Ridiculous museums you won't believe are real

Tired of looking at dinosaur bones? Sick of admiring ancient works of art? Well, the world is full of ridiculous museums, some fantastic, others downright freaky. These peculiar places boast all sorts of insane exhibits, from bizarre foods to dismembered body parts. But while these museums are so crazy it seems like they couldn't possibly exist, you can rest assured — they're all totally real.

The National Mustard Museum

There are two kinds of people in the world. Those who like ketchup, and those who prefer mustard. If you're in the latter group, you might want to stop by the National Mustard Museum. Located in Middleton, Wisconsin, the museum is home to the largest collection of mustard in the world, and the brains behind this crazy compilation of condiments belongs to a guy named Barry Levenson.

If you knew Levenson back in the '80s, you'd never guess that one day he'd earn his living as "chief mustard officer." At the time, he was an assistant attorney general in Wisconsin, and even argued in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. But in 1986, the Boston Red Sox lost the World Series, and Levenson — a patriotic citizen of the Red Sox Nation — found himself wandering through a grocery store, completely distraught.

As Levenson wallowed in his post-game depression, he found himself in the mustard aisle, when he heard a voice saying, "If you collect us, they will come." And just like Kevin Costner, Levenson decided to build his own Field of Dijon, filling a museum with every flavor of mustard imaginable. Over time, he's collected nearly 6,000 different varieties of mustard from every U.S. state and around 80 different countries. And that's not even mentioning all the old-timey mustard advertisements decorating the building.

Believe it or not, the mustard museum has proved pretty popular, landing Levenson appearances on programs like The Oprah Winfrey Show. And evidently, enough people were showing up that Levenson quit his job in 1991 to run the museum full-time. So if you're feeling peckish, be sure to stop by the museum, where patrons can try out over 400 different mustards. Just be sure not to make any mention of that "evil red condiment."

The Baked Bean Museum of Excellence

The world is home to quite a few food museums — some tasty, some not so much. There's the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum in Japan, the Kimchi Field Museum in South Korea, and the Salo Museum in Ukraine, an establishment dedicated to the delicious dish of pig fat. But of all these gastronomical menageries, perhaps the most unusual one of all can be found in the Welsh town of Port Talbot.

Known as the Baked Bean Museum of Excellence, this tasty institution was founded by an eccentric named Captain Beany. Well, really, he was born Barry Kirk, but over the years, this IT worker adopted an alter ego, one who fights for truth, justice, and the legume way. In addition to changing his name, Captain Beany does all kinds of slimy stunts for charity, including soaking in a tub of beans for 100 hours and tattooing 60 of the kidney-shaped seeds on his head. Beany also ran for office as a member of the New Millennium Bean Party, and while he didn't win, he certainly made a stink.

But Captain Beany's main claim to fame comes from the fact that he turned his apartment into a shrine to baked beans. If you visit his little pad, you'll be greeted by the Captain himself, most likely sporting an orange suit and glasses. He'll then give you a little tour, showing you his collection of baked bean memorabilia. His home contains everything from a baked bean clock to bean-shaped mugs, not to mention a copious amount of cans, all full of — you guessed it — beans. And as it's one of the most unique attractions in the U.K., the captain's collection has been recognized as an official Welsh tourist attraction. Cool beans, man.

The Cockroach Hall of Fame Museum

If you're like most people, your skin probably crawls at the sight of a cockroach. Michael Bohdan isn't most people. An exterminator, Bohdan has been doing battle with these six-legged fiends for decades, but this resident of Plano, Texas, admits he has a "love-hate" relationship with these nasty critters. After all, if it weren't for cockroaches, Bohdan never would've gone on The Tonight Show, met the likes of Jay Leno or Joan Rivers, or opened the creepiest-crawliest museum in Texas.

In the 1980s, Bohdan launched a Lone Star contest to find the biggest cockroach in Dallas. The stunt got him an interview with Johnny Carson, and hoping to stay in the spotlight, Bohdan traveled across the country, acting as a judge in the world's weirdest contest. Evidently, people across the U.S. were putting dead roaches in elaborate outfits, and Bohdan's job was to pick the best-dressed bug. But after the contest ended, the exterminator decided to keep these outlandish insects and open the Cockroach Hall of Fame Museum.

Located in his exterminator store, The Pest Shop, the museum featured all sorts of celebrity bugs, from Marilyn Monroach (complete with iconic white dress) to Liberoachi (sitting at a pint-sized piano). There was also an Elvis roach, a Santa roach, and a Batman roach. And let's not forget the famed businessman and failed politician, Ross Peroach. There was also a Bates Motel diorama (complete with Norman's six-legged mother sitting on the front porch), a beach scene where roaches are relaxing on the sand, and a tiny Statue of Liberty. And as you've probably guessed, she wasn't holding a torch.

