Every so often my perception of reality changes; some for the good and some for the bad. Recently a dear friend and fellow blogger extraordinaire, introduced me to a multilevel retail extravaganza that was so extreme, I left a better person, friend and lover. Okay, maybe not any of those things but it had a profound effect on me that fits VeggieMacabre to a T. I introduce to you an iconic shop that makes the bookstore from The Never Ending Story and Ray Stanz’s spook shop in Ghostbusters 2 look like a Baby’s R Us. Meet “Father and Son” located in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Located right downtown in Raleigh, this store looks like an ordinary retro second-hand store that most cities have but once inside, there is a sort of Twilight zone feeling in the pit of the stomach. You will see what I am talking about very shortly.
The store has a series of floors and rooms, each one a different theme and feel. Sure all the rooms basically offer the same stuff (used clothes and long forgotten items of yester-year) but each has a distinct feel, some feelings of being cluttered, some feelings of oddness and some feelings of down right creepiness. The kind of creepiness like a dream where you scream and nothing comes out as you are trapped in a yellow room with a fat hillbilly family in animal masks while “Moon River” plays in the background. That kind of creepy.
Here we begin with the front room and as you can see, there is no rhyme or reason but rather just random displays of some really weird shit. You can find anything here from stickers of quotes by Dr. Dre to a cross-stitched and framed Sesame Street Grover picture. To get through this part takes no less than a half an hour because just when you think you have seen it all, there are more items behind the items that are behind the items. Much like a fishing vessel, from a distance it looks like a mess until you look closer to find that everything is right where it is intended to be.
It goes without saying that in a Kohl’s this would warrant a Fox News investigative story into witchcraft being thrust into retail therapy but here, it works. A chicken-headed girl works like pastrami and rye.
Of all the items though, this one stuck out the most. A young Hasselhoff can rarely be perfected unless of course his head is superimposed on Mr. Olympia’s body. But put him in space and it now becomes ridiculous. Had the background been in a Wendy’s dining-room, this would be at a frame shop.
Ah, the second floor. I am not showing all the rooms because that level of detail would detract from the mystique of Father and Son so I will stick to the ones that left an impression on me the most. If you stare down this hall too long it seems like it gets longer. Kind of like the scene in Poltergeist when Diane is trying to run to save her kids. God I love that part. Ok, let’s go left.
I think keeping inventory in this store would be more complicated than astro-biology because there is literally one of everything in a four-story store of one million everythings. Get that?
I am not sure why I didn’t take a picture of the whole room because just out of frame is a working tub and shower with an American flag and a shrine to paperback risqué novels that drive women of menopause crazy. I think it was just a system overload of the brain.
Here is another room with an overwhelming smell of old. There is sign that clearly states to be careful not to be rough on the clothes since many of them are from the 1930’s which to me, means the original owners are most likely dead. Does this make anyone else uneasy? I donno. But if you look close enough you can see two bloggers.
This is the room that chilled me to the core and I have no idea why. I am not one to get “feelings” but when I walked into this particular room I stated “something bad happened in here” to the shock of Mandey who later told me she too had the same feeling months prior but didn’t want to concur right then because she felt it would make her seem silly. She is silly but not that kind of silly.
I really can’t put my finger on it but the whole place just seems wrong. Maybe it’s the mannequin parts randomly strewn about or perhaps it’s the oddly way it’s lit, but I really feel that Pazuzu had been here smoking on the couch. Something bad happened here.
Keeping on the track of things that make you shit yourself with no apologies I bring you to another floor and room reserved for the strange and unusual because I myself am strange and unusual. This is the art floor and goodness, artist do art scary here. Look at these Manson pictures.
Yeah. I really wish I could credit the photographer but there were no cards or even a description of the display. I was hesitant to even post these but I feel the true underlining feel of Father and Son may not be represented as well had I stuck to my ethics. I sacrifice for you.
It’s a dangerous decision to include a toilet on the same floor as an art exhibit. Living art is always lost on me and there is a chance that I could have made it come alive should I have had one more cup of coffee. I still don’t know if this was art or a public restroom and I have too much dignity to be thrown out over confusion.
It’s weird to see the real world from a place of insanity. I felt like screaming to passing cars and people, “HEY! HEY! I AM IN FATHER AND SON! CAN YOU SEE ME?” only to watch them walk by as if I was in a parallel universe and the store that I think I am in is in reality, a burned out wreckage waiting for demolition. I think I have carried this a bit far.
Keeping with the creepy theme, I found this in a pile of discarded family photos. Have you ever seen such a family? This poor boy never had a chance and I am not a betting man but I am thinking this is the eldest daughters prom souvenir because Mom looks like she would be a tough sell. That statement is chalk for of ugliness. I am sorry.
And finally we are going down to the basement. Another odd fact about this place is Mandey had a dream she went down in this basement before she ever knew this place existed. While it is weird to shop in a basement, it had no where near the creep factor that the said room above had. You do have to be careful though because if you are over 5′ 10″ there is a great chance of a head-dent on a pipe. Six foot me had three.
What can you say? It’s like a dressing room in the basement of a haunted theater with more capes per square foot than any other place in the world. Seriously, this place would make a Shakespearean actor go prose in a rapid fire fashion.
Ok, for some reason, whether it is Photobucket or WordPress, I am unable to load anymore pictures so I will have to continue this report on one of the coolest but definitely creepiest stores in a second installment. Man, I hate when technology wins and fucks with my posts. I know it does this on purpose. Well, anyway, please check in tomorrow to see where I get murdered while looking at a Kenner R2D2 AM radio from 1977. I will end this post with a picture of South Dakota.