A new arts space and occult and oddities shop comes to Franklinton

Tiffany Boggins has been fond of witches since she was a child. “I used to draw a cauldron on my mom's step with a piece of chalk,” she said. “I would throw a bunch of herbs in and stir it with a stick [and cackle].”

At 15, Boggins discovered her first witch shop and set out on a lifelong path of occult research and practice. “It was like finding a home,” she said.

Boggins worked in other occult shops and sold homemade oils and perfumes through her online business, WitchLab. But on Friday, Dec. 21, she will host a grand opening celebration for the WitchLab brick-and-mortar in Franklinton. The arts space and occult and oddities shop is co-owned by Tona Pearson, a prominent events coordinator in the neighborhood arts district.

Like Boggins, Pearson was a young teenager when she discovered the power of occult practice. “I suffered terribly from night terrors,” she said. “We went through the gamut of medication to try to fix it, [but] it didn't really work. … Through knowledge of how dreams work and what they mean and how you can control them, I was able to get rid of them.”

The process involved the daily mental practice of teaching your brain triggers to recognize later while you're dreaming, Pearson said.

“Spiritual practice [and] all occult and metaphysical things, they're trying to do the same thing, which is to get your subconscious and conscious to communicate,” Boggins explained. “Life is more joyous and happier and easier.”

WitchLab patrons will be able to explore what methods work for them, shopping among the witch balls, bones, antiques, wet specimens, jewelry, candles and Boggins' signature oils and perfumes, which she will produce in the basement. There's also an occult library and space for art shows and services like astrology readings.

Boggins will continue teaching classes, like tarot reading and elemental magic. For example, in one course, students made witch bottles, enclosing items like bent, rusty nails, fingernail clippings, hair and herbs in an effort to trap negativity.

“Obviously we're a retail shop and we do want to sell things, but community is the biggest thing for us,” Pearson said. “There's this huge surge of young witches coming out of the woodwork, and many of them are queer and trans and just outcasts in different ways. … We want to make this space safe.”