These astonishing pictures show a range of gruesome maladies which have struck Americans over the last two centuries.
Some of them - like a deformed foetus and a two-headed baby - are so grotesque they almost look like carnival attractions.
But these curiosities were collected with a more noble aim in mind - they form part of what may be the oldest medical museum in the United States.
Grotesque: This image of siamese twins is one of the bizarre exhibits in Philadelphia's Müller Museum
Diseased: This anencephalitic foetus suffered from a fatal developmental disorder in the womb
The exhibits, ranging from shockingly deformed bodies to mediaeval medical textbooks, are kept at the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia.
The museum opened in 1849 as part of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, which is the U.S.'s oldest medical society, having been founded in 1787.
But it really came into its own nine years later, when plastic surgeon Thomas Dent Mütter expanded the collection with items he had picked up on his European travels.
The extraordinary story of the museum's collection is told in a new book of photographs by Andrea Baldeck, entitled Bones, Books and Bell Jars.
Historic: The museum's collection of antique instruments has been built up over 160 years
Deformed: Images used by early modern doctors to diagnose and treat diseases which affected the face
Educational: Students of dentistry would turn to objects like these to learn their chosen profession
These days, most visitors to the museum treat it as a place to wonder at the bizarre array of artefacts held there.
However, in the past it served a practical purpose, introducing medical students to some of the ailments they might encounter in their professional life.
At that time, according to Ms Baldeck, students had very few opportunities to come face-to-face with genuine human remains.
And before modern imaging technology such as X-rays, it was difficult for trainee doctors to familiarise themselves with the human body.
Blotches: This wax mask shows children afflicted with horrible pock marks on their face and neck
Instruments: The exhibits show how far medical practice has advanced over the centuries
Contemplative: Students would use skeletons like this one to understand how disease affects the body
The widespread availability of medical information and resources has made the museum's original purpose redundant, but it remains the focus of intense curiosity for laymen visiting its extraordinary collection.
Ms Baldeck writes in her book of the intense experience of being allowed to access the museum's hidden collection, most of which is kept in storage.
'Behind the scenes at the College, in locked rooms ranging from basement to attic, dwell a trove of artifacts, specimens and texts,' she says.
'To gain access to these is a singular privilege, a journey through time and across a continuum of the healing arts.'
Book: These extraordinary images are taken from a volume of photographs of the museum's unique collection
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