Today we decided to get away from history and seriousness and just enjoy looking at creepy objects, so we visited – get ready for a mouthful! – the Zmuidzinavicius Museum. It is much better known as the Devil’s Museum. We had heard that Kaunas has a lot of quirky museums, and this one was close to our hotel, as well as something fun for us, as we so enjoy horror movies. Antanas Zmuidzinavicius lived from 1876 to 1966. He had been collecting devil statues and images during his lifetime, and upon his death in 1966 left 260 devil objects. A museum was opened in his home to display them, but people began to donate to the museum, and today it has more than 3,000 items. Worldwide, more than 5,000 legends and folk tales mention the devil. In Lithuania, there are about 400 places named for the devil, such as Devil’s Hole, Devil’s Bog, and Devil’s Swamp.
The devil with two legs crushing him in the third photo is especially noteworthy, as it is from Holy Trinity Church in Laizuva, a Lithuanian city near the Latvian border. Sculpted in the late 18th century, it is taken from the Altar of Michael the Archangel, ordered by God to trample the rebellious devil into hell. It was given to Mr. Zmuidzinavicius by the parson of the church in 1914, who sawed off the legs and the trampled devil from the rest of the large sculpture, as it couldn’t be taken to Kaunas by train in its entirety.
We will let you just look at many depictions in the photos that follow, although in the museum they were arranged broadly by subject matter, country, or folklore stories, which were most amusing. You will see sculptures and masks; the devil caught in the act of killing, as well as, once again, being killed by Michael the Archangel; devils made of wood, glass, ceramic, and fibers; devils made to be cups; part of a 1958 devil dinnerware set; devils playing the accordion…hmmmm, what does that tell us?….but no offense to polka bands or Cousin Joe; devils on the restroom doors; and finally, we end with a cute devil sign on the front lawn….we are not sure what the prohibition is, do you know?