Popular Ghosts: The Haunted Spaces of Everyday Culture


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Publications by Esther Peeren

Upon finding the spare key and entering the dark house for the first time, you, as Katie, quickly realize that nobody is home, and the house seems to have been vacated in a hurry.


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Moving boxes are jammed in every corner and closet, many still unopened. Coffee cups, pop cans, and pizza boxes are strewn all over the house. Several of the rooms, including the kitchen, TV room and bedrooms, appear to have been turned inside out. As you move through the different rooms, you can pick up objects, examine them, and either put them back where you found them or unceremoniously chuck them on the floor.


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You can pick up every Kleenex box, coffee mug, toilet paper roll, and pencil in the house, spin them around and read their labels. None of these things provides you with any new information specific to your goal of discovering what happened to the family in your absence.

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Top 10 Most Famous Ghosts | Live Science

As you explore this deceptively massive house, going from room to room and unlocking secret passageways that lead to even more rooms a gatekeeping mechanism used to establish some sense of narrative linearity , you discover the personal domains of each of the family members and get to know their secrets, worries, pleasures, and vices. Beyond the explicit narrative developed in the scattered notes and letters, the domestic objects within the Greenbriar house provide deeper context and meaning into the everyday lives of the family members who occupy it.

So what exactly does this mean? No ghosts are necessary. Any living soul can haunt a place, making that place a haunt. The ghosts appear only when those living souls have departed, making a haunt haunted, a physical space permeated with spectral traces. Instead, she and the player share the experience of recognizing familiar objects in a profoundly unfamiliar and uncanny—or unhomely—space.

He relates the uncanny to the resurfacing of repressed childhood memories and the confirmation of previously disproven superstitions. Both of these elements are crucial to the narrative and player experience of Gone Home.

Beyond the Ghost Stories of the Winchester Mystery House

The nighttime thunderstorm, the dark and unfamiliar house, the possible presence of a ghost, and the mysterious disappearance of your family members, are all common horror tropes that establish a certain sense of caution in the first-time player. The desperate answering machine messages, the numerous notes from Sam begging you not to go looking for her, the occasional creaks and rattling noises, and the menacing red lights surrounding the locked attic door all point to a grisly end for your family, and possibly yourself as well.

Reward Yourself

On top of all of this, an early prototype of Gone Home was created using the Amnesia engine, and much of the game still retains the same look and feel as the player progresses through the house, defenseless and isolated. A scene from Gone Home left vs the Amnesia engine prototype right. Stop leaving every damn light in the house on!

The things that scare you are the things that scare you as a teenager. Gone Home plays to the strengths of an adolescent medium, feeding on. In the end, it turns out that these fears and superstitions were mostly misguided right from the start. The family has not been killed or otherwise hurt. The flickering lights are explained away by a note concerning faulty electric circuits. The red stains in the bathtub were made by hair dye and not blood. Haunting has long been a compelling element in popular culture, and has become an influential category in academic engagements with politics, economics, and aesthetics.

While recent scholarship has used psychoanalysis and the Gothic as frameworks with which to study haunting, this volume seeks to situate ghosts in the cultural imagination.

Haunted Spaces, Lived-In Places

The chapters in Popular Ghosts are united by the impulse to theorize the cultural work that ghosts do within the trans-historical contexts that comprise our understanding of everyday life. These authors study the theoretical and aesthetic genealogies of the spectral, while also commenting on the multiple everyday spaces that this category occupies. Rather than looking to a single tradition or medium, the essays in Popular Ghosts explore film, novels, photography, television, music, social practices, and political structures from different cultures to reopen the questions that surround our haunted sense of the everyday.

She has published articles on Mikhail Bakhtin, queer television, translation theory and the chronotopic dimension of diaspora.

Popular Ghosts: The Haunted Spaces of Everyday Culture Popular Ghosts: The Haunted Spaces of Everyday Culture
Popular Ghosts: The Haunted Spaces of Everyday Culture Popular Ghosts: The Haunted Spaces of Everyday Culture
Popular Ghosts: The Haunted Spaces of Everyday Culture Popular Ghosts: The Haunted Spaces of Everyday Culture
Popular Ghosts: The Haunted Spaces of Everyday Culture Popular Ghosts: The Haunted Spaces of Everyday Culture
Popular Ghosts: The Haunted Spaces of Everyday Culture Popular Ghosts: The Haunted Spaces of Everyday Culture
Popular Ghosts: The Haunted Spaces of Everyday Culture Popular Ghosts: The Haunted Spaces of Everyday Culture
Popular Ghosts: The Haunted Spaces of Everyday Culture Popular Ghosts: The Haunted Spaces of Everyday Culture

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