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5 freaky wax museums

By: Matt Hickman on Oct. 8, 2013, 2 p.m.
Madame Tussauds, London

Photo: Mario Sánchez Prada/Flickr

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Madame Tussauds, London

The undisputed grand dame of wax museums, Madame Tussauds in Regent’s Park, London, is the uncannily real-looking deal. Founded in the 1830s by French wax sculptress Marie Tussaud, Madame Tussauds has persevered through fire, war, earthquakes and the many reincarnations of pop superstar Kylie Minogue.

The concept of displaying decidedly more grisly waxworks in a segregated area originated at Madame Tussauds with a “separate room” dedicated to portraying the horrors of the French Revolution, along with replicas of famous murderers and criminals of the era. (This display shows Tussaud herself, searching for the guillotined head of Marie Antoinette.) Now rebranded as SCREAM!, live costumed actors have mostly replaced the wax figures in recent years. This is somewhat of a shame considering that Madame Tussauds is where the time-honored tradition of scaring the pants off of people via lifelike sculptures being subjected to various forms of torture began.