As your feet hit the concrete, gum-riddled streets of Burbank, you stumble upon a storefront that looks a bit more unique than the rest of the shops around it. You get more intrigued as you see a wheel of fortune sitting on the sidewalk in front of the store’s entrance, tempting you to spin it. Your curiosity finally gets the best of you and you open the door not knowing it was to another world. As you step inside, you’re met with pentagrams, skulls, bones, trinkets and home decor that scream everything dark, ominous, and full of terror.
This is exactly the kind of experience Erick Wessel and Kiko Bailey wanted people to have when they opened their now collections of shops attached to one another: The Mystic Museum, Camp Horror, and Bearded Lady Vintage and Oddities. The two first opened Bearded Lady Vintage and Oddities about nine years ago with no forethought plan to do so. They just had a passion that they wanted to spread throughout Burbank and they saw the opportunity to do so through a humble for-sale sign on a building on West Magnolia Blvd. They stocked it full of supposedly haunted masks, preserved goat hearts, and anything they found odd enough that would fit with their shop and what people would hopefully want to purchase.
As the years went by, their shop popularity progressively grew leading them to expand even more so. Thus, the Mystic Museum was born! Erick and Kiko bought the available spot right next door to Bearded Lady Vintage and Oddities and decided to specifically turn it into a place where people can go to look at vintage oddities and peculiar items, a mystic museum if you will. It allowed for both shops to be combined into one place: a collective of the weird and macabre. As soon as that store took off as their first one did, they decided to celebrate the arts associated with the gruesome and eerie inside their shop. This small space was a portal into the world of old VHS tapes and outside artists' work.
The founders of the Mystic Museum, Erick Wessel and Kiko Bailey.
Then everything came to a halt as soon as Covid-19 hit the world in 2020. The store was forced to close just like a chain of other businesses once the lockdown was initiated. Thankfully, the store was able to survive through their devoted customers and the availability to purchase their merchandise online through their web store. Then, the dog grooming place that was next to them closed down and Erick and Kiko were quick to purchase it. They'd been wanting to expand ever since the success of The Mystic Museum and this was the perfect opportunity even though the circumstances were not as fortunate for their neighbors. This was the birth of Camp Horror: a slasher, horror movie-inspired, summer camp-themed store. This store focuses specifically on old gory horror movies, monsters, and mayhem.
The museum part itself is a thrilling experience for horror fans who want to know what it is like to be transported into working at a VHS store filled to the brim with classic horror movies. The tickets they hand out to enter the museum serve as your tickets to “clock-in to work” at the VHS store. Once you enter, you’re greeted with your breakroom: lockers and a clock-in station. The entire area is interactable as you can pretend as if you're clocking into work as well as open “your locker” and see the items you’ve stored for your shift. As you continue your journey out of the breakroom, you’re met with the cash register and aisles of old VHS tapes, almost all horror-themed. You can take photos, interact with the movies and register.
When visiting this chain of stores, I instantly fell in love with the dark decor, haunting yet spectacular oddities to purchase, and goth-inspired accessories and apparel. Everytime I walk in, I find something new to look at, whether it be a cat skull or a skull-shaped bag from the beloved brand Killstar. This also means I have a hard time going into the shops and not leaving without something. The shops are a great place to also discover small artists who are trying to make a living and name for themselves. I’ve purchased art prints displaying horror icons, boughten teeth from coyotes, vintage photographs, and The Mystic Museum-themed pins. I recommend this chain of establishments to anyone with a taste for the unusual since it's a perfect place to grow your own personal collection of oddities and experience a world of horror close to home.
Outside of the illustrious Camp Horror on Magnolia Blvd.