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Beyond the enormous inequalities between the transactions taking place at the top and at the bottom of trans urban hierarchies, there is a commonality in the et o ked u a e o o de eloped a oss ities te ito ies: they all depend on digital networks in sustaining meaningful relations and connections beyond the specific place. In these connections, the city becomes less relevant as a place and more important as a node in a network of exchanges — which might be financial, but which might also be cultural and social as is, for example, the case of diasporic community networks, or the global distribution networks of consumer products.

The city has developed an aura of placeless-ness not only as a node in networks, but also as a commodity represented in the media.

Urban Nightmares

Often reflected in representations of the exciting and the new, the city has become a valuable commodity, packaged, exchanged and sold around the world as a visual and virtual product and an attractive place-less destination. For the migrant, for example, the European city becomes an attractive location of opportunities, possibly of freedom, possibly a new home providing a new sense of security. Miles away from the actual location, these potential characteristics of a western city are reproduced in media representations and in ways that bring the distant other into close proximity Silverstone to the imagined location.

The location represented in the media lacks the tangible dimensions that might have made it less attractive to its global consumers and potential visitors. The familiarity of a global commodity format becomes attractive to advertising markets, film audiences and television users. Exciting, mysterious, dangerous and multilayered as a place, the city of desire or destination is constructed as an ever-present spa e fo sha ed a to s a d spe tato s i agi atio. A d as su h it is easil and virtually reproduced and reconfirmed. The disembodiment of the city in its mediated exports is also a way to appropriate and commodify difference and to a ket it as a att a ti e ualit of the it as o odit.

Whe p ope l a keted, eth i it is al a s a esou e fo pa ti ula ultu al i dust ies , ites Davila The disembodied representation of urban difference reaffirms the importance of the city as a symbol, as a product of global relevance sold to its own dwellers or to consumers miles away. However, this is usually a representation sa itized a d lea sed f o the eal te sio s e e gi g a ou d diffe e e. For example, urban music becomes an attractive commodity when packaged and sold in global markets, but when marketed as a commodity, it is often stripped from its cultural roots and routes attached to particular often impoverished and marginalized parts of the city.

As a consequence, the representation of difference in the media partly reproduces and partly normalizes the deprivation and huge i e ualities fou d ithi the it s diffe e t ua te s. I the sa e a that the mediated urban imaginary becomes a mechanism for legitimating internal place-specific hierarchies, it also becomes a system for reconfirming global place-less hierarchies. A result of new forms of proximity is that groups become more aware of each other. Me o itz s ook has ee a ke efe e e fo a la ge od of o k e plo i g the role of the media in shaping the context, content and consequences of o u i atio e o d ph si al a d s oli ou da ies.

Me o itz s o k is particularly important in the present discussion, as it emphasizes the significance of who people are with as a crucial element in the formation of social relations. The study of the media and the city takes this discussion a step further as it invites us to think of who people are with as well as where they are with others. The city is a location where place does matter, especially because unforeseen constellations and juxtapositions of differences — mediated and physical —are attached to its demographics, and social and economic organization Amin and Thrift In referring to the ongoing importance of city as a place, in particular, I have in mind three forms of production of city as a place through the media.

Firstly, I am referring to urban creativity and their mediated expressions. Urban music, a genre that has emerged in the poorer neighbourhoods of socially divided cities, has reached across its inhabitants in various zones of the city and has also turned into widely distributed and consumed productions and representations of those ities as u i ue pla es.

Se o dl , the e is the o st u tio of the it as a u i ue pla e th ough the de elop e t of edia infrastructure and urban media industries. Fo e a ple, he Paphos usi ess people i est i u e ous lo al media, they participate in projects that reinforce representations of their city as a unique, particular and distinct location compared to other cities, the rural surroundings, the nation, the rest of the world. In the larger cities — and even more so, in the global cities — media infrastructure is more complex and more fragmented.

