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Some of my favourite urban sights:

Bricked-up windows

Upper-storey doorways that open into empty space

Staircases that lead nowhere

Clean, working, fully stocked vending machines in obscure and inaccessible places

Detailed graffiti on surfaces with no obvious spot for the artist to stand, like the underside of a high bridge, or ten metres up a bare wall

Machinery left to rust because there’s no use for it anymore, but it’s in a weird or precarious location and there’s no way to safely remove it

(I’m sure there’s a theme here…)

I’ve been rereading Unknown Armies again recently and there’s a part of me that wants to find occult significance for this sort of nonsense.  But then, I kind of enjoy looking for occult significance for a lot of nonsense.

I’m not convinced that there isn’t some occult significance to some of these. The vending machine in particular stems from what’s definitely one of the weirdest experiences I’ve ever had.

First, some context: I don’t know if it’s like this everywhere, but major Canadian cities tend to have a lot of underground infrastructure - particularly in their downtown areas, where train tunnels, parking garages, underground shopping malls, and hotel basements often connect in such a way that you can easily walk for miles without ever seeing sunlight. The interconnections typically aren’t public, or at least not advertised, but a surprising number of them are accessible if poke around; I once followed a maintenance tunnel in a shopping mall parking complex and emerged in the basement of a nearby casino!

Anyway, I was snooping around in the maintenance tunnels below one of the larger local hotels - legitimately, mind you; I was working for the local telecom at the time, trying to track down an errant network cable - when I rounded a bend and noticed that the corridor a few dozen feet ahead of me was brightly illuminated by something. On top of being filthy and difficult to access, the tunnel was also unlit (I’d been navigating by flashlight), so this really stood out.

I couldn’t see any obvious light fixture to account for it - the light seemed to be emerging from an alcove off to the side of the tunnel - so I went to investigate, and discovered… a Coke machine.

Spotlessly clean, fully stocked, and apparently in full working order; the illumination was coming from its interior display lighting.

In a grimy, unlit maintenance corridor twenty feet below ground level.

In retrospect, I’m kind of glad I didn’t have any change on me at the time, because I’d have been sorely tempted to buy something, and who knows how that would have worked out.

if you’d had that coke, in accordance with the laws of food and drink consumption in the otherworld, you probably wouldn’t be here to tell us this story.

@wordsaredelicious, I presented your theory about the Waffle House pocket universe to my father and he shuddered in realization of a truth!

YES! I am so glad to hear my theory confirmed. There is only one Waffle House with many, many entrances to the Waffle House pocket dimension scattered across the United States.

…somehow I get the feeling that the One True Waffle House, if it exists on our mortal plane at all, might very well be in Georgia.

This whole thread screams @copperbadge

To add a little to the creepy, every time I try to find the Waffle Houses in Illinois, the Waffle House store locator page is down.
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I saw this on my professor’s door and I can’t even deal with the accuracy.
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i really wish the small town midwestern scene wasn’t so inherently conservative-slash-racist-slash-generally-depressing because I feel a lot of affection for its Weirdness From Mundanity That is Both Comforting and Unsettling

Shitty fish frys during lent sponsored by the OUR LADY OF PERPETUAL SORROWS PARISH that even non-catholics go to; no one has a problem with it, but no one seems to know why or how they show up either. That single restaurant in town that isn’t a chain and you see at least six people you know there every time you go; the owner knows your parents and your parents parents and sometimes you wish they didnt. the 8 million churches, like, surely there’s not enough people even living here to keep all these open? that one sorta-creepy office-looking building that there’s always threeish cars at, but you’ve never quite figured out what it’s for. The Character who Everyone has seen jogging down main street in a bright neon track suit doing a bizzare aerobics routine no one can figure out (it’s funny until your mom tells you what she heard about them at the PTA meeting one time, which is invariaby something terribly sad and Everyone knows). The subdivisions built in the early aughts on the edge of town that are slightly nicer than the houses in town, but all look the same, and every street has a pretentious-fancy stone wall with the name of the street on it, and they’re all something crazy generic like “Crestwood Hills” or “Stone Ridge Court”; the person you hated in eighth grade lived in one of these, and somehow you know that they will again someday. the taco bell off the interstate that is, somehow, shitter than the average taco bell, but all the high school kids get high and go there after dances and over the years their energy has imbued with with some kind of trashy youthful magic. that eerie feeling when you’re at a crossroads out of the way at night and you stop at the red light for what feels like a really long time, but there’s no other cars in sight, and you have to take a moment to acknowledge that you’re following society’s rules Just Because rather than for any practical reason here and you could TOTALLY just run this red light without any consequences and and and then it turns green and it’s a huge relief

ok i am expanding upon this

deer like it’s the 11th plague, all their round milky eyes reflecting your car headlights. they look like they know things.

The empty, dilapidated building across from the CVS with “FOR RENT CALL” painted on the windows in big neon yellow bubble letters, but it’s sat there for so long the paint is chipping and the number is no longer readable. You think it used to be a bike store? But your neighbor swears up and down it was a flower shop, the CVS cashier seems convinced it was a CASH FOR GOLD place, and the guy smoking outside the CVS says it was a Radio Shack.

#Steak n Shake at midnight is a liminal space (via @goingforpoetic)

There is a Community Event. Is it a carnival? a parish festival? a fundraiser? a potluck? You don’t know. All you register is the gravel parking lot it is held in, dissolving into weeds on the edges. There is gross beer in those little semi-transparent plastic cups, and picnic tables older than you are. You dimly register children playing and screaming in the background. Women named Linda and Terri and Barb are talking at great length about their only-slightly-different potato salad recipes. There is an underlying tension to the conversation.

abandoned blockbusters like staunch reminders of mortality standing sentinel over their empty strip mall parking lots.

parking lots in general. Running errands is like being adrift in an ocean of cracked asphalt and faded yellow lines. And yet, somehow, the scrubby woods beyond always feel like they’re encroaching.


The antique store on main street that has been there, with the exact same window display, probably involving a wooden chair or two, for as long as you can remember. You have never seen anyone go in or out, but it somehow stays open for business day after dusty day.

Somewhere in town, a building that was once very obviously a specific fast food place has been repurposed for another use. It is uncomfortable to look at or be inside of, although you can’t really articulate why.

There isn’t a good season. Winter is a frozen, rock-salt covered void, summer is an oppressive and mosquito-ridden cricket concert, spring is Yellow Pollen Hell. Fall would be alright except that every able-bodied citizen is mandated to spend Sept 15-Nov 15 raking fallen leaves into bigger and bigger piles. where do they all come from? Every year someone says that it’s illegal to burn them, and every year everyone does anyway, the smoke so thick and grey it feels like burning an offering to some absent god.

There is That One Family with a million trillion aunts and uncles and cousins all in town, who all clearly look related and have the same last name. You went to grade school with at least four of them. They’re all perfectly nice, there’s just so many. Almost too many.

Grandparents who think (Denny’s/ Olive Garden/ Applebee’s) is the height of sophistication and can not, will not, be convinced otherwise.

There is much fanfare surrounding “homecoming” events at the high school. You know it’s just a phrase that doesn’t really mean anything beyond an excuse for football, but there is still something unsettling about the concept: who (or what) is coming home? How did they manage to leave this town in the first place? Why does the celebration of it feel so oddly ritualistic?

@darkersolstice idk I just assume you like (area) Gothic posts

I do, and you have no idea…


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strix alba

February 2017

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