Museum’s ‘Creepy’ Challenge Is Giving People Nightmares

by : Julia Banim on : 27 Apr 2020 18:44
Museum's 'Creepy' Challenge Is Giving People NightmaresEgham Museum/ Yorkshire Museum

Museums from around the world are currently locked in a fierce battle over who has the creepiest exhibits, and so far there have been some pretty gnarly contenders.

The Yorkshire Museum, located – perhaps unsurprisingly in York, Yorkshire – kicked off the challenge with a picture of an eerie hair bun taken from the burial of a Roman woman who lived way back in the third or fourth century.


The hashtags #CuratorBattle and #CreepiestObject quickly spread on Twitter, and it soon became apparent that other museums were not about to be bettered on this front. The resulting thread is pure nightmare fuel.

With a strong contender of their own, National Museums Scotland entered the fray with a couple of highly troubling taxidermy ‘mermaids’.

Neither of these creatures look as if they would sing you a nice song after rescuing you from a shipwreck and, really, you wouldn’t want them to.


Speaking about one of the spooky – and very toothy – mermaids, National Museums Scotland tweeted:

Many museums have one but they usually look more like our other ‘mermaid’…

We have a little more information about this one: The posterior half was formed from a Pacific wrasse, & the head/thorax were sculpted, with fish jaw inserted in the mouth. #CreepiestObject

Other museums quickly jumped on the creepy train, apparently hellbent on haunting history lovers’ dreams until they can once again reopen their exhibitions.


The Scarborough Museums Trust Collections shared a ‘pigeon heart stuck with pins for punishing a witch’, while Berlin’s Deutsches Historisches Museum shared a sinister plague mask.


Meanwhile, Japan’s Ota Memorial Museum of Art shared a truly chilling woodblock print depicting a shadowy monster biting off a woman’s hair.

Other notably frightening objects include Norwich Castle’s pin cushion filled with children’s heads, and Canada’s Prince Edward Island Museum’s children’s toy ‘Wheelie’, which is said to move on its own…


From frostbitten fingertips to a box filled with eyes, no doubt you will have your own opinions on who the reigning champion is so far. And people have been left shivering even in this lovely sunshine.

One person – who just couldn’t stop scrolling through the cursed thread – tweeted:

I have so many regrets and questions but I might as well keep going.

Another quivered, ‘Ow my soul’, while a third trembled, ‘Nope and nope’.

Sweet dreams everyone!

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Julia Banim

Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.

Topics: Life, Twitter


  1. @YorkshireMuseum/Twitter