Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Mikkary, Memory, and Mayhem

The inspiration for Death Clicks came during a internet romp into haunted places Minky and I were having via MSN. We were missing Edinburgh and began looking up more local haunted places to visit. In this search I came across a list of the world's most haunted places. The list we looked at seems to have been taken down but there are many lists like this all over the web and many include a lot of the same places. What I noticed was that there are a number of locations that are called haunted but have no ghost sightings or reports of other typical ghost and poltergeist related phenomena. Instead it's a location that has a bloody and disturbing history and people report feeling oppression, anger, sadness, and an array of other negative emotions.

CorambisMelusineThe MiradorThe Virtu

In one of my favourite fiction series, the Labryinthine series (I beg you not to judge them by their covers), author Sarah Monette describes this feeling in a word unique to her characters' world. The word is "mikkary" and the meaning is described in The Virtu:
"She was worshipped in labyrinths. Or with labyrinths. The texts are unclear. Since she is death and despair and means something like insanity and something like ecstasy--in the theological sense, not as in the throes of delight--and something like terror. It was her miasma, her perfume if you will. She was a goddess of fear and pain. Her rites were performed in darkness. Her followers drank the blood of their own children."

In my mind every time I experience a location with that sense of oppression and taint I think of it as mikkary, the imprint of horrific acts on a location, building, or object.

A good example of a location that makes it onto these top ten lists is Auschwitz-Birkenau where very few, if any, ghost sightings or other typical paranormal incidents have occurred. But who needs them? It's not difficult to imagine this historic site having its own memory and visitors sensing the residue of those events.

Some of what Minky and I felt at Casa Loma I would describe as mikkary especially as it relates to labyrinths in Monette's fictional mythos. The sense of incorrect proportions and disorientation was deep-rooted for me and I found there were areas and rooms that didn't seem to fit where they were supposed and although I normally have a great sense of direction, found myself going to windows repeatedly to check which way I was facing. Although, at least one person thinks the castle is haunted, even if it was localized to the lockers.

Death Clicks will soon be starting a Mikkary series show-casing places that are more tainted than haunted but still of macabre interest.