Even in these cases though, the fragmented media industries reflect attempts often competing to construct a pa ti ula u i ue ide tit of the it a d to ha e e tai oi es speak o behalf of the city and for the city. Thirdly, I refer to media representations of the city as a porous and transitive place Amin and Thrift Urban media, as also national and transnational media, often represent the city as a location of excitement, mystery, crime, diversity and as a location where the sense of the unknown is part of everyday reality.

Such representations are familiar when looking at images of the city in popular media products, such as Sex and the City, the CSI series and ER located in particular American cities. Media tend to choose cities as the location for their stories — news or entertainment programmes — because the combination of the specific location place with its unique juxtapositions of difference creates an attractive product.

Part of the attractiveness of the city, in its particularity as a media story, is the level of difference it incorporates in its territory. A mediated territoriality of the unknown, the exciting and the unpredictable makes good material for entertainment and for news stories. No wonder thrillers and action films tend to be located in big cities — this is where the porous city is interpreted and represented as the ultimate location of anomie, capturing the most widespread fears of crime, loss and social uncertainty Macek For its people, the city is real, it is tangible and lived, but it is also a representation, which is positioned but which is also dislocated from its geographical territory, mobile and virtual.

Urban Nightmares: The Media, the Right, and the Moral Panic over the City – By Steve Macek

Not only London and Paris, for example, but also Paphos, Liege and Paris, Texas, become largely imagined, branded and lived through their urban and transnational mediated connections; they cannot be imagined outside mediation. The urban space constantly shifts between stability and change, and between mediation and immediacy. City is not a place, but a process, writes Castells in relation to the role of cities as odes i glo al et o ks of e ha ge of i fo atio.

But the shift of the meaning of place has to do with its dual role as both a place and a process. In the same way that et o ks i fo the it s o o ga izatio ut halle ge its ou ded ess, so have the process and the place become closely intertwined through the meeting of urban representations, consumption, travel and transnational experience.

In dealing with the ambivalence in meanings, consumers of the image of the city — as urban dwellers virtual visitors or mere media consumers —make sense of it, without necessarily challenging the limits of its construction as a place, and its politics, inequalities and struggles for power and control. Bhabha, H. Benjamin, W. Couldry, N. Giddens, A. Isin, E. Macek, S. McQuire, S. Meyrowitz, J. Moo es, S.

Could a d A. Sassen, S. Silverstone, R. Sreberny-Moha adi, A. Urry, J. Related Papers. By Kirsten Martinus and Thomas Sigler. By Myria Georgiou. Up close and impersonal: Locative media and the changing nature of the networked individual in the city.

Download pdf. Remember me on this computer. Where it came from: The Skinwalkers, like so many ancient American urban legends, have roots in Native American folklore. While it's fairly hard to gather specific details -- as speaking of potentially sinister legends is seriously taboo in Navajo culture -- it is understood that what non-Navajos refer to as "skinwalkers" are witch doctors who have become an evil reflection of everything the Navajo nation values. Basically, they are men who've transformed into malevolent, murderous creatures that have no qualms using their spiritual powers to kill.

Navajo medicine men are trained to learn both good and evil aspects of their power, and Skinwalkers are those who have turned to the Dark Side. It's all very Star Wars. And, frankly, still terrifying. Why it's creepy: The name sounds kind of goofy, or actually even kind of like Goofy. But if you find yourself at 65 Mulberry Street, in the middle of the minuscule Arkansas town of Quitman, you won't laugh if you see the hulking outline of a pound half man, half beast -- complete with glowing animal eyes -- glaring out of the windows.

Walk quickly, as he has been known to chase people down his street, biting at their heels -- kind of like a dog, actually. Where it came from: This is actually the rare urban legend where the story behind the story ends up being even creepier than the folklore. Gerald Bettis, the only son of the Bettis family of 65 Mulberry, was always a problem child. But not in the cute, Junior Healy way. Bettis would "collect" and torture animals hence the "dog boy" moniker , before turning his sociopathic focus to his elderly parents, allegedly imprisoning them in their own home and potentially even murdering his father.

