Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Oddities

I'm a little strange.  In Elementary School, my friends and I were the "dorks" who were running around at recess hunting for ghosts or pretending to ride unicorns in outer space.  In Middle and High School, I was that girl who had purple or green streaks in her hair, had secret piercings, but also won poetry awards and was Vice President of the debate club.  In a lot of ways, the punk/nerd never left me.  This past Fall, I had some blue-to-teal ombre in my hair one last time before applying to teaching jobs.  It looked like this:


But my affinity for the dark and bizarre has also manifested itself in my hobbies.  I've recently started an oddities collection.  This is something I've wanted to do for at least ten years, but have only recently begun taking it seriously.  I used to bring back strange things from my travels (a fake shrunken head from Ecuador, an antique religious icon from Guatemala, a mummified llama fetus from Bolivia, etc.) but I gave those away as gifts.  Now that I have found some sources for such collectibles here in the US, I'm starting to create my own Addams Family style decor.  My dream is to one day have a library full of this stuff.


From left to right: (back row) preserved baby shark, cow femur, (front) antique bone saw, fox skull, antique strychnine bottle, mummified alligator head.  Many of these items have been picked up on ebay or at horror conventions, but the cow femur was purchased at a quirky antique store in Iowa City called "Artifacts" while the bone saw and poison bottle were purchased at the now-famous antique store Obscura (from the Science Channel show "Oddities").  Other things that I really wanted to buy from that store were a vibrating "fitness" belt (like the one Peggy tested on "Mad Men"), an antique speculum, and antique dental molds.  Some items in the store are a little overpriced compared to buying online (or abroad), but I like the feeling of finding these treasures in a store, rather than searching on the internet.

Foxy!

Medical oddities
In addition to these items, my boyfriend bought me a framed taxidermy bat online!
What should I name him?
I also found this really great jewelry maker who designs necklaces, rings, earrings, and bracelets out of real animal bones.  My boyfriend's brother bought me a bat skull pendant for Christmas and it's currently my favorite piece of jewelry.

Bat skull necklace by Murder Jewelry
It's a small business right here in New Jersey called Murder Jewelry (he also has an etsy page).  I need to meet up with the designer sometime at a convention to ask about custom pieces.  If I ever get a wedding ring, I would prefer a skull to a diamond.  Everyone has their quirks!  Maybe I watched too many Tim Burton movies as a kid, or visited too many castle dungeons on family trips to Europe or something.  I am a generally cheerful person, though, so I think really there is just something very therapeutic about embracing death and the macabre as a way to reconcile the two extremes (light and dark) in life.  It's the same reason so many people like ghost stories and horror movies, I think.

In other news, today is the first time in four days that I've been able to taste anything, so I think that means I'm getting better!


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