Sunday, August 15, 2010

Visit the Tower of London's Creepy London Dungeon Wax Museum


When I was sixteen, I went to England to visit a pen pal. I'd been writing to my friend Graeme from the age of 11 or 12, when I'd met him at a family friend's birthday party. I thought it was terribly exciting that I had a friend in England, and even more so when I found out I was able to visit him the summer before I began Grade 11!

The London Bridge, although this isn't the original one.

Graeme lived in a suburb of London, not that close to the central or downtown area. We were only sixteen and unable to get away to do a great deal of sightseeing on our own, but we managed to see some fun things. I was able to go shopping in the famous department store Harrod's, where I bought an army-print mini-dress (of which I never, ever wore beyond the fitting room!). Graeme and I walked across the Tower Bridge. I was a bit depressed to hear that it wasn't the REAL, original London Bridge, as that one had been sent in bits and pieces to somewhere in the United States. However, the bridge there now is still just as impressive and beautiful.

For my sixteen-year-old self, the highlight of our London sightseeing adventures was visiting the Tower of London, infamous for its stint as prison and torture headquarters of London. We didn't even go see the Crown Jewels (what was I thinking??).

Waiting in line to visit the Tower of London

We headed straight for the London Dungeon, a wax museum of indescribable gore, to witness how the royal family brought justice to their lands, and ensured their power remained stable. The displays showed, in graphic detail, how English lords and royalty kept the people in their power by torture, murder, and other disturbing displays of power.

I was enthralled. Yes, some of the displays looked a little fake, but overall, they made a lasting impression. Looking back at my photographs, the place was as morbid as it gets. But I didn't leave a single display un-photographed. I posed in front of 'dead' bodies, captured the 'running blood', and played with angles and lighting to capture the effects of each display... I guess I was a bit of a dark person in high school! Graeme patiently played along, but he didn't seem to be in the same frame of mind as me. Overall, it was a fun experience.

Goofing around in the Tower of London's wax museum.

Next time I go to London, I would definitely return to the Tower - maybe I would check out the London Dungeon again, but for sure I would ensure I visited the Crown Jewels and met the Tower ravens!