Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Art by Laurie Lipton

The above video isn't actually creepy but it gives you an insight into the personality of the quirky and badass Laurie Lipton and you get to see her work on one of her signature giant intricate art pieces.

To give you a little background on Lipton before we delve into her fascinating art pieces, she was born in New York and began drawing when she was four years old.  Lipton has lived in numerous countries including Germany, France, and the UK, to name a few.  While traveling in Europe as a student, Lipton truly honed her style and technique, "building up tone with thousands of fine cross-hatching lines like an egg tempera painting."  Lipton rooted her art in the stylings of Van Eyck, Goya, and Rembrant, even after her teachers told her that figurative art went out in the Middle Ages and that she should express herself using more forms and shapes.

Lipton truly found her soul in black and white art.  Lipton is quoted as saying, "Black and white is the color of ancient photographs and old TV shows.  It is the color of ghosts, longing, time passing, memory, and madness.  Black and white ached.  I realized that it was perfect for the imagery in my work.”  And wow, it truly is some amazing and creepy imagery.  Check out some of my favorite pieces below.

The social commentary is evident in Lipton's work, whether it be the perils of fame, the frailty of age,  the sorrow of mass media consumption, or the distortion of celebrity.  In an interview with beinArt, Lipton is quoted as saying:

"JW: So much of your work is social commentary, on topics varying from overconsumption of materials and media to politics. Yet I’m not sure I can come up with any examples of your work that are squarely on the positive end of the spectrum: what we’re doing right as opposed to what we’re doing wrong. Is this a deliberate choice, and if not, what do you suppose accounts for this?

LL: I only draw about the things that concern me. When I was a child I used to sit alone for hours and draw about all the aspects of school that I hated, all the wrongs I felt, all the anger and frustration that was bottled up inside of me. It helped me to cope and to understand. Unsettling art, whether it is in books, music, or pictures, is an attempt to comprehend life’s trials and tribulations. Pretty, nice, nonconfrontational, “positive” art serves a purpose, too… but I don’t connect to it on any deep level and I don’t wish to waste my time doing it."

Did I mention she's a badass?

If I were to link every piece of Lipton's that is astounding, intricate, thought-provoking, creepy, and disturbing, this post would scroll for days.  Please check out the rest of her work at  It is breathtaking.


DUDE!  You can buy this on a t-shirt!  The only catch is it's $64.00.  I can hear my wallet screaming like the baby whose head is about to be eaten.

- Amanda

Source #1
Source #2

Friday, April 24, 2015

Entity - Movie Review

Entity (2012)
Directed by Steve Stone
-Spoilers ahead-

The best parts of the movie Entity are the first five minutes and the last ten minutes.  This may sound anticlimactic but in all honesty, the middle hour and fifteen minutes of the film are a healthy mixture of boring, generic, found footage-esque paranormal cliches and legit spooky and disturbing moments.  So, let's start from the beginning in Sadovich, Russia in 1983.  We see a naked, gaunt, screaming man, Mischka, in a cell with a dirty old bed, completely freaking out, yelling in Russian, convulsing while strapped to the bed, popping up into the camera unexpectedly, and then legit FLOATING face down in mid-air.  Yep, now I'm freaked out.

We flash forward to present day where we meet a group of five hiking through the forest.  We have Kate, the host of a TV show, psychic Ruth, author Yuri, and sound guy and camera guy, David and Matt.  The group is investigating a 1998 case where the remains of 34 people were found in shallow graves in the middle of the forest.  Police investigations were inconclusive and the case was closed after only one search by the police.  Psychic Ruth is here to lead the investigation and hopefully bring some answers to light on what happened to the 34 people.  We see Yuri being interviewed by Kate, as he was the one who initially brought the story to the TV show to cover.  He has a special interest in the case that is yet to be revealed.


