A Museum of Nightmares in the Shadow of the Eiffel Tower

I don’t think about hair. I mean, sure I’m losing mine. And sure, the musical is one of the greatest things of all time.

But really… is hirsituity that big a deal? Big enough for the Musée de Quai Branly to brazenly devote an entire exhibit to it? Lord no! And Lord YES!

(Adapting my professorial voice here, and pushing my glasses up my nose ever so slightly.)

You see, hair is a symbol of sensuality, sexuality, virility. And that’s clearly why this exhibit features a score — yes, A SCORE — of shrunken heads.

Shrunken HEADS? Do they really fit among the Elizabethan ebony busts of African hairdos, and photos of French starlets from the 60s? I mean, I guess they did have hair to kill for… almost Bon Jovian sometimes…

And then there was eating hair. You’ve dreamt of that, right? Me, too. I did last night, after hearing that Edward Lovett recommended feeding hair sandwiches to dogs to cure diseases. This next exhibit was something like my succeeding nightmare:

This is the stuff of nightmares, France! This is grand guignol of exhibitry! This is wonderful!

A lot of the hair was found on apparently-steamrolled heads, like these.

They reminded me of Leatherface or Ed Gein or that Lotion-in-the-Basket weirdo — just general serial grossness. They gave me nightmares too.

But all of these faces enjoyed a sense of calm. They were content with their lot of preservation. These however?


Eventually, the museum just gave up the facade that this was a show about hair. They started throwing any random grotesque-in-a-case in your face. Mummies? Gold-crusted heads? Sure, chuck ’em in too!

Of course, perhaps there was a reason, and perhaps it was just my lack of French that stopped me from understanding. But ultimately I didn’t mind. This was perhaps my favorite part of Paris. Except for the moulages. And the foie. Oh, lord, that delicious delicious foie*.

Musée du quai Branly, 222 rue de l’Université
Paris 75343

*Unforgivable though it is.

Offbeat Museums, The Occult / ,

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