Real Cities: Modernity, Space and the Phantasmagorias of City Life


Steve Pile

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    For Tommy


    While preparing this book, I gave many papers on dreams and ghosts, and some on vampires and magic. I would like to thank all those who contributed to the discussion of these papers. In particular, these included sessions at the 1998, 2001 and 2003 annual conferences of the Association of American Geographers and at the 2002 annual conference of the Royal Geographical Society; in the Geography Departments at Bristol, Kentucky, Louisiana State University, Sheffield, Lund, Dartmouth and Singapore; and in interdisciplinary conferences held in London (organised by Gary Bridge and Sophie Watson), Perth (organised by Jean Hillier), Minnesota (organised by Karen Till and the Place/Space research group), Birmingham (‘Modernist Transactions’) and Singapore (organised by John Phillips, Ryan Bishop and Wei Wei Yeo). I have benefited from some sharp questioning and insightful commentary. As a result of these papers, many have sent me references to follow up as well as more ghost (etc.) stories. If only I had the many lives necessary to take everything into account!

    I have published a few pieces that were intended to be experiments in the content and style that would feed into Real Cities. Although substantially revised, some sections from these pieces provide the basis for parts of the book. Material has been taken from these sources: ‘Sleepwalking in the Modern City: Walter Benjamin and Sigmund Freud in the world of dreams’, in Gary Bridge and Sophie Watson (eds), A Companion to the City. 2000, Oxford: Basil Blackwell, pp. 75–86; ‘“The Problem of London”, or, how to explore the moods of the city’, in Neil Leach (ed.), The Hieroglyphics of Space: reading and experiencing the western metropolis. 2002, London: Routledge, pp. 203–216;‘Spectral Cities: where the repressed returns and other short stories’, in Jean Hillier and Emma Rooksby (eds), Habitus: a sense of place. 2002, Sydney: Ashgate, pp. 219–239; ‘Perpetual Returns: vampires and the ever colonised city’, in Ryan Bishop, John Phillips and Wei Wei Yeo (eds), Postcolonial Urbanism: Southeast Asian cities and global processes. 2003, New York: Routledge, pp. 265–286; and, ‘Ghosts and the City of Hope’, in Loretta Lees (ed.), The Emancipatory City?: paradoxes and possibilities. 2004, London: Sage, pp. 210–228.

    It would not have been possible to gather the range of stories that I have without the enthusiasm and support of people in the cities I have visited. In New Orleans, I was helped primarily by Dydia DeLyser, but also by Helen Regis and Rebecca Sheehan; in Singapore, by Lisa Law and by Henry Yeung and Robbie Goh; and, in Johannesburg, by Teresa Dirsuweit. I have also been fortunate to be part of a wider set of intellectual discussions – I hope people will forgive me if I do not list everyone I have talked to about this project.

    I have had financial support, throughout this project from the Geography Department at the Open University. The Department also has a vibrant and supportive intellectual culture, in which I have been able to try out and develop ideas. In particular, John Allen – both as Head of Department and as a colleague – has been enormously helpful. Michèle Marsh helped to produce and collate various drafts of the book. Jan Smith, with Susie Hooley, Neeru Thakrar and Rebecca White, never tired in scanning images for me. Moreover, Jan Smith arranged the permissions for those images that required it. I am grateful to the permission holders for allowing me to reprint certain images: details are printed under the relevant figures.

    At Sage, Robert Rojek has never faltered in his support, despite the seemingly endless apologies for not even starting the manuscript. I would also like to thank James Donald for his thought-provoking comments on a draft of the book and for his encouragement to go further.

    None of this would have been possible without Jenny Robinson. Without her, nothing would be the same.

    StevePileLondon and Milton Keynes
  • Notes


    1 See also Pile, 1999.

    2 See also Donald, 1999, pages 8–19.

    3 See also Donald, 1997 and 2000.

    4 See de Certeau, 1984; also, Sennett, 1970 and 1994; Soja, 2001; Maspero, 1990; Augé, 1986; and, historically, see Rendell, 2002.

    5 Sinclair also uses other spatial practices to trace the mood of London: for example, in Lud Heat (1975), Sinclair draws lines (mapped by Marc Atkins) between Hawksmoor churches to suggest the hidden ancient, mysterious, mythical patterns underlying contemporary London life; in Downriver (1991), Sinclair tells stories strangely connected by the River Thames.

    6 For a critical reading of Sinclair's flânerie, see Donald, 1999, pages 184–185; also, Pile, 2002. For a different reading of the neighbourhood, see Wright, 2001.

    7 In some ways, Sinclair's injunction to ‘notice everything’ is similar to Freud's therapeutic practice of ‘evenly suspended attention’, enabling him both to notice everything and not to prejudge either their importance or history (see Laplanche and Pontalis, 1973, pages 43–45).

    8 See Daniels, 1995.

    9 See section 4.6.

    10 See Debord 1955 and 1956; see also Blazwick et al., 1989; Bonnett, 1989; Plant, 1992; Pinder, 1996; Sadler, 1998.

    11 On spatialities of power, see Allen, 1999b and also 2003.

    12 See Debord, 1955, page 19.

    13 An injunction that also applies to postcards, of course.

    14 See Kern, 1983, page 15.

    15 On the divisions – especially gendered – between public space and private space, see Imray and Middleton, 1983; Little, Peake and Richardson, 1988; and Spain, 2001.