Unfortunately, it seems the Cockroach Hall of Fame Museum is no more, but while you might never see David Letteroach in person, take comfort in knowing millions of his cousins are alive and well … and possibly skittering around your kitchen.

The Spear Hunting Museum

If you're into taxidermied animals, then you definitely need to visit The Spear Hunting Museum in Summerdale, Alabama. Founded by Eugene Morris, this haunting hall is dedicated to the glory of killing animals with really sharp sticks … and to the glory of Mr. Morris, as well. As it turns out, he was the self-proclaimed greatest spear-hunter in the world, and, according to his website, he's stabbed nearly 600 animals to death. If you're interested, you can find a lot of those critters mounted and stuffed in his little museum.

Founded in 2006, the museum is home to a variety of deer heads, decapitated pigs, and exotic creatures like a warthog, a wildebeest, and a bison. Step through the front door, and you'll be greeted by a lion. Walk further in, and you'll spot an alligator, a zebra, an eland, and a gemsbok. Morris took all these animals in his international hunts, stalking creatures on at least three separate continents. Well, not exactly stalking. Morris's preferred method involved sitting in a tree and stabbing an animal as it walked by. Still, you've got to admit it's more sporting than using a rifle.

Eugene Morris passed away in 2011 — while spear-hunting, ironically. However, his legacy still lives on, and if you feel like checking out his kills, museum admission is free. But how will you know where to find the place? Well, there's a big mural on the side of the building, depicting Morris in camo, chucking his spear at some unlucky animal.

The Museum of Death

Get squeamish at the site of a coffin? Then you should probably skip the Museum of Death. But if you're someone with a taste for the macabre, this ghoulish gallery is for you. Founded by J.D. Healy and Cathee Schultz, the museum aims to "take away the stigma of people being afraid of dying." But despite best intentions, the Museum of Death is so creepy, it makes your average graveyard look like the happiest place on Earth.

Visitors who stop by the museum's Hollywood branch will find a wide array of eerie artifacts, including death masks, caskets, a variety of skulls (both animal and human), and a couple of genuine shrunken heads. There's also a collection of body bags, an assortment of mortician instruments, and even a headhunter's axe. Even the doors in this place are creepy, with one originally from Alcatraz, and another from the death row in San Quentin. But really, the highlight is all the murder memorabilia: there's a quilt sewn by the Manson family, and a self-portrait by John Wayne Gacy. In fact, the museum claims to possess the largest collection of serial killer art on the planet.

If you can't get to California, however, there's a second branch in New Orleans. On display, you'll find a wisp of Nicole Brown Simpson's hair, Jack Ruby's business card, and Jack Kervorkian's suicide machine. Couple all that with photos of dismembered corpses and horrible car accidents, and you can understand why both locations have seen so many visitors suddenly collapse. But those nasty photos are nothing compared to what Healy and Schultz have in store. When the museum's founders finally pass away, they plan on putting their preserved bodies on display. Talk about taking your job too seriously.

The Museum of Menstruation

While most associate Washington, D.C., with landmarks like the Lincoln Memorial, the city is also filled with all sorts of impressive museums. Between 1994 and 1998, tourists tired of the same old exhibits could find a truly unusual museum about 30 minutes away from the White House. Founded by a 51-year-old named Harry Finley, this eclectic collection was located in his Maryland basement. But what exactly did this middle-aged man display below his home?

Mr. Finley curated a museum dedicated to the history of menstruation.

According to Vice, Finley first grew interested in this sensitive subject while perusing magazines in Germany. The American-born artist was fascinated with the European ads for menstrual products, and he soon began collecting anything even remotely related to the issue. Eventually, Finley decided to share his discoveries with the world by opening the Museum of Menstruation inside his home. When patrons descended into his basement, they were treated to the site of mannequins clothed in various forms of menstrual underwear, and they could glimpse old-timey ads or government pamphlets dedicated to this touchy topic. With a wide array of pads and tampons to check out, guests were guaranteed to have a bloody good time.

But as you might expect, the museum stirred up some controversy. Researchers and scientists viewed the exhibits with a skeptical eye, critics labeled Finley a pervert, and some of his family members stopped speaking to him. All that pressure, coupled with health problems, prompted Finley to close the museum after only four years. Now in his 70s, Finley hopes someone will re-open the museum someday, and if they do, we're sure it'll be the greatest museum in the world, period.

