The Chernobyl Diaries, another entry in the canon of handheld horror, recently dramatized Pripyat, the town near the nuclear reactor abandoned after the meltdown, as a barren hellscape full of murderous ghouls. The movie was inaccurate. Pripyat is a barren hellscape full of tourists.
Over the last few years, Pripyat has seen more and more tourism. Yes, visitors have to carry radiation detectors and make absolutely sure they aren't stumbling towards malignancy, but the attraction is strong enough to keep them coming anyway.
Pripyat is profoundly mysterious even though everyone knows what happened to Pripyat.
The mystery, it turns out, arises from the sheer strangeness of what happened to Pripyat in combination with the Soviet strangeness that was Pripyat before the blast. Not only did the blast freeze time in this part of the Ukraine, it froze time in a very strange era of monolithic infrastructure projects and brutalist architecture.
No, there aren't ghouls running around Pripyat, but the reason foreigners always will be is that distant suspicion that something dark is lurking in the corners.
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