I wrote about how dead malls are our new haunted houses for The American Conservative:
The great strength of ghost hunting videos is the ambience they create. If sound tracks were composed for them, they’d be made by Brian Eno or The Dead Texan. It’s the sound of music that’s already decayed into a gentle equilibrium with silence. Music that gestures with such subtlety that its movements seem counterintuitively exaggerated. That’s the mood of these ghost hunting videos. And it’s something they share with a similar YouTube genre, which might not at superficial glance seem related: dead and dying mall videos. My personal favorite of these channels is The Proper People, who explore all sorts of buildings. The setup is exactly the same as ghost hunting videos, save the necessity for darkness. A small group enters into and explores the vaguely menacing innards of a physical locus for past events. And while whatever took place at the Northbridge Mall in Wisconsin might not be as evil as a Manson locale, they share the same uncanny sense of a place where the past has accumulated and then come to reside, half forgotten and half remembered, waiting for a seance or exploration to come alive again. And perhaps even more than the ghosts on the Queen Mary or the minimalist ambulations of Brian Eno, dead mall videos give us the chance to project our own nostalgic desires for communion with the past onto a decaying surface. Dead malls are our new haunted houses.
Writer - Critic - Poet - Editor