One of my hobbies is collecting oddities. When you visit my collection in person, everything has a number on it. Simply scroll down the the number to read more about what you’re looking at
1: Sand Shark Taxidermy
This sand shark was acquired from Dean Lewis in August of 2019. Dean used to acquire large animals for zoos and circuses and help facilitate moving them around the country. I met dean at at gig I was performing at and he showed me a magic trick after the show and got to chatting which led to me getting to see his collection of oddities at his show Oddities of Nature in South Point, WA.
In the picture below you can see the sand shark in the display case in his shop.
The shark had a price tag on it that was a fraction of what it was worth. I told Dean this and that I was willing to pay more, but he insisted the price was correct and that’s how it came to be in my collection.
Look close and you’ll notice it’s eyes are actually googly eyes!
2: Mummified Foot
This mummified human foot was a teaching tool from Lieden University in the Netherlands in the mid 1800’s. The back side of the foot is cut flat to show the bones inside.
The original glass bell was destroyed during a move, however the brass mounting hardware is original and has been installed in a new base with glass bell.
Acquired from Adam C. in April of 2019
3: Al Koran Ashes and Deck of Cards
Al Koran (Edward Doe) was a very famous mentalist and magician in the mid 20th century.
You can watch Al Koran on the Ed Sullivan show by clicking here!
After his death, he was cremated and his ashes were given to Billy McComb. Billy then gave some to Ted Lesley, who gave them to Ken Klosterman. Ken displayed them at his Salon de Magic in Cincinnati, OH.
Above is a letter from Ted Lesley to Ken Klosterman with the story about why Ted gave Ken the ashes.
I acquired this from the Klosterman Estate in December 2021
4: Small Shark Jaw
Gift from my daughter.
The jaw is inside a vintage Beauty Canary Cage made by Abbott’s Magic Manufacturing
5: Medium Shark Jaw
This was acquired in Boise Idaho. I was running a 3 shell game (for entertainment purposes) and a player wanted to gamble on it. Despite my telling him that I don’t play for money, he insisted we wager something. After some negoitating I found out he owned an antique shop that had a shark jaw. We wagered my twenty dollar bill for his shark jaw.
Spoiler alert: I won!
6: El Chupacabra
A truck driver is Texas hit this while driving on highway 59 at night. This is was was left in the grill of his truck when he got to the next gas station. It was dried out (mummified).
I acquired it at a flea market in Grapevine, TX.
7: Two Headed Turtle
I found this little guy on a rock near Pomerleau Lake in Plymouth, MN when I was a teenager in about 1995. He was already dead when I found him.
I dried it out and it’s my first oddity that started this collection!
8: Mummy Cat
The Egyptians used to mummify animals as an offering to the gods. This one was aquired from a collector that my daughter and I met after a show while performing on Vashon Island.
It took a couple of visits out to the island to convince him to sell it to me.
You can learn more about Egyptian Mummified Cats here!
9: Fireproof Flag Topper
On November 14th, 2016 the strip mall where my PO Box was destroyed by arson. I had been out of town for a few weeks and the morning of the arson I has emptied the accumulated mail from my PO Box. A few hours later the whole building was destroyed by the fire.
After the ashes had cooled, I jumped the fence that was put around the rubble and rescued this flag topper from the where the post office was. It was one of the few things that miraculously survived the fire!
The lady who was accused of the arson said she was going to burn the building down after she was upset at the Dollar Store’s lack of available carts! A few minutes later it was on fire. She was arrested, yet somehow she managed to get the charges dropped and recieved a $100,000 settlement from the city!!!
12: Rorschach Test
The Rorschach Test is a projective psychological test that uses a set of cards featuring different “ink blots”. What you see in the pictures is used to by the psychologist to help in diagnosing you.
Look at the card, what do you see?
I can’t tell you what your see in the card means, but I can tell you this is card IV (4) out of the set of 10 cards.
Card IV is notable for its dark color and its shading (posing difficulties for depressed subjects), and is generally perceived as a big and sometimes threatening figure; compounded with the common impression of the subject being in an inferior position (“looking up”) to it, this serves to elicit a sense of authority. The human or animal content seen in the card is almost invariably classified as male rather than female, and the qualities expressed by the subject may indicate attitudes toward men and authority. Because of this Card IV is often called “The Father Card”
13: Elephant Bullhook with Attached Whip
A bullhook is a tool used for training and handling elephants. Most don’t have whips attached to them and the purpose of the whip is showmanship to make noise and not to strike the animal.
This bullhook with whip was circus used (circus unknown) and formerly belonged in the John & Jan Zweifel circus collection.
14: Pachyderm Painting
This art was painted by an elephant named Gunter in March of 2004 at the Ringling Brothers and Barnum Bailey circus. These painting were typically done before the circus and raffled off to attendees.
Taped to the back of the painting is a picture of Gunter painting it and performer Jon Weiss presenting it to it’s original owner.
24: Alligator Head
This alligator lived at an animal attraction in Nevada. One day it bit a trainer and “acquired the taste of human blood” and they had to put it down. A friend of mine who worked at the attraction managed to save the head and dehydrate it and kept it in their collection.
In 2022 my daughter made a deal with them to acquire it and presented it to me as a Christmas gift!
25: Spirit Rapping Hand
During the Spiritualism movement in the late 19th century, mediums would use dolls hands to communicate with the dead. The spirit would answer questions by making the hand rock tapping once for yes and twice for no.
This spirit rapping hand is an unusual example as it’s a child’s hand, where most are an adult/elderly woman’s hand. This one was probably used to communicate with deceased children???
26: Spirit Bell
A great example of a device used to communicate with the dead. The spirit would answer questions by making the glass bell ring once for yes and twice for no.
This was used in 1922 by Mademe Jeanne who successfully contacted Belle Elmore who was murdered by Dr. Crippen in 1910 where the spirit of Belle confirmed that her murderer was Dr. Crippen.
You can read about the Notorious Case of Dr. Crippen here
This spirit bell was previously owned by John Pomeroy magician and collector and acquired over two decades after his death.