The group reaches an open field wherein Ruth begins to get visions of several sepia-toned apparitions with cloudy eyes and ratty hospital gowns speaking to her in Russian, one of which pops up in her face and makes us all collectively poop our pants.  Ruth gets a vision of several men and women being lined up in a row and shot in the head one after another.  She leads the group to the other side of the trees where they find a massive abandoned warehouse.  They experience all the paranormal haunting cliches such as hearing screams, breathing cold air, hearing voices saying "They shouldn't be here" and an electric chair that moves on its own.  Ruth sits in the chair and sees an old man getting electroshock therapy and comes to the realization that, "They put people like me here" meaning the 34 people killed all were thought to have some sort of psychic ability.

The group continues to explore the building and finds a corridor of cells where the psychics were kept for months in the dark for observation.  There was one who was different from the others, Mischka, whose strong presence emanated from his bed.  We see Mischka pop up again right up in the camera and we all collectively poop our pants AGAIN.  Matt, the cameraman, decides to set his camera up outside Mischka's cell and leave it there as they continue to explore.  Also at this point, David, the sound guy disappears and we later see him being tossed up and down and slammed into the floor like a rag doll by Mischka. 

We have a momentary break in all the excitement by finally gaining an understanding of why Yuri is so interested in this case.  Turns out, Yuri has been here before and was testing Ruth to see if she could find the place on her own, to see if she was a true psychic.  Yuri enlightens us that the facility was run by the government who wanted to see if psychics could read enemy minds or locate strategic locations over long distances.  The government officials tried to increase the prisoners' psychic powers by introducing electric currents into their brains and keeping them in dark soundproof rooms for months to weaken their other senses and strengthen their psychic senses.  When the place was eventually shut down, they took the bodies of any people who were still left in the facility and buried them in the woods.  This is when I forget about the stupid paranormal cliches of this movie and it gets my solid seal of approval for the uniqueness of this back story.

Ruth has finally had enough and says they need to get out but Yuri breaks bad and says they cannot leave.  See, the love of Yuri's live, Tasha, was a psychic and is one of the 34 dead.  He needs Ruth to find her and bring her peace.  As they go on a search for Tasha, the group walks through a hallway and then the double doors slam and lock, leaving Yuri on the other side.  He hears Tasha calling to him and as she follows her image down the hallway he gets blindsided by Mischka's spirit and he and all the other spirits engage in a scream-fest.  Bye bye, Yuri.  Ruth sprints out on her own as Kate and Matt try to escape the building altogether.  We see Mischka attack Ruth and as she's bleeding and about to pass out, she whispers, "Let me help you."  We see creepy naked Mischka hovering on the ceiling and whimpering.  He crawls over to Ruth and convulses and screams in her face and we fade to black.  Kate and Matt decide they can't leave Ruth behind and come back to find her beat up but peaceful that she was able to help bring Mischka peace.  Well, surprise, Mischka is still lurking around and he guts Matt and throws Kate through the air against a wall.

Kate wakes up in Mischka's bed and our movie comes to its depressing close.  Kate walks past all of the cells in the corridor and sees David, Yuri, Matt, all "alive" and solemnly staring at her from their cell beds.  Ruth walks out of her cell with clouded gray eyes and speaks in Russian, "You can never leave here now" and then walks backwards and exits like a boss.  Kate suddenly sees visions of all the former dead prisoners as a single tear rolls down her face.  She goes back to Mischka's cell and sits on his bed contemplatively as opera music plays over the scene as we watch Kate slowly become more and more transparent and then fade away completely.  Very powerful ending (and I'm not being sarcastic for once.)

Here's what I like about Entity:

- Mischka is creepy, crazy, out of control, and always moves in a blur, a shadow, night vision, darkness.  We never see a clear well-lighted shot of what he even looks like.  His erratic movements and constant shrieking and growling and thrashing add to the mystery and depravity of his spirit.

-There is a good effort put forth to creating tension at a pretty steady pace throughout the film.  There are heartbeats pounding over the particularly intense scenes and always fast camera movements to cement the feelings of insecurity and chaos.

