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Manzanillo, Mexico

Museo de Perversidad (Museum of Perversity)

Shocking dioramas of human torture, meant to promote human rights awareness.  

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Sorry, Museo de Perversidad (Museum of Perversity) is permanently closed.

Update: As of May 6 2016 the museum was said to be “closed for good.”

When you enter the Museum of Perversity, you’re greeted with a cacophony of human screams and whip cracks - have no fear, no one is being tortured, at least not in there. The sounds are being pumped through hidden speakers, to strike fear in the hearts of visitors. A very ugly - sometimes unintentionally comical - side of humanity awaits them.

Meant to raise awareness of human rights violations in Mexico, the Museum of Perversity is a tour of torture throughout the ages. The museum features fiberglass statues (over 63 were made, but only small number of those are currently in use) that demonstrate the various forms of torture used throughout history. The morbid scenes depict all sorts of heinous acts, from traditional whippings and crucifixions to the more creatively sinister methods. One particularly vivid act depicted is the Judas Cradle, in which the victim sits on a pyramid shaped stool, with an orifice of the torturer’s choice placed on the sharp pointed top. The poor suffering wretch is then tied in a way that if they move, the pain intensifies. Victims would stay on the cradle for hours, or whole days without a respite.

Gary Hirsch, the creator of the museum, says he wants to promote awareness of human rights, and to show the numerous violations that have been made over the centuries as well as making it clear that they continue today. According to Hirsch, his displays are meant to remind people that waterboarding and suffocation as well as other torture methods are still used by officials both in his native Mexico and elsewhere. He hopes that the shocking exhibits will make visitors appreciate the rights they enjoy, making them more aware of the human rights violations that are still happening all over the world.

The museum does have a brighter, less graphic side to it as well. As a juxtaposition to the graphic depictions of torture, the museum also has an exhibit explaining the advances in human rights protection. These advances are presented in the form of laws and human rights advocation from around the world, a nerve-soothing break from the screaming souls that occupy the majority of your visit.

Know Before You Go

Bad News: the museum is closed. May 6 2016, I talked to a guy who padlocked the gate; he said it was 'closed for good'. The sign is still up....

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