For a cool $1 million (£750,000) you can have your very own Ghost town. This number will buy you all of the abandoned settlement, the former mining town of Cerro Gordo in the Inyo mountains in California, 300 acres of land, empty hotel, a saloon, a Church and homes of the miners who once dug for silver and lead. In the 1870s, he was a cruel place that, on average, a murder a week. Currently, private owners operate public tours for $10 a head for the thrill.
From video games to horror movies and dystopian film and fiction, a Ghost town comes entwined decrepit appeal. It abandoned the state leaves it is ready to be filled with our imagination. Time has stopped, nature began to overtake. In the end it turns into a memento Mori and a useful lesson in our excessive arrogance that our world is constantly evolving. Ghost town shows us otherwise.
Cerro Gordo in the Inyo mountains, California.
In his book the rings of Saturn, a German immigrant RG of Sebald – which was well aware of the terrible Ghost cities created during world war II and the Holocaust, writes in the direction of settlement to develop to the West, moving towards the sun, leaving behind abandoned and disadvantaged, as only the resources – and people – were used.
This is certainly true for the United States, where land and operating expenditure is the founder of Economics, causing scenes of tumbleweeds and Kichkovsky Gothic. Decayed state of Detroit as Motown and left parts of the city are exempted, since the car economy has moved to another place, leaving entire areas of production that became known as “ruin porn.”
An abandoned hotel in Cerro Gordo.
In Western Europe survived the black death which claimed the lives of more than a third of the continent’s medieval population – meant that thousands of villages were abandoned and gave rise, ultimately, to the darkness of the fairy tales of the brothers Grimm. In England in Victorian visionary Richard Jeffries imagined the post-apocalyptic metropolis in his book after London, where suburbs were quickly absorbed by nature. (In an alternative nightmare of another visionary, England my bones as White, the opposite occurs: London is so sprawling that the new forest will be a subway stop).
War and other military maneuvers left the British rural sites, such as Tyneham in Dorset was evacuated for use as a training area in 1943 and never returned to its inhabitants – as the skeletons themselves, a Testament to a forgotten mid-century, and a kind of utopia. Patrick Wright in his book the village that died in England, vividly describes the stone ruins of Tyneham is in the “valley of the lost”.
He also notes that modern measures“ taken to transform the village in a safe visitors attraction is frustrated place.” Health and safety have no place here.
Tyneham in Dorset.
As the new owners of Cerro Gordo may know tourist attraction is the opposite of what these places represent: lose our power and our attempts at civilization, and the romantic image of darkness, of death and decay.