But guys what about California gothic that actually exists.
Salton Sea. First, the beach is made of bones. Motherfucking BONES.
There are creepier looking pictures than this, I just thought I’d spare you. Second, much of the area around it is a ghost town, due to a plan to turn the area into a thriving tourist destination that fell through as the Salton Sea started coughing up dead fish left, right and centre.
It has exactly the feel you’d expect from a promising hotspot gone bust: that abandoned-amusement-park atmosphere, also helped by Salvation Mountain being several miles down the road.
The Central Valley. Not quite up to Midwest standards of Vast and Empty, but it sure is miles an’ miles a’ nothin’. A drive along the 5 from one end to the other, which will take you several hours, can get to be quite a surreal experience after a while.
Zzyzx. It’s just… it’s called Zzyzx, and there’s somethin’ ain’t terribly right about that. Plus it’s in the middle of fuckin’ nowhere.
Until the 70s it was the domain of quack doctor and radio evangelist Curtis H. Springer, who built a health resort - complete with church, hotel, private airstrip, and even a castle - on the site until he was evicted for, uh, not actually owning the land. Apparently, now it’s just full of scorpions.
Mulholland Drive. David Lynch made a movie about it; that should tip you off. Home of the stars, but also the site of numerous murders, including the Black Dahlia case and potentially some of the Charles Manson killings. There are cursed plots of land on it too (cw: rape), according to Jack Nicholson.
Oh, and countless people have died or been injured attempting to take the infamous Carl’s Curve, pictured above, at speed.
The Church of Scientology. There’s not much to say about this one. And honestly, I’m worried that if I do say anything, I’ll be sued out of existence.