Eventually, Bettis would be imprisoned for growing marijuana on his back porch and would die in a state penitentiary in of a drug overdose. Why it's creepy: Located near LA between Whittier and City of Industry, Turnbull is a 49,acre smorgasbord of nightmare fuel set amid the the scenic hills. You want your scares rooted in American history? There are cults, alien encounters, gravity hills It goes on and on. But the Gates of Hell seems the epicenter. The physical iron gates are now gone, but what remains is the partial shell of an old mansion where a madman supposedly burned his wife and children alive.

Left behind are the barren, charred plot of land and a white-clad woman who wanders the area. Go ahead and run away when you see something creepy like an ethereal pack of dogs That maybe explains why so many demons were conjured in a weird underground chicken coop near a set of underground tunnels. And each time something terrible happened over the decades, it just kind of got stacked onto this nesting doll of a horror show. This treacherous act apparently unleashed a curse on the rest of the Dudley clan, which emigrated from Guilford, England to Cornwall, Connecticut in These calamities included a series of mysterious deaths which, in turn, inspired madness and suicide among the Dudleys, several of whom disappeared into the woods never to be seen again.

The remaining residents very sensibly ditched the town, which has been abandoned ever since. Why it's creepy: Samuel Chew was a respected man, a Chief Justice in the state back in the Colonial days. Where it came from: Chew was very much a real man, serving as Chief Justice of the Three Lower Counties until he died in Why it's creepy: The Everglades are filled with array of terrifying creatures: man-eating alligators, man-eating snakes, men-eating roadkill.

However, one humanlike figure has been spotted enough times to warrant elevated levels of concern: the Skunk Ape. A relative of Bigfoot, a fully-grown Skunk Ape stands anywhere from 5 to 7 feet tall and weighs approximately pounds. They can be detected by a horrific odor that's been described as "sun-baked animal carcass" and "rotting garbage. Recently, a Skunk Ape HQ has popped up in the Everglades where you can book tours out into the swamp or reserve a spot on a hunting expedition to finally prove the hairy beast is real once and for all.

Where it came from: No one can say for sure. But because its lineage can be traced back to Bigfoot, many believe it migrated south from the mountains and found refuge in the swamplands, an environment safe from humans with ample sustenance and room to roam. Others believe it's just lore, a tale pioneers created in order to scare people off their lands and preserve the wilderness. Whatever you believe, should you find yourself camping in the Everglades and you smell something foul, take caution.

It could be the Skunk Ape. Why it's creepy: The massive man-made lake north of Atlanta is unnerving on multiple fronts, with a reputation for tragic and sometimes mysterious deaths, from a disproportionately high frequency of boating accidents and drownings to unexplained homicides.

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A construction crew discovered the skeleton of a woman who disappeared in , still trapped in her car at the bottom of the lake more than 30 years later, and since then people have reported sightings of a ghostly female figure on the lake's waters. There are even reports of malevolent catfish lurking on the bottom that's large enough to swallow a dog or even drown a diver.

Where it came from: There were numerous issues with the construction of the lake, not the least of which included the displacement of families, businesses, and even cemeteries occupying the land the Army Corps of Engineers sought to develop. The vestiges of some of these structures still have a ghostly presence at the bottom of the lake , which some point to as a source of Lanier's haunted reputation.

But, as noted above, many of the deaths go beyond simple boating accidents, leading some to believe there's something more sinister at work. Why it's creepy: Picture yourself on a scenic Hawaiian beach at night. Imagine a full moon, and a cool breeze running across the sand. But, if you hear the faint sounds of drums pounding in the distance, or see a barrage of torches out on the horizon, it could be your worst nightmare. These spirits of ancient Hawaiian warriors, dedicated to protecting the islands from all outside threats, will only spare your life if you -- reportedly -- lay face down, pee on yourself in submission, or if miraculously share a bloodline with one of the warriors.