-There's no happy ending.  And I like it.  Not every horror film, especially paranormal ones, needs a happy ending where the spirits are put to rest, the demons are exorcised, the house is free of spirits, and everyone goes back to their normal daily lives.  No!  Entity leaves us with a feeling of dread, hopelessness, no peace, no resolution for the souls who died there.  Now we know there are even more souls trapped there than before and any who come to explore in the future will likely be trapped as well.  There is no closure.  The mystery will continue.  No one on the outside gets any answers or any clarity.

I definitely recommend Entity if you can get past the typical paranormal cliches and over-acting of the lead character, Kate, and focus on the deeper depressing story and the awesomeness of Mischka's crazy ass.


Monday, April 20, 2015


Meet Aleshenka.

Discovered in the village of Kaolinovy, Russia in 1996 by a mentally ill elderly woman, Tamara Vasilievna Prosvirina, Aleshenka, also known as the Kyshtym Dwarf, is an anthropomorphic artifact alleged to be a small human fetus and/or, you know, an alien.  Two Japanese companies, Asahi TV and MTV Japan actually made documentaries about Aleshenka as its discovery and origins were so fascinating and slightly disturbing.  As if its discovery were not unusual enough, the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of its body and the death of Tamara add to the creepiness factor.

An online Russian newspaper gives a recounting of Aleshenka's discovery, which in my personal opinion reads like fan fiction, but how are we to know if it is actually true?  You see, Tamara suffered from "psychiatric disease" and often spent time gathering flowers from graves at local cemeteries and decorating the rooms of her house with these flowers.  One particular night, Tamara heard a strange voice inside her head that requested she visit the cemetery.  It was there that Tamara found Aleshenka's tiny body, unable to speak, but whistling quietly to attract Tamara's attention.  Tamara scooped Aleshenka up and took it home.

Aleshenka's appearance was unique and odd: gray-skinned, hairless, small holes for ears, no eyelids, long fingers with small sharp claws, lack of genitals, and no navel.  Tamara took care of Aleshenka for weeks, acting as though it were her own child.  Both Tamara's daughter-in-law and mother allegedly saw Aleshenka but did not report it to the police as they were happy Tamara had a pet/child to take care of and to occupy her time.  However, it was a neighbor who reported Tamara to psychiatrists and thus Tamara was admitted to a psychiatric hospital.  As there was no one in the house to take care of Aleshenka, it died of starvation and dehydration.  Tamara had a friend, Vladimir Nurdinov, who remembered Aleshenka and went to check on it.  Unfortunately, by this time it was too late and Aleshenka's little corpse was passed on to the local police. 

In 1999, Tamara was unfortunately killed an in automobile accident upon trying to escape the hospital.  Tamara was naked and walking along the highway, wearing only green socks.  Eye-witnesses say it looked as though Tamara was reacting to someone calling to her.  Before police were able to intervene, Tamara was hit by two vehicles, thrown over 40 feet in the air, and fell back onto the road, where she died.

Soon after Tamara's death, the remains of Aleshenka disappeared.  There are a plethora of theories of what might've happened.  Aleshenka's body was recovered by a UFO inhabited by members of Aleshenka's species.  Aleshenka's body was bought by a wealthy collector of oddities.  Aleshenka's body was stolen or simply disappeared into thin air.  It was also reported that the investigator assigned to the case handed over Aleshenka's body to a pair of "ufologists" to examine the body.  To this day, no one knows what happened to Aleshenka. 

On April 15th, 2004, genetic experts at the Moscow Vavilov Institute of General Genetics made an official statement that Aleshenka was a premature female human infant with severe deformities.  The Kyshthm Disaster of 1957 greatly polluted the area with radiation, thusly resulting in the potential deformities present in the human fetus.  Interestingly enough, Vadim Chernobrov, a coordinator with the public research center, Kosmopoisk, is quoted as saying, "A gene discovered in the DNA samples doesn't correspond with any genes pertaining to humans or anthropoid apes.  No gene samples available at the laboratory match the gene."

