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  • Some places you visit leave a lasting impression on you. Others you forget a day or two after leaving.

    Then there are places like House on the Rock.

    In Spring Green, Wisconsin there is an estate the likes of which you have never seen. It's hard to classify it into one category. It's a museum of sorts, an attraction, fun house, nightmare, architectural wonder, and a headache all wrapped into three separate tours. The day I went to House on the Rock was one of the strangest days of my life.

    The tours range from organized chaos to just plain chaos. The founder of the house, Alex Jordan, collected and arranged a wide variety of...things. That's the best way to put it. Things that alone are impressive, but together with hundreds of thousands of other things is both marvelous and horrifying. The rooms range in themes and materials, from the worlds largest operating carousel to a life size replica of a whale battling a giant octopus. That's right. There is a room that houses a life size whale fighting a giant octopus.

    Other smaller rooms are linked together, like an assortment of rooms dedicated to mechanized and synchronized musical instruments, or hallways after hallways of fully furnished doll houses and miniature circuses. There's a room dedicated to organs, lanterns, canons, and beer steins. Rooms filled with medieval armor and others with oriental interior design, shag carpets, and fountains. The bathrooms have stuffed mountain lions and wolves. There are streets, yes streets, with houses and shops filled with little odds and ends. Cars, mannequins, boats, a room that was designed to appear endless, planes, newspapers, lightbulbs, diamonds, chairs, trumpets, and on and on and on.

    The madness just seems to never end. When you think a room cannot be topped, you enter the next room and find that it has most certainly been topped, pummeled, and pounced upon. I could spend weeks in there for hours upon hours and still find things to amaze and startle me.

    When I finished the tour I kept asking myself,

    "Why?"

    I still don't know why Jordan did all of this, aside from amusing and confusing patrons to the house. If that's all he sought out to do, bravo. He succeeded. I think he wanted to show the world something it had never seen and will never see again. A collection of the most bizarre and interesting looking things you could possibly imagine. An experience the likes of which Tim Burton himself couldn't conjure up. Could he have toned it down? Absolutely. Would it have been the same? Absolutely not. The full experience of House on the Rock is something that must be seen to truly believe.
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