Good luck peeing on yourself, tourist! In Hawaiian tradition, the night marchers' role in life was to protect sacred members of the community. In modern times, their spirits have been reported all throughout the islands , mainly at the sites of sacrificial temples and other sacred grounds. Oh, and the decidedly corporate Davies Pacific Center building in downtown Honolulu.

Apparently, they still protect the island from outsiders -- and if you buy into the legend, they always will.

Urban Nightmares: The Media, the Right, and the Moral Panic over the City

As with many of the best urban legends, you have to do your part to get her attention: In this case it involves parking between certain trees in the cemetery at night. Why it's creepy: An elaborate marble statue of a woman in a wedding dress is bound to stand out in a cemetery as it is, but that's not what's driven The Italian Bride to be a subject of local fascination. Upon closer inspection, there is an actual photo plaque on the gravesite of a woman in a casket, looking perfectly preserved even though, as an inscription notes, the photo was taken six years after burial after the body was exhumed.

Reports of unusual activity cover everything from the smell of fresh flowers near the gravesite in the dead of winter to the ghostly figure of a woman in white roaming the cemetery or the halls of nearby Proviso West High School in the dead of night. Where it came from: In , recently married Julia Buccola Petta died in childbirth and was buried in her wedding dress.

Legend has it her mother immediately began experiencing nightmares that Julia was demanding her grave be reopened. The source of the distress varies depending on the storyteller, often relating to some sort of discontent with Julia's new husband, but what isn't in dispute is that six years later the mother got her wish and Julia's pristine condition inspired her to raise funds for the statue that's been creeping out generations ever since. Why it's creepy: Along the shores of Lake Michigan, fishermen, vacationers, and other passersby have reported sightings of Diana, a ghostly nude female apparition floating along the shoreline and eventually disappearing into the water without a trace.

Where it came from: Fishermen first started reporting the sightings of a woman skinny dipping in the waters off Indiana's Lake Michigan coastline in -- and that's because Alice Gray, the source of the Diana legend, was still very much alive at that point. The exact circumstances that caused her to live a reclusive life in a lakeside shack aren't entirely clear, but the years that followed saw her marry a man who later became a murder suspect , and then die an early death, allegedly from uremic poisoning. Her ghostly presence has been a subject of local lore ever since.

Why it's creepy: Umm, what part of "ax murder house" don't you understand? Where it came from: So, the murders themselves are very much NOT an urban legend. They happened. And they remain unsolved.

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Sometime between the evening of June 9, and the morning that followed, six members of the Moore family and two houseguests were brutally murdered, with each victim having suffered an axe wound to the head. One suspect was tried twice and never convicted. Surprising no one, the somehow still standing house is the subject of numerous rumors, legends, and reports of paranormal activity. You can find out for yourself, because you can actually stay there , just like the ghost hunter who mysteriously stabbed himself in the chest there in Why it's creepy: The tiny town of Stull has counted very few residents since it was founded in The most famous is rumored to be Lucifer himself, who some say appears at the town cemetery on Halloween and spring equinox.

They say he uses the site where a roofless church once stood as a portal to and from Hell. Either way, new graves continue to be dug, despite signs warning against trespassers, perhaps referring directly to the Prince of Darkness himself or the cults that are rumored to flock to the grounds. Where it came from: The first published article about the horrors are traced back to a article in the University Daily Kansan , though whispers about evil have persisted since or so.

In , the "hanging tree" was torn down to stop people from visiting. Why it's creepy: Just looking at the pictures of young Mary Evelyn Ford's grave feels a bit unnerving, with a series of interlocking white crosses forming a fence around a pit of gravel and the bars appearing unnaturally bent in some places. Then you hear the alleged backstory -- a mother and daughter both accused of witchcraft and burned at the stake in , with the mothers charred remains being carried to a far-off location while the daughter was buried in a steel-lined coffin covered in stone and encased in crosses to prevent her escape.

