More buyers stop by The Wilde Collection, an assembly of the macabre and mysterious at 1446 Yale St., closer to Christmas. But Halloween brings out a fair number of curiosity seekers.
On a recent weekday, a television crew from Fox Sports was there to do a sightseeing segment for World Series guests and a father from Oak Forest had stopped by to show his daughter the store and pay homage to Santa Muerte, the Skeleton Saint.
And then there are the spirits.
Lawyer B. Douglas II, who owns the shop along with Tyler G. Zottarelle, also lives there. He said people should be skeptical about the paranormal, but he’s also seen many things that defy a simple explanation.
Shortly after the store opened, he said visitors – particularly female ones – talked about the weird feeling they got when walking through one of the rooms that was set up as a bedroom.
“People usually felt uncomfortable being there,” Douglas said. “Sometimes short of breath or dizzy.”
Based on a paranormal investigation done by members of the Mystic Society, a network of mediums and psychics that Douglas put together, he said the ghost of an old woman had been in the room.
A former paranormal investigator and conductor of séances himself, Douglas said although objects themselves are not haunted, sometimes for various reasons they attract a certain energy. In this case, the assumption was that the ghost was attracted to the physical arrangement of the items in the bedroom as it possibly reminded her of her own home when she was alive.
“Spirits use us like Uber,” Douglas said. “They can only go with a certain energy.”
If it’s a positive association, he said they hop on. And if it’s a negative one, he said they throw out energy to repel the one who wields it.
When the bed from the arrangement was sold, and the room rearranged, the energy changed.
“It’s not as strong currently,” Douglas said.
While most of the store is quiet, with mystery cold spots here and there, Douglas said there is one room – to the right of the main entrance – that has the most unexplained phenomena.
Douglas said it started when he acquired what he calls the “Restless Doll.”
According to the store’s website, https://www.wildecollection.com/, the doll came from a house that sat across from Calgary Cemetery in Galveston. The home was said to be haunted, with one room in particular, a former nursery, ground zero for items falling from shelves and the sound of a child crying. Abandoned for a time, a couple bought it and started renovations in February 2016. When they removed the flooring by a window in the nursery, they found a smiling doll – which they sold to Douglas, who made it into a piece of art that hangs on the wall.
In the past year, Douglas said several strange things have happened. The store has also posted security footage of the incidents, which can be viewed on its Facebook or Instagram accounts.
One shows a doll, hanging near the Restless Doll, launching more than falling off the wall to knock over a marionette to the ground. Another shows a crate of bottles spilling forcefully out from under a nearby table while Douglas is working on a nearby arrangement.
Douglas said an investigator saw the bottle video and came to debunk it, but still could not explain the incident away.
Most recently, a stuffed goat that was bolted to the wall adjacent to the Restless Doll fell to the floor.
“It was like someone pulled the goat from the wall by the horns,” Douglas said. “Not all spirits communicate in the same way.”
The Restless Doll, along with other haunted lore, is not for sale. Douglas still acquires pieces that interest him but said he no longer has to go hunt for them.
“People seek me out,” he said.
Visitors to the room with the Restless Doll might hear the rustling of feathers and a squawking, but that is easily explained. Douglas houses a collection of well-loved peacocks just out the window.
“There are living things here, too,” he said.