There is a rare book titled “The Fool’s Tower” by the Federal Pathologic-Anatomical Museum of Vienna that I have been obsessed with lately.

Inspired by the Narrenturm or “Fool’s Tower,” the building used to be an insane asylum but was later converted to become a museum. This building was constructed in 1784 by court architect Isidor Canevale for Emperor Joseph II, the Holy Roman Emperor. The cylindrical tower was the first asylum where the so-called “insane” were housed and treated, rather than being abused by relatives or put on display like animals.

Today, the Narrenturm is home to the Pathologisches-Anatomisches Bundesmuseum Wien, or  Federal Pathologic-Anatomical Museum of Vienna.  The museum owns a fascinating yet gruesome collection of over 4000 specimens of physical abnormalities and deformities preserved in formaldehyde and also imitations of body parts made out of paraffin wax. As grisly as it may sound this place is worth a look! This book provides a small sampling of their incredible collection. More information here Learn more