    16 See Robinson, forthcoming, Chapter 2.

    17 On the history of manners and affect, see Elias, 1939.

    18 Of course, the idea that the social processes producing city life are hidden has been a long-standing feature of urban analysis: some recent, and creative, versions of this can be seen in Sandercock, 1998; and, Borden, Kerr, Rendell and Pivaro, 2001.

    19 See Buck-Morss, 1989, Chapter 8; Gilloch, 1996, Chapter 3. On Walter Benjamin's use of ‘phantasmagoria’, see also Britzolakis, 1999.

    20 See also Berman, 1982, page 15.

    21 The development of this analytical model began in another context: see Pile, 1998.

    22 See Benjamin, 1927–40 [M1,6], page 418; similarly see Poe, 1839.

    23 On the city and Jekyll and Hyde, see Donald, 1999, pages 117–119. For Donald, the ‘monster within’ is suggestive both of the splits within masculine sexuality and also of the uncanny that lurks within modernity.

    24 See Schlör, 1998, and Schivelbusch, 1983, on the social histories of night and light in cities.

    25 On Budapest's catacombs, see Kósa and Szablyár, 2002. On Statue Park, see Boros, 2002, and Nadkarni, 2003.

    26 For a related argument, see Donald, 1999, pages 17–18, where he thinks about how angels might help us understand how the spectral spaces of the city are inhabited.

    Chapter 1 The Dreaming City

    1 It is no accident that ‘dreams’ should so often come into view in advertisements: ‘Fashion, like architecture, inheres in the darkness of the lived moment, belongs to the dream consciousness of the collective. The latter awakes, for example, in advertising’ (Benjamin, 1927–40 [K2a,4], page 393).

    2 On the city as a dream factory, see Donald, 1999, pages 86–91.

    3 It is not just in modern times that Augé discovers battles over dreams. According to Augé (following Le Goff, 1985), the Catholic Church in the medieval world waged a war on particular understandings of dreams. The Church had to make a strict division between legitimate and illegitimate interpretations of dreams. The basic problem, for them, was knowing whether a dream was a sign from God or the Devil, since dreams don't arrive signed and authenticated. That God-given signs may be delivered in dreams remains a widespread belief. Osama bin Laden, for example, is reputed to be a great believer in the prophetic quality of dreams (Saghiyeh, 2001, page 5). Dreams do not have to be messages from the unconscious self to the conscious self, nor messages from God or angels. Nor does every culture produce dream-books, but dreams are significant in many cultures (see, for example, Brody, 1981; and Tedlock, 1992; or, alternatively, Goh and Wong, 2001). For some, dreams can be something quite different, a world unto itself. Augé tells of African representational systems in which there is understood to be a continuity between waking and sleeping life (for another take on this, see Watts, 1999). For the Yoruba and the Ibo, for example, the dream is a journey through other worlds. The dreamer leaves the body to go on this journey, to return on waking. This explains why the body is so tired on waking: it is the weariness of the traveller. For me, these various interpretations of dreams are significant because they make a difference to city life.

    4 Dreams, for Sobel, also expressed American desires and fears, especially in relation to race and gender.

    5 It is best, therefore, only to buy one dream-book, otherwise you might never know the true meaning of your dreams!

    6 This is to say that capitalism creates a dream-world of commodity fetishism, of course. However, specific ideologies, such as neo-liberalism, themselves dream of particular capitalist social relations: see Mitchell, 1999.

    7 Helen McLean has published books on dream interpretation (including McLean and Cole, 2001) and runs her own website,

    8 There are several versions of this scenario, each with its own business nightmare.

    9 See also Robinson, 1998.

    10 It is not just politicians and activists who dream of freedom. In an episode of the popular 1970s British prison comedy, Porridge, two cellmates, Fletch and Godber, try to get through the night by imagining themselves in the world outside the prison. Since they cannot get out, they must create the world in their heads, as if in a dream. Fletch explains:

    fletch: Dreams is freedom.

    godber: Freedom?

    fletch: No locked doors, is there?

    (Porridge, episode ‘A Night In’)

    11 Schnitzler's book provides the source material for Stanley Kubrick's last film, Eyes Wide Shut (1999).

    12 See also Donald, 1999, pages 69–73, where he also discusses the role of dreams; or, alternatively, Vidler, 1992 and 2000; and Jacobs, 1996.

    13 Gaiman has also written several novels, one of which, Neverwhere (1996), was turned into a BBC television series.

    14 In this series, a young English boy called Timothy Hunter is given the option of choosing a life of magic or a life of science – a theme that will be taken up in Chapter 2.

    15 I will return to John Constantine in section 4.4.

    16 Morpheus's story parallels that of Laius, father of Oedipus, in some important respects. It might be useful to think about this in terms of Freud's suggestion of an Oedipal complex. However, I do not wish to engage Freud's mythological understanding of mental complexes in this book (instead, see Pile, 1996, Chapter 3).

    17 Thus, for example, in the story ‘Soft Places’ (1992), Marco Polo is lost in the desert. In the intense heat, he is dreaming (probably in deliberate reference to Calvino's Invisible Cities). In his dream, Marco Polo meets G. K. Chesterton who states (page 141):

    Time at the edge of the dreaming is softer than elsewhere, and here in the soft places it loops and whorls on itself: in the soft places where the border between dreams and reality is eroded, or has not yet formed … Time. It's like throwing a stone into a pool. It casts ripples. Hoom. That's where we are. Here. In the soft places, where the geographies of dream intrude upon the real.

