Since its recent closure due to the pandemic, the Yorkshire Museum in England has started an innovative online challenge which you can find on Twitter using the hashtag #curatorbattle. They kicked off the challenge by calling on other museums all over the world to showcase their most spine-chilling sensations. And they have not let them down!
The first creepy object revealed by the Yorkshire museum itself was a tangled but disgustingly intact hair bun from a millennia-old Roman lass. It even has pins in it. Not bobby pins, mind you. No – actual metal pins.
Speaking of pins, I bet you’ve never seen a pincushion shaped like a pea with teeny tiny baby heads peeping out of it. Yes, you read that right. Norwich Castle calls it a nightmare but am I terrible for thinking it’s actually kinda cute?
@RedHeadedAli how can we ignore such a call to arms?— Norwich Castle (@NorwichCastle) April 17, 2020
This particular item has caused a few nightmares for our followers this week.
Our #CreepiestObject is…this pincushion! Complete with tiny children’s heads. You’re welcome, Twitter.#CURATORBATTLE pic.twitter.com/0YdmCE5dYD
Next on the list comes from the Clarke Charms Collection and is a human finger bone used as a talisman by what must’ve been one slightly unhinged gambler.
This next one I imagine would’ve been used by the same sort of people who’d carry human bone for good luck. Somehow in comparison, though, that didn’t seem as bad. Brace yourself for the sheep’s heart necklace.
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
And finally, to end on a more whimsical note, take a look at this Victorian model of figures playing cards and transporting gold. Did I say figures? I meant crab parts.
STEP ASIDE ALL.— York Castle Museum (@YorkCastle) April 17, 2020
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
What a wonderful thing that, even though we’re not able to go into museums right now, they’re still showcasing some of the most interesting parts of their collections and doing it in such an interactive and entertaining manner.
For more creepy trinkets from the past, including a taxidermied half-fish-half monkey mermaid thing, a plague mask and a box full of eyes, check out the #CreepiestObject thread on Twitter!