As I spend more time looking into the realms of World-Building, I’ve picked up on a few things where I’ve had to look at our own world for inspiration. I’ve noticed on a few occasions that some of the areas that I’ve been researching has thrown out things that may seem ‘stranger than fiction’…
First instalment is places.
Doll Island. Following the drowning of a young girl in Mexico, a local villager named Don Julian found a doll floating in the water. He placed it on a tree on the island as a measure to please her spirit of the poor girl. Over the years, he continued the practice using whatever dolls (and parts) he could find turning a large part of the island into a shrine.
Locals considered the island to be haunted as they spread rumours of how the dolls could be heard whispering to each other at night. Ironically, in 2001, Don Julian himself drowned in the river and the tale takes on a more sinister turn as locals now believe that the dolls themselves have become the caretakers of the island.
Oak Island. In 1795, Daniel McGinnis, whilst on a fishing expedition set foot on Oak Island, a piece of land just off the coast of Nova Scotia. After exploring for a while, he noticed some strange scarring on a tree similar to that which occurs through the use of a rope and tackle. With the idea of pirates and buried treasure, his friends returned the next day to help him dig a hole. Their excitement was blunted as they hit a layer of flagstones about 1.5m down. Removing those, they discovered rows of packed logs at 3metre intervals which caused them to give up.
Nine years later, Daniel came back with a business-backed project to see what he could find. After digging down to 27.4metres, he found a stone with a message scrawled upon it in a code. The code was deciphered to read; Forty Feet below 2 Million pounds are buried.
When they returned to continue digging, they found the shaft had filled with water that couldn’t be removed. After deciding to dig a parallel tunnel in an attempt to drain the water, an accident occurred that caused the tunnel to collapse. Whilst the diggers were lucky to get out alive, the original tunnel flooded to all but 10m from the surface.
Up until the present day, there have been dozens of expeditions to the island, all looking for the truth of what lies at the end of this tunnel. Rumours have ranged from pirate treasure, to naval treasure, even Marie Antoinette’s jewels have been suggested. Unfortunately, none have yet managed to discover what that is and around six people have lost their lives trying to find out.
This final one isn’t a single place, it’s many places. Many abandoned places in fact. There’s a part of me that is fascinated by abandoned places, (what Fantasy reader has never looked forwards to a good, old ruin?) but when it’s a place where people are expected to congregate and have fun, such as an amusement park, then it takes on a sinister form.
There is little to add to this other than provide a few links so you can appreciate just how creepy these places are with run-down buildings and rides and, more importantly, no people to visit…
Except this guy. Michael Turtle planned a reconnaissance mission into the Nara Dreamland theme-park in Japan and took some excellent, yet spooky pictures. Whilst I congratulate him on the bravery of his trip, it strikes me as the type of place that you wouldn’t want to spend a night in – unless…. (night-time pictures are toward the end)
There are plenty of other abandoned theme parks throughout the world, Google is your friend for tracking them down.