Friday, July 11, 2014

Past, Present, and More Odd Places Where Inspiration Hides

There are a series of pictures circulating the internet where an old picture (usually black and white) depicting the scene of a murder or a historic event (like a war, or the burning of a building) is superimposed on the location where it happened as it looks today. One of such projects, the one that got my attention for the first time and the one I think started the whole craze, is the brainchild of NYC Press photographer Marc Hermann. It is a graphic reminder that the world we live in is full of forgotten stories. But it was while reading some of the commentaries that I found the idea that set my mind on fire. I'm not even sure where I read it, but I know it said something like "You never know where you're standing. The world is a cemetery."

Wow. What a statement, and it stuck with me. If you think about it, we've been living and dying on this earth for about 200,000 years (really, I looked). If every dead fellow from the first Homo Erectus to John the neighbor who died this morning were to raise from the dead, the earth would not be overcrowded. It would explode. At this point in our history, the dead far outnumber the living. It bears to reason that the same spot where you are sitting has witnessed at least one death (animal or human) in the past, and in that sense we are all living on top a cemetery.

That is a disturbing idea. And I love it, so naturally, I wanted to share it with you. I often write here about the strange places where inspiration hides. Authors of the past, artists, poets, filmmakers that drew inspiration from the darkest, most unlikely events. This project, The Daily News - Then and Now by Hermann has brought that experience to me. I can't wait to hear what you think of it. If you want to see the pictures, follow the link. I won't post all of them here because some are graphic and I want to let you decide whether to go ahead or not. But even if you don't want to look at them, the seed is still there. What sinister or interesting things might have happened on that same spot where your computer sits now? Do you know the history of the place where you live or work?

Given the facts I just presented above, odds are if you ask around, people you know will tell you stories. So I'm asking here. Tell me your story.

Park Slope plane crash in New York City
The wreckage after the crash of United Airlines Flight 826 and Trans World Airlines Flight 266 over New York City was well documented by the Daily News back in December 1960. Over 130 people were killed aboard the planes and on the ground in Brooklyn, making it one of New York's most tragic disasters. The crash also destroyed some buildings beyond repair. The ones that still stand can be seen in this compilation.
Source: The Daily News - Then and Now by Marc Hermann

6 comments:

Lexa Cain said...

I didn't know anything about this air crash, but I wasn't born yet. I lived in NYC in the 80s, I don't think I visited Park Slope though. Both the info (200,00 years ago?!) and the idea the world's a giant cemetery are creepy and awesome!

Nicole said...

More creepy inspiration! There's the makings of a book or story in there.

Mina Lobo said...

Holy cats! What a disturbing, yet mind-engaging concept! I can totally get why it grabbed your attention, Gina. Many of us are so enthralled by our own life-stories that we forget the millions of stories before ours...

Georgina Morales said...

@Lexa, I know, right?! I swear I thought humans had been on earth for about 4000 years, but when I checked it... Wow. Flabbergasted.

@Nicole, it truly has my head spinning with possibilities. Thanks for stopping by!

@Mina, I know. It's so easy to get carried away by the today. I would kill to hear the stories of the ones before us!

Stephanie Faris said...

That is definitely true! If you take all the people who had ever died and brought them back, overcrowded would be an understatement! Although if someone had been cremated, would they also be included? Traditional zombie stories always show the dead rising from their graves and such, don't they? They don't account for what happens to all the cremated bodies...

Jennifer Hawes said...

I love the quote:) Photography fascinates me and to combine the past with the present is really unique!