I've grown up watching Ripley's on TV. They were the first ones to tell me about the Kayan women of Burma (popularly known as Giraffe Women) and many other weird facts that definitely awed me! Here in London when I saw their Museum, obviously I had to go!
The right way to see it begins from the topmost floor. To begin with was the salt abrasion tattoo removal with the skin as it is! Near that was a life size Ferrari made of wool! The whole thing was hand knitted by Lauren Porter with 12 miles of yarn. Next was a 3 wheeled electric car call Peel Trident made in 1965-66. Then there were some stuffed animals or skeletons of weird bodies incl a calf with 2 heads, a hen with 3 legs, a lamb with 5 legs, conjoined piglets etc. There's a huge robot of dino which moves and grunts much to the amusement of kids!
This was followed by several portraits of several celebs made of weird materials - Bottle cap Michelle Obama, Keyboard keys Abraham Lincoln, paintings on dried Cow Dung, Ash Tom Cruise, Casette Tape Whitney Houston, Felt Lady Diana etc.
The most amusing for me was this bottle of Beer called Tutankhamun Egyptian Ale manufactured by Harrods Departmental Store in 1996. It was a limited edition with only 1000 bottles fermented of 5000 yr old hops found in an Ancient Egypt Tomb!!! There were a few more historical items incl Henry VIII's shoes!!!
In the next floor were some curious art incl a face sculpted out of a telephone directory as material- that's very creative indeed. Another curiosity was a human skeleton mounted on a cross, engraved with the story of Christ by James Durham. Here was also a real piece of Berlin Wall!!!
This was followed by unusual humans that ever lived incl the shortest guy who spent his prison time in a parrot cage, first ever life-alike wooden sculpture, lady with platypus mouth, werewolf syndrome etc.
The next part was the gory Dungoen with Torture instruments & chambers incl electrocution chairs, starvation caves etc. The human shaped case above has sharp rods within that would kill the prisoner in it! Guess what's the next pic??? Any idea??? No idea??? What does that look like??? An underwear??? If you guessed so, you're right!!!!! That's the chastity underwear that the women were made to wear. This was locked and the key was taken away by the husband when he goes on war or maritime. That's preposterous in today's world!!!!!!!!!
This was followed by a section where the weird ideology of beauty world over! This included sculptures of the most tattooed man and most pierced woman! Then there are those Pedestal Shoes (remember Memoirs of Giesha) of Japan, Lily Shoes used with foot binding of China (the ideal length of 8cm called Golden Lily, ideally looking like an extension of the ankle and not wider), Kayan women with extended necks with golden necklaces, Peruvian shrunken skulls (by binding & deforming & elongating the skull since childhood to sport exquisite turbans).
In the next floor are the tallest and heaviest persons' sculptures, followed by the underwater & cosmic sections incl pre historic shark teeth, lunar piece, Mars meteorite, fossilized dino eggs etc. There was a tub of water chilled to the temperature in which Titanic fell, in which I could immerse my hands hardly for a few seconds!!!
Then there was this mummy! Errrmmmm... Well, this guy lived in the early 1900s and was a sideshow performer. His performance kinda still continues with his body!!!!! Next is a section where exotic cultural symbols from world over are kept in display. Then finally were the 3 sections I loved the most.
First was the mirror maze - Yes, already seen one in the London Dungeon, but this one was much much bigger.
Then was the craziest things I totally loved - Black Hole. Its a passage with a rotating drum around, completely dark and decorated with neon splashes of paint. The moment I stepped into it, I felt the passage was also moving, may be activated by motion sensor, causing much disorientation. However on reaching the other side I realized infact the passage was not moving at all!!! The disorientation caused by the rotating drum is definitely so intense!!!
Finally was the Laser Race - which is a laser secured area where I had to 'steal' the money from! It has 4 levels to work in and I chose Hard (there's an 'extreme' beyond it). Its these 3 interactive sections that I loved the most and these 3 made my day more than any of the other exhibits!!!
Nearest railway station: Piccadilly Circus
Entry Ticket: From £14 onwards (if booked atleast 14 days earlier)
Available to buy online on their website
P.S: I was invited by Ripley's London to experience it for review purpose, however the opinions are my own and this post does not to advertise the product/service.
Dedicated to Venkat