Let me go ahead and add to the creepiness of this case: Mark Milkhiker was an academic who looked into the case of the Kyshytm phenomenon on location and carefully examined the area in which Aleshenka was found.  Soon after, Milkhiker fell ill and died of a sudden heart attack.  Also, Chernobrov, as mentioned above, was diagnosed with a mysterious disease that paralyzed him from the waist down, a disease which doctors were unable to explain.  Coincidence?  Bad luck?  Curse?  Who knows?

SO, all this being said, what are our thoughts on Aleshenka?  Fetus/alien?  Real/fiction?  Are the details surrounding Aleshenka's existence so cloudy and unbelievable that this could all be one big urban legend?  Is it better to be a skeptic and think this is all hogwash or be optimistically curious and perhaps believe Aleshenka's story to be true?

I had originally intended to add Pedro the Mummy and the Atacama skeleton to this post via my sistar Joanna sending me links about them, BUT I realize this post alone is becoming tl;dr (too long, didn't read.)  Therefore, look for Tiny Alien Mummies PART TWO coming up in the next few weeks!


Reference Article #1

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

NOAA Unidentified Sounds

NOAA stands for the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration and they have a great habit of capturing some creepy sh*! on their autonomous hydrophones.  I already have a pretty large fear of the deepest darkest parts of the ocean, the creatures which may lay below, able to survive places man cannot venture to, lurking around down there unbeknownst to the human race, huge, many teeth, slow or fast-moving....*shudder*  Below I have inserted audio clips of some of the strangest and creepiest recorded unidentified sounds.  Keep in mind, these are nothing but simple sounds but when you try to picture in your mind WHAT exactly may be making these sounds...your imagination can start to unnerve you very quickly and very easily.


Recorded in August of 1991, Upsweep consists of a "long train of narrow-band upsweeping sounds of several seconds in duration each."  The source of Upsweep has been tracked to a location of inferred volcanic seismicity and seems to be seasonal, reaching its peaks in Spring and Autumn.  The source level was strongest in 1991 and has been declining ever since but can still be captured on the hydrophones throughout the Pacific Ocean.  Upsweep is more precisely located near Antarctica, about 2,500 miles west of the southern tip of South America.  It was originally believed that the Upsweep sound might be fin whales but this theory was debunked in 1996 when researchers argued there wasn't enough variation in the tone for it to be created biologically.


Bloop is perhaps the most well-known unidentified sound.  At least it's the first one I heard of many years ago.  Bloop was captured in 1997.  The sound is apparently consistent with the noises generated by "icequakes" or large icebergs scraping along the ocean floor.  What's creepy about Bloop is that it is several times louder than the loudest recorded animal, the blue whale.  However, some believe that maybe Bloop is evidence of an even larger life form lurking in the depths of the oceans.  Interestingly enough, no other Bloops have been recorded since 1997.


I'm simultaneously creeped out by this and laughing beause it sounds like Chewbacca yawning before taking a nice nap.   Julia was recorded in 1999 near Antarctica.  Julia lasts 15 seconds and is said to be the sound of a large iceberg running into the seafloor.  I'm going to hold my ground that there's a really large species of underwater Chewbaccas that are just really sleepy.

Slow Down

Slow Down is pretty dang creepy to me.  Recorded in 1997, the source is believed to be an iceberg becoming grounded.  Slow Down's sound slowly decreases over the course of SEVEN MINUTES and has been picked up several times each year since first being heard in 1997, according to Wikipedia.  Apparently Slow Down is the result of the friction caused by a large sheet of ice moving over land.


Recorded in 1997, Train rises to a quasi-steady frequency.  Once again, the origin is likely to be a very large iceberg grounded in the Ross Sea near Cap Adare.  Interstingly, Train was the unidentified sound I was able to gather the least amount of information on during my research.

