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Lauren Beukes Discusses Why Haunted Houses are Scary on Wired's Halloween Podcast

Broken MonstersLauren Beukes chatted to Wired on the Halloween edition of their podcast Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy on the topic: “What’s Scarier, Haunted Houses or Haunted People?”

“The idea that locations resonate with their collected history is one that appeals to South African author Lauren Beukes,” the article reads, referencing Beukes’ latest novel Broken Monsters, which is set in the “blighted urban landscape of modern-day Detroit”.

Beukes says the fear that stems from vacant, haunted houses is not so much about the building as about what you bring into that emptiness: “it’s your own baggage and malaise and malevolence and psychology, or whether there’s something there waiting to feed into it, is what makes it so interesting”.

Beukes also speaks about the power of place in a South African context, and shares her experience of stepping into Nelson Mandela’s former cell on Robben Island.

I think what’s also interesting is looking at the psychogeographies. … There are really horrible things that happen in the world all the time, or good things—I went to Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for forty years, and stepping into that cell, this tiny cell where he spent so much of his life, is very poignant. There’s something powerful there. And that’s powerful good, because good came out of it, but if you go to horrible places where bad things happened, these layers of history endure, and I think that we are haunted by the past in the way that we make mistakes over and over again, and that we have to acknowledge that, and that that kind of echoes into personal hauntings and things that we’ve done in our own lives.

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