Lights Out For Collector's Crypt

Do you remember Collector’s Crypt? I wrote about that place around this time last year. It’s closed now. I had a dream about it the other night, or rather its next incarnation, which was as a hybrid Christmas/Halloween store. I know the owners have an interest in Christmas things, so that detail is not too surprising. But in my dream, there was also a functional toilet over by the register. I’m not sure what that was supposed to mean.

One day last summer I dropped by to visit my friend Andrea at lunch. The lights were off. There had been some sort of mistake with the power company. We talked about things, about the state of the business. They always struggled, those guys. I couldn’t help but think what a waste it was, for the city. Never to have recognized what a jewel we had. It’s a hard loss.

I asked Andrea if I could wander around and take some pics in the low light. She let me, of course.

To my mind the old house was incredibly well suited as a storefront for horror collectibles. The experience of stepping inside Collector’s Crypt for the first time was a little overwhelming, as a couple of my friends could attest. Sure, it was run down, but that made it all the more effective. Turning that old doorknob, at its weirdly low height, and stepping into the store for the first time took a little courage.

You didn’t know what you were walking into.

Its dark corners and dingy passages complemented the merchandise perfectly. It was a place where the imagination felt at home, not like some sterile product showcase or peddler’s stall.

Let me suggest you slow down. Take your time. Let the pictures put you in that place.

After all we won’t see it again.

A lot of those custom pieces, displayed as they were outside of a box, took on an almost living realism.

I wandered around the store — the house, really — taking my pictures. I had guessed for a while that this day would come. I regretted that it was going to be so soon, though. It wasn’t even certain that the Crypt would see its first Halloween.