So, lovely readers, how do you feel about these unidentified sounds?  Are they not creepy at all?  Are they slightly unnerving?  Do you believe them all to be iceberg shifts or volcanic activity or is it possible there is something else down there producing these noises?  I guess we are left only to rely on science as best we can in this situation, but if even the greatest scientists classify these sounds as "unidentified", is it possible that they could be made by something we couldn't even imagine?  *shudders again for good measure*


Source #1
Source #2

Friday, April 10, 2015

P2 - Movie Review

P2 (2007)
Directed by Franck Khalfoun
-Spoilers ahead-

Our film begins with a sweeping view of Level P2 of a parking garage, as "Santa Baby" creepily drones on in the background, and we see a handcuffed woman bust out of the trunk of a car screaming.  Wait, what?!

As we rewind back to earlier in the evening, we see aforementioned handcuffed woman is Angela, a Type A overworked businesswoman working late on Christmas eve.  A man named Jim comes into her office and apologizes for getting drunk and making a move on her.  This seemed odd and out of place at the beginning of the film but I'm only mentioning it because it factors in later in the movie in my favorite scene.

Angela finally gets ready to leave to see her family but finds her car won't start.  She goes into the security office where we meet Thomas (Wes Bentley of American Beauty fame), the bumbling, awkward, yet slightly condescending security guard who tries to jump her battery and then invites her to have a Christmas meal with him.  Angela is noticeably off-put by Thomas and goes upstairs to call a cab and take a nap.  Once her cab arrives, Angela finds she is locked in the building and cannot get out.  As she struggles to unlock the door, she watches her cab drive away when all of a sudden all the lights in the building go out.  Angela begins to walk around in the dark and gets chloroformed by Thomas.

Here's where it all starts to get weird.  Angela wakes up ankle-chained to a table in the security office, wearing a white dress, and sitting at a table with a Christmas meal on it as Thomas begins to grill her on questions about her personal life while wearing a Santa costume.  (Lol what?!)  Santa then decides to give her a gift of a VHS tape of the security footage of Jim drunkenly groping her in the company elevator.  Thomas unlocks Angela so they can take a romantic walk together and she stabs him in the shoulder with a fork as his Rottweiler guard dog barks maniacally in the background.  Angela doesn't get far though before being tackled and shoved into a car by Thomas and thus we get to my favorite part of the movie because I'm a sick freak.

We see Jim tied up in a chair in the parking garage as Thomas instructs Angela to go beat him with a flashlight to prove that she's not a slut (Lol what?!) Thomas keeps repeating that he's here to help Angela, not hurt her, further cementing that he's a full-blown creepy stalker psycho.  He gets out of the car and beats Jim's face in with the flashlight.  But oh no, he's not done yet, he gets back in the car and pushes Jim's rolly chair through the parking garage with his bumper and then smashes him into the concrete wall.  We see Jim's intestines pouring out as Thomas backs the car up and hits him again, smashing his head to smithereens.

Angela is rightfully freaked the F out and she manages to escape the car and the rest of the movie is essentially a cat and mouse chase scene through the many different levels of the parking garage.  We see Angela trap herself in an elevator, which Thomas then floods from above with the emergency fire hose, almost drowning Angela.  We see Thomas dance to Blue Christmas and shake his hips like Elvis in the security office for no apparent reason.  We see Angela manage to frantically call 911 and as the cops arrive, Thomas tazes her and hides her body in her car trunk before putting on a show of innocence for the cops.

Our movie culminates with Angela trying to chase the cops as they drive away and then getting herself chased by Rocky the Rottweiler.  Angela turns into a super badass and kills Rocky with a tire iron.  This scene is pretty nasty and I hate when animals die in movies but it was Angela or Rocky, so Rocky had to go.  This of course pisses Thomas off to the ultimate level and they end up having a game of chicken with two cars on level P2 of the parking garage.  Thomas swerves at the last minute and Angela ends up flipping her car by taking the curves too fast.  Thomas approaches her car thinking she's dead, but nope, she stabs him in the eye with what looks like a nail file and then chokes him with her handcuffs.  In one final outburst of psychoticness, Thomas screams after Angela, "Why can't we be friends?  Why can't we just spend Christmas together?" and then lets out a stream of expletives which should never be used against women including the B word and the C word.  Okay Thomas, you gots to go.  Angela tazes a trail of gasoline leading up to the car and sets Thomas on fire.  You go, girl.

