Please Note: The following post contains some slightly disturbing imagery with very little context. I am currently seeking out further information, and will update as soon as I know anything.

There is a hall in the cadaver lab of the medical school that is lined with glass cases. Within the class cases are rows and rows of glass jars and in the glass jars are fetuses.

The doctor who was guiding our post-bac field trip to cadaver lab mentioned it in passing as the more organized part of the trip was coming to a close. A few other students and I wandered back to see.

There did not appear to be any particular organization to the collection. Some jars had labels with the size of the embryo, the date it had been preserved, or some disorder that had been observed. “Clubbed foot,” read one, the deformity readily obvious. Other had labels that seemed pseudo-scientific; “siamese twins” or, inexplicably, “monster.”

Most of the jars had no labels at all and seemed like the sort of collection one might find in the basement of an old farm house a few days before jamming season. They ranged in shapes and sizes and many had markings from their previous life as food containers. A Planters Peanut jar was located, as was one that used to hold mayonnaise. Some had blank labels or were turned away from view.

One student suggested that “monster” may have been a legitimate medical term at some point; the general sense I had was that these specimens were not recent. The few labels that did exist were faded and the lettering had clearly been done on a typewriter. None of them had the look of research tools that had been accessed recently.

Eventually one of the postbacs gave voice to what we all must have been thinking. “This reminds me of an exhibit at a freak show or a scene from a movie.”

“You know in Aliens when they’re trying to get Signorney Weaver to mate with one of the aliens and they show the room of failed experiments?” someone else commented. There was a murmur of agreement in the group.

“But isn’t there something wrong with that? That this is reminding us of a sci fi movie?”

No one had an answer for that. Vaguely unsettled we returned to the main room and focused our attention on the less creepy prospect of examining fully-formed human remains.

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