Revisit the deep-seated fears and anxieties of the 1970’s in Scarfolk


Do you dream of traveling beyond everyday life to exotic locations?  Would your ideal vacation include a time-travel option as well?  If you are looking for a quirky and unusual destination, consider a visit to Scarfolk.

With the click of a mouse, you can access the strange and compelling village of Scarfolk, a small town located somewhere in the north-west of England which has become stuck in time, specially in the 1970’s.

Richard Littler is the self-appointed town mayor and, as designer and writer of the website, he presents the town’s artifacts for consideration.  Through a spot-on series of public announcements and advertisements, the viewer becomes fully aware of the dangers that lurk seemingly everywhere in this quiet little hamlet.  From the consequences of not learning to swim or speeding to the threat of imposter parents or thought-detector vans, these PSA’s succeed in capturing the low-level worry and daily trauma that pervaded the culture.


The fonts and graphics found in the Scarfolk documents are both cheery and eerily familiar, like those Earthshoes hidden in the back of your closet or that photo of your father in a leisure suit.   The content shimmers with the haunting, dark humor we’ve come to expect from the British, reminiscent of the cringe-inducing bits of “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” and the mock-educational series Look Around You.

After the publication of her short story“The Lottery” in 1948, Shirley Jackson noted that, in addition to hate mail, she received requests for more information, specifically on the location of towns that engaged in these practices.  Some people wanted to visit those places and observe the local rites.  The village of Scarfolk is frightening in a different way, and now that the archives are being made public, we can visit often and marvel at how far we have come– hopefully.

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