Shadow Maps: The Upside-Down and the Sunken Place

Image by Praetor alpha at the English language Wikipedia [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

What does our fascination with Get Out’s  phenomenal “sunken place” mean? What about our fascination with Stranger Things‘ phenomenal upside-down? Here’s why I’m glad these terrifying places are popular.

The upside-down and the sunken place are both capacious: lots of unwilling people are sent there. They can hold a whole alternate reality

No one wants to go there. Especially not their creators. But lots of us want to watch others go there. Why?

I don’t think we are sadists. I think we like seeing the truth of the sunken place, the reality of the upside-down. We crave the cultural agreement that they exist.

Culture is our witness. If it exists in popular culture, it’s real. And the sunken place is real. Many have attested to that. The upside-down? Sticky, deadly, it’s both active and passive. It will come after you or you could end up there unaware. (What do you identify as “the upside-down”? I identify it as all the stuff we don’t want to look at as a culture. In particular stuff corporate, military and governmental interests would like us unaware of. It’s no accident that awareness of the upside-down is set in the ’80s. And awareness of the sunken place is arising now.

These are my musings on the phenomenal popularity of these phenomena.





About the author: Beth

Beth Raps is a healer, money coach, philosopher, Beloved Community organizer, fundraiser, mother, and French translator. She's founding coach and consultant of RAISING CLARITY: peaceful, ethical money management and nonprofit fundraising. You can find that at But that's just not enough. There's more healing she has to offer, and right here on is where you'll find it. Unless you are looking for writing, editing, French translation, or writing coaching, and then try:

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