Cryptids, the macabre highlighted in Austin’s Museum of the Weird

Two-headed taxidermied animals, Bigfoot tracks from Texas and wax sculptures of classic movie monsters are housed within its walls.

By Breze ReyesOctober 12, 2023 3:06 pm, , ,

Veronica and Steve Busti, co-owners of Museum of the Weird, operate one of Austin’s most treasured hot spots downtown.

Originally, the couple opened a gift shop, Lucky Lizard Curios and Gifts, but quickly realized people were more interested in looking at the giant lizards in the back of the store than purchasing anything.

That’s when the Busti’s business plan changed. “We should charge admission for this,” Steve Busti said.

Patricia Lim / Texas Standard

Veronica and Steve Busti opened the Museum of the Weird after previously running a gift shop.

In search of new items to fill the museum with, The Bustis went to garage sales, started bidding at auctions and began looking online.

The Bustis transformed their store into a museum, slowly growing from a strange little gift shop into an entire experience with multiple attractions.

When you first walk into the museum, you’ll encounter a collection of shrunken heads. They’re claimed to be from tribes in Ecuador and Peru who would behead their enemies and sew the eyes and mouth shut – trapping the enemy spirit inside and ensuring it could not escape.

Patricia Lim / Texas Standard

A two-headed taxidermied chicken on display at the Museum of the Weird.

Museum-goers can pay a visit to the Minnesota Iceman that lays in his ice chest, yet to be defrosted. They can also check out the collection of two-headed calves, chickens, or the cyclops piglet – taxidermied and on display in the “Freaks of Nature” room.

Alongside the bizarre taxidermied animals, you can also find the “Feejee mermaid,” a historic gaff, something made to pass off as the real thing. The mummified mermaid is half fish and half monkey sewn together and taxidermied.

The Texas Bigfoot collection at the Museum of the Weird. Patricia Lim / KUT

But for some, the wax museum is the main attraction. This dark room is filled with life-size versions of classic movie monsters such as Frankenstein, Dracula and King Kong.

Each wax figure has its own decorated space, setting the scene and transporting you into the world they live in. The room is dedicated to what Veronica Busti likes to call “sfanthor” – science fiction, fantasy and horror.

Just around the corner, footprints from both Bigfoot and the Texas Chupacabra are displayed.

“There are Bigfoot sightings in Eastern Texas, in the Piney Woods. Texas has some of the highest sightings in the country and we actually have several footprints that were taken from East Texas, in some of the river bottoms,” Steve Busti said.

Admission to the museum is $12.99 for adults and $8.99 for children under 8.

Patricia Lim / Texas Standard

The Museum of the Weird located is located on Austin's 6th street.

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