Oddity Store Spooks New Museum

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FAIRBORN – The secret chamber of oddities and artwork in downtown Fairborn now offers a unique new experience for the curious and perhaps slightly morbid.

After launching her new extra space in October 2021, store owner and operator Cherish Harrell Brooks has transformed what is essentially the 600-square-foot basement of her gothic art gallery/curiosities showcase into her own personal museum. weird, dark and scary.

Intrigued patrons can stop by the House of Oddities during business hours, request a guided tour of Harrell Brooks’ macabre museum, donate $5 if they wish, and enjoy the special pleasures of a series of neatly and neatly curated exhibits downstairs.

The exhibits on display range from “haunted dolls” to serial killer-themed artwork, armadillos and stuffed life-size boars, historical artifacts from wars and fires, and various other odds and ends that may cause equal parts revulsion and revelation to those willing to venture up the narrow stairway to Harrell Brooks’ proscenium-like haunt of joyfully macabre delights.

“This collection isn’t just stuff I’ve collected over the years,” said Harrell Brooks. “It’s also stuff that people brought to me and they didn’t know what to do with. And I held them back, because I didn’t know what to do with them either.

Harrell Brooks went on to explain that she didn’t feel comfortable “just putting a price on these things and selling them in the store”, due to the respect she felt she owed those who offered her the items that would eventually end. to be housed in its modestly sized basement museum.

The creation of the museum in its basement wasn’t too far removed from Harrell Brooks’ ancillary store business, given that it already hosts a monthly horror-themed book club and provided space in the passed on to local artists and photographers to use his building as a fitting “boudoir” studio. For Harrell Brooks, his passion for the weird and the scary is a “lifestyle”. In fact, she does not offer any of her merchandise online to ensure that any customer who wants to buy something from her store has to come in and experience it for themselves.

Although the main House of Oddities store is for all ages, as the basement museum houses sensitive materials, Harrell Brooks will generally only allow those 18 or older inside this part of his building. In the past, she has allowed entry to younger museum visitors with a parent’s permission, but she stipulated that it would likely be a space better suited to adults.

“There are elements there that are a little spicier,” Harrell Brooks said, “and I don’t want to upset anyone. That’s not my intention here.

Beyond the “spicy” items in his museum, Harrell Brooks will also point out – for those brave enough – items on display that would have been studied by professional ghost hunters and deemed “otherworldly”. This includes an eerie framed photograph of a woman from the early 20th century that Harrell Brooks claims two different ghost hunters named “Mary” through investigative devices they used for detection.

Harrell Brooks had originally kept the photograph in her store upstairs, but due to it being “bugged” by one of her associates, she decided to take it back to the museum where it would only attract those who specifically wish to be afraid.

Harrell Brooks clarified that while her store and museum are decidedly not “Halloween-themed,” they are integral to her aforementioned horror-loving lifestyle that originally led her to show her goods collected at various conventions around the country before she decided five years. a few years ago to open the House of Oddities in Fairborn, near where she grew up in New Carlisle.

“I used to come to Fairborn often to check out Foy’s and the other stores here, which really got me into the horror community,” said Harrell Brooks. “I always remembered little things I saw, things that made me wonder if they were ‘real’ or not like mermaids or two-headed buffaloes and things like that. Those experiences made a big impression on me. when I was a kid, and all of that really stuck with me, which led me to where I am today.

For Harrell Brooks, what she offers to the community is more than just a store that sells and displays wacky artwork and merchandise. In her take on what she does, the owner of House of Oddities opens up a special inclusive space that invites those who “want to be themselves and may not feel comfortable doing so in their lives of everyday or at home with their family.”

Harrell Brooks also wants “people out of town to know that downtown Fairborn can be a destination and is worth a visit for what we do at the store and museum, as well as what other department stores every day. along the main street do here too.

Photos by Mathew Klickstein | Cherish Harrell Brooks, owner and operator of the Secret Chamber House of Oddities and Artwork in downtown Fairborn, has transformed the basement of her gothic art gallery/curiosity showcase into her own personal museum of the weird, darkness and goosebumps.

Photos by Mathew Klickstein | Cherish Harrell Brooks, owner and operator of the Secret Chamber House of Oddities and Artwork in downtown Fairborn, has transformed the basement of her gothic art gallery/curiosity showcase into her own personal museum of the weird, darkness and goosebumps.

Photos by Mathew Klickstein | Cherish Harrell Brooks, owner and operator of the Secret Chamber House of Oddities and Artwork in downtown Fairborn, has transformed the basement of her gothic art gallery/curiosity showcase into her own personal museum of the weird, darkness and goosebumps.

Contact Mathew Klickstein at 937-372-4444.

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