From the outside, this ornate palace in the town of Ronda, within the Spanish province of Málaga, looks like a magical fairytale kingdom… but just wait until you get a look inside.
The Museo Lara is a private museum boasting one of the most bizarre, fascinating and horrifying collections in the entire world — most of which were acquired by one man: Juan Antonio Lara Jurado, collector of strange and fascinating objects for over 60 years.
If his personal collection is any indication, Lara’s tastes were pretty much all over the map: on the museum’s main floors, you can browse through galleries of vintage weapons, clocks and watches, cameras and projectors, musical instruments, typewriters and scientific gear.
But the seriously weird exhibits reside, appropriately enough, on the lower level… the dungeon, you might say. In the shadows beneath the Museo Lara’s main level lives a gallery of horrors unlike any other on Earth.
The majority of the displays down below are devoted to recreations of the atrocities practiced during the Spanish Inquisition, and many of the horrific devices used during that period can be found here.
Dioramas depicting witch trials, agonizing tortures and executions are populated by creepy mannequins dressed as inquisitors and the accused.
But as you can see, it gets even creepier than that.
Surrounding these gruesome historical reenactments are horrifying statues of demons and other supernatural beings (including a demon resembling Pazuzu from THE EXORCIST) and sorcerer’s paraphernalia — including what look like real body parts preserved in jars.
But wait, there’s more…
Mixed with the sorcery, alchemy and occult antiquities are several nightmarish man-made monsters, resembling the freakshow oddities that have inhabited traveling carnivals and roadside attractions over the past couple of centuries. But there’s something about the luxurious way these taxidermy mistakes are presented that gives them a disturbing… uh, “authenticity.”
Extra special thanks to Julieta Randall, a good friend and fellow fan of the macabre, who braved the dungeons of the Museo Lara to bring back many of the eerie images you see here!