X-Files Freak Show Meets Pawn Stars: Science Channel’s Oddities

Happy Hallowe’en, all you eerie black cats! Every time I think Christmas is my fave time of year, October sallies into town and, bonkers I go! Travel, parties, costumes and ghostly film & TV marathons: my pally JennyPop has a fab viewing list! What’s better than a Hallowe’en viewing party? Watching with spookily stylized treats and drinkies! Sippy, sippy? Salem’s Hawthorne Hotel, where I shall be spending this Samhain soiree, is proffering the perfect pumpkin pie martini. Um, yes, please!

Back here in Cali, up in wine country for the après-Salem festivities, Dr. Lucy and her deathly devoted Dr. Devorkian shall be serving up Dr. Meechele’s Eyeball Martinis: Belvedere vodka with pimento-stuffed, skewered, black olives and bleeding vampire teeth ice cubes.  (Need some ghoulishly good entertaining ideas, your own self? Thank Jebus, Sunset magazine knows not all Westerners want BBQ and hiking trail articles all the time!) Last year’s Napa bash? So ominously pleasing, I’m mildly concerned as to what this year could bring. Fret not, though. Should Lucy and I survive, updates will follow. Survive, you query? Yes, so much fun that even two living dead girls might not make it out alive.

To boot, I finally decided on a costume: Abby Sciuto of NCIS. True, I was already Abby one year and I am loathe to repeat a costume. Yet, that was five or more years ago and, in my defense, I had nowhere to go. So, I spent Devil’s Night in Colonial Williamsburg and roamed the town, frightening the upper-crusty and upper-dusty of the Old Dominion. They make the real dead n’ dusty, like Mum & Dad, Boston’s own Dr. Harvey & Hildy- look like Haunted Mansion party crashers. Holy moly, what a stuffy set of bones, those Virginians. (Hey. How many Virginians does it take to change a light bulb? Seven. One to change it and six to talk about how great the old one was. Ha!) Natch, this ennui does not include the vast array of CW performers, interpreters and artists. Yikes! Those beans can par-tee har-dee!! Stephen Christoff, Sterling Fry and Lance Pedigo … I’m talking directly to you, boys!

Artwork by CurtisDog53/FanPop

So, whilst searching for NCIS on Netflix, I happened across an eery series, parfait for this time of year, called Oddities: Science Channel’s own answer to History Channel’s Pawn Stars. Well, I knew in the thump of a tell-tale heart that our Dr. Lucy needed to see this. Funny enough, she recognized some little friends amidst the bottles and glass domes on display at Obscura Antiques and Oddities: the Downtown Manhattan-based curio shop where Oddities is shot. You’ll recall our excursion to Dr. Watson’s Steampunk Odditorium here in sunny San Diego? This place makes Dr. Watson’s cabinets look like glass cases of Betsey Johnson accessories at Macy’s. This stuff is freaky, even for Moi.

Recall the X-Files episode “Humbug” (S2E20), wherein Scully and Mulder travel to Florida to investigate murders in a carnival freak show? Well, move Pawn Stars to this episode and you’ve got Oddities. So much so, I would not be surprised if Leonard, the freak show murderer and underdeveloped, free-range, conjoined twin of Lanny (actor Vincent Schiavelli) was either preserved in one of the shop’s formaldehyde bottles or skittering freely amidst Obscura in the wee hours of the morn, pinning antique butterflies and dung beetles to Chatty Cathy doll faces.

Owners Mike Zohn and Evan Michelson claim Obscura “ain’t your grandmother’s antique shop”. True dat, as they say. My own Beacon Hill Granny would freak at the idea of petrified whale cochlea and fossilized mammoth dung … and she’s dined with both Mussolini and Joan Crawford. Better dressed and far funkier than the desert rats and t-shirted schlubs of Las Vegas’ Gold and Silver Pawn, the patrons and staff of Obscura are reality TV’s antidote for those with a greater interest in rhesus monkey skulls and Thai snake wine, than Rat Pack memorabilia and John Wayne saddles. Beyond the odd customer (I do mean odd), there seems to be an irregular parade of collectors, artists, performers and seasoned antiquers ebbing and flowing into the shop: like a perpetual tide of 1920s carnival workers and sideshow talent. Best of all, for yours truly and her Hallowe’en viewing habits, this is exactly the kind of place Miss Abby Sciuto would haunt; ergo, it’s the perfect, seasonal viewing pour Moi during costume fittings!

Bad timing: Obscura, closed. Photo: Tony Buser

Kids, keep your Saturday nights at 9:00 free! Set your DVR if need be or just watch via Netflix. Note though, Netflix has only Season 1 thus far. Although, S1 does contain my, so far, fave episode! You’ll make the Addams Familyesque acquaintance of an unearthly and creepily adorable, oh-so-odd beauty whom, after careers of both a mortician and a model (runway, I presume, by her lovely, lanky looks) has made the natural progression to fashion designer. Now she needs an embalming table for her latest collection. Why? You’ll just have to watch: S1E4 “Model Mortician”. Besides, where else on reality TV, besides The Real Housewives of Orange County, will you hear the following three declarations?

“I don’t think I’ll be spending $400 today on a walrus penis.”

“Finding a perfect monkey skull is not an easy task.”

“I’ve exhausted my resources trying to find a grade-A monkey skull.”

For my two centimes, similar to The X-Files, the show is best watched at night and with a glass of Cabernet. Noontime and a cup of green tea? Not so much. The Hellraiser skull pins, antique dentures and 19thC. straight jackets are a bit unsettling too early in the day.

To boot, this year Science Channel is running an Oddities Hallowe’en Day marathon!

With my familiar, (R.I.P.) Catrina Tituba, in Colonial Williamsburg. Photo: Colonial Paranormal Society

Right-o then, chickadees. Back to my Hallowe’en preparations. I need the right pair of Demonia-style, Marilyn Manson, platform boots, a new mini-kilt (purple, pink and black if possible) and just the right, final piece of jewelry: maybe a pirate ring. Ah, yesss. Excellent. I require a replica of Captain Jack Sparrow’s emerald ring. Precious. Preciousss! Lucy? Are you paying attention?

Hannah’s fave places to haunt online? JennyPop.net and amazon.com/author/jenniferdevore

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