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Bell, Book and Casket 

Curiosity shopping for the adventurous

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Witch Way L.A.?

I scry with my little eye: The best little witchcraft emporium in the San Fernando Valley is Psychic Eye (13435 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, 818-906-8263), which offers lovely altar chalices, scrying mirrors, divining pendula and everything for your wiccan/pagan needs. Browse for gifts and books like A Witch’s Kitchen Cookbook and Witchcraft for Families. It’s a floor wash, it’s a cologne! It’s two — two ritual products in one: Indio Products (326. W. Manchester Ave., Inglewood, 323-778-2233) is the granddaddy of all serious magickal enterprises in California. Home to 7,000 colorful potions, liquids, soaps, aerosol blessing sprays and go-away-evil charms, the factory store in Inglewood is open to the publick. What could be sweeter than tortured oil paintings done by mental patients from County-USC Hospital? Or digging through a drawer of their antediluvian underthings? CARES Thrift Shop (1100 N. Mission Rd., East L.A., 323-226-6922), housed in a tiny wooden shack just inside the hospital’s Mission Street gate, carries these and other dainties at old-world prices. It’s a lot like visiting Aunt Mirabella’s forbidden attic, except that you’re allowed to buy things. A few yards away, in the suitably gothic County Coroner building, you can visit the Skeletons in the Closet (1104 N. Mission Rd., East L.A., 323-343-0760),gift shop for macabre stocking stuffers — toe-tag key chains, body-outline beach towels and barbecue aprons, body bags, hats and so forth. The items for sale aren’t nearly as ghastly as the place they’re sold in. It’s kind of like Grandma Went to the Forensics Lab and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt. Sundae, Bloody Sundae I’ll take a latte, gift-wrapped chocolates and a shiny new casket: Amid the creeping hipification of Atwater Village, passersby are startled to see an array of coffins in the window of Rainbow Casket (3153 Glendale Blvd., L.A., 323-660-1236) — lids open, tilted invitingly to the street so you can examine the satin tuck ’n’ roll up close. (Am I too late for the funeral? No, lady, hop right in!) Those on a decorating budget can buy wee versions at Cal Pet Crematory (9595 Glenoaks Blvd., Sun Valley, 818-983-2313, by appointment) — coffins and urns to fit every conceivable animal. Of course, you can buy the pets themselves at historic Bischoff’s Taxidermy (54 E. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank, 818-843-7561). If you can’t bear to stuff and mount Fluffy, there are readymades available for sale — cats and dogs — along with upholstered roadkill, jackalopes, paws, claws, tails and glass eyes. Complete your still life with fabulous phony plastic food from Incredible Inedibles (350-A Fischer Ave., Costa Mesa, 800-854-5719): big gooey sundaes, steaks and burgers, slices o’ pie, all kinds of things that look good enough to eat, but aren’t. Hang doughnuts on the Hanukkah tree, slip a plastic casserole onto your co-worker’s chair — with dead things and fake things the fun never has to end. Call it the Sharper Image for the paranoid, but Spy Tech Agency (8519 W. Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, 310-657-6333) is an upscale boutique catering to an evidently sizable segment of the population who need new identities, tools for overthrowing the government or just a thousand-dollar device to spy on a loved one. Browse for night-vision equipment, video-recording briefcases, voice-changers, adorable stuffed animal cameras and The Complete Book of Dirty Tricks and Kill or Be Killed. Too bad Christmas is so far away.

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