So a week or two ago, when we heard (via the Damned Connecticut Facebook page) that there was a new oddities shop in Wallingford, we were excited. We've been saying that the state needed a place—or two—like this. To paraphrase Field of Dreams, "Open it and they will come."
You can now count "us" along with "they."
Shadowland opened on North Colony Road in Wallingford last September, the realized vision of owner Eric Morton, a lifelong collector of the odd, weird and rare. When we arrived, Eric was behind the counter, happy to chat. We quickly learned all about the store and how passionate he is about "damned"-type subjects, and how much he loves to support the local Wallingford community, from other businesses to arts organizations (he's the lead singer of The Curse of Her Flesh) to charities, such as the nearby Trail of Terror. He also supports Connecticut artists and other groups, you know, like us.
As you can see in the gallery below, the shop definitely has the vibe you'd expect for a place that sells oddities and curiosities—weird tchotchkes and offbeat works of art hang on the walls, while the shelves are stocked with everything from voodoo doll keychains and animal skulls to demon statues and preserved bugs—heck, there's even a totem pole on one table. Books, DVDs and CDs are also available, covering everything from Aleister Crowley to UFOs, as well as local damned-type subjects. A number of vintage games and collectibles are also on display, as are animal-bone sculptures and mobiles that Eric makes himself.
The store's stock rotates pretty regularly—I was outright bummed when Eric told us that he had just sold a Feejee mermaid a few hours before we arrived. He's plugged into the antiquities market, and goes to estate sales a few times each week in quest of new items.
As you can also see, if you visit, don't plan on staying the day as Shadowland isn't the biggest store in the world—although it's certainly bigger than the famed Obscura in New York City ... for now. (Obscura is moving into a new building soon.) Like many object dealers, Eric has items that he doesn't have on display and plenty of connections, so if you're looking for something, just ask.
Eric has plans to expand, but like any small business owner, he's trying to do in economically viable phases—i.e., like most of us, he's not a secret billionaire with unlimited funds to do whatever he wants. Although if he was, Shadowland would be an amazing place—he mentioned how he'd love the place to look like a cave filled with everything from full-sized coffins to tanks with flesh-eating beetles.
As Eric said, "I wanted to open a store that I'd want to walk into." We'd say, "Mission accomplished."
We'll be back.