A simple glance at what Monson claimed to own in his collection, will leave you only with one question — how on earth did people fall for this elaborate hogwash?

A picture of antique collector Monson Mavunkal in a black suit and red tie, a yellow luxury car can be seen behind him
news Controversy Thursday, September 30, 2021 - 16:26

If the Louvre Museum claims to have famous paintings by Leonardo da Vinci, we believe it. But when a man from Kochi says he has a bloodstained cloth belonging to Jesus Christ, we doubt him. Why are we such deplorable sceptics, laments the host of a YouTube channel that once featured the now infamous 'museum man' Monson Mavunkal. Set to moving music, with the hosts touching the ‘exhibits’ — ranging from Judas's coins to Mother Teresa's hair (Monson is clearly a man of unlimited imagination) — with extreme reverence and remarking on how they were in the presence of 'history' itself, the video is a prime candidate for the proverb 'hindsight is always 20-20'. 

Well, in fact, skepticism pays or that’s what a few VIPs in Kerala have learnt in the past few days as their pictures with the ‘museum man’ have gone viral. While Monson Mavunkal is in the Kerala Police Crime Branch’s custody for allegedly defrauding six people of Rs 10 crore, what has emerged in the last week is that his museum was an elaborate fraud and most exhibits are suspected to be fake. Monson has become the stuff of memes but a simple glance at what the man claimed to own in his collection, will leave you only with one question — how on earth did people fall for this elaborate hogwash? From the media to celebrities, everyone seems to have been sold on Monson’s tall stories. 

We have ‘painstakingly’ gone through many videos and articles from the past to put together this list of ‘antiques’ that Monson claimed he had.

Two coins paid to Judas for betraying Jesus Christ: Out of the 30 silver pieces paid to Judas, a disciple of Jesus Christ, for betraying him, Monson claimed to have gotten his hands on two coins. A video put up by a YouTuber on Monson’s prized antiques shows these two ‘Judas coins’, which are embossed on both sides, and kept for safekeeping in a miniature treasure chest. 

Staff of Moses: That’s right, “Moses’s staff”, which has a wooden snake coiled around it, is in his collection, said Monson. (phew)

A cross made out of the mud that was on Jesus’s feet when he was crucified: A small cross, which Monson claimed was made from the mud or soil that was on Jesus Christ’s feet at the time of the crucifixion, is one of his prized relics, claimed Monson. Pull the rosary at the bottom of the cross and a miniature gold Bible comes out.  

A thread from the cloth used to wipe Jesus’s face during the crucifixion: A small thread is wrapped around the rosary, which is used to pull out the miniature gold Bible from the cross that was supposedly made from the mud that once touched Jesus’ feet. That ‘thread’ was once part of the cloth that was used to wipe Jesus’s face when he was crucified, goes Monson’s story.

A speck of Jesus’s blood: Oh yes, that small thread that was once part of the cloth used to wipe Jesus’s face when he was crucified, also has a ‘speck of Christ’s blood’, claimeth Monson.

St Anthony’s nail: Monson’s collection includes what he claimed is the nail of Portuguese Catholic priest St Anthony of Padua, which has been framed into a souvenir.   

Piece of Saint Alphonsa’s veil: Catholic nun St Alphonsa was the first Indian woman to be canonised. Monson claimed to have a piece of the saint’s veil in his collection. 

Mother Teresa’s hair: A strand of Mother Teresa’s hair is another Christian relic in his home museum, claimed Monson. Mother Tersesa was a Catholic nun and a missionary. He also claims to have Saint Kuriakose Elias Chavara’s clothes.

2000-year-old jug of Jesus: That one of the six jugs, which once contained the water that Jesus converted into wine at a wedding in Cana, sits in Monson’s Kerala residence-turned-museum, is yet another ‘creative’ story.

Snake Oil: No, it isn't part of Monson's collection, but that's what the whole thing was.

Prophet's chalice: While Monson’s collection has a number of Christian ‘relics’, his museum also houses a number of antiques that he claimed had a connection to Prophet Mohammed. Among the antiques in his so-called collection are Prophet Mohammed’s chalice and lamp.  

Krishna's pot: Hindu ‘artefacts’ also have a pride of place in Monson’s collection. In one interview, he shows a wooden pot in which Lord Krishna’s mother Yashoda supposedly used to store buttermilk. And to make his story believable, Monson claimed that since Krishna used to steal buttermilk by toppling the pot, Yashoda decided to have a wooden one instead of a mud one. 

Monson has a mini library of holy books and he makes different claims in different interviews. A handwritten Bible in which a cross appears if you heat a page, the first ever printed Bible, Quran and Bhagavad Gita in his prayer room, a Quran in gold, Quran written in goat skin, world’s smallest Quran, smallest handwritten Quran, Chattarapati Sivaji’s Bhagavad Gita and much more.

And like any other ‘artefact collector’, he has a lot of firsts. India’s first typewriter, first telephone, world’s first gramophone, first calculator, first sewing machine, first ceiling fan —  the list goes on!

Then there is a throne which apparently belonged to Tipu Sultan. The ‘throne’ features in most memes about Monson as none other than Kerala’s former Director General of Police Lokanath Behera was caught on camera striking a pose. We wonder what that says about the officer's deduction capability. It has also now emerged that the former DGP sanctioned police security at Monson’s house.

Monson’s museum, in which all these ‘priceless’ antiques and artefacts were literally dumped, had much more —  Satya Sai Baba’s golden chappals, paintings by Raja Ravi Varma, Picasso and Leonardo da Vinci and Swathi Tirunal’s veena too.

Did we forget to tell you about Aurangazeb and his wife’s ring?


Well, the one claim that is really getting him into trouble is that he said he had an ancient scroll in which the traditions of the Sabarimala temple were first written. Monson claimed that the scroll was in a box that had the Pandalam royal family’s seal. The Kerala police is set to investigate this separately.




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