It’s not uncommon for people to find weird things in their basements or attics, like old comic books and newspapers or mysterious antiques from unknown past decades.

That doesn’t even scratch the surface of what was found allegedly in the basement of a London orphanage in 2006. Underneath the topsoil, hidden in the dark of an 18th-century crypto-naturalist’s basement, were relics so disturbing and strange that anyone who saw them thought these can’t possibly be real.

Or could they? Was there more to these discoveries than meets the eye? You’ll have to see for yourself…

According to legend, Thomas Theodore Merrylin was born in 1782 to an upper-class family in Hellingshire, England. At a young age, he developed a taste for the strange. He invested in companies that would pay for his travels and explorations around the world, during which he searched for rare and unknown species.

1-weird-skeletonsRyan CF 2014

On these travels, Merrylin allegedly accumulated a wealth of bizarre creatures, though he kept them hidden from the world. Years after his travels—160 years later, in fact—a man claiming to be Merrylin donated a townhouse to be used as an orphanage under one condition: that the basement never be opened…

Ryan CF 2014

But in 2006, it was. Inside were macabre horrors ripped straight from a nightmare. Merrylin’s collection of ancient artifacts, lost species, and twisted chimaeras was extensive and beyond shocking.

Kecko / Wikimedia

This thick-chested, fairy-like skeleton was only the beginning. The corpse of a larva non vulucris, this creature jumped right out of folklore and into the Amazon rainforest, where Merrylin allegedly tracked down the specimen.

2-weird-skeletonsAlex CF 2014

Here lay what some claimed was the preserved corpse of a lycanthrope, better known today as a werewolf. Legend has it that their tainted blood turned them into wolf-men when the full moon shined, but Merrylin supposedly received this unfortunate specimen from a scientist experimenting with the lupus virus. This was only a start to what he collected…

3-weird-skeletonsAlex CF 2014

Dangers lurked in every shadow; luckily, the tales claim that Merrylin didn’t face his expeditions unprepared. With this kit designed to protect himself from vampires, he managed to return home alive, despite an encounter in the Mongolian Mountains that earned him a skull. Little good a knife would do against his next find, however…

Alex CF 2014

Common in hives and woodlands, fae creatures like the one found below were nothing like the Tinkerbells of the world. According to fairytales, they were actually vicious and vindictive, and they were determined to bring bad luck to anyone who disturbed their homes. So how did Merrylin get his hands on a corpse of one?

Alex CF 2014

Wide-eyed and flat-faced, these weren’t the skulls of a normal human being: Merrylin supposedly acquired these vampire and werewolf skulls with the help of a little silver, and captured a vial of blood for later sampling. Werewolves and vampires were a passion-based research project for Merrylin and a few colleagues. But these items didn’t quite compare to the next find…

6-weird-skeletonsAlex CF 2014

Two curved horns adorned the head of this specimen—simply labeled “Little Devil” within Merrylin’s collection. Merrylin’s diary stated that this was the side effect of abused narcotics during a 19th-century pregnancy. Did someone really birth this little demon spawn?

Alex CF 2014

The collection took a turn to the fantastical with this petrified dragon corpse. Preserved from 14th-century Mongolia, as Merrylin’s supposed writings claimed, he found this artifact in an isolated Buddhist monastery, where the monks’ ancestors had raised and domesticated creatures just like this.


According to Merrylin’s writings, this creature was found in an ancient Mayan temple, and its look wasn’t even the strangest thing about it. Merrylin also noted that the Mayans believed this to be an extraterrestrial. Was it? Or was it some other unfortunate creature?

Merrylin claimed this one was a triceratops. Initially alleged to be rescued from an illegal zoological freak show, the stories said this baby dinosaur died from a collapsed lung, only to be taxidermied years later.

Alex CF 2014

Stood up on its legs, this skeleton was no larger than 18 inches tall. Found in a deep dark cave, this “goblin” and his pack were hunted to extinction in Norway, according to Merrylin. And still, the collection got even stranger…

11-weird-skeletonsAlex CF 2014

Was that… could it be the jackalope! But Merrylin’s writings alluded to something else. This was, in fact, a mutated rabbit that fell victim to a rare disease known as Shope papilloma. Ultimately, suspicions mounted against Merrylin’s collection. It was too outlandish, too bizarre. So what was the deal?

Alex CF 2014

Eventually, the truth was out: these stomach-churning artifacts were actually made by a London-based illustrator, writer, and sculptor named Alex CF. He created these incredibly detailed terrors for the entirely fictional “Merrylin Cryptid Museum.” In order to make his artwork contagious, he fabricated the backstory of a Thomas Merrylin, who actually never existed. Did you believe it?

Ryan CF 2014

Much to Alex CF’s pleasure, the uncanny nature of his artwork helped spread it far and wide, becoming such a widespread hoax that even Snopes was forced to debunk it. Still, even knowing these are the work of a talented artist, there is something unsettling about his designs, which you can check out more of on the Merrylin Museum website.

Share these weird creatures with your friends below!