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Lurid Lisbon

Well, as most of you know, B and I visited Lisbon for a whole week in August.

What you might not know, however, is that Lisbon is terrifying.

No, the people aren’t mean like in Florence. And it’s not particularly stabby like Poowich where I work.

It’s not that.

It’s just…. you’re just…. kind of always in imminent danger of stumbling across something scary as hell.

Now, I guess I should preface this by saying that I managed to catch the plague on our second day, rendering me a (barely) walking snot receptacle for the entirety of the holiday. And I was also extremely hot, like in France. So I was a bit…. sensitive and delicate causing me to perhaps blow my ‘terror’ out of proportion. Y’all know I’m not one to exaggerate normally.

Anyway, if you’d like to follow me down this scary old passage that led to a spooky water pit thingy, I’ll break down a few of the disturbing sights of otherwise lovely Lisbon.

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Firstly, there were a lot, and I mean A LOT of dolls in Lisbon. Unfortunately, I didn’t really get many pictures of them for you because I felt like the dolls might put a hex on me for mocking them. Because I am 100% positive that they come to life when the lights go out.

But here’s an example:

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I mean, let’s take a closer look at that creeper at bottom (who, I guess, is a Aryan Jesus born in 18th century Europe?):

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Auuuughghghghhghhhh!!!!!!!

There were also many of these bizarre and epic doll-filled nativity scenes (I think from the 19th century) that reminded me of the ancient dust-collecting cakes in the windows of Polish bakeries in Streatham (to use universal, non-specific imagery).

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The stress!!!! This is stressful!!!!!!

Then we have an unusual amount of clown street art. I have to tell you, I’m one of those people who is SUPER not into clowns. I really hate them. Like, at my kindergarten, we had ‘Clown Day’ where we were supposed to all dress like clowns, and I REFUSED and instead insisted on my poor mother making me a tree costume to wear (what?).

This aversion is strange given that I was forced to engage in a Clowning Unit at my acting conservatory (university level – 20 years-old engaging in clowning unit) and was designated by the Professor (of clowns) as the best of the clowns, giving me free range over my final clowning project. What does this say about me? Is this indicative of some subconscious self hate? Should I be a professional clown? Is this where I’ve gone wrong?

I digress.

Here are just some of the scary Clowns About Town in Lisbon:

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STOP LEER-SMILING AT ME, ASSHOLE CLOWNS!!!!!!!!!!

Let’s see, what else? Well, there’s this larger than life floating Jesus who, as a traditionally  icon-free Brontëan Protestant, I just…. I don’t understand.

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Like, how are you supposed to focus on the sermon with that flying at you from the right?!

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Please…..someone….. help…. him.

Though, I mean, I guess he has a good hair stylist/looks a lot less terrifying than these guys:

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Again, let’s just take a closer look….

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AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH WHAT IS WRONG WITH THEM WHY IS BABY JESUS A 55 YEAR OLD MAN WITH NO ARMS?!

Anyway, I’ll give the Catholics a break for a moment, and head on over to the Gulbenkian gallery where some secular horrors await.

Ah yes, here we go, some arty Dali-esque ghouls:

Standard.

And then I turned a corner and came across these guys!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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This is actually pretty sad and freaky, for real. These are blown up images from a photograph of prisoners taken in 1915. The prisoners were required to wear these scary scary scary hoods when they appeared in public.

After seeing those photos, I knew it was gonna take a lot of wine for me to sleep through my inevitable haunting.

But the most unexpected and momentous fright occurred in the Convent of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

This was suuuuuuuuuuuch a cool place. It’s a ruin of a medieval convent that fell victim to an earthquake in 1755–so now the space is open-air when you enter into the main sanctuary. We really sort of just stumbled upon the site, and we were delighted with our spiritual and photogenic find.

Then.

There was the tiniest of museums in the back of the convent, so we obviously took a peek. The museum is pretty much just a bunch of docile and innocuous stones, and then you enter into a lovely library full of beautiful books and…

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Hello, a couple of (really old?) Peruvian children displayed in glass boxes!

I really really really wish I could set up a video camera in this room and film people’s faces when they come in for the first time. No emoji can fully illustrate the look of surprise, horror, and confusion of unwittingly coming face to face with these guys during a casual and relaxing museum stroll. Naturally, I stood there for a bit watching multiple tourists mouth ‘what the fuck?!’ (until a suspicious, weapon-wielding security guard threatened to cramp my style).

‘See yaaaaaaaaaaaaa, Lisbon!’

Fortunately, I am a thick-skinned Victorianist well-versed in the ways of hair art and death photography, living in London, the scariest town of them all. Who am I to judge when we boast the likes of Jeremy Bentham(‘s corpse) stuffed with hay and forever presiding over UCL as an auto-icon?

 

Jeremy Bentham

Guys, he wanted them to use his mummified head (below) on this thing, but his successors decided that that was just a little TOO scary and they replaced it with a head of wax (above). Good choice?

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AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anyway, I hope you can sleep tonight. And I hope I haven’t derogated your opinion of Lisbon (and London). I highly recommend the city for both the frights and the sights! I promise!