Museum of Broken Relationships

Olinka Vistica and Drazen Grubisic are artists from Croatia, and for a time, the two were lovers. Unfortunately, things fell apart in 2006, and like a lot of couples, they weren't sure what to do with those suddenly-awkward photos and those emotionally-loaded presents. But instead of tossing their stuff in the garbage, they decided to start a museum dedicated to all their heartbreaking mementos.

Located in the city of Zagreb, the Museum of Broken Relationships has accepted donations from jilted lovers across the world, and even opened a second location in Los Angeles. Stroll through one of these museums (or visit their online site), and you'll spot all sorts of incredibly personal items, like a dinosaur piñata, an emery board, or a gingerbread cookie. There's a picture book from Japan, a postcard from Armenia, and a Galileo thermometer from Taiwan. And each of these tear-jerking displays comes with a little caption, explaining the tragic story behind every object.

For example, there's an iron from Norway with a caption that reads, "This iron was used to iron my wedding suit. Now it is the only thing left." There's also a toaster with a placard that sadly proclaims, "I took the toaster. That'll show you. How are you going to toast anything now?" But perhaps the highlight of the collection is an ax that one angry woman used to chop her lover's furniture into pieces.

Unfortunately, things get even worse when you realize some of the displays come from people who've lost a loved one, or from those who've been abandoned by someone in their life. "Mom left when I was three," reads a caption accompanying a frog figurine. "This is one of the few Christmas gifts she has given me." We can only hope the museum has a box of Kleenexes handy, because visitors are definitely going to need them.

The Institute of Illegal Images

Mark McCloud runs a mind-bending museum, one full of aliens, angels, and Chinese dragons. His walls are bedecked with famous faces, from Jesus Christ to Mikhail Gorbachev. Even Mickey Mouse makes an appearance. So what kind of crazy collection is this, you ask? His so-called Institute of Illegal Images is a gallery dedicated to the psychedelic world of LSD.

An acid connoisseur, McCloud has been dropping the stuff since age 13, and he credits LSD with saving his life. As he tells it, he fell out a window and allegedly died in 1971. He claims acid brought him back to life, and ever since then, he's been expanding his mind, as well as his collection of LSD sheets. Also known as "blotters," these acid-soaked sheets are like little paintings, each with its own unique image, and McCloud frames these works of art and hangs them on the walls of his home.

Visit his psychedelic pad, and you'll spot aardvarks, armadillos, lightning bolts, and optical illusions. There are sheets illustrated with pentagrams, crucifixes, and UFOs. Felix the Cat, Tintin, and Snoopy are all on display, and, of course, no acid collection is complete without the Mad Hatter. In total, McCloud owns at least 33,000 sheets, which, according to Wired, means he's in possession of a couple million hits of acid.

Why haven't the feds tossed this guy behind bars? Well, McCloud has been tried for conspiracy to manufacture and distribute, and the DEA even raided his house. However, as McCloud explains, the acid has been "neutralized" by years of exposure to the elements. It's all old, faded, and, evidently, legal. But while it doesn't pack a punch, it's still pretty cool to look at, so if you're ever in San Francisco, be sure to take a trip to McCloud's Illegal Institute.

The Icelandic Phallological Museum

The Icelandic Phallological Museum is exactly what it sounds like.

Located in Reykjavik, Iceland, this museum houses an incredibly large collection of penises, from pretty much every mammal imaginable. There's ram, reindeer, cat, and dog. If you're looking for something with a little more girth, there's also a giraffe and an elephant for you to admire. All of the actual penises are kept in jars of formaldehyde, while the walls are adorned with rather impressive baculums (aka penis bones). It's without a doubt the most masculine museum in the world, but who got this sausage party started?

It all began in 1974, when some prankster gave Sigurdur Hjartarson a bull penis as a present. Evidently, Icelandic people have an unusual sense of humor, because more of Hjartarson's friends began gifting him with private parts from whales. As his collection grew and grew, Hjartarson realized he had the makings of a museum, and according to the official website, the place boasts a collection of "282 specimens from 93 different species of animals." In fairness, a few of those come from mythological creatures, like elves and trolls, but there are also very real phalluses from foxes, walruses, and even a polar bear.

There's also a hamster baculum, which you have to view through a microscope, and the total opposite: the tip of a sperm whale penis that stands 5'7". There's even one from a cave bear, a creature that's been extinct for thousands of years. But without a doubt, the most unsettling object on display comes from a man named Pall Arason. Yep, that's right. There's a human penis on display. So what's the point of this peculiar institution? Well, according to Hjartarson, he hopes the museum will "decrease taboos about the human body." And if you're on board with that mission, then maybe should look into becoming an, ahem, honorary member.