    This is where we are in this chapter: in the soft places, where dream and reality loop, ripple and whorl. It is worth adding that G. K. Chesterton appears in this tale because he was a writer on dreams. Most relevant here is his short story, ‘The Angry Street: a bad dream’ (1908), which bears strong similarities to Gaiman's ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ (1993b).

    18 Indeed, Robert is close to Death, cute elder sister of Morpheus.

    19 See Freud, 1915.

    20 See Freud, 1919; and Pile, 2000.

    21 I will return to this idea most explicitly in section 4.3.

    22 See, respectively, Boyer, 1983; and Sanders, 2002. Alternatively, Hélène Binet's photographs have been described as revealing ‘the dream life of buildings’ (Glancey, 2002, page 12).

    23 Within psychoanalysis, see also Resnik, 1987; Segal, 1990; Flanders, 1993; States, 1997; Budd, 1999; Blass, 2002; Quinodoz, 2002. The broader impact of Freud's interpretation of dreams is explored in Bloom, 1987; Ferguson, 1996; Pile, 1998; and L. Marcus, 1999. The relationship between history and dreams is developed in a special double issue of the History Workshop Journal, which includes an interview with Hanna Segal (Pick and Roper, 2000). There is much more work that I could cite, but even this brief list should convey a sense of the continuing significance both of dreams and of Freud's work on dreams.

    24 See Freud, 1905 for a demonstration of his use of a dream fragment in therapy; see Freud, 1907 on the use of dreams in literature; see Freud, 1908 for his analysis of the difference between a dream and a day-dream and why a dream is not a work of art; see Freud, 1917a, 1920, 1933 for later additions to his work on dreams. Other significant writings by Freud on dreams include 1901, 1911, 1916–17, 1923 and 1925a.

    25 See Freud, 1913, pages 152–156.

    26 Indeed, Freud's spatial imagination meant that he was able to use both the topographical (unconscious, preconscious and conscious) and the structural (id, ego, and super-ego) models of the mind without incongruity – and this is clear even in The Interpretation of Dreams (1900). It is as a result of this, perhaps, that Khan argues that the relationship between intrapsychic agencies in the mind creates a ‘dream-space’ (1974).

    27 This idea appears throughout The Interpretation of Dreams, see especially pages 201–213 and 701–727.

    28 See Freud, 1900, pages 330–331, 722 and 736.

    29 See Freud, 1910, Third Lecture, pages 55–68.

    30 See also Freud, 1926.

    31 See also Freud, 1917b and 1919.

    32 See Freud, 1900, pages 595–596.

    33 See Freud, 1900, pages 607–608.

    34 In particular, see Buck-Morss, 1989 and 2000; Gilloch, 1996; and Weigel, 1996.

    35 In some ways, as a result of this analysis, Paris has become the capital of the literature on the nineteenth century: see, for example, Prendergast, 1996; and Sheringham, 1996.

    36 See Tester, 1994; also Pile, 1996, Chapter 7.

    37 As Benjamin does in his essays on Paris, completed in 1935, 1938, 1939b.

    38 On the history of Trafalgar Square, see Mace, 1976.

    39 I will return to this story in section 4.7.

    40 See also Pile, 2000.

    41 Although ‘One-Way Street’ is often seen as having a unique form, Benjamin's ‘Ibizan Sequence’ (1932b) also contains a series of ‘analytical fragments’, in some of which, similarly, he recounts his dreams.

    42 Elsewhere, Benjamin suggests that each generation goes through stages, from sleep to awakening. In this sense, ‘each epoch has […] a side turned towards dreams’ (1927–40 [K1,1], page 388).

    43 See also Benjamin, 1935, pages 159 and 176.

    44 See also Benjamin, 1927–40 [K2,5], page 392.

    45 A term Benjamin takes from Proust (see 1939a, pages 111–112; and, for example, 1927–40 [K8a,1], page 403 and [N4,3] page 464).

    46 See Benjamin, 1927–40 [K1,3], [N3a,3] and [N4,1].

    47 Here we might think of works on cities as far apart in academic terms as Walkowitz, 1992, and Hannigan, 1998, respectively.

    Chapter 2 The Magic City

    1 That is, the household gods.

    2 This probably connects to Benjamin's argument about ‘dialectics at a standstill’ (Benjamin, 1927–40 [N3,1], page 463; and 1940). The threshold would be a space where dialectics are caught. In this case, magic might describe what emerges from (a reanimated) dialectics.

    3 Sigmund Freud makes a similar argument in his own work on civilisation (1921, 1930): see also Gilman, 1993. Echoes of this are also to be found in Geography: Robert Sack, for example, describes myth and magic as being far from those of (as he describes it) objective western beliefs (1980, Chapter 6).

    4 Such an idea also underpins beliefs in astrology: that the distribution of far-off planets can influence the personality and destiny of the individual. On astrology, see Adorno, 1974a. Adorno's argument that magic is a form of regression is also pursued in 1974b.

    5 See also Taussig, 1997; and Stephen, 1998. This also connects to Freud's arguments about the relationship between the return of the repressed and fear of the dead: see Freud, 1939, pp. 372–376. See also Chapter 4 of this book.

