Things took a terrifying turn after a museum in northern England challenged rival institutions to tweet photos of the creepiest object in their collections.

Yorkshire Museum’s Twitter account was flooded with unsettling images as the latest edition of its weekly #CuratorBattle hashtag garnered global attention amid the coronavirus lockdown.

The museum kicked off the April 17 installment of the competition with this picture of a “3rd/4th century hair bun from the burial of a Roman lady, still with the jet pins in place.”

MUSEUMS ASSEMBLE! It's time for #CURATORBATTLE! 💥Today's theme, chosen by you, is #CreepiestObject!We're kicking things off with this 3rd/4th century hair bun from the burial of a #Roman lady, still with the jet pins in place…CAN YOU BEAT IT? 💥

— Yorkshire Museum (@YorkshireMuseum) April 17, 2020

In response, other museums shared unnerving pictures of children’s toys, dolls, “mermaids” and even a plague mask:

Our #CreepiestObject has to be this ‘mermaid’… 😱💀🧜‍♀️ #CURATORBATTLE #TroublingTaxidermy

— Natural Sciences NMS (@NatSciNMS) April 17, 2020

@RedHeadedAli how can we ignore such a call to arms?This particular item has caused a few nightmares for our followers this week. Our #CreepiestObject is…this pincushion! Complete with tiny children's heads. You're welcome, Twitter.#CURATORBATTLE

— Norwich Castle (@NorwichCastle) April 17, 2020

Sheep's heart stuck with pins and nails and strung on a loop of cord. Made in South Devon, circa 1911, "for breaking evil spells", @Pitt_Rivers collections #CreepiestObject #CuratorBattle

— Dan Hicks (@profdanhicks) April 17, 2020

Thanks for thinking of us @HottyCouture and wow, will we be having nightmares tonight with all these #CreepiestObject|s ! Here is the one we just can't hide from you, one of our many creepy gems – our Plague Mask (1650/1750)! #curatorbattle

— Deutsches Historisches Museum (@DHMBerlin) April 17, 2020

Bringin’ our A-game for this #CURATORBATTLE! What is it? Just a CURSED CHILDREN’S TOY that we found inside the walls of a 155-year-old mansion. We call it “Wheelie” – and it MOVES ON ITS OWN: Staff put it in one place and find it in another spot later on…. #Creepiestobject

— PEI Museum (@PEIMuseum) April 17, 2020

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, we present …. MC 294No need to thank us, it was honestly our pleasure #CURATORBATTLE #CreepiestObject

— Egham Museum (@EghamMuseum) April 17, 2020

Imagine rummaging through an archive and unwrapping this 👇MC 490A: Broken Dolls head in many parts with fair hair c.1920 Found on the grounds of @StJudesHead. Let’s hope they treat the pupils better 😂#CuratorBattle #CreepiestObject

— Egham Museum (@EghamMuseum) April 17, 2020

We would like to inject a bit of romance into this thread… With the creepiest valentines card ever 😬#CuratorBattle #CreepiestObject

— Skipton Town Hall (@SkiptonTownHall) April 17, 2020

Live from the Toy Museum of Penshurst Place, we present the Drinking Bear. Feed it a 2 pence piece and it'll pretend to drink from its cup as it stares into your soul. #CuratorBattle #CreepiestObject

— Penshurst Place (@PenshurstPlace) April 17, 2020

Does "something in a jar" strike your fancy? #CreepiestObject

— Nova Scotia Museum (@NS_Museum) April 17, 2020

There's some freaky stuff in the Clarke Charms Collection. Here's a human finger bone used by a gambler to bring good luck… #CURATORBATTLE#CreepiestObject

— SMT Collections Team (@SMT_Collections) April 17, 2020

If that's not creepy enough, how about hanging a dead mans tooth around your kids neck to prevent convulsions brought on by teething…#CURATORBATTLE#CreepiestObject

— SMT Collections Team (@SMT_Collections) April 17, 2020

Found on the Thames foreshore, I rest my case.#CreepiestObject

— Lara Maiklem (London Mudlark) (@LondonMudlark) April 17, 2020

I’ll see your eye and raise you a box full of eyes.from the @museumboerhaave #CreepiestObject

— Michiel (@upstalbeam) April 21, 2020

How about a Victorian guide book made from the wood of the Old Gallows Tree @welovehistory Doune Castle? Because who doesn't love their tourist info with a hint of historic executions?

