I went to the best store in Walsall and found a “haunted” music box hidden in the back
As I was speeding down the M6 from the Dog House Antiques and Collectibles store in Walsall I heard a strange noise. It wasn’t an ominous engine noise, or another driver’s frantic honking.
It was the unprovoked tinkling of the little old music box I’d found hidden deep in a shelf in the cluttered 6,000 square foot cavern of the curio shop, emanating from my boot. I had given it a good wind about five miles ago, listening to it in the parking lot before driving home. Now he had suddenly come to life.
My first thought was funny, that I looked like an ice cream van on the highway. My second, which followed quickly thereafter, ripped the smile from my face as suddenly as the music had started.
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I had shared a laugh with owner Jon Rutter that the club might be haunted as he totaled my bill at the counter. “And that’s where the demon is hiding, isn’t it?” I joked, pointing to the cover of the mechanism. He politely played with my gag.
He pointed to a rotating meat hanger behind the counter, believed to have once been used to cook meat over a fire. “This one came to life earlier,” he said. “The sun must have warmed the oil in the mechanism and it suddenly started working again.”
He was chatting with a little boy when I arrived, looking into a box full of old coins. The little one asked if there were any Victorian coins he could exchange for his more modern pocket money.
The Dog House is by far the best shop in all of Walsall. In addition to the kind and knowledgeable staff, the whole space is filled with things and hoosits, trranklements and whatjamacallits, antiques, old, new. They are hung from the ceiling, piled up in crates, and hidden in aisles of old wooden furniture of almost every description.
So I walked around the counter and down one, checking out some reasonably priced Birmingham silverware stored in a cupboard. Pens from the 1900s, sugar tongs, rings, earrings and things I couldn’t place.
The turn of a new hour was marked by a cacophony of noise, grandfather clocks and wall clocks and shelf clocks and je ne sais quoi of clocks striking three. I admired once prized tea sets, giant cabinets and records. In a pile of tin cans, I managed to find a battered (but no less lovely) Cadbury chocolate box with a picture of a boy holding an apple on it.
After walking down each aisle, my eyes twinkling in every inch of space so as not to miss a thing, I arrived at my favorite part of the store. Square shelves containing hundreds of odds and ends. Simple mugs, crystal glasses missing their five friends, antique vases and trinkets.
I put aside a fun little Wade porcelain crab that caught my eye, a cut glass goblet I felt sorry for for some reason, and the ugliest jug of Gluggle fish I’ve ever seen. of my life. “Looks like he had a life,” John said as he wrapped him in a newspaper.
Finally, I noticed some old cardboard boxes on the bottom shelf, so I sat my butt down and proceeded to open them all, to see what was inside. One housed an old glass thermometer. And that’s when I first laid eyes on my music box.
Faded and worn, wearing a sticker that told me it was only £5, I returned it to my hands. Surely it wouldn’t work if I liquidated it? So I did.
It was beautiful and somehow still quite scary. It tinkled its tune like it was brand new, a statement from the little box that it definitely still had life in it. I had to have it.
As Jon called me, a bill of just £38.95, I made my first joke that the club was haunted. He had written some notes on the desk, which would have given me goosebumps if I hadn’t been so cynical.
But as I drove down the freeway to get home, the box humming disconcertingly in my trunk and the car now looking like it was ten degrees cooler, I wondered if I had found the box, or if that strange old box had found me…
You can find the doghouse at 309 Bloxwich Rd, Walsall, WS2 7BD
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