    6 Here, Park's arguments are close to Simmel's: see Introduction.

    7 Park does not cite Freud, but ‘borrowing’ is suggested both by the strong similarities in the argument and also by the shared use of the example of rain-making in elaborating the difference between magic and science (Freud, 1913, page 138; Park, 1925a, page 127): in magic, individuals mimic the rain; in religion, they ask the gods for rain; in science, they seed the clouds.

    8 It is significant that Freud sees the history of civilisation corresponding to the history of individuals. This allows him to correlate ‘primitives’ with so-called savages and half-savages with children, women and importantly neurotics (see Pile, 1996, Chapter 4).

    9 Alternatively, see Bloom, 1999.

    10 It is interesting to note that many bookshops in the USA, the UK and Singapore now sell DIY Voodoo doll kits!

    11 Similarly, telepathy: see Freud, 1913, page 142.

    12 There is continued support for such a view: see, for example, Stephen, 1999.

    13 That is, less than a decade before Park published his paper, and only about a quarter of a century before the last witch trial in Britain.

    14 Here, Penczak is clearly arguing against certain back-to-nature forms of witchcraft. There are, of course, a wide variety of witchcrafts, but even modern forms of witchcraft, such as wicca, have a tendency to make little acknowledgement of, or concessions to, modernity (whether urban or not): for example, see Farrar and Farrar, 1981, especially Chapter XI.

    15 Penczak's spelling of magic with a k is possibly a reference to the writings of Aleister Crowley (e.g. 1929).

    16 There are echoes here of debates about whether the city is natural or not: for different views, see, for example, Tuan, 1978; Cronon, 1991; or Harvey, 1996.

    17 The British Museum is associated with magic in other ways. The Museum houses some of the magical devices owned and used by Dr John Dee (1527–1608/9). Moreover, although the bulk of his library of ‘natural philosophy’ (or magic) was destroyed or scattered, some of Dr Dee's books ended up – via Elias Ashmole and Hans Sloane – comprising one of the three major collections of the British Museum's library when it was founded in 1753 (see Harkness, 1999, page 220). For this reason, Tim Brennan claims that ‘the British Museum is founded on magick!’ (2003, page 2). On Dee's life and times, see French, 1972; Clulee, 1988; Harkness, 1999; and Woolley, 2002; see also Cosgrove, 1990; and Harrison, Pile and Thrift, 2004, pages 12–42. It is worth noting the close links between magic (calculing) and mathematics (calculating) in Elizabethan times, as this gives a new twist to the idea that a defining characteristic of modern urban mentalities is their calculativity (after Simmel).

    18 Most writings on Voodoo are about Haitian Vodou: see, for example, Deren, 1953; Métraux, 1959; Davis, 1985; and Fleurant, 1996. On the circulation of Voodoo between Haiti and the USA – a Vodou economics – see also Browning, 1998, Chapter 5.

    19 Indeed, Vodou has been a long-standing part of Haitian nationhood. The slave rebellions of 1791 (see James, 1938), led by Toussaint L'Ouverture among others, made use of Vodou to protect themselves against the bullets of the slave-owners and their armies. Indeed, Vodou rites provided the medium for rebellion (1938, page 86), in part led by a High Priest, Boukman. Insurrections were also given spiritual guidance by a Vodou priestess, Romaine. Further, the slaves consecrated their loyalty to each other and their willingness to fight to the death through the Vodou rite, Bois-Caïman. Vodou physician Francios ‘Papa Doc’ Duvalier seized power in a military coup in 1956 and established a dictatorship in 1964 ruthlessly supported by a Vodou-named militia, the Tonton Macoute. On Papa Doc's death in 1971, his son ‘Baby Doc’ took over and remained in power until 1986. Though a Catholic and an ex-Priest, when Jean-Bertrand Aristide became President in April 2003, he ensured that Vodou was adopted as an official religion of Haiti. A much rehearsed joke goes that Haiti is 70% Catholic, 30% Protestant and 100% Vodou. In February 2004, Aristide was forced to abandon Haiti by armed rebels. Vodou rites were an essential part of the rebellion in the north of the country.

    20 There is a large literature on Voodoo in New Orleans, much of it written for a tourist market (though none the less fascinating for that). On the more academic side, there is Tallant, 1946; and Brolin, 1990. The less academic side has mainly been interested in Marie Laveau and her tomb: see Klein, 1996. An analysis that situates Marie Laveau within a women's history of New Orleans can be found in Gehman and Ries, 1988. For an attempt to draw Voodoo into European traditions of magic, see Black and Hyatt, 1995.

    21 Congo Square, in fact, has been the crucible in which many cultural forms have been syncretised. Specifically, Congo Square has been seen as the birthplace of jazz and associated forms of music and dance: see Johnson, 1991; also Roach, 1996, Chapter 2.

    22 See, for example, Hurbon, 1993.

    23 See James, 1938.

    24 See also Trouillot, 1995; and Slater, 2003, page 426.

    25 See also Woods, 1998; or alternatively, Neate, 2001.

    26 As you might expect, the history and meaning of Marie Laveau and her life is contested: see Fandrich, 1996.

    27 A good sense of the significance of this can be gained from Taussig, 1997.

    28 St John's Day is 24 June and All Saints Day is 1 November: we will hear more about Halloween in New Orleans below.

    29 One of these tours, the Haunted History Tour, offers its own book: see Smith, 1998.

    30 Various graphic novels have also drawn on New Orleans' Voodoo connections: for example, Ennis, 1997–98; and Moore, 1999. To ensure the webs are cross-referenced, it is worth noting that Penczak cites Morrison's The Invisibles series – one tale from this series begins in New Orleans (Morrison, 1998–99), and it even makes a passing reference to Freud (page 47).