So as you can probably tell by the description, I wouldn't classify this film so much as a creepy scary horror film but more of an unsettling tension-filled thriller, which I always enjoy.  I might be in the minority for this, but I love movies that take place in only one setting with very few characters, as P2 did.  Exam and Pontypool are other great movies with minimal characters and setting changes.  I feel these "one-setting" movies are a true test of acting skills to see how well the main characters can carry a story and keep the viewer interested without tons of set changes, special effects, and secondary characters.  Rachel Nichols and Wes Bentley do a great job in P2.  She is convincing as a strong badass woman who doesn't give up and he is convincing as a super psycho who didn't get enough attention growing up.

The character of Angela was a compelling one, as she didn't necessarily have any violent tendencies or superhuman strength.  She was just a regular businesswoman caught in a terrifying situation and did the best she could to escape with what she was given to work with.  She fought Thomas to the end, ran her heart out in a skimpy white dress, and wasn't afraid to get covered in dog blood.  P2 didn't have a plethora of special effects or a supernatural element.  There was no mystery or twist ending.  There were no real jump scares.  BUT what it did have was a great build of tension in essentially an hour long chase scene and it had blood and gore.  And it had a guy's head explode.  Two thumbs up!


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

White With Red

Sometimes I make the mistake of just assuming that people know what creepypasta is.  I feel if you were to stumble across our blog and invest any amount of time in it, you have some interest in the creepy, horrific, odd, and disturbing, BUT why should I assume you know what creepypasta is?

Creepypasta, as defined by Google, is "the name given to all kinds of weird, urban legend-type things going on in the Internet.  Some are stories, some are images, some are videos, and all of them are potential making-you-crap-your-pants material."  Long before the days of the internet, horror lovers were left to rely on film, literature, and music in order to experience the creepiness they craved, but with the advent of the world wide web, we now have infinite creepiness at our fingertips, just a click away.  The accessibility of creepiness on the internet can have a mixed reaction.  On one hand, it's amazing to be able to explore various websites (Reddit being a large contributor) and find new and innovative creepy stories to pore through on a lazy Sunday.  On the other hand, there is a plethora of complete crap out there probably written in a span of ten minutes that is generic and grammatical error-laden, whipped up with the hopes of becoming the next big viral creepy superstar.

However, to give creepypasta the respect it is somewhat due, I would be remiss if I did not mention White With Red, one of the very first creepypastas I was exposed to probably more than five years ago.  White With Red reads as follows:

A man went to a hotel and walked up to the front desk to check in. The woman at the desk gave him his key and told him that on the way to his room, there was a door with no number that was locked and no one was allowed in there. She explained that it was a storeroom, and that it was out of bounds. She reminded him of this several times before allowing him upstairs. So he followed the instructions of the woman at the front desk, going straight to his room, and going to bed.

However, the insistence of the woman had piqued his curiosity, so the next night he walked down the hall to the door and tried the handle. Sure enough it was locked. He bent down and looked through the wide keyhole. Cold air passed through it, chilling his eye. What he saw was a hotel bedroom, like his, and in the corner was a woman whose skin was incredibly pale. She was leaning her head against the wall, facing away from the door. He stared in confusion for a while. Was this a celebrity? The owner's daughter? He almost knocked on the door, out of curiosity but decided not to.

As he was still looking, the woman turned sharply and he jumped back from the door, hoping she would not suspect he had been spying on her. He crept away from the door and walked back to his room. The next day, he returned to the door and looked through the wide keyhole. This time, all he saw was redness. He couldn't make anything out besides a distinct red color, unmoving. Perhaps the inhabitants of the room knew he was spying the night before, and had blocked the keyhole with something red. He felt embarrassed that he had made the woman so uncomfortable, and hoped she had not made a complaint with the woman on the front desk.

At this point he decided to consult her for more information. She sighed and said, "Did you look through the keyhole?"

