Giggle-Inducing Fake Occult Items and Specimens

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I ran across this collection of photographs over at Getty Images and simply had to share them. While the images largely come without sufficient caption info, it seems they all originate with the 2003 exhibit 'Orrori e Misteri' held in Florence, Italy. If I'm wrong on that, do drop me a line.

Here we see Atrox, "sprightly and lively figure with the body of monkey and wings of a bat, conceived by Satan and Lady Mery."

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World's Deadest Fairy
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Here we find the alleged mummified remains of a winged fairy. No amount of hand-clapping can help this one.

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The Mighty Basilisk
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Here we find the mighty basilisk or cockatrice, "king of the serpents laid by a seven-year-old rooster and hatched by a toad, it was believed that it could kill with a gaze."

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Satanic Sex Tome
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Here we find a "book for celebrating satanic masses, circa 1850." I'm not 100 percent sure what that instrument is, but I hope the Satanists cleaned it before sticking it back in the book.

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Again with the Cockatrice
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This one was also labeled as a basilisk or cockatrice, "king of the serpents," etc. So your guess is as good as mine.

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Satanic Semen Sample
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Here we see "The divine seed collected by the acolytes of Satan during the orgiastic rituals of the Sabbath." I'm assuming the supposed spunk here is supposed to be diabolical in nature, intended to birth antichrists or at least more devil-worshipers.

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Feline Tarantula
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This is a "feline tarantula, which ate their victims and it was believed that through its bite it procured the plague." I don't believe any of that for a second. And I've never read about this supposed plague-spreader either. I suppose that's a cat's skull attached on top.

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Mummy of the Dwarf
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Getty informs me these are the "mummified remains of a dwarf discovered in Cornwall." Sure, why not?

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Ichneumon
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This one's rather delightful and totally not a lizard stitched on a puffer fish body. No, it's an Ichneumon, "a mythical creature that allowed itself to be swallowed by snakes and then it inflated its quills to kill its victim from within."

A creature with this name is mentioned by Pliny the Elder, but the description is quite different.

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The Harpy
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Here we see a harpy, the vulture/hag hybrid of myth and legend. It's fake, but quite terrifying in a way.

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Hand of Saint Rita
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Here we find a holy relic to balance out all the Satanism and monsters, the "hand of a young St. Rita, mysteriously trapped in a bottle." Rita, by the way, was a 15th century nun and is indeed the patron saint of impossible cases. Probably not her hand, though.

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The Secretery Bird
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Here's a secretary bird, "believed to be a witch's efficient assistant." I assume it took notes and answered the phone with those cool little hands.

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The Snake Woman
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Here we see the "half woman and half snake," also allegedly conceived by Satan and Lady Mery. I had to crop out the snake part, but it's not that impressive. Trust me.

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vampiremummy
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Finally, here we see a vampire mummy, "bought in Cairo by the traveler M. Woodpecker, put on display in London as a mummified vampire he killed in Transylvania." Sure he did.


About the Author: Robert Lamb spent his childhood reading books and staring into the woods — first in Newfoundland, Canada and then in rural Tennessee. There was also a long stretch in which he was terrified of alien abduction. He earned a degree in creative writing. He taught high school and then attended journalism school. He wrote for the smallest of small-town newspapers before finally becoming a full-time science writer and podcaster. He’s currently a senior writer at HowStuffWorks and has co-hosted the science podcast Stuff to Blow Your Mind since its inception in 2010. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling with his wife Bonnie, discussing dinosaurs with his son Bastian and crafting the occasional work of fiction.