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Shop for Watermelon Dishware or a Human Skeleton at Lion Antiques

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On the periphery of Atherton Street and that Vietnamese restaurant, Pho 11, stands a ramshackle shop called “Lion Antiques.”

Its storefront is decorated with a variety of curios — from a collection of books about witchcraft to a number of disembodied doll heads. Curious, I tried to enter, but I was quickly thwarted by a locked door.

Since I had spent all of 10 minutes biking all the way to this favela, I wasn’t just going to go home unrewarded. That would have meant defeat. So I decided to call the number printed on Lion Antiques’ window, on the off-chance that there was some worker inside who would help me out with my inquiries.

The phone had rang twice when I heard someone pick up.

He was breathing into the receiver. “…Hello?” I practically whispered into my phone.

Five seconds went by without him saying anything. Then he disconnected.

Perturbed, I shuffled back to my bike, deciding to come back later, when I knew that Lion Antiques would be open. It was a decision that I did not regret.

About two hours later I strolled back over, with a florescent ‘Open’ sign inviting me in. From the inside, Lion Antiques was a lot cozier than I had expected, with stuff piled up on every wall and in every crevasse. Here’s a brief list of the odds and ends I spotted during my time there:

  • A medley of watermelon-themed dishware
  • One giant clown head covered in nails
  • A 22-inch diameter chandelier from the main lobby of the Waldorf hotel in New York City
  • A 17th-century puppet from the Smithsonian museum
  • Over 40 dolls of varying shape and size
  • Some framed vintage nudes
  • Six katanas
  • A signed copy of Cher’s Autobiography
  • Pictures of the owner with Vanilla Ice and Van Halen
  • A giant UFO that was used on set in the 1996 film Mars Attacks
  • One human skeleton (pictured below)
Yes, that is actually a skeleton in a coffin
Yes, that is actually a skeleton in a coffin.

Resting on top of a showcase, in a dense, black coffin, sat the remains of some poor 19th-century soul who had sold her body to science. No word on how the manager of the store had acquired this skeleton, but he’s hoping to sell it for a measly $1,000.

So, for those of you who are hoping to acquire something of a more macabre decoration for your dorm room, or just hoping to uncover some long-forgotten mystery, Lion Antiques is the place to go.

About the Author

Alex Goncalves

International Politics and Latin American Studies major at Penn State, space explorer, man-child. Formerly a paleontologist-at-heart.


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