Whilst lost in the wonderful world of Retronaut or Retrocrack (as coined by a dear friend), I came across this ghostly apocalyptic proposed but forsaken amusement park in China that had been photographed by David Gray. This got me pondering about why I love ghost worlds.
I see ghost worlds as a liminal space – a place of collapse between the past and future, the skeletal remains of a humanities ebb and flow, between the forsaken and remembered, a space that breaths, lives, dies and decays like a human. It is a crypt of national unease and of the repressed. It remembers. It is frightfully Gothic.
In New Zealand, abandoned meat-works fascinate me as a space of colonial unease and national amnesia. In the Introduction to David Ballantyne’s creepy bildungsroman Sydney Bridge, Upside Down, Kate De Goldi describes the meat-works as “the transformation of the New Zealand colonialist into ‘a systematic and calculating’ butcher, and described the progress of the ‘New Zealand dream’ from an imagined South Pacific Eden to a fallen society with, literally, blood on it’s collective hands.” I will mumble and ramble about this book and Antipodean gothic at a later stage.
I am obsessed in ghost worlds and when I begin my O.E I intend to visit as many of them as possible in my wanderings.
A LIST OF 5 GHOST WORLDS ON THE BUCKET LIST
KOLMANSKOP (Namibia): Once a mining village, now it is buried in sand.
A ghost of german exploitation, colonial corruption and finally collapse. The indigenous sands bury the colonial stain. More info
SAN ZHI UFO HOUSES (Taiwan): Once a futuristic resort project.
Abandoned in the 1980s due to economic losses and deaths, these dystopic remnants are a must see. More info
CRACO (Italy): Once a medieval town.
I love anything medieval because I connect it to blood: blood lines, blood shed and bloody barbaric feasts. Ghost worlds retain this blood-memory. More info
BODIE, (California): Once a Wild West mining town.
There’s a story about a little girl whose family was moving from San Francisco to Bodie; Depending on who tells it, she wrote in her diary either: “Good, by God, I’m going to Bodie” -or- “Goodbye God, I’m going to Bodie.” More info
HASHIMA (Battleship Island), Japan – Once an Industrial Island.
A concrete jungle on a ghost island shaped like a battle ship, with a few war stories to tell. I’m so keen. It is also featured in Battle Royale II: Requiem, a pedestrian film to its predecessor. More info