The hogtied man suspended near the window of Fredericksburg Antique Mall and Clock Shop has been a subject of local curiosity for months. (Photo by Noelle Clark)

Little (window) shop of horrors: Bizarre display has antiquarians tongue-tied

by | May 17, 2024 | ALLFFP, Arts and Entertainment, Fredericksburg

What might usually be a leisurely, late-night stroll down Caroline Street in downtown Fredericksburg has thrown locals for a loop over the last few months. Spotted in the window of the Fredericksburg Antique Mall & Clock Shop at all hours is a sickly and pale-looking man suspended from the ceiling and hogtied with rope.  

Kim Thornburg is the owner of That Other Place LLC, which rents out the front window display and space on a separate level inside the antique mall. According to Thornburg, the antique was purchased in Richmond — and not a whole lot is known about its origins. 

“The vendor we purchased the antique from said they believed it came from a sideshow of a carnival from the 1950s,” Thornburg said. “However, it could have also been used as a horror movie prop for all we know.” 

Hung by chains from the ceiling in the window of the antique mall, the hogtied, bruised man wears nothing but a pained expression and a loincloth. The lifelike sight can be seen from across the street at all hours of the day and night.

Since going on display in mid-March, it has attracted the attention of those walking down the street and has brought people off the streets. The antique has a price tag of $625 and has already sparked interest among buyers.

When the display was being brought into the shop, passersby on the street reportedly thought it was a real person being carried in and attempted to intervene.

“When my husband and my daughter carried it in on their shoulders down the sidewalk of Caroline, people were yelling, ‘Let him go! Let him go!’ because they thought it was a real person,” Thornburg said.

Just a month after going on display, the antique found its way onto a Reddit thread on r/fredericksburg with locals theorizing where the man had come from. Comments ranged from satire to slight outrage, but curiosity was piqued in everyone who interacted on the thread.

“There’s a lot of people coming in off the street to ask questions and looking in from the window,” Thornburg said. “We’ve had a few people come in showing interest that own and run a haunted house during the Halloween season.” 

But the hogtied antique in the window is not the only morbid curio currently for sale by That Other Place inside The Fredericksburg Antique Mall & Clock Shop. Thornburg and her husband have been collecting antiques their whole lives. Over the last four years, they’ve started selling their collectibles to local antique stores.

“We have a wooden coffin also to sell but it is not currently on display,” Thornburg said. “Our displays change constantly as we purchase other antiques. My husband and I try to get unusual and odd things to sell as it goes over very well with customers around here.” 

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