— Historic Environment Scotland (@HistEnvScot) April 17, 2020

STEP ASIDE ALL.These are hand-made models of figures playing cards and of gold miners hauling gold nuggets to the surface. BUT the figures are made from crab’s legs and claws… Typical Victorians, they loved weird/creepy stuff. #CreepiestObject

— York Castle Museum (@YorkCastle) April 17, 2020

Nice. We have a pigeon heart stuck with pins for punishing a witch…#CreepiestObject #CuratorBattle

— SMT Collections Team (@SMT_Collections) April 17, 2020

How about this Japanese ukiyo-e(woodblock prints) from @ukiyoeota Collections? This black creepy monster is biting off woman's HAIR! #CURATORBATTLE #CreepiestObject

— 太田記念美術館 (@ukiyoeota) April 21, 2020

@britishmuseum…. Will a mummified mermaid do??

— Jim P. (@SeptimusKeen) April 17, 2020

We've got A LOT of creepy object contenders for today's #CURATORBATTLE but after some debate (Creepy dolls/ hair dug up from a grave/ a little man in a glass jar….!) we're going with some pretty grim TV props from Casualty! #CreepiestObject

— Blaise Museum (@BlaiseMuseum) April 17, 2020

We have quite a few creepy specimen. According to many visitors, our #CreepiestObject is this one – half a pregnant cat in fluid:

— Grant Museum of Zoology (@GrantMuseum) April 17, 2020

The whole of the Booth Museum in Brighton. Here's their merman

— Prof. Fiona Candlin (@FionaCandlin) April 17, 2020

I give you our taxidermy wild cat! A favourite of the museum team due to its bad taxidermy and creepy ‘electrified’ look on its face! #CreepiestObject

— Maidstone Museum (@MaidstoneMuseum) April 17, 2020

GUYS we know we have already won. This severed lower leg by Kerry Jameson has sprouted its own legs and a rather beastly head. @COCAYork #RethinkCeramics

— York Art Gallery (@YorkArtGallery) April 17, 2020

This is one our all-time fave #CreepiestObject #curatorbattle. She's a prop from the TV show "American Gothic."

— Cape Fear Museum (@capefearmuseum) April 17, 2020

This is one of my favourite objects from @HistEnvScot Collections – a painted whale eardrum. Fascinating and highly disturbing! #CreepiestObject #Curatorbattle More info 👇

— Clara Molina Sanchez (@CMolinaSanchez) April 17, 2020

Can I offer 'Tirpitz' here? Saved from drowning after her German ship sunk the South Pacific, served as a mascot on HMS Glasgow for the rest of the FWW, eventually auctioned off for pork (raising £1,785 for charity) in retirement. No wonder she looks like she's seen things.

— Imperial War Museums (@I_W_M) April 17, 2020

In a lot of ways, we wish we could un-see this entire thread. And we most definitely cannot beat the hair bun. But we'll just leave this here…

— Ashmolean Museum (@AshmoleanMuseum) April 17, 2020

#CURATORBATTLE: Asked colleagues & this painting was unanimously chosen. My aunt reels at the sight of it. This painting is often met with hushed tones and nervous laughter… #creepybaby #creepy @DaytonArt

— Katherine Siegwarth (@KatieSiggy) April 17, 2020

"Get Outta My Swamp!"- this doll, probably #CURATORBATTLE #CreepiestObject #MuseumFromHome

— Birmingham Museum (@bham_museum) April 17, 2020

However, for this #CURATORBATTLE for #CreepiestObject we are offering up not just one , but an entire case of them @ #CliffeCastle We have a Witches ball, Devil's drumstick, comfit filled walking sticks, a couple of 'protective charms' and a heart studded with nails…

— Bradford Museums & Galleries (@BradfordMuseums) April 17, 2020

Turn the creep up to 💯 and check out this iron mask that was exhibited in the @TowerOfLondon as an Executioner's Mask. However, due to its grotesque appearance, we think it's more likely part of an elaborate scold’s bridle – an iron muzzle designed for public humiliation 😱

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