The man told her that he had and she said, "Well, I might as well tell you the story of what happened in that room. A long time ago, a man murdered his wife in there, and we find that even now, whoever stays there gets very uncomfortable. But these people were not ordinary. They were white all over, except for their eyes, which were red."

Simple, straight to the point, and if this is the first time you've ever read this story, I hope it elicited at least some sort of response - a slight case of the chill bumps, a tingle up your spine, an inward uncomfortable chuckle.  One thing I can appreciate about kindred spirits across the world, creepy-lovers such as ourselves, is they take it upon themselves to recreate creepypastas in video format and post them on YouTube for all to see.  Brandon Christensen is the producer, director, and editor of the White With Red adaptation linked above and Matthew Greene is the director of photography, producer, and post-production.  Published in August of 2013, not even two years old, Christensen's video has gotten nearly 100,000 views on YouTube, on a channel with only seven videos, the rest receiving only 39-1,500 views.  Yes, to all you doubters, creepypasta has quite a devout following.

Judge for yourself how you feel Christensen and Greene were able to capture the creepiness of White With Red.  Also, please enjoy this link to the site, The Floor is Now Lava, featuring a cartoon version of the White With Red story.

White With Red Comic

As a self-proclaimed creepy-lover, I sometimes feel I am desensitized to all the creepy, weird, and strange things I look up on a regular basis, but if I am able to put myself back into the headspace of when I first started discovering creepypasta and ran across stories such as White With Red, I remember the ingenuity that first drew me in all those years ago and I smile in reverie at the beginnings of creepypasta and look forward to the days ahead as the only way to go from here is up.

[Did I just get somewhat sappy on a post about a made-up ghost in a hotel room?]


Monday, April 6, 2015

Ayano Tsukimi

I have to file the story of Ayano Tsukimi and the ghost town of Nagoro under the 'sweet but creepy' catalogue.

Nagoro is a small village located in the valley of Shikoku, Japan.  Once vibrant with business and families, over time, the village population has dwindled as its residents seek out job opportunities in larger cities.  65-year-old Ayano Tsukimi, a Japanese artist, took it upon herself to create hundreds of large dolls and placed them strategically throughout the village to represent those who have passed away or left the city.  There are currently only 35 residents left in Nagoro and they are outnumbered three to one by the dolls made by Tsukimi. 

See what I mean?  It is doubly heartbreaking and creepy as hell.  She's obviously a sweet woman with a kind heart and a love and respect for her home and people, but I mean, take a look at some of these dolls just chilling in a classroom or lurking in the bushes.  Tsukimi says the dolls bring back memories for her.  She refers to an old lady doll representing a woman who used to come and chat with her and drink tea and an old man doll as a man who used to drink sake and tell stories.  Being that there are only 35 residents left in the town, most of them elderly, there are no youth to raise, thus no need for an elementary school.  Tsukimi has filled the abandoned school with doll replicas of young children and their teachers.

Tsukimi returned to her hometown of Naguro initially to take care of her ailing 85 year old father.  She tried her hand at farming when she first moved back.  After discovering her radishes had been destroyed by crows, she built her first scarecrow to keep them away.  It takes a lot of time, effort, and precision to create these dolls/scarecrows/mannequins, but I guess when you live in a desolate village, what else are you really going to do with your time?  Tsukimi even brings one doll along with her on her 90 minute drive to the next nearest big town to buy groceries.

Fritz Schumann made a documentary on Tsukimi which can be seen here: in which Tsukimi refers to the dolls as "her children."  In a way though, Tsukimi's wish for acknowledgement of her little village has been granted due to her creativity and talents.  Now tourists stop through the village of Nagoro to take pictures and marvel at all of the dolls strategically placed around the village when before they would've passed right by.  The vigor and vitality of Nagoro may never be the same as it used to be, but at least Tsukimi has kept them on the map and brought curiosity and interest to her village due to her unique and creepy hobby.  After all, a 28 year old in southern Virginia is writing an entire blog post about her.  Tip of the hat to you, creepy and sweet Ms. Tsukimi.