Creepy exhibit comes to city, exposing human body
A controversial display featuring skinless, preserved bodies is heading to Edmonton in what local organizers are billing "the most popular exhibit in the world."
The Telus World of Science is hosting Gunther von Hagens’ Body Worlds, which shows human cadavers preserved through a process called "plastination."
The technique replaces body fluids with polymers, allowing bodies to be preserved in positions ranging from playing cards to riding horses. About 200 specimens will be on display, including 20 whole bodies.
Mayor Stephen Mandel is supportive of the event, calling the exhibit "absolutely remarkable" and a highlight for the city and Western Canada.
During its various stops around the world, Body Worlds has drawn the fascination and disgust of visitors — along with its fair share of controversy. Earlier this month in England, the Bishop of Manchester told the BBC that the exhibit "diminishes the value of people."
"My concern is that the bodies of people who have lived lives, some whom, I suspect, with quite a bit of suffering, are simply being used effectively for a kind of freaky horror show," said Rt. Rev. Nigel McCulloch.
Local organizers acknowledge the controversy that follows the exhibit’s tour, but say all bodies on display have been donated by willing participants.
"Obviously, there are varying opinions about putting the bodies of deceased persons on display," said George Smith, president of the Telus World of Science. "… But I do think Edmontonians are ready for something like this."
About 25 million people have seen the display, he said, and it fits with the centre’s philosophy to motivate people to learn more about science.
While he had initial reservations when he heard about the exhibit, Health Minister Dave Hancock says the displays could be a powerful learning tool.
A display of lungs damaged by smoking has convinced visitors in other cities to quit instantly, he said, doing more for public health in a short visit than what government’s have done in years.
Oddly enough, the exhibit opens in June on Friday the 13th, and runs until October. Tickets are on sale for $26.50 for adults and $16.50 for children.