Have you ever heard someone say, “That person is really spiritual?” or “I wish I was more spiritual?”  That line of thinking has always bothered me. While the word “spiritual” is loaded with inference and preconceived ideas that vary greatly based on the context and background of the one using the word, in essence, most people understand “being spiritual” as some sort of connection to Something or Someone outside of, but interacting with, the physical…

Thumbnail image for The Odditorium, Gatlinburg Tennessee

The Odditorium, Gatlinburg Tennessee

December 1, 2014

Tourist Trash or a Curiosity Traveler Treasure Trove? Let’s first start with Gatlinburg, Tennessee. This hillbilly world of wonder is odd in every way possible. If you are coming for a visit to Dollywood, or to hike in the hills, or to take in a country and western hoedown, or  to see way too many guys wearing their stained white wife-beaters and walking next to their wives who probably beat them, Gatlinburg is the place for you.  Like its counterparts in Niagara Falls,…

Thumbnail image for The Jackalope: Shawn’s Office Oddities

The Jackalope: Shawn’s Office Oddities

November 29, 2014

Killer bunny rabbits? Lepus temperamentalus, or jackalope, is the hybrid of the pygmy-deer and a species of killer rabbits. Usually quite shy, the jackalope can turn deadly if threatened. Female jackalope milk is highly prized for its medicinal properties. Jackalopes are best caught with a bowl of whiskey, which they cannot pass up. Jackalopes can also imitate sounds. Old West historical records tell stories of cowboys, gathered around the fire at night, who often heard jackalopes mimicking…

Thumbnail image for Egil’s Saga, Borgarnes Iceland

Egil’s Saga, Borgarnes Iceland

November 26, 2014

Werewolves, zombies and horse steak. Iceland is a traveler’s curiosity wonderland. Not many years ago, the majority of the population still believed elves existed and who is to say they don’t? An hour drive north of Reykjavik is the small seaside village of Borgarnes. This sleepy little town has one of the best curiosity sites in the country, the award winning Settlement Center. Besides focusing on historic life in Iceland, and selling high quality Icelandic…

Thumbnail image for Greyfriar’s Bobby, Edinburgh Scotland

Greyfriar’s Bobby, Edinburgh Scotland

November 3, 2014

Man’s best friend is faithful beyond the grave. John Gray worked as a night watchman for the Edinburgh police in the 19th century. His faithful Skye terrier, Bobby, accompanied Gray on his rounds for two years. The pair was inseparable. In 1858, John Gray died and was buried in Greyfriar’s Kirkyard in Old Town Edinburgh. The story is told that for the next 14 years, Bobby spent most of his time sitting on his master’s…

Thumbnail image for My First House of Horrors: A Halloween Treat

My First House of Horrors: A Halloween Treat

October 31, 2014

As consistent as the changing of the seasons, Spanky’s Fun Carnival arrived at the end of every October. For the kids of River Vale, NJ, the traveling carnival was the official opening ceremoney holiday season. Magic was in the air and we breathed it in deeply. Three days before the carnival opened, gangs of children, on our way to and from school, stopped to stare at brawny lumberjack men building amusement rides. Our hearts raced…

Thumbnail image for Unicorn Skull: Shawn’s Office Oddities

Unicorn Skull: Shawn’s Office Oddities

October 30, 2014

I do believe in unicorns. I started my personal oddities collection while walking through a giant flea market.  I knew I wanted to begin collecting oddities but I did not know how to start or what kind of oddities I wanted to focus on.  Oddities genres are numerous:  quack medical equipment, taxidermy, occult items, religious items, circus or sideshow paraphernalia. As I walked into the flea market that day I turned to my wife and…