    31 That is, myself and two companions, Dydia DeLyser and Helen Regis.

    32 It is for this reason that the Singapore one dollar coin has an eight-sided design, since this is a ‘magical’ symbol associated with feng shui. US dollars, similarly, have magical devices, including a (broken) pyramid and an all-seeing eye, possibly derived from freemasonry (similarly, see Gilbert, 1998). On economies as the circulation of signs, see Lash and Urry, 1994. On the sociology of money, see Dodd, 1994; and McDowell, 1997. On space and money, see Corbridge, Martin and Thrift, 1994; Leyshon and Thrift, 1997; and Allen and Pryke, 1999.

    33 This is a reference to the cosmology of J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter books.

    34 For example, in May 2002, a man was arrested in Krugersdorp, Johannesburg, for killing a 52-year-old man and cutting off his head in a ‘muti murder’. Indeed, many South African police forces have special units devoted to witch-related crimes. See Niehaus, 2001; also Ashforth, 1996; and Niehaus with Mohlala and Shokane, 2001.

    35 The role of the sangoma (or izangoma) in traditional medicine in southern Africa is divination. They decide whether the illness of a person is primarily bodily or spiritual. If it is bodily, the patient goes to an izinyanga, or herbalist, for a muti cure. Spiritual illnesses, such as possessions, require other cures, such as exorcism. It is worth noting, in the context of the discussion of Voodoo above, that these beliefs and practices have little to do with Voodoo, which is primarily West African.

    36 On Vodhun (Voodoo) in West Africa, see Lovell, 2002.

    37 On globalisation and witchcraft, see also Comaroff and Comaroff, 1993; and Geschiere, 1998.

    Chapter 3 The Vampiric City

    1 For an analysis that resonates with the one presented here, see Browning, 1998.

    2 Blood is, indeed, life. In June 2001, a gang of 25 drug addicts were arrested for selling blood illegally to blood banks and hospitals in Delhi and Meerut, India.

    3 Following Freud, 1926.

    4 This is about the inability to recognise an absent object. The archetype for this formulation is the phallus.

    5 See Zizek, 1989.

    6 In August 2000, a man threw himself from the first-floor window of a house in Fitzrovia, London. The man believed, psychiatrists told the inquest, he was being pursued by vampires.

    7 Epigram, in November 2001, reported that a former Bristol University secretary could be Bristol's first self-confessed vampire. The ex-secretary, who had renamed herself LaCroix, admitted to drinking human blood, from willing donors, and to sleeping in a velvet-lined coffin. It was not easy being a vampire, she revealed: ‘There are things you just can't do. Going on holiday, going to the beach and doing the simplest of things like the shopping is a nightmare’ (cited on page 5).

    8 These are not the only recent vampire killers. On 24 November 2001, 17-year-old Matthew Hardman stabbed to death 90-year-old Mabel Leyshon in her home, in Anglesey, north Wales. Afterwards, he cut out her heart and put it in a saucepan. He placed pokers in a cross and a candlestick next to her body. Then he drank her blood. This ritual, he believed, would make him into an immortal vampire. As part of the evidence at the trial, police showed computer records of visits Hardman had made to vampire, and vampire/donor, websites. On the day Hardman went to trial, the papers reported that three men and a woman had been arrested in the Ukraine for a similar crime (for both stories, see Getty, 2002, page 7). In August 2002, Hardman was convicted and sentenced to a minimum of 12 years. Hardman lost an appeal against his conviction in January 2003.

    Figure 3.16 Queen of the Damned adverts appeared on London buses that passed the Chapel where the Queen Mother was lying in the state, April 2002.

    On 11 December 2002, 22-year-old Allan Menzies killed 21-year-old Thomas McKendrick in Fauldhouse, West Lothian, Scotland. Menzies told the courts that he was under instructions from the female vampire Akasha, a character in the Anne Rice novel (and film of the same name) Queen of the Damned (Figure 3.16). After killing McKendrick, Menzies drank his blood and ate his flesh. During his trial, he declared he was now immortal and a vampire. In October 2003, Allan Menzies was convicted and sentenced to a minimum of 14 years.

    9 Sometimes, they even organise day-trips, for example to the open-days for London cemeteries.

    10 On fearful nights in London, see Schlör, 1998.

    11 An image repeated in the film Underworld (2003). The (human) Romeo and (vampire) Juliet narrative of Underworld involves a ‘class’ war between, on the one hand, aristocratic and decadent (and in this way sexy) vampires and, on the other, workmanlike and honest (and to this extent sexy) werewolves. It is worth observing that vampires are both male and female, but it is hard to spot the female werewolves, and certainly no female werewolf is depicted in the midst of transformation. Significantly, the film is set in Budapest, which doubles for the strangeness of East European cities, so close in the imagination to Transylvania.