Anyone have any favourite spooky tourist attractions?


As the lesser known and used verb form of derogatory, I think derogate is interesting enough to be a Weekes Word?

Derogate: from the Latin derogare and meaning to disparage or cause to seem inferior. Ex: Weekes managed to quell her desire to derogate her senior colleague who asked her if Lisbon was a town was in Germany.

xWG // @dazeandweekes // @weekes

25 thoughts on “Lurid Lisbon Leave a comment

  1. Ok, there’s a church in Prague with a baby Jesus doll that they dress up in various pope costumes. It’s pretty great. Also there’s a Museum of Surgery in Edinburgh that is amazing. So those are weird things I’d recommend.

    I’ve also heard of the Icelandic Phallus Museum where they have a whale penis, so I need to get over there at some point.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You saw a much eerier side to Lisbon than I saw, unless you count my spouse doubled over from food poisoning after eating dungeness crab…not pretty.

    After the food poisoning episode, I was forced to spend a day on my own, touring the city. I made a point to see Iglesia do Carmo (pictured above)—truly spectacular, as well as the waterfront (including Torre de Belém, Padrão dos Descobrimentos, and Mosteiro dos Jeronimos) and the Elevador de Santa Justa.

    Thankfully, I did not see any clowns. (Like you, I really have an aversion to clowns.) Or the wax head or mummified Peruvian child… shivers…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Awww that’s so tragic and does sound reasonably horrific! We also hit up those waterfront sights–maybe they’ll get a mention in a less scary post. Well done you for getting out there on your own! We opted not to do the Elevador de Santa Justa as our Air bnb was situated atop a hill, and we felt we’d had our fair share of views 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Well, no longer do I desire to go to Lisbon! Thanks for squelching that. This was a pretty hilarious post. Have a photo of you as the a tree on Clown Day. Should have realized then and there, that this was no ordinary child! Btw, why were there so many characters in the nativity scenes…….Portuguese got a little carried away didn’t they? And why were there Peruvian children (mummies) at the monastery. Go back and ask them, I want to know!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha nooooooooo don’t let me deter you! It’s a lovely ol’ town!

      I know, I meant to ask you if you could take a picture of the picture of tree-me for the post, but I forgot until it was too late!

      Like

  4. Okay, so I used to think Stephen King was like uber clever or something…now I see that he just hung around in freakin’ Lisbon and jotted down a few notes on the scenery. Those apparently aren’t horror novels, they’re travel guides for Lisbon. Who knew!!?? That said, just to take you back to Florence, there’s the Natural History Museum where, along with gobs of moth-eaten animals that have undergone some bad taxidermy, there are several “anatomy” rooms. I’m convinced these things (are they mummified? are they wax? who knows?) come to life if you turn your back on them. Adding to the creepiness is the fact that there was no one else was in the museum at the time…or was there?????

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ohhhhhh amazing! I do love me some nice creepy stuff, and this fits the bill perfectly! And you have to admire the very particular aesthetic of continental Catholic ornamentation – for some reason, Irish Catholicism doesn’t seem to have embraced the giant overpopulated Nativity scene (although it does help bring home the message of “there’s no room at the inn”) or the Dairy Milk wrapper Jesus with tinfoil halo. Sigh! That really is this country’s loss. However, if you’re in the market for taxidermy, we do have a rather good Victorian-style Natural History Museum, which revels in the nickname “the Dead Zoo”! I also get kind of a creepy feeling from Berlin, although I’m at a loss to say why. Speaking of Germany, PLEASE tell me that your illustrative sentence for this post’s Weekes Word is made up! How can someone not know where Lisbon is?!

    Liked by 1 person

    • hahahah so true, it suddenly becomes completely plausible that all the hotels in Bethlehem were fully booked that evening. Omgggggggggggggg the Dead Zoo!!!! That’s where some scenes from the final series of Penny Dreadful were filmed (pretending to be in London)!!!!! I soooo want to visit!

      Oh how I wish I could tell you that that wasn’t an actual conversation I had with a member of staff in a position way senior to mine. But it’s true! Not the worst I’ve heard tho. Someone I worked with in NYC asked me one time, ‘So, what’s the difference between London and England? Like are they two different countries? And do they speak English there?’ :-l

      Like

      • Reeeeeallllly? I must check out this “Penny Dreadful”… I don’t suppose they were decent enough to show it on Channel 4 so I can get at it on All4? The Dead Zoo is definitely worth a visit if you ever find yourself on these shores… And it’s FREE to get in as well!

        As for your colleagues… Eeek! Every time I hear stories like these, I kick myself for being dumb enough to pay attention in school. 😆

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ohhh man, I LOVED Penny Dreadful. Unfortunately, it was a Showtime show so appeared over here on Sky. It’s a period drama/thriller starring Eva Green and incorporating all manner of spooky Victorian themes/monsters/literary characters in a (mostly) non-corny way (except Dorian Gray is pretty cheesy). Sadly, it only ran for 3 series. I definitely recommend if you can get your hands on it!

        Like

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