Open for Business: Bloomington couple’s affinity for afterlife brings spooky spirit to central Illinois year round

Open For Business

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — With Halloween just days away, a local couple is bringing the spooky spirit to Central Illinois year-round. 

“It’s definitely something that we have wanted for a really, really long time,” said Stephanie Stoltz.

Stephanie and her husband, Mike Stoltz have an affinity for all things in the afterlife. Their passion is on full display at their Bloomington store, The Painted Wraith Curiosity Shoppe

“At our core, we are a nature-based store. It’s just the death end of nature. And nobody likes to talk about that. But there is a lot of people in the community in there that enjoy that kind of thing,” said Mike.

It’s a shop of oddities including coffins, skulls, animals in jars, and items of the supernatural. 

“I don’t know where it originated per se,” said Mike. “I’ve always just been kind of drawn toward that thing.”

“Both of us are very passionate about strange, unusual skulls, macabre, Victorian funeral practices, things like that.”

stephanie stoltz

The two are artists and collectors hoping their store gives others in the community a space to show off their unusual work. It’s a realm that Stephanie and Mike said sparked their interest ever since they were younger. 

Stephanie said, “Just being interested in that darker side of things in a way. And respecting nature. Respecting you know, that things do die. That’s just a cycle of life.”

Since the store’s opening in August, the two have been sharing their passion for the paranormal with others. They say they’ve gotten overwhelmingly positive reception from the community.

“We want them to come in and be invited. We don’t want it to come off as ‘ugh.’ We want it to feel warm and like you’re stepping into someone’s living room and you’re just kind of taking the tour around,” Mike said.

The Painted Wraith Curiosity Shoppe is located at 106 W. Monroe St. in Bloomington.

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