Guanajuato Mummy Museum
Back in 1870, the cemetery in Guanajuato, Mexico was quickly filling up due to a cholera outbreak. In an effort to help the city make some money and to help control the cemetery overpopulation, a law was passed requiring families to pay in order to keep their loved ones under ground. You could pay 170 pesos at once and be done with the matter or you could pay 50 pesos every year for three years –the option that appealed to many less wealthy families. Those who didn’t pay would have their loved ones disinterred and the mummified bodies were put on display in the Mummies’ Museum. Ninety percent of the bodies buried were eventually exhumed. In the one to three years that the bodies were buried, 2% of them became mummified underground.
The cemetery tax lasted all the way until 1958, but the museum is still open, as it became a popular tourist attraction all the way back in the early 1900’s. Business really started booming though after the 1970 movie Santo Versus the Mummies of Guanajuato featured popular masked wrestler Santo battling the mummies after they had come back to life. These days, the cemetery is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Mexico.
One of the creepiest draws in the museum is the body of Ignacia Alguilar. During the cholera outbreak, people were buried as quickly as possible to prevent further spread of disease. Unfortunately, Ms. Aguilar suffered from a condition that made her heart stop temporarily. While it happened a number of times with no ill consequences, it finally did her in when relatives thought she really was dead and buried her alive. Her body was exhumed facing down, her forehead covered in scratch marks and her mouth filled with blood.
Sources: Wikipedia and Mummy Tombs
Image Via bunchofpants [Flickr]
Waitomo Glowworm Cave, New Zealand
Despite the name, these caves don’t actually contain any glowworms. Instead, they are home to Arachnocampa, a type of fungus gnat that was originally believed to be related to European glowworm beetles. Even so, the Arachnocampa are definitely the biggest draws at this attraction thanks to their lovely bioluminescence. This is enhanced by the silk threads the creatures spin around their nests, which capture the animal’s natural glow, attracting insects which are trapped in the threads, and thus, providing dinner for the gnats.
Tourists come to visit the gorgeous glowing gnats and enjoy the stunning cave system itself, filled with ample stalactites and stalagmites. Organized tours even include a boat ride under the glowing gnats, which seems like the most romantic time anyone could have floating underneath a bunch of gnat nests.
Image Via Tim Parkinson [Flickr]
Bolivian Witch Market
La Paz, Bolivia is already a pretty popular tourist destination as it is a beautiful city that also happens to be the administrative capital with the highest elevation of any country in the world -11,200 feet above sea level. But those that seek to find something stranger in their travels are also attracted to La Paz for a very different reason –the Witches’ Market held in a mountain clearing just outside of town.
The market features nothing you would expect if you’ve only been around the witchcraft neo-pagan hippie markets popular in the States. No, this market is much more akin to what the witches of your traditional stories would need –dried animals, stone talismans, medicinal plants and potions of all types.
Perhaps the most famous offering in the market though is the dried llama fetuses, which are said to bring good luck when buried under the foundations of a new home. If you’re seeking more immediate results though, you can always pay a local sorcerer to cast a spell or curse to help you overcome any potential adversity you happen to encounter. No word on the love potions available, or if they’re numbered up through nine.
Sources: Oddee and Wikipedia
Image Via Oddee
Sure, it’s fun to check out fish and other sea creatures swimming in aquariums, but if you’re looking for something different and something nice and cool for the summer, then grab a parka and a plane ticket to Kesennuma, Japan where you can enjoy all the wonder of the world’s only frozen aquarium.
Over 450 sea creatures, including crabs, fish, octopus and more, have been flash frozen and put on display in tightly packed squares of polished ice. Of course, if you get hungry visiting the supermarket-turned-aquarium, there’s a wonderful sushi restaurant just next door catering to all your chilled fresh fish cravings.
Icelandic Phallological Museum
If you’re one of those weirdos who would only end up looking at one part of the frozen sea creatures, perhaps you should skip Japan and instead head to Reykjavik, Iceland, where you can enjoy viewing over 276 penises from 46 different species at the Icelandic Phallological Museum. Whales, seals, bears, hamsters, homo sapiens and more all have their junk out for display at what is very likely one of the world’s weirdest museums. Because Icelandic myth describes elves and trolls as being invisible, the museum also claims to have penises of these creatures –you just can’t actually see them on display.
Thousands of visitors, mostly women, make it to the museum every year and it has gained such notoriety that it even was featured in a Canadian documentary called The Final Member.
Of course, if you’re a man looking for something to do with his member once you leave this moral world, the museum is always looking for younger, bigger and better pieces to include in their collection.
Image Via Celander [Wikipedia]
Seattle Gum Wall
Perhaps the most unhygienic of all tourist destinations, the Seattle gum wall is exactly what it sounds like –a wall covered with gum in Seattle. This is the one attraction on this list that I have been to myself and I can tell you that really, the wall is more like an alley and while the attraction is admittedly pretty gross, the creativity and ingenuity of some of the gum placers is impressive. You’ll find names spelled in gum, gum hanging from other pieces of gum, dangling from power lines and window sills, and gum fairly high up the walls of the alley –meaning someone actually scaled up the gum wall just to have gum higher than other people.
For more weird tourist destinations, don’t miss this article featuring some of the creepiest destinations on Earth. Of course, if you have any favorite odd destinations that aren’t in either of these articles, don’t hesitate to let us know about them in the comments.