House of Oddities | Photo by Bethany Althauser | The Wright State Guardian
Located on Main Street in Fairborn, the Secret Chamber House of Oddities and Artwork is full of wonders and curiosities for all ages.
Behind the Chamber House
Cherish Harrell Brooks, the owner of Oddities, has had an affinity with this area since she was a child when she was pulled into the Halloween scene.
According to Harrell Brooks, downtown Fairborn was a place for a lot of kids who felt like they were “the weird kid,” including herself. Mike Foy’s costume shops gave them a fascination and a chance to explore.
“Everybody feels like they were the weird kid at some point. I think sometimes people need to channel that. Remember when you felt like the weird kid? Let people be weird, man. It’s not hurting anybody,” Harrell Brooks said.
Harrell Brooks has always been seeking individuals like her and found her people through conventions all over the country. Through this, she started doing booths at different horror conventions, which led her into the oddities and curiosities.
After deciding she no longer wanted to travel, Harrell Brooks could not think of a better place than to bring it back home. Harrell Brooks expressed that Mike Foy’s had already set the path for a lot of people in the area, including her.
It felt right for Harrell Brooks to go back to the place that led her to find who she is and help guide others to their people as well.
Although Halloween plays a big part in her scene, to Harrell Brooks, this is not just a holiday, this is her lifestyle.
“I do this on the daily, this is my lifestyle, this is my living room,” Harrell Brooks said.
Harrell Brooks thinks it is important for people to come see her store in person, but also other stores on the whole street. She has had a lot of customers who make a whole trip of it, which she encourages: to not only see her shop but all the others on the street as well, to make a whole experience out of what Fairborn has to offer.
When customers walk into Harrell Brooks’s shop, they have a huge variety of pieces to look at. Harrell Brooks has created an atmosphere of support, a “come in and be you” mentality.
On the backside of her shop, there is a mural full of flowers, which Harrell Brooks painted after the Oregon District shooting. Each flower in the mural is for someone who lost their life that day.
What might make Harrell Brooks’s Oddities Shop different from others, according to Harrell Brooks, is that she does not only focus on taxidermy and death. Her shop is not grim. Harrell Brooks likes to explore more and bring colors and local artists’ work into her shop. Some of her inspiration comes from New Orleans, the Day of the Dead, PT Barnum and mysteries.
“I hope when people come in here, that they find something, even if it’s just the littlest thing, to connect with where they feel like this is a safe place. I want people to be able to express themselves,” Harrell Brooks said. “Maybe it’s a grandma that wears neon fuzzy pink, or maybe it’s that little Wednesday girl, but maybe it’s just the combination, the two coming in and her finding that mushroom pan.”
Everyone is welcome, and Harrell Brooks wanted to create a place where anyone could come in and find something they like that is affordable. Although the shop has some consignment through a few companies, a lot of it is from local artists in the community.
Harrell Brooks has two employees who help her run the shop, her boyfriend Damien Warner and Kate Tait.
The Secret Chamber House of Oddities is open all year and also hosts a variety of different events. Some events have been a burlesque club, witch 101, haunted terrarium and wine night, as well as many more. In October last year, Harrell Brooks held a Labyrinth Ball for the five-year anniversary of the shop’s opening.
On Friday, Oct. 13, the shop will be having a Cryptic Gallery with local artists’ art, a food truck, a fangsmith who can make molds of mouths and more.
The store is currently open from 12 to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. For more information about the store, visit its Facebook page.