    12 On this idea that London was (is?) the heart of Empire, see Jacobs, 1996.

    13 See Rickels, 1999, page 15; see also, Frayling, 1991, page 69.

    14 On anaemia and vampirism, see Trigo, 1999. On the relationship between medical practices and vampirism, see White, 1995; and Haraway, 1995. Haraway (1995) also draws out a critical relationship between blood, kinship and science.

    15 See also Baudelaire, 1857c.

    16 See Benjamin, 1938, 1939a.

    17 See Marx, 1850, page 88; 1852, page 242; 1867, page 342.

    18 See also Dolar, 1991.

    19 And other media besides. As you might expect, the comic-book hero Batman has encountered vampires (Delano, 1995), including the original Bat-Man, Dracula (Moench, 1991).

    20 Perhaps ironically, this castle (Bran Castle, Transylvania, founded in 1377) is now a site for international tourism. For a description and history of Bran Castle, see Praoveanu, 1999.

    21 On the detective and the city, see Donald, 1999; and Frisby, 2001.

    22 See Moretti, 1978b.

    23 It is for this reason, I think, that Alan Moore makes Mina Murray a key character in his steampunk comic series, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (1999–2000), set in an ‘alternative’ London of 1898. Intriguingly, it is implied that Mina Murray is herself a vampire (though she is explicitly so in the movie version). As one of the characters, Campion Bond, says, ‘The British Empire has always encountered difficulty in distinguishing between its heroes and its monsters’ (page 6). On monsters and cities, see Ruddick, 2004.

    24 On Dracula (both person and book) as an allegory of the circulation of capital, see Moretti, 1978a; and Gelder, 1994, pages 17–20. For Gelder, the image of the vampire is directly correlated with the image of the Jew in both Marx and Stoker (pages 13–16). In this sense, Dracula also shows us the colour of money as well as the race of the vampire.

    25 As he does in the movie Dracula 2000 (2000), when travelling between London and New Orleans. Bram Stoker, however, would have known that there are no direct flights between the two cities and he would have devised a more realistic travel plan.

    26 For a near contemporary account, see Engels, 1845.

    27 See Young, 1995.

    28 See Stallybrass and White, 1986, Chapter 3; Osborne, 1996; Kaïka and Swyngedouw, 2000.

    29 See Corbin, 1986; Classen, Howes and Synnott, 1994.

    30 Indeed, there's a close relation between the (self) regulation of the city, the (self) regulation of bodies and the regulation of self: see Elias, 1939; Foucault, 1963, 1984; Gay, 1984.

    31 Corbin, 1986, Chapter 6.

    32 The cleansing of blood from the streets of the city is, arguably, a case study in the abject: see Douglas, 1966; and Kristeva, 1980. For the geographies of abjection, see Sibley, 1995; and Robinson, 2000.

    33 One of the Louisiana lottery scratch cards is titled ‘Creepy Cash’. It is adorned by Frankenstein, a house like the one in Psycho, a scythe carrying Death and a vampire bat.

    34 See also Schopp, 1997; and Williamson, 2001.

    35 See, Choon, 2004. Related tales in the region concern ‘man-hungry’ widow ghosts: see Bell, 1995.

    36 See, for example, True Ghost Stories, 2000a and 2000b; or Moey, 1990.

    37 One interpretation of the sexiness of red lips is that they resemble the lips of the vagina. One more possibly relevant – and also possibly untrue – anecdote: in Roman times, prostitutes would rouge their lips to indicate their willingness to give oral sex.

    38 See Moretti, 1978a, pages 100–101.

    39 See, for example, Jackson, 1981; Carter, 1988.

    40 See also section 2.4.

    41 There are parallels to be drawn from the spatial treatment of slaves and the dead, both being given specially designated sites, side-by-side, outside the city limits. See section 2.4.

    42 Florence, 1996, page 5.

    43 See Roach, 1996.

    44 See also section 4.1.

    45 See also Bartolini, 2003.

    46 Claudia is a young female vampire made by Louis. Their perverse incestuous and paedophilic relationship lies at the core of the novel. In both novel and film, the uncanny presence of sexuality in the figure of the child is fully played out. Sexuality is also at stake in Rice's novels. Vampires are queer (see Gelder, 1994, pages 58–64; see also Dyer, 1988), raising the spectre of perverse desires – but then usually killing them off.

    47 See section 1.7. See also Caillois, 1937.

    48 See Corbin, 1995.

    49 As in Poe's famous purloined letter (1844).

    50 Indeed, the term vampires was often used in the nineteenth century to refer to criminals. For example, the Bodie Evening News, around about 1878, referred to the ‘bums and vampires’ that populated the Californian mining town. (My thanks to Dydia DeLyser for drawing my attention to this.) Similarly, while responding to the threat Dracula poses to Gotham City, Batman observes: ‘Let's just say … to me, all criminals are ‘vampires' cloaked in night to prey on the innocent’ (Moench, 1991, page 22).

    51 The difference between human and vampire blood is a common theme of vampire tales, see for example the first Blade film (1998). The hero Blade is both a mix of human and vampire blood, and also a black vampiric figure (played by Wesley Snipes).

    52 Another entertainment is actually going on these tours: I'd certainly recommend them!

    53 A relevant work is Browning, 1998: Browning also raises issues such as Voodoo, Voodoo economics and, what I have been calling, a Voodoo Atlantic.

