The Separate Room

WP Prompters are curious! Today they would like to know who  my favorite Historical Figure is and one name popped into my mind

right off of the bat-

Anna Maria “Marie” Grosholtz- or as she was famously known-  Madame Tussaud.

A waxwork of Marie molding the death mask of Marie Antoinette

Last year I saw a show on Netflix about Haunted Houses- and one Haunted House that they featured   (I wouldn’t call this a ‘Halloween haunted house ” as the experience was based on psychological and physical tortures used in military interrogations)  shows  the beginning of the ‘adventure’ where the participants met the organizer at a park. He told them to have a seat at the picnic tables,  then he had them read through a disclaimer form that they had to sign. The thing is it took hours for them to read it and by the time they were done it was dark and they were tired, hungry and from what I saw they didn’t take bathroom breaks.

Their experience in this ‘ house of horror ‘ had been going on for hours before they realized it.

Madame Tussaud was much more subtle in her setup and just as  effective

Madame Tussaud  created a life and a persona that the people who had yet to lay eyes on her waxworks were familiar with- and she pulled this off before the days of mass mailings and the internet. This woman, you had learned, had lived in Castles, been a member of Royal Courts and had danced, dined and been friends with royalty.  In turn, she  had looked into the faces of some of  her unfortunate  subjects weeks, days, minutes, months before they died or were executed- and had handled their remains.

By the time you saw some the historical figures she cast in wax, you weren’t just looking at a replica of someone’s face- you were looking at the waxwork’s faces through the eyes of Madame Tussaud and that didn’t just make them waxwork figures- it made them real. 

One of my favorite Vincent Price Films is ” House of Wax ” and in case you’re not familiar with this gem, it’s about a sculpture who is horribly injured and re-creates his wax figures with bodies coated in Wax. Over the years I’ve wondered if Madame Tussaud wax figures- which had touched the public on a visceral level inspired this story and do you know what? I think it may have.

One of the things I learned while I was catching up on my Madame Tussaud factoids was that the ” Chamber of Horrors ” that featured criminals at their executions and subjects in that vein were placed in their own  area and that area  wasn’t called the Chamber of Horrors.

It was called ” The Seperate Room “- which in my opionion is far for sinister sounding then ” Chamber of Horrors. ”

The more I learn about Madame Tussaud, the more I admire her.

, Anna Maria Grosholtz-
” Madame Tussaud ” aged 42

From Madame Tussaud’s collection-

” Sleeping Beauty “- who created her is in dispute

as is who she was modeled after.

All of that aside, a breathing waxwork is sort of creepy, so sure. I love it.

Madame Tussaud – guillotined heads From left to right: Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette,Carrier, Jacques Rene Hebert,( (?)

Model Made from the death mask of Marie Antionette by Madame Tussaud. Google Images

From Madame Tussaud’s Collection:
Gallows execution of Dr Crippen

Madam Tussaud’s Collection 1930: the head of Joseph Stalin being cleaned

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