You’ve seen pictures and videos of those ancient cities that archaeologists and explorers have discovered in modern times. They are usually covered by dense forests, ice, or sand. Whenever you watch a movie about nature trying to rid itself of civilization, you may also spot abandoned cities being slowly taken over by sand, water, or snow.
Imaginary or real
Those movies may have been imagined, but those ancient ruins probably existed. Imaginary or real, the fact that these places are always covered by some natural element or material leads you to think: What would happen if civilization ended now? What if The Walking Dead were real? What if Las Vegas or the city of Dubai were left to the natural machinations of the desert?
Real eerie settings
Imagine the abandoned town of Kolmanskop in Namibia, or the Dome Homes of Marco Island, Cape Romano in Florida, USA, and all you need are some tumbleweed, an eerie soundtrack, and a plot. Throw in a hapless couple in a Volkswagen Bus, all boozed up and bursting with hormones, with a penchant for getting into trouble, and you know this is a perfect recipe for disaster.
All goriness and fear-mongering aside, you already know that everything will be covered soon. Whether it’s sand, sea, ice, or foliage, Mother Earth will have her way if we’re not there to get in the way.
Our relationship with the eerie
Hollywood makes millions of dollars releasing movies featuring such “abandoned place” themes, eerie settings, and disasters. Whether it’s a tribute to our preference for the supernatural as the center of our imagined universes, or a cautionary tale delivered by Dwayne Johnson or Jake Gyllenhaal, we like to imagine a world where the clutter on our office desks is the least of our problems.
These stories can become real yet, if people are not careful, Q Applied Systems claims. Stopping such scenes from taking place in real life can be as easy as hiring dust control in California, or as complicated and expensive as relocating an entire community away from a mine or nuclear power plant somewhere in Europe.
Man’s propensity for making disaster movies, taking pictures of abandoned places, writing stories about the eerie and disturbingly quiet, is all perhaps a cry for help, a lament against what once was and what could still be, an expression of fear. It is our way of warning the younger generation and perhaps ourselves about the dangers that could stem from simple negligence to the most dangerous of plans.
Or maybe it’s more about staving off such disasters, loneliness, and fear, than about showing how heroes can fight off anything. Because in reality, if we were to let our guard down, not even The Rock, all muscle-clad and flashing that million-dollar row of pearly whites, can swoop in and save us all.