When The Wilde Collection first opened its doors in the Heights last year, we got all excited – albeit in an uncomfortable, nervous sort of way. Our walk-through last fall revealed a human skeleton, antique medical paraphernalia (for "where the sun don't shine") and other oddities collected by owners Lawyer Douglas and Tyler Zottarelle.
While the inventory from these purveyors of the macabre has turned over since our last visit, you'll still find room after room of strange, avant-garde objects that transform normal into the bizarre. The selfie-friendly Jack Skellington is the only nod to contemporary culture, and they've got eccentric, one-of-a-kind items not found in those seasonal stores that pop up every September. One caveat: If you're grieving over the loss of a child, this might not be the place for you.
The middle room sports an enormous taxidermy collection – we're talking lions and tigers and rhinos, oh my – and towards the rear of the store we found this demon skull. You can tell by its wings.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the mission of the Houston Press. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Houston’s stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Bones, skeletons and skulls are artfully arranged in this eccentric curiosity shop. Last year Douglas told us that he was descended from curanderas and voodoo witch doctors, which perhaps explains why he creates freaky bone art that's both dark and well-executed.
While vamp baby (above) is immortal, towards the back of the shop is a small casket in what looks to be a loving tribute in remembrance of Alister Reginald Wilde III. The "reborn Victorian postmortem art installment" includes a cabinet card death notice and a photo of the baby and his mother.
More fashionable than a Madame Alexander doll, each Vampyre doll has its own name and so-called charm. Erzsébet, also known as The Blood Countess, was descended from the noble Báthory family in Hungary and, according to Guinness World Records, was the most prolific female murderer of the western world. It was rumored that she killed 650 young women from neighboring villages, sometimes bathing in the blood of virgins to preserve her youth. Anne Rice fans should appreciate her companion, Vampyre Claudia.
What has been seen cannot be unseen. One look at the hillbilly taxidermy at The Wilde Collection and you'll be muttering to yourself, "This sh*t ain't right."