I can’t help it: every time I read that a whale has been found stranded on a beach near Barcelona, I remember the collection of phalluses of the famous Icelandic professor Sigurdur Hjartarson. I know it may sound strange, but readers will understand me if I explain that it was there that I first saw (and I suspect last) a huge sperm whale penis weighing 75 kilos and six feet long. In short, what we could call a penis chunk.
The truth is that, at least as far as I know, collecting phalluses is rarely a very common occupation. The dominant trend in collecting is rather limited to stamps, stickers, coins, butterflies, beetles and other objects or beings free of all suspicion. The accumulation of phalluses in a systematic way does not seem to be very common.
That is why when I came across Hjartarson, a 61-year-old honorable history teacher, in Iceland, and he told me what his collection consisted of, my eyes widened. ‘I started collecting phalluses in 1974,’ he explained seriously, ‘and four years ago I opened a museum in Reykjavik to show them to the public. Every year I have more than 5,000 visitors. ‘
The museum opened by Hjartarson, located in the very center of Reykjavik, is called the Icelandic Falological Institute, which sounds very serious as well. More than one scholar will have been confused when reading it and will have believed that it is a respectable philological institute. But, no, although both words differ only by one letter, it is clear that philology and phallology are (at least for the moment) very different disciplines.
In the museum, visitors can admire the original collection that Hjartarson has assembled over almost 30 years of dedication: a total of 143 specimens of the 41 species of mammals found in Iceland. ‘I only have two penises left to complete the collection,’ the teacher told me as if he were talking about trading cards. ‘One of them is that of a kind of small whale; the other is that of the human species. When I get both, I will have completed the 43 species on the island. ‘
When I commented that getting a human penis shouldn’t be easy, Professor Hjartarson smiled like a satyr and showed me three donation letters that he has framed on a museum wall. “It’s just a matter of waiting,” he said with a Mephistophelic scientific gesture.
‘The oldest of the three donations is from an Icelander named Páll Arason, 86 years old. He was a pioneer of tourism in central Iceland and a great womanizer. ‘ The other two donors are a German in his 40s, Peter Christmann, and an Englishman in his 30s, John Dower, who accompanies the letter of a cast of his penis. “The problem is that, in order not to spoil the penis, when the donor dies, it must be cut when the corpse is still warm,” Hjartarson explained with the gestures of a surgeon. ‘Then the blood is pumped to make it erect, since it is important for the donor that the penis is preserved with dignity, in a good position. If the corpse is allowed to cool, it cannot be done. ‘
While Hjartarson lamented how delicate the pieces in his collection are, I carefully examined the penises on display in the museum. Apart from the impressive sperm whale penis, the ‘delicate’ lamps made from ox scrotum were striking. ‘The first specimen in the collection was this bull’s penis,’ the professor pointed out to me in front of a long, thin phallus. ‘When I was little, in the fields we used those penises as whips. In 1974, when I started the collection, I was running a secondary school in a town. Some parents of students worked in whaling stations and gave me very big penises. That’s where the idea came from. I opened the museum with 63 penises and now I have 143 ‘.
Hjartarson, who speaks excellent Spanish, is a History and Spanish teacher in Reykjavik. He specializes in the History of Latin America and lived two and a half years in Mexico (1980-1982) and one year in Seville (1986-1987). “65% of the museum’s visitors are foreigners,” he said. ‘The reaction is usually positive. Icelandic society has not bothered at all. Here we are liberals; there are even teachers who lead school groups. The museum is popular for company dinners. The groups start the night here, compare, laugh and then go to drink and have dinner. ‘
On an American poster hanging on a museum wall, penises are classified by size. The largest corresponds to the whale (although Professor Hjartarson disagrees: ‘It depends on the kind of whale’). They are followed by those of elephant, giraffe, bull, pig, ram, goat, hyena, dog and, lastly, the human penis. “It is a humility cure for many visitors,” commented the wise professor with a smile while I felt a hurtful pang in the parts.
