Freaks. I like em. I mean, not in a sexual way. Not in a rude way. I just have a normal interest in the strange, absurd, etc. When I was in Thailand, I visited the freak museum there. Of course, that's not what it's called. I'm sure it's called, "Banawayathi's International Museum of Anatomical Anomalies and Shit". It had a lot of pictures of grotesque car accidents, murders, life size tsunami victim replicas, organs in jars, mummified criminals, two-headed babies, etc. The two headed babies were quite shocking. Hell it was all quite shocking.
It was no warning for what was to come in Pedro's Pavillion of Pickled Punks.
Peter the Great, Peter the First, Pedro. I like freaks. Probably only slightly more than the next guy. But Pedro. Pedro loved his freaks. But you know, if I was leader of half the known world, I'd probably collect freaks too.
Explanatory posters attempted to say that Peter collected these things to shed light on them, to keep people from believing in witchcraft, and kill ignorance. Bollocks. Some of the bottled freaks were actually labled as "Monster with two faces". Very PC.
I could not believe what I saw in this place. You had your run of the mill two headed babies. Of all sorts. Joined at the chest, at the head, at the butt. There were babies whose heads were so un-attached, that they were in essence a head with two faces, one on either side. There were at least 3 cyclops babies. And cyclopian animals. There were babies that didn't have lower limbs. Completely developed from the waste up, and some sort of Casper the Friendly Ghost bottom half. There was a baby covered in hair. Not like a werewolf, but it would have ended up like that if born. Some babies had growths coming out of their head described as either "brain hernias" or simply "skin growths", but I tell you, one had testicles growing from its forehead and at least two had penises growing from between their eyes.
Pedro bought a collection of things in jars from this guy Ruysch. Ruysch had babies, and baby parts in jars. But to keep them from "disturbing" people, he added bits of lace, and even bonnets. What? Yes. The museum said it was to keep from disturbing people, I'd say he was already very disturbed. Little feet in jars, with painted toenails and bit of lace tied to the end of the stump. A foetus in a jar, the lid of the jar decorated with flowers and seashells.
But let me tell you what was most unsettling. What was most unsettling, was that in each case was not only freaks in jars, not only two headed animals, but normal animals. So you have maybe a few two-headed babies, a baby with no legs, a baby with no brain, a hedgehog, and a hairy baby. Yeah. In the midst of these babies was a stuffed hedgehog. Just a normal everyday hedgehog. This decision was made in modern times. A museum curator put these displays together and decided that the kids needed a pet. In another case, above the jars of these tortured souls was a stuffed fish. A pike I believe. Every case had random animals. They say you aren't allowed to take pictures out of respect. Hey! How about you don't hang a stuffed lizard between me and my four-legged brother!