Some have claimed to witness tiny footprints appearing in the gravel, or even a young ghostly figure trying to escape the gravesite. Kid ghosts, as we know, are the creepiest ghosts. Where it came from: While stories about the gravesite go back decades , and naturally increased in detail with the growth of the internet, there's not much evidence that anyone was burned at the stake for witchcraft in the area in even back then, that was generally big news. Mary Evelyn Ford really did die a tragic young death, but the stated cause of death is peritonitis, an inflammation of the stomach lining.

It's amazing what a truly unnerving gravesite can do for the imagination -- we still wouldn't want to be near it at night. Like any debonair bloodsucker male vampire worth his garlic, Jacques Saint Germain's hobby is seducing attractive young females in New Orleans, only to promptly drink their blood. By some accounts , he was born in the early s. In others, he has been alive since Christ. After "dying" in , he was spotted all over Europe before reappearing to terrorize New Orleans He's still on his blood-drinking binge in the French Quarter today, though now he just goes by "Jack.

Where it came from: Comte de Saint Germain was certainly a real person, alchemist, and all-round high-society snob who befriended a laundry list of famous 18th-century luminaries. But then, he died of a drug overdose in Well, he probably did. Why it's creepy: Instead of providing useful light to help ships navigate, the lighthouse on Wood Island reportedly provides a space for strange moans, unexplained shadows, and other indicators of paranormal activity commonly attributed to a murder-suicide that took place there decades ago.

Where it came from: Howard Hobbs, a local fisherman and drifter, really did murder his landlord, Fred Milliken, on the Wood Island in Hobbs had been drinking and, after shooting Milliken, left the scene and turned his rifle on himself. You can read about the events of that day in all their 19th-century newspaper glory here. From ghost experts who weigh in on such things, Hobbs is generally considered the likeliest candidate to still be haunting the lighthouse.

But the most terrifying aspect is just how deep the lore goes. The USDA was even forced, at one point , to publicly deny accidentally creating the beast in their Beltsville agricultural research center. Another tale revolves around a goat farmer who, after realizing a group of rowdy teens had killed his tribe, went totally crazy and turned into a teen-slaying goat monster. The first was a deep dive into Maryland folklore, followed by an actual news item about a family blaming the brutal decapitation of their puppy on the Goatman One month later The Washington Post ran a national feature detailing the legend of the Goatman.

Ultimately, the Goatman has become one of America's most persistent and well-known urban legends, with claimed sightings still occurring with regularity and cheesy fictionalizations still creepin' out the Old Line State. Why it's creepy: The Salem Witch Trials were creepy enough to begin with go read The Crucible again if you don't believe it! Where it came from: Legend has it he uttered a curse against Salem right before his dying breath you could understand why he'd have some ill will.

For generations, his apparition has allegedly appeared in the cemetery before something terrible is about to happen, including a fire that burned down a sizable proportion of the city. There has also been a series of tragedies that have hit the Salem sheriff's office starting with the heart attack that killed George Corwin four years after he presided over the trials. He slaughtered them one by one, casting them into Cedar Creek before being caught by their parents and hanged, but not before saying he was possessed by demons. Where it came from: There is no record of an Elias Friske in the area, though there was a prominent Friske family beginning in the s.

An 8-foot, musty-smelling, barefoot man with a reputation for being unnaturally aggressive is a hell of a thing to consider encountering in the woods. Some reported sightings were just that: sightings. Zitzow returned from driving in the woods with dents all over his car hood and said the Hairy Man jumped onto the road and began pounding the hood. Where it came from: Nobody really knows. Sightings trace back to the '60s, had a significant increase in the '70s, and still happen from time to time. Others say the Hairy Man is real and point to a mysterious skull discovered in the Vergas Trail area that is human-like, but not hominid.

