Here's something you probably don't want in your back pocket. It's a wallet made of tanned human skin that dates back to 1906. This wallet was presented to Dr. W.W. Keen (1837-1932), professor of anatomy at the University of Pennsylvania and president of the College of Physicians by an unknown person.
The Soap Lady is one of the most popular exhibits at The Mutter Museum. Currently the museum is involved in ongoing research using 21st century technology to solve the 19th century mystery that is the Soap Lady. The museum is working with Dr. Frederic Rieders of NMS Labs to conduct forensic analysis on the Soap Lady. They are hoping these tests will answer the following questions:
* When did she die?
* How did she die?
* Why did she lose her teeth so early in life?
By the way, they call her the her the "Soap Lady" because she represents what they call adipocere formation, which means her flesh was transformed through a rare chemical reaction into a soapy substance.
The Hyrtl skull collection is one of the most iconic at the museum. It's comprised of more than 130 skulls that are primarily from 19th century Europe. Each skull has a written description on it of the age of the person and how they died. The collection was assembled by renowned Austrian anatomist Joseph Hyrtl in the mid 19th century.
The museum also has a large collection of skeletons both male and female. Some of the most interesting ones are of individuals who suffered form gigantism. One skeleton stands at a towering 7-feet, 6-inches.
This is the skeleton of Harry Eastlack who was born in 1930. For most of his life, Harry suffered from an extremely rare disease known as Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva or FOP. It's a disease that literally turns connective tissue to bone and ultimately ends up immobilizing the patient. In Harry's case he began to suffer from FOP at the age of 10 and lived with it until he died of pneumonia in 1973. Before his death he requested that his body be donated to science. As a result, Harry has become an incredibly valuable asset to physicians and scientists studying FOP.
This isn't the real thing - but it looks pretty scary. It's actually a wax cast of a face deformed by leprosy.
This gangrene hand is just one of the many 'creepy' body parts on display at the museum.
Ever wonder what a brain tumor looks like? Well, now you know. Just take a close look at the mass on the right side of this brain.
While we're on the subject of brains. Here's a look at what happens when someone suffers from a brain hemorrhage.
And if the brains weren't freaky enough - check out this 'floating' face preserved in a jar. It's just the image you want in your head as you get ready to celebrate Halloween!
Philadelphia may be known as 'The City of Brotherly Love' - but it's also home to the Mutter Museum, which houses some of the most interesting and freaky medical artifacts