During our 40 Whatever/Ford-y Whatever trip through the glorious Great Lakes Region, my BFF CityMama & I were compelled to make an unplanned stop at the Cross in the Woods Catholic Shrine. Even though it was God's Will that we found it, we didn't feel like walking through the woods to see the actual "Cross" (because ew, woods + walking = no thanks, dirty!) but the stop was totally worth it just to experience the most wonderful and terrifying collection of dolls, possibly in the world.
The Cross in the Woods has a very special doll museum, containing over 300 dolls, in varying sizes, wearing horror movie expressions and dressed in the habits of nuns -- and priests -- from around the globe.
To my dismay, none of them were for sale, not the dolls or the costumes! And they were frustratingly well protected against crazy chicks who would have risked God's Wrath by shoplifting them, or even just experiencing the magic by running our their curious fingers over the embroidered "Jesus" whipples.
Spoilsports. But we took pictures. A lot of pictures.
Hey, We're in God's Wives' Closet!
Yes, that's the Mother Theresa habit on the far right. Take a good look, because that's as close as you're going to get to a Nun of Color in this collection. Apparently most nuns are white.
It would have been nice if Sally Field could have signed the Flying Nun costume below, but no such luck.
We learned that the best nuns are fully accessorized, with special embroidery and chunky beads.
Loving that light blue suit! And the modern, low-maintenance hair do! Also, who decided which sightless mannequins needed to wear glasses?
One of the many magic elements of this museum is how big it is. Just when you think you've seen all of the costumes, you turn a corner and realize it's far more extensive (and yes, nightmarishly terrifying) than anyone could have expected. The glass cases just keep going and going and going...
Look, that's me, courtesy of Stefania. It's just felt respectful to cover my head, you know? But the sunglasses were a disguise, so God wouldn't recognize me and strike me dead while I took pictures of everything so I could blog about it later.
Sensitive Issues in the House of God
Here is a touching vignette of a special situation, where a nun goes to a nursing home and tries to teach arithmetic to some old people who forgot how to add. So thoughtful! But beware, Gramps, she's got a knuckle-slapping ruler hidden in the folds of that habit, so you better get the answers right the first time! She's heard all those "I'm in a nursing home because I have dementia, so of course I can't remember fractions" excuses a million times, and she ain't buying 'em.
The "Jesus" embroidery kind of makes this costume look like a cheerleader's uniform. Which it kind of is. Cheerleaders for Jesus. Heaven's Home Team. God is the Coach, and even though he never makes the team run suicides, he will strike you dead for blasphemy. At least that's the scouting report.
And these dolls tell us that, like cheerleaders, some nuns wear too much slutty makeup. Better ease up on that blush, or we'll be calling you "Sister Accidental Pregnancy". No one's gonna believe that "I'm a Virgin Who Only Talked to the Angel" thing a second time!"
What's a Costume Party Without Priests?
Just before it got boring, I turned a corner to see the distaff display, including Rainbow Disco Priest and his friend, Diddy's White Party Priest. Love that rainbow scarf, it's totes Village People!
Behold (but don't touch) Hermit Priest. I think he pretty much speaks for himself. Or doesn't because he's a hermit, so he never sees anyone to talk to... he looks tired, right? Anyway, nice handspun hemp robe.
Red Necklace Priest looks totally scared of the Ken Doll Priest lurking behind him. He's probably heard The Stories.
This one is funny, because I could have sworn the expression was "Friends of Dorothy"! But Society of Mary works, too, and he seems to be a talented line dancer.
Shhhh! Don't ask, don't tell.
If you read the first chapter of Twilight out loud, these mannequins spring into action to save souls who have been reading Harry Potter books. We didn't have time to try it out.
Although Stefania was tempted. She started to recite Twilight from memory, so I dragged her away.
Religious Dressed up Dolls in Context. Of a Sort.
Hey look! It's the only "female" black doll in the entire place. And she's not even an actual nun, just a reader.
Look, a nice family next to the guy in the uniform of the Vatican Guards. No rhyme, no reason, no diggity.
Little known fact: Popes actually float around on that little two step thing. God gave them the special powers because they're usually so short.
These dresses look itchy. But I would love to wear that pointy hat.
Insert joke about how a boy doll on his knees in front of a priest would have looked much worse.
Only Chumps Leave Without a Souvenir
We totally* stole this wheelchair. It's in my living room, and good thing because any minute now God will take away my ability to walk as punishment for talking smack about these scary freaking dolls that have been dedicated to his benevolent greatness.
Well, benevolent except for when you make fun of him, or are gay. Then it's gloves off!
*Just kidding, I would never steal a wheelchair. That would be cruel and wrong, and besides we didn't have space for it in the red Ford Mustang.