Friday, November 11, 2011

Why Do I Do This To Myself?

(Alternatively titled: Why Am I Such a Big Baby?)

I like the macabre so, having missed out on the Museum of Medieval Torture in Prague, there was no way I was going to skip going to the Museum Tortury here in Cesky Krumlov. Jacob and Vaughn weren't as enthusiastic so they dropped me off and went on to do a little shopping.

The front of the museum is light and bright and the only thing distinguishing it from the front of any other art gallery is the iron maiden standing to the left of the cash register. But after paying the fee you descend down a steep spiral staircase into the windowless bowels of the building. The whole thing is lit just enough to keep you from twisting your ankle and is a maze of interconnected rooms and staircases. I have a pretty strong stomach so the rusty instruments with their accompanying descriptions and woodblock illustrations didn't phase me. But some of my faithful readers will also recall from a certain little incident in the French woods that I also have an overactive imagination honed by years of horror movies. It wasn't long before it hit me I was the only person down in that basement.

In addition to flogs, knuckle screws and chastity belts, the museum also had multiple displays similar to what you might find in a carnival haunted house with dummies that were set up to depict torture scenes. You could see people being burned at the stake, broken on the wheel, wasting away in jails and an odd beach scene that seemed out of place and looked like it might have belonged in Pirates of the Caribbean. Accompanying these little scenes were audio tapes of people moaning and screaming, fires crackling and water dripping.

It took maybe 5 whole minutes for me to go from diligently boning up on some history to expecting a sadistic madman (maybe that "nice little old lady" from reception!) to come around the corner and put me in one of these devices! No one would even hear me scream and I'd be another off-season Cesky Krumlov "incident".

I decided to calmly make my way up the stairs to the exit only to find myself in an entirely separate wing of chambers and displays. Did I even know where the exit was anymore? I don't want to say I bolted up the next flight of stairs but it is fair to say that I did a hasty trot without even looking at the rest of the displays. Even as my heart raced I knew that as I pushed through the turnstile that said "No Re-admittance" that I'd regret having bailed early. You'd think I'd know myself (or reality) a little better at this point.

Note: These pictures are with the flash on people. Until you've spent time in torture museum basement by yourself with creepy dummies you can't judge!

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