    Chapter 4 The Ghostly City

    1 Much has been made of ghosts being in a time ‘out of joint’. This largely stems from Derrida's discussion of Hamlet: see, for example, Derrida, 1993, pages xix, 17 and passim; see also Laclau, 1995; and Jameson, 1999.

    2 See also Bell, 1997. On trauma and history, see Hodgkin and Radstone, 2003.

    3 See also Lee, 1995a, pages 46–64.

    4 See National Archives of Singapore, 1996, page 48.

    5 See National Archives of Singapore, 1996, pages 67–70.

    6 The stories about massacres on Siloso Beach are unverified, but it is certain that bodies from massacres were washed up on Blakang Mati (Sentosa Island) beaches.

    7 See Choon, 2004; Faucher, 2004.

    8 On the Festival of the Hungry Ghost, see Goh, 1997; or, alternatively, Lee, 1995b; and Ong, 2001. Buddhists also celebrate the Festival of the Hungry Ghosts, but it honours filial loyalty, based on the legend of Mu Lian. For examples of encounters with hungry ghosts, see Stephen Fong's account of meeting his brother, Jimmy (2001); a clerk's story (Anon., 1989); or a housewife's tale (Anon., 2002).

    9 See Freud, 1913, pages 114–116: see also Stephen, 1998 and Barrows, 1999.

    10 For many, the festival is associated with auctions for ‘lucky’ goods, often ordinary household items such as wine or microwaves or piggy banks, which are sold at inflated prices, with profits often going to charity.

    11 On this, see also Castle, 1988. See also S. Marcus, 1999, page 117.

    12 See Gilloch, 1996; also Pile, 2002; on the place of memory, see Nora, 1989.

    13 See also Hetherington, 2001; and Gilloch, 1996, Chapters 2 and 3.

    14 See also Pile and Thrift, 2000; and also Pile, 2002.

    15 See sections 1.4 and 1.5.

    16 Contemporary Berlin is still trying to resolve its relationships to the dead: see Till, 2005. It is worth noting, in this context, that St Louis Cemetery No. 1 has a policy of segregating the dead. There is a plot laid aside specifically for Protestants (i.e. the damned!).

    17 For example, of his memories of going to the theatre, Benjamin says ‘in the end I can no longer even distinguish dream from reality’ (page 334).

    18 I doubt it is a coincidence that Freud also dreamt of ghosts who blocked his path: see his ‘non vixit’ dream (1900, initially pages 548–553).

    19 On the uncanny, see Royle, 2003. On the uncanny in architectural practice, see Vidler, 1992. See also Castle, 1995. In different, but related, contexts, see Jacobs, 1996, Chapter 5; Cohen, 2000; and Gelder and Jacobs, 1998.

    20 C. Sear: get it?

    21 The stranger, of course, is an intensely ambiguous figure – someone both to rely on and to be afraid of: see Jacobs, 1961; Young, 1990; Wilson, 1991; and also Pile, Brook and Mooney, 1999.

    22 On violence and city life, see Sandercock, 2002.

    23 See section 1.6.

    24 Burial grounds are popularly thought to be inhabited by ghosts. The catacombs of Edinburgh, for example, are widely believed to be haunted. This prompted psychologist Dr Richard Wiseman to conduct a ‘scientific’ study of the phenomena (Scott, 2001; also Rankin, 2001). During the ten-day research period, volunteers reported a range of ghostly happenings, from apparitions to physical contact. About half the people in certain vaults reported ghostly activity, while only a third in others. What the ghost-rich vaults had in common was that they were colder, darker and smaller. Dr Wiseman suggested that people felt more anxious in these kinds of space and were therefore more likely to ‘experience’ ghostly manifestations. Despite seeming to offer a scientific, psychological explanation for ghosts, the research actually lends itself to an opposite conclusion – that ghosts actually exist: it is just that they prefer to haunt small, dark, cold places! This study has, paradoxically, made tours of the catacombs even more popular. Not only are ghosts popular, and common, it's very hard to prove they're not there.

    25 Constantine was first mentioned in section 1.3.

    26 See Gehman and Ries, 1988, pages 12–15.

    27 See Young's Colonial Desire (1995), especially Chapter 6 on white power and desire around miscegenation.

    28 A story in the tradition of the ‘tragic mulatto’: see Doane, 1991, Chapter 11.

    29 Similar stories are told in Rio de Janeiro, see Jaguaribe, 2001.

    30 An alternative version can be found in Smith, 1998, pages 22–26. In this version, the master promises to marry Julie, but only if she spends an entire night naked on the balcony. Not for a moment does he think she will do this. One night, the master goes downstairs to drink and play chess with friends. Later, in the small hours, he eventually retires to bed. But Julie is nowhere to be seen. In a panic, he rushes to the balcony only to find her dead. Here, blame is shifted from the master to the mistress. More than this, Julie's temperament shifts from being loyal and quiescent to being wilful and tempestuous. In both, her love makes her at least foolhardy, at worst stupid.

    31 Avery Gordon (1997, Chapter 4) makes a similar point in relation to Toni Morrison's novel, Beloved (1987). Similarly, see Ware and Back, 2002, Chapter 7. See also Sharpe, 2003.

    32 See Brooks, 1982.

    33 See also hooks, 2003.

    34 Lee himself relates other tales of haunting from the same tower block, one involving a person who awoke to find a ghost tidying up the flat. For another haunted tower block tale, see Chan, 2001.

