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Traumafessions :: Reader Brian Katcher on The Visible Woman

January 11th, 2011 by unkle lancifer · 5 Comments

The Visible Woman is an exhibit you used to see in museums. It’s a life-sized mannequin with transparent skin, so you can see her organs and skeleton. When I was about six, I was into the human body, so when we went to a museum, my dad took me to see this. We went into a small auditorium, where a real life woman stood next to the plastic one. When the chairs filled, we assumed she’d explain to us about the various organs.

Then the real woman walked back stage.

Then the lights went out.

Then the plastic woman’s brain began to glow.

“This is my brain,” said an eerie, disembodied voice.

That was enough for me. I began to cry. My dad, realizing how creepy this seemed to me, picked me up so we could leave.


This was so that no one would interrupt the presentation, and you exited through a different door. However, dad couldn’t figure out how to leave without disturbing everyone, so I spent about ten minutes crouched in the corner, my eyes closed, covering my ears.

UNK SEZ: Thanks BRIAN, for the great traumafession! For more on author BRIAN KATCHER, visit his home base HERE! Painting above “Visible Woman” thanks to artist VICTOR RODRIGUEZ!

Tags: Traumafessions

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9 years ago

Poor Brian, truly a “what were they thinking?” moment. I’m pretty sure that locking the doors like that would be against every fire code known to humankind these days.

My “visible body” horror came from the sliced-up preserved person at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.

David Fullam
9 years ago

See if you can find a copy of “20 Years of Monty Python.” It reprints a hilarious fumetti strip by Terry Gilliam, featuring John Cleese as a bored exec who falls in love with his daughter’s Barbie Doll. Barbie leaves him for Ken, so he then becomes smitten with the Visible Woman!

9 years ago

I went to see the ‘Our Body- The Universe Within’ exhibit some time ago, and was amazed by how many small children were there and how they all seemed to be taking it in stride. The exhibit features human bodies and organs that have been have been preserved using a process known as polymer impregnation- some are skeletons with only the circulatory system remaining attached, some only the nervous system, some have skin removed with all of the muscles left intact, one body was sliced vertically into one inch thick layers and placed between glass panels- truly fascinating and something that before I would think only doctors would have seen. If you want to learn more about it here is a link:
I enjoyed the exhibit and was blown away by parts of it. I suggest going to see it if you have a chance. It’s like a real version of The Visible Woman! I know this is kinda off topic here, but the post reminded me of the show and I think some of you here might be interested- and you can take your kids. I bet it’s about time to make a new trauma for them anyway….

9 years ago

@ David: I have that Monty Python book. That whole thing with the Barbie Doll was both funny AND disturbing! Oh, & for those disturbed by the vertically sliced up person help up with glass sheets, remember that scene from “The Cell” with the horse getting the same treatment?

9 years ago

This reminds of the time I took my young daughter to the Harry Houdini themed ride in SIX FLAG GREAT ADVENTURE in New Jersey. Apparently the ‘ride’ is you sit in chairs and have a ‘seance’ to try to contact Houdini and then “the room starts to move” (through simulation, I suppose). I got my daughter IN the house all right but once you’re in they lock the dorrs and dont let you out! Knowing this was a little too much for BOTH of our chicken-shit minds to grasp and we ran around til we FOUND a fire exit!

My husband – who actually stuck around for the ‘seance’/”ride” was pissed…but I said “You’ll thank me later tonight when shes not insisting on sleeping with us because we locked her in a house with Houdinis ghost!”