Where it came from: From Robert Johnson selling his soul to the Yazoo Witch , many ghost stories in Mississippi persist, but the Three-Legged Lady gets points for changing to suit what scares you. Some say that extra leg was removed from a dead lover and attached to her body. Some believe she's the ghost of a mother who got lost searching for her dismembered daughter after all she could find was a severed leg.

Some say she wants to race you across a nearby bridge. Why it's creepy: The dark, canopied trail running through Wildwood, Missouri, just outside St. Louis, has been a hotbed of creepy tales for ages, often revolving around shadowy human figures following and frightening those along the trail. The origin stories of the trail's haunting varies widely, from the kind of plausible railway accidents, executed Civil War spies to the more sensational sadistic children's hospital.

Several years ago the pathway was paved so it might be used as a bike path, but that hasn't done much to slow the legend. The police are doing their best, however.

Why it's creepy: Usually, when you see a hitchhiker on a particularly desolate stretch of highway -- which Highway 87 certainly can be -- it gives you the willies. Legend has it those who encounter the hitcher suddenly find his body bouncing off the front of their car. The hitcher , meanwhile, repeats the cycle endlessly, trapped in his own personal hell as he repeats his moment of death with whichever driver happens to be cruising down the road at the wrong time. Legends of wandering spirits of Native Americans are pretty prevalent in this part of the country, too, so chances are the hitcher lore and the native stuff just mated logically.

Why it's creepy: There's no shortage of "creepy road where creepy things happen" stories, but Nebraska's Seven Sisters Road is particularly unsettling, with the legend telling of a young man who, following a dispute with his family, led each of his sisters out to seven different hills and hung them from a different tree. Where it came from: The precise origins of the legend are unclear sometimes it's the father rather than the brother, depending on who's telling the story but it goes back long enough and is ingrained well enough in the local culture that it's taken into account when making highway construction plans.

But secret government cover ups, dead aliens, and playing God in the middle of the desolate Nevada desert is creepier than probing Randy Quaid. It's been said that everything from time travel, genetic experiments, and alien autopsies are commonplace at Area Frankly, no one outside of high government knows what goes on in there. Where it came from: First off, Area 51 is a real, highly classified military base in the southern portion of Nevada ; its purpose is publicly unknown.

But in the early s, in the infant stages of the Cold War, President Eisenhower approved plans to build the U-2 stealth plane and created Area 51 to house the development labs and test field. When reports of the -- admittedly, spacecraft-looking -- plane floated through the public and media, theories spread, and the conjecture around Roswell's "alien crash" site only fanned the flames of speculation. From there, it's been the epicenter for all US government suspicion.

Why it's creepy: The charming archipelago of Isles of Shoals off New Hampshire's eastern shore is the perfect destination for a seaside picnic Two young women were horrifically butchered via the particularly creepy maniac-with-an-axe method in the late s, and apparently you can still hear them screaming, often late at night, which is just objectively unsettling.


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This specific Island, Smuttynose, is said to be haunted by these ghosts, the axe murderer himself, pirates, and a gang of other poltergeists. And c'mon, have you ever seen an abandoned old lighthouse in the fog? Where it came from: The islands have a history longer than the country they are in. Blackbeard himself was rumored to use the islands as a honeymoon destination and gold depository in the early 18th century -- and naturally he killed some people there along the way.

By the time Louis Wagner murdered the women living on Smuttynose, there were already ghost stories about the haunting chain of islands. With history, pirates, and of course, axe murders, come creepy tales. And again, the abandoned lighthouses don't help. And the Watcher -- a legend that creeped its way to viral fame in -- is like a David Fincher movie breathed into horrifying life.

If you don't know the details , in the summer of a young family moved into a million dollar house in Westfield, New Jersey. Soon after, they started getting letters signed by someone only ID'ing themselves as "The Watcher" claiming it was his duty to "watch over" the house -- while also spouting crazy lines like "Do you need to fill the house with the young blood I requested?

Where it came from: Is this a prank based off a weirdly accepted local legend?