    35 See also Mighall, 1999, Chapter 3.

    36 In this light, there is a certain gothic quality to Benjamin's writings: for example, 1925–26. On ruins, see also Edensor, 2001.

    37 See Kennedy, 2003. For another way of reading the bones of London, see Moorcock, 2001. By tracking bone, Moorcock makes spatial links between London, New York and Cairo, and temporal links between pasts, presents and futures. Or, alternatively, Garner, 2003.

    38 See also section 3.4.

    39 This book was turned into a film, Bringing out the Dead (1999), by Martin Scorsese.

    40 See, for example, 1925b.

    41 When Park suggested that the city is ‘a state of mind’ (1925a, page 1), he probably wasn't inferring that it was haunted by its pasts in the same way that people are.

    42 See Freud, 1913, pages 92–93 and 107–122; see Freud, 1917b, for a development of these themes.

    43 For an account of this eye-catching building, see Powell, 1992; or, alternatively, Pile, 2001.

    44 MI is short for Military Intelligence.

    45 A popular BBC TV spy drama series dealing with MI5 is titled Spooks. Intriguingly, the exterior views of Thames House (the name of MI5's main building in London) are not of Thames House, but of the HQ of another secret organisation, the Freemasons.

    46 They were really ear witnesses, for almost no-one had actually seen anything!

    47 See also the Introduction.

    48 MI5 (security service) is listed in the telephone directory (with an address at 12 Millbank, just over the river from MI6), but there is no listing for MI6. The telephone directory once listed the address for the Government Communications Bureau (an alleged pseudonym for MI6) as being 85 Albert Embankment. Now, the Bureau only has a P.O. box number. Even so, the Bureau does have a land-line number. The exchange number, 7582, is Vauxhall's. My guess is the spooks still haunt 85 Albert Embankment.

    49 For Degen (2001), this ‘performance’ of place is about the relationship between the body, the senses and spectral appearances.

    50 See Introduction.

    51 On Trafalgar Square as a site of protest, see Pile, 2003.

    52 According to some newspaper reports: see, for example, The Guardian's front page, 2 May 2000.

    53 See St Clair, 1999.

    54 Some speculated that as many as 30,000 officers were present or on call in central London that day.

    55 Cited in the Guardian, 2 May 2000, front page.

    56 As Lefebvre noted, 1974.

    57 See, for example, Johnson, 1994, 1995.

    58 On photography and ghosts, see Durant, 2003; Kaplan, 2003; and Schoonover, 2003.

    59 See Benjamin, 1935, and also 1940.

    60 On New Orleans, see Roach, 1996. On Berlin, see section 4.2; Ladd, 1997; and Till, 1999.

    61 See Kuftinec, 1998; and DeLyser, 1999 and 2001.

    62 That Libeskind also designed the Jewish Museum in Berlin is surely no accident: a disconcerting link has thereby been made between 9/11 and the Jewish holocaust. See also, Sorkin, 2003.

    63 This anti-colonial struggle seems to be a special mix of anti-western, anti-American, anti-Christian and anti-capitalist geopolitical logics.

    64 See also Kerr, 2001.

    65 See also Curtis, 2001.

    66 See also Gelder and Jacobs, 1999.

    67 For Freud, melancholia and dreams are much alike (1917b, page 251), since they're both intimately connected to narcissistic mental disorders: on narcissism, see Freud, 1914.


    1 See Woolf, 1932, page 126. A fuller citation can be found in section 4.7.

    2 See also Bennett, 2001. Some would argue that modern life is not enchanting enough: see Moore, 1997.

    3 See sections 1.4 and 1.5.

    4 See sections 1.6, 1.7 and 4.2.

    5 That is, by back-tracking through chains of association.

    6 An analysis that might extend in many directions, including, for example, blood donation: see Titmuss, 1997.

    7 See Sassen, 2001; and Taylor, 2003. For a counter argument, see Robinson, 2002 and forthcoming.

    8 Here I am thinking of Castells, 1996, 1997a, 1997b.

    9 Some of the ‘social figures’ that can be tracked are religious: for an interesting approach to thinking through such figures and city life, especially in terms of redemption, see Ward, 2000.

    10 The idea that people dream in rational plans for cities is already well established: see Boyer, 1983. Examples would include Le Corbusier's designs for radiant cities: see Le Corbusier, 1927 and 1933. His designs for cities of light and movement also exposed his desire for an orderly city, a cleansed white city (and also his anxieties that cities might be otherwise): see Wilson, 1998. People's dreams, however, often turn out to be more chaotic, more devious, more unruly than rational plans take into consideration.

    11 For a review of such schemes to emancipate cities, see Lees, 2004.

    12 For a related diagnosis, see Mooney, Pile and Brook, 1999.

    13 See Introduction and section 4.7.

    14 There are ghosts here: for example, Sarah Radcliffe (1993) has talked about the mothers of the disappeared in Argentina and their intractable haunting of political resistance to the military dictatorship.

    15 See Barnes, 2004.

    16 See Lefebvre, 1974; and also Soja, 1996.

    17 To play with Benjamin's description of the angel of history (1940, page 249). It is quoted on page 139.

    18 ‘The concept of progress must be grounded in the idea of catastrophe. That things are ‘status quo' is the catastrophe’ (Benjamin, 1927–40 [N9a, 1], page 473).

    19 YNWA.


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