05 March 2012

Midwesternist Macabre Monday: The Museum of Historic Torture Devices, Wisconsin Dells, WI


Believe it or not, this is NOT a torture device.
I've never been to Wisconsin Dells, but I have seen the commercials. And, since The Dells can afford to advertise, I imagine that dozens of families pack their cars every summer and drive to the middle of Wisconsin to be gouged at slightly more elaborate water parks than the ones nearer to home. I don't envy the parents, who will eventually face the demoralizing prospect of having to endure a long, hot, boring car ride back to their suburban hellholes with their over-stimulated children once their vacations are over. If only there were away to scare their kids straight for a few hours!

If she weighs the same as a duck...
- she's made of wood.
- And therefore?
- A witch!
Thankfully, tucked away in downtown Wisconsin Dells is The Museum of Historic Torture Devices, which provides over 40 exhibits for spiteful parents to consider as they wonder how on earth they raised such ungrateful brats.


The Museum of Historic Torture Devices offers a private collection of classic torture devices from around the world. For about $7 per person, you can threaten your children with The Rack, The Iron Gag, The Chinese Death Cage, the Dunking Stool, or good ol' fashioned Thumb Screws. And while most of these torture devices only exist in the imaginations of demented quasi-historians, your family doesn't need to know this.


Aside from facsimiles of "historic" devices (and a cash-operated novelty electric chair that vibrates and spews smoke), the museum has other random items in their collection, such as whips, chains, skulls, autographed photos of the Three Stooges (?) and Vampira (the original television horror host), a check signed by Vincent Price, and a collection of paintings and letters from John Wayne Gacy.


Knowing that this is a serial killer/rapist makes him
slightly scarier than your average birthday clown.
The Museum of Historic Torture Devices is only open mid-May through mid-September, so plan your trip accordingly.

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