well, being in the same type of tank, but maybe it was broken? I captured his pals on video:

These look like a bunch of bleached fabric plant parts clumped together, but putting clumps of bleached fabric plant parts in tanks of water and making them twitch has a remarkable impact on me. I want these so, so much. They actually repeated their movements on a loop, so there must have been some pretty clever mechanisms under there.