Florida has a long history of circus culture. The Ringling Brothers used the state as a winter home for many performers as well as a clown college. Gibsonton was also famously known for being home to sideshow performers. When you walk into Old Ghost of Hollywood you are taken into a special place and time- the early 1900s circus. Brittany Nicole and her partner Jackson Valiente have been collecting circus memorabilia and sideshow antiques as well as mannequins for over 20 years. They opened “Old Ghost” in 2017 and it serves as a museum as well as a place to buy the most unique antiques from the 1920’s – 1960’s. The shop is inside an historic 1940’s building and they kept the original “Melina’s” neon sign in their store window.
One of the most unique items in their collection is a 1920’s English Fortune Telling Machine with one of renowned wax sculptor Pierre Iman’s mannequins inside of it. All of the sideshow posters they have on display are also original. They rent out their space for photo shoots as well as items from their shop as props.
They also have a section of newer items for sale that are made by local artist and vendors.
Brittany has curated every aspect of the shop including the lighting, the music and even the smell. Her former employment with Disney Parks as well as love of vintage horror was a huge inspiration to the work that they have done in their shop.
The shop is also home to the Kreepy Tiki tattoo. Brittany’s partner Jackson is a tattoo artist and he hand paints his own renditions of banners with images from side show attractions, classic monsters and tiki culture on un-stretched canvas.
They have made it their mission to preserve and share circus culture and antiques from a forgotten era in American history. Their shop is free to visit and open to the public to keep the “old ghosts alive”.
I don’t think another place such as this one exist, it’s a one of a kind. It’s such a beautifully curated collection. Due to the delicate nature of the item in the shop, photos inside are not permitted. I was thrilled I had an opportunity to visit and meet one of the owners. I also purchased a ceramic vintage clown planter and some vintage shaving brushes for our collection.
They are open 6 days a week, closed on Mondays.