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Video: The Old Ghosts Collective antique shop is about to get freaky in Fort Lauderdale

This isn't your grandmother’s antique store. A two-headed calf, a half-monkey Fijian mermaid and a life-size replica of the head of American sideshow performer Schlitzie the Pinhead are among the many oddities you’ll soon find at the Old Ghosts Collective in Fort Lauderdale.

Opening May 26, the store represents a years-long effort to collect antiques, oddities and folk art from the late 1800s to the early 1950s by owner and curator Jackson Valiente.

Valiente’s collection includes hand-painted American sideshow banners from long-gone traveling circuses that featured acts such as the "the quarter man,” who was born without legs. Valiente, 41, has also acquired lifelike wax heads and mannequins from the art deco period of the 1920s and earlier.

"These things tend to give a lot of my clients the creeps, but I love them,” says Valiente, who was born in Cuba, grew up in Miami and now lives in Fort Lauderdale.

His motivation to “preserve the past” began after high school, when he started collecting hot rods and other classic cars from the 1950s.

“I have some sort of nostalgia for a simpler time less stifled by social media,” Valiente says. “The things I collect were made with a lot of compassion, heart and soul.”

Besides collecting and curating the collective, Valiente has worked as a tattoo artist for 15 years and owns Kreepy Tiki Tattoos and Boutique, located next door to the Old Ghosts Collective on South Federal Highway just north of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport.

"People in my store started asking me if I would sell some of the stuff, because they wanted it for themselves,” Valiente says. “So maybe about three years ago, I started buying with the idea to sell. It has now taken a life of its own, and it's become a pretty eccentric collection of antiquities."

Visitors to the Old Ghosts Collective will be able to buy tiki mugs, Hawaiian aloha shirts, vintage furniture, folk art, old Halloween masks, carnival items and local folk art, including works by Valiente.

The Old Ghosts Collective is located at 2606 S. Federal Highway, in Fort Lauderdale. Call 305-803-9014.

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