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A Very Merry Cult Christmas

Cult of Weird Christmas Camel skull

Cult of Weird Christmas challenge: Put a Christmas hat, bow or ribbon on something odd and tag it #CultOfWeird on Instagram, Twitter or Tumblr!

Adopt A Skull from the Mütter Museum

Philadelphia’s Mütter Museum is offering the chance to help preserve the skulls from the 150+ year old Hyrtl collection.

The collection, on display at the Mutter Museum, consists of 139 skulls collected by Viennese anatomist Joseph Hyrtl in the 1800s. Hyrtl was working to debunk phrenology, a popular pseudoscience at the time that claimed mental processes were handled by separate organs making up the brain. He collected skulls from executions, suicides, and at least once hired grave robbers to gather specimens for his research.

Though gruesome and barbaric by today’s standards, this now provides us the unique opportunity to adopt the skulls of prostitutes, robbers, gypsies, and people who gave up the ghost in bizarre ways, such as a man who died of “self-inflicted removal of testicles” and a tight rope walker who broke his neck.

Hyrtl, whose collection may once have included the skull of Mozart, sold his skulls to the Mütter Museum in 1874.

Adopt a skull from the Mutter Museum's Hyrtl collection

The collection is being damaged by the footsteps of visitors vibrating through the original cast iron mounts.

You can adopt one of these skulls for $200, which helps pay for the initial cleaning, repair and remounting of your chosen skull. It will also get you a plaque with your name beside the skull for a year.

Get more info and browse the skulls available for adoption here: Save Our Skulls

12 Weird Things Available to Buy Right Now

Are you looking for the perfect gift for that weird, hard-to-shop-for family member who collects skulls, bugs and taxidermy? Are you that weird family member? Either way, here are some amazing, beautiful and bizarre oddities for sale online right now to fill your collection or complete your Christmas shopping!

Related: 2014 Holiday Gift Guide

Diaphonized Mouse Christmas Ornament

Diaphonized mouse Christmas ornaments by Greg Bowser of Pandora's Box oddities shop

These diaphonized mouse specimens are handcrafted by Greg Bowser of Pandora’s Box using a chemical process that leaves the soft tissue clear and dyes the skeletal system a deep pink color. Available in extremely limited edition right here.

Pandora’s Box has more diaphonized specimens and other oddities in their Etsy shop.

19th Century Trepanation Tool

Antique Victorian trepanation tool from Woolly Mammoth Antiques and Oddities

A trephine was an early medical tool used to drill holes into the skulls of patients with various brain disorders or inter-cranial diseases. Archeological discoveries of cave paintings and trepanated human skulls suggest the medical procedure has been in use since prehistoric times.

This 19th century trepanation tool is available right now from Woolly Mammoth Antiques and Oddities. You can find more weird things on their Facebook page and Etsy shop.

Hatching Egg Taxidermy

Taxidermy bird hatching from an egg by Divya

A taxidermy bird hatching from an egg on a brass stand by Divya! Available right here.

More in her shop: Friends Forever Taxidermy

Dissected Piglet Wet Specimen

Dissected piglet wet specimen from The Weird and Wonderful

A dissected piglet specimen preserved in a jar with formalin available right here.

More natural history specimens at: The Weird & Wonderful

Deluxe Feejee Mermaid

Deluxe Feejee mermaid from The Evolution Store

A deluxe replica of PT Barnum’s original Feejee Mermaid sideshow attraction available right here.

See more at: The Evolution Store

Skeletonized Graphium Weiskei Butterfly

Skeletonized Graphium Weiskei butterfly by Kevin Clarke of Bug Under Glass

This Graphium Weiskei butterfly prepared by Kevin Clarke of Bug Under Glass has been half skeletonized, a process that removes the scales of butterfly wings to reveal the architecture and membrane beneath. This museum-grade specimen is available here.

More bugs on the official Bug Under Glass Etsy shop and Facebook page.

Mini Shrunken Heads

Mini shrunken heads from The Evolution Store

These ghoulish shrunken head ornaments are available right here.

See more at: The Evolution Store

Galaxy/Space Hand-Painted Coyote Skull

Galactic coyote skull hand painted by Divya

Coyote skull hand-painted by Divya from real NASA photos. Available right here.

More in her shop: Friends Forever Taxidermy

Esodermy Sheep Head

Esodermy sheep head taxidermy by Sarina Brewer of Chimera Studios

This is a real sheep head preserved by Sarina Brewer of Chimera Studios using modern taxidermy chemicals and freeze-drying to preserve musculature and bone structure. It is available right here.

See more in the Chimera Studios Etsy shop and Sarina’s Facebook page.

Freeze Dried Bat

Freeze dried bat from The Evolution Store

Freeze-dried Cynopterus fruit bats from Indonesia preserved in sleeping position available right here.

See more at: The Evolution Store

Blooming Sparrow Taxidermy

Blooming sparrow taxidermy by Divya

A taxidermy sparrow with real dried flowers and Swarovski topaz eyes by Divya available right here.

More in her shop: Friends Forever Taxidermy

Taxidermy Rhino Head

Taxidermy rhino head

A happy-looking taxidermy rhino head mount from The Weird & Wonderful.

Tibetan Engraved Skull

Tibetan engraved Kapala skull

Top view of the engraved skull from Tibet

Back view of the engraved human skull from Tibet

An engraved human skull from Tibet. The carvings are said to be done to take a curse off a family or to guide the soul of a mislead human on the right path to enlightenment.

Engraved in the forehead are the Citipati, also known as “Lords of the Graveyard.” They are depicted in the “bow and arrow” posture (elbows and knees intertwined) which refers to the highest grade of the Outer Tantra. There are seven tantric levels. 3 levels of the Outer, and 4 levels of the Inner Tantra. On the highest grade of the Inner Tantra, the skeletons would be depicted copulating.

Forhead of the skull engraved with Citipati skeleton figures

The more ornate Tibetan Kapala skulls are embellished with silver and semi-precious stones and were commonly used as a ritual bowl to drink blood out of during ancient human sacrifice rituals.

Woolly Mammoth Antiques & Oddities

Woolly Mammoth antiques and oddities store in Chicago, ILI finally had the chance to stop in at the Woolly Mammoth Antiques & Oddities shop in Chicago, which turned out to be a very unique and interesting excursion.

There are not too many places where you can find a stuffed badger and a giant Millenium Falcon on the same shelf, or original E.T. and He-Man toys alongside the likes of pickled pig fetuses, alligator lamps, Atari 2600 games, an anchor pulled from an unknown shipwreck in Lake Michigan near Door County, WI and Clancy the Dancing Squirrel.

The only thing more fascinating than the vintage taxidermy, skulls, teeth, creepy medical devices and other items are the bizarre stories that come with them and the people who find them.

Had I not been broke going in, I definitely would have come out with more creatures than the car could handle. Clancy would have had to ride home on the roof.

Woolly Mammoth Antiques & Oddities is located at 1513 W. Foster Ave., Chicago, IL 60640

You can also find them online here: Website | Facebook | Etsy Shop

One day Clancy…you will be mine!