Bell Museum puts on freak show

The exhibit included a six-legged pig, two-headed calf skull, vampire bats, “killer pinecones” and a small, three-bodied pig.

Tricia Michel

Vampire bats, a cantaloupe-sized hairball and “killer pinecones” were among the items featured at the Bell Museum’s Oddities and Curiosities tour this weekend.

Every year around homecoming, the museum borrows items from other museums and University departments to display in a freak-show exhibition.

Museum tour guide Jennifer Menken said the display – which is in its fourth year – began because the University wanted to do something fun for homecoming. She said the exhibition was also inspired by Halloween, which is why the oddities theme was chosen.

“We like to pull out weird stuff that we don’t normally have on display,” Menken said.

The exhibition weaved through hallways and rooms, mimicking a carnival funhouse layout.

A six-legged pig floating in a gallon-sized pickle jar shared a display with a two-headed calf skull and a small, three-bodied pig.

Parasites shared a room with once blood-sucking vampire bats, now harmless and preserved in a clear box.

A stuffed albino porcupine sat outstretched on a table with “killer pinecones,” which weigh so much they can injure or kill people when they fall from a tree.

The Science Museum of Minnesota loaned the Bell Museum a jackalope head, and the College of Veterinary Medicine provided a jarred dog heart infested with ringworm.

The final display was set up like a small living room, with an alligator-head ashtray, an elephant foot footstool and a chair made of seashells.

Menken said the exhibition attracted more than 600 people this year.