Meet your fellow mudlarks at this curiosity shop

In time when many cities are seeing the extremes of gentrification, repetitive national chain stores, and the loss of local mom-and-pop retailers, it was a delight to come across a uniquely weird and imaginative throwback shop in Seattle called Mudlark Oddities. Wait, what's a mudlark?

From their wonderful website: "someone who searches river mud for valuable items. The term originated in London in the 18th century, referring to people hunting the banks of the river Thames for valuables hidden in the mud. We find what others may never think to look for."

This gem of a shop is the lair of Jared Steiner, its proprietor and head mudlark. Though open for less than two years, it already has the fascinating look and the heady smell of a true cabinet of curiosities. Cleverly displayed are endless medical specimens, antique bottles, taxidermy creatures, broken toys, religious paraphernalia, military surplus, and lots of bones—including a human skeleton, Otto, from the 1870's, used in Order of Odd Fellows initiation rights. Need some Stramonium, the "devil's snare" anesthetic?  Out of home-made, circus punk target clown dolls? How about a jar of live leeches? It's all here for you!

Photo: Bob Knetzger
Photo: Bob Knetzger

If you can't come in person, you can browse the Muldlark Oddities Etsy Shop…but you'll miss seeing the authentic 15th century executioner's axe head! I can't wait to go to the next "Morbid Market" gathering, held monthly.