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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Alabama Museum of Wonder

Deep in the woods of Seale, AL lies one of the most amazing museums in the South.  This Museum does not keep store hours.  It resides on the private property of outsider folk artist Butch Anthony.  Fortunately for everyone, Butch opens up his property to the public once a year for "Doo-Nanny", a folk art festival that takes place in his "Woods of Wonder" that has been called "The Hillbilly Burning Man".

Butch got his start in the folk art game when he and his friend John Henry dug up a turnip and painted a face on it.  They put up for sale as a gag and got 50 bucks for it.  Butch would develop his own art movement known as "Intertwangalism".

I had been dying to see his museum for years, but I had been unable to find the right opportunity to stop by and see it.   A few years back I finally got my ducks in a row and attended Doo-Nanny.

Doo-Nanny itself is a wonderful gathering of folk artists.  I was fortunate enough to meet my friends C.M. and Grace Kelly Laster, who are both amazing artists.

They have set up camp with their impressive little scamp.

And of course the Laster Holy Roller..........

Other amazing art cars of note was the impressive Heaven and Hell Car.....

Let's not forget Butch Anthony's own Custom Hearse (parked a few miles away in Columbus, GA).....

The Laster's were also running a film competition in the back of an old semi trailer......

There was also a music stage featuring a strange fake french band....

The grand finale of the Doo-Nanny festivities is the annual burning of the Doo-Nanny.  While the normal burning man burns a, Hillbilly Burning Man burns a giant Vagina, which is the namesake of the festival.

It is a massive wooden vagina soaked in gasoline.

 Of the course of the day people are free to enter the Doo-Nanny and leave offerings to go up in the flames.

The burning is done by Butch Anthony himself as he lights the "meteor" which is a giant ball of neck ties soaked in gasoline.  A flaming ball of neckties is quite an appropriate symbol for the folk art community to get behind.

The meteor is then sent down a zip-line into the Doo-Nanny as it bursts into flames.  Quite a site to behold.

But let's not forget the reason we came here in the first place:  The Alabama Museum of Wonder!

The Museum of Wonder combines folk art, with taxidermy, cryptids and sideshow imagery.  So, basically everything I love wrapped into one.  Admission is only a dollar (inflated from its initial price of 25 cents).  

Upon entering the museum one of the first things you will notice is the turnip that started Butch's art movement.

The Museum also features an expansive exhibit on the Alabama Bigfoot.

This includes a big piece of Sasquatch poop........

Also included is a pair of mocked up bigfoot feet that Butch used to scare locals.

I could go on and on about this place, but I'll let it speak for itself....

Needlenose Gar caught with a Bing Crosby Christmas CD stuck on its nose.....

Mummified chicken found behind the stove of a chicken restaurant....

Hairless squirrel......

The Museum also contains its very own (uniquely stylized) Fiji Mermaid.....

A previous attraction at the Museum was "Bob Ross the Mind Reading Chicken", unfortunately he died a few months prior to me visiting.   At the time of his death he was 20 years old and the world's oldest chicken.

Bob would give your fortune in the form of a plastic egg with a piece of paper inside.

This is not the original Bob Ross, but a taxidermied look-alike.

There is actually a really cool song by Sean Hayes written about the Mind Reading Chicken.....Let's let it play us out....

While I'm at it....Let's go ahead and induct Butch Anthony into The Hillbilly Hall of Fame.

The Carpetbagger

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  1. Get out! I had no idea that the Doo-Nanny is named for well, that! And thanks for reminding me again that my imaginary boyfriend Butch has a real life goddess of a lady. He's my modern day Shawn Cassidy.

    1. Just for the record, I am not sure if that is his wife or girlfriend. I asked Butch if I could take his picture and he grabbed this lady and put his arm around her. :)

    2. Every woman is Butch's girlfriend.

  2. oh my gosh i have wanted to go there forever. i think i need to make it a point to make it down for the next doo-nanny!!