Haunted Houses

Corrine May Botz's body of work is fascinating. I've posted about her Nutshell Studies Of Unexplained Death earlier this year. She is a storyteller, of sorts - through her photography, film and in this case oral collection of ghost stories. Of the collection, Botz says:

The series was inspired by turn of the century spirit photographs and Victorian ghost stories written by women as a means of articulating domestic discontents. In being the medium through which the spirit of these houses was recorded, I continued the tradition of female sensitivity to the supernatural.

Haunted Houses provides a unique way of understanding our relationship to the spaces we inhabit, and reflects romantic and dystopian notions of the domestic realm. The notion of hauntedness activates and highlights the home, revealing the hidden narratives and possibilities of everyday life.

Haunted Houses includes an archive of first-hand ghost stories. The stories were collected on location and over the phone. They range in length from a few minutes to an hour. The voice is captured much like the space. Both image and text are haunted by absence, history, memory, and the possibility of never being seen or heard. Unlike the majority of horror films where the ghosts arrive as a result of an inopportune death, or to right a wrong, the inhabitants of these houses are often at a loss for why the ghosts are there, and in some cases the ghost is considered a source of comfort.

The photographs: http://www.corinnebotz.com/Corinne_May_Botz/Haunted_1.html

The stories: http://www.corinnebotz.com/Corinne_May_Botz/Stories.html

Inside The Box

Across the street from my grandmother's house, just behind the train tracks, is ABC Caskets Factory. Opened in 1933 ABC is now the oldest casket factory in California.

They boast the unusual feature of a showroom, where those in need can select from the variety of models displayed in lieu of a catalog. Unusual requests come in, of course - fake fur, all-american, a 900 pound relative? No problem. Of course, Hollywood comes calling frequently. ABC's coffins are frequently seen on television and film.

A few shots from my visit: