Ancient word of the day: Uncanny

A Journey into Childhood Nostalgia at the Muzeum Zabawek in Kudowa-Zdrój, Poland

The ancient word of the day is Uncanny. This is the feeling of encountering a landscape, person or object that is both frightening and unsettlingly dissonant. Freud coined a similar word for this “unheimlich”— which is to say, eerie and both homely and unhomely. I’m sure you would be able to recall some uncanny encounters, where things just weren’t quite what they seemed!

The strange streetscapes in a Tokyo without ads
The strange streetscapes in a Tokyo without ads

Robert Fergusson and the Uncanny

For this some ca’d him an uncanny wight, The clash gaed round, “he had the second sight.” – Poetical Works of Robert Fergusson (published 1773; OED’s 1st citation of uncanny as “associated with supernatural arts or powers.”)

Welcome to a strange and forgotten alien world: Socotra
Welcome to a strange and forgotten alien world: Socotra

Source: Archive.org

Mark Ryden's gloriously uncanny paintings
Mark Ryden’s gloriously uncanny paintings

Italian uncanny

Perturbante

Sinistro

Inquietante

Gather up the night: An eerie hotel causes confusion on Melbourne's Eastlink freeway
Gather up the night: An eerie hotel causes confusion on Melbourne’s Eastlink freeway

German uncanny

Heimlich: The things that creatures do secretly when no one is watching.  

Adam Hillman's symmetrical foods are oddly satisfying
Adam Hillman’s symmetrical foods are oddly satisfying

Dutch uncanny

Onheilspellend

Beklemmend 

Travel: Weird subway ads in Japan
Uncanny in the Tokyo subway

What uncanny experiences have you had in your life, that you can’t forget about?

Published by Content Catnip

Content Catnip is a quirky internet wunderkammer written by an Intergalactic Space Māori named Content Catnip. Join me as I meander through the quirky and curious aspects of history, indigenous spirituality, the natural world, animals, art, storytelling, books, philosophy, travel, Māori culture and loads more.

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