In addition to penises, the Falological Museum exhibits a series of curious objects from different countries, such as an original soup paste in the shape of small penises, a woven penis warmer, a pole with the Icelandic flag made with a penis of bull and, the star of the collection, a jug that reproduces a civil guard with a tricorn, with the peculiarity that the water comes out from the tip of the penis. “It’s my favorite piece,” commented Hjartarson proudly. ‘I bought it in Ciudad Real, during a trip to Spain. He has a great imagination. ‘
Anyway: what was said. Every time I read that a whale has appeared on the Catalan beaches I remember the friendly professor Sigurdur Hjartarson and I wonder if he has already completed his interesting collection of penises. At the same time, the original Ciudad Real jug comes to mind and I feel swollen with a deep pride that I don’t really know what to attribute to. OMG! If Freud raised his head …
The Icelandic Faloteca (Icelandic: HID Íslenzka Reðasafn), which is located in Reykjavik, Iceland, houses the world’s largest display of penises and penis parts. The collection of 280 samples from 93 species of animals includes 55 penises taken from whales, 36 from seals, and 118 from land mammals, presumably including Huldufólk (Icelandic elves) and trolls. In July 2011, the museum obtained its first human penis, one of four promised by would-be donors. Its separation from the donor’s body did not go as planned and was reduced to a wrinkled grayish-brown mass that was pickled in a formaldehyde jar. The museum continues its search for “bigger and better youngster.”
Founded in 1997 by then-retired teacher Sigurður Hjartarson and now run by her son Hjortur Gísli Sigurdsson, the museum grew out of an interest in penises that began during Sigurður’s childhood when he was given a cattle whip made from the penis of a bull. He obtained the organs of Icelandic animals from sources across the country, with acquisitions ranging from 170 cm (67 in) front tip of a blue whale penis to 2 mm (0.08 in) baculum of a hamster , which can only be seen with a magnifying glass. The museum claims that its collection includes the penises of elves and trolls, however, as Icelandic folklore portrays such creatures as being invisible, they cannot be seen. The collection also features phallic art and crafts, such as lampshades made from the scrotum of bulls.
The museum has become a popular tourist attraction with thousands of visitors a year and has received international media attention, including a Canadian documentary called The Last Member, which covers the museum’s quest for a human penis. In accordance with its mission statement, the museum aims to enable “individuals to carry out serious study in the field of phallology in an organized, scientific manner.”
The Icelandic National Faloteca, as Sigurdur Hjartarson has named his museum, is housed in an old wooden building in a town famous for whaling. In front of the door, so that no one is fooled, there is a huge wooden phallus, and inside there is a wide collection that includes the penises of 52 specimens of 16 species of whales, one specimen of polar bear, 21 specimens of 7 species of seals and walruses, and 101 specimens of 20 species of terrestrial mammals from Iceland. The one that attracts the most attention is the sperm whale, 1.70 meters long, together with a picture that shows the size of the different penises, with a more than discreet place for humans.
“I started the collection because, when I was teaching in the field, the parents of a student gave me a bull’s penis, which they used as a whip,” he says. “In Reykjavik I had 5,000 visitors a year. Now, in Husavik, the figures are more discreet, but one in six visitors of the population comes to my museum. A good percentage, although those who do not have a sense of humor do not they need to come “.
In the absence of a human penis, the Icelandic museum has a foreskin and a pair of testicles from the Akureyri hospital, Iceland’s second largest city. In addition to the Icelandic donor, Hjartarson displays letters from an American, an Englishman, and a German who also donate their penis. “The problem is that, upon the death of the donor, the penis must be cut off without loss of time,” warns Hjartarson without flinching. “Then you have to pump the blood to keep it erect, a very important point for the donor.”
“Páll Arason, the Icelandic donor – he adds in perfect Spanish learned in Mexico – is famous in Iceland, one of the pioneers of tourism some 50 years ago. He is a womanizer, racist … In short, a complex character with the that, however, for 10 minutes you can have a very pleasant conversation. “
In what he calls the Folklore Section, you can see an elephant phallus, a Santa Claus penis (!), An elf penis and an Icelandic giant. Next to them, a golf club with a phallological tip and a jug in the shape of a civil guard that throws water through the penis. “I bought it in Ciudad Real,” says Professor Hjartarson proudly. “I am happy with my collection, and when I have the human penis it can be said that I have already completed it.”