All people care about where they if they feel connected to their community, when it works well and when it doesn’t, this is what makes small towns have big stories.
Small towns close to home
Myth-making about small towns is a long time hobby, primarily in the media. Which I think is why it is so easy to demonise when people who are people, do things that hurt other people or look foolish. There was a comment or old joke that in a small town everyone knows what is going on, and only read the newspaper to see what the editor dared to print.
It seems crime is more expected in cities. Even though the birth of cities created a lot of social anxiety during industrialisation and then the change to a boom in office-based jobs, people felt this removed self-sufficiency. They created a uniformity displayed by factory life and office culture. So, this may be why small towns were the beacon of hope that things out there had not changed as much. That small towns are still close to nature, self-sufficiency and individual. It creates a lot of pressure riding on the shoulders of small towns. Hopes and dreams of quality, people and productivity in opposition to traffic jams, jam-packed carriages and cold sides of the street blocked by skyscrapers.
A local small town knows what is like not to live up to high expectations
Personally and communally, Moe, Victoria knows what it is like not to meet the expectations of the perfect – small town. Bet you didn’t think it won Victoria’s tidy cities in 2007. Well deserved because there are gorgeous places here. Invariably, if people know about this small town is the big story of Jaiden Leskie. The tragic case of a child who was abducted and murdered. Jaiden and his family deserve a better memorial. The murder should not be the leading reputation of the town 13 years later. When it is so much more.
People are attracted to stories deviating from traditional narratives
When I started talking about doing local history, crime and ghost stories. People always asked about this story. I think people are attracted to the stories that deviate from the standard small-town narrative because it seems so alien. What I would say to people who wanted information on that case. Is that the town of Moe came together 10 thousand strong to show this did not define them. However, the ariel photographer was late and missed this epic moment of resilient community spirit. I also feel the media abused the vulnerable situation the family was in at the time and used it to propagate a negative narrative. While reporting on considerable unrest in the families life.
Each small town is different, and a single person incident cannot define them. It is not like there is a town where in front of 30 -46 witnesses a town bully with a long rap sheet was shot dead and unable to find the person responsible. Say wha??? Yeah. That happened in Skidmore, Missouri, which sounds like another small town to investigate.
There does not seem to be room for nuance in the public discord about small towns they are either good or bad. So simple. However, we seem to understand the complexities of the city.
Small Towns as depicted in popular culture
Popular culture has created small towns big stories for the longest time. I love so many of these stories, and they can show a wide variety of different with different personalities. Yes, the towns have a pulse, in some, it is so strong, and it is a personality all on its own. Plus coming from a village, I enjoyed watching small towns with big stories depicted.
As a young girl, I grew up watching Little House on the Prarie the perfect home in the ideal town. I enjoyed it and aspired to perfection. I finally realised the world is more complex, and there is no one way of being.
A small town with an obsession with parades
I’m looking at you Stars Hollow the home of Gilmore Girls. The show also looks at small-town politics with those town meetings and one patriarchal feature. Exploring how the times are changing but how some traditions are deeply rooted and hard to break.
Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, shows the darkness hiding in the mundane small town. Cheers while not about a small town propagated that mythology of a place where everyone knows your name which is quintessentially a small town story. Smallville tells the tale that great things come from Small Towns, and there are things to overcome but standing together with a saviour child we can. OK, that was a bit shady. Star Trek Voyager was not a small town by the strictest definition its location moved through Delta Quadrant. Still, it does have the feeling of being unable to leave, which is a small town feeling some people experience, but it also showed the comradery and unity.
Small towns are united in their peculiarities despite how odd you find them
Schitt’s Creek shows how small towns look foreign and have their own culture, which is different when coming from a big town but they are normal and the Schitt’s are the tourist and out of place. It takes work, but you can become one of us. Hot Fuzz looks at the politics and drama around the power dynamics of a small town from the business owners to the law and order management. It’s sometimes not far from the truth.
This is why Haunted Hills shares small towns big stories
A small town isn’t one thing, and that is why Haunted Hills Podcast brings you the stories of the town showing many facets containing the soul of each small town. From the independence of the Brown Coal Mine to the fishing town turned tourist destination of Lakes Entrance or anywhere else in the world that catches our attention.
What constitutes a small town
Depends on where you are
Near the Valley is a town called Walhalla with a population of 15 people, where my friend from Germany said her small town with a population of 15,000 was a small town. Here in the Latrobe Valley, we have tried to group four towns worth about 15 thousand people each as a city and say we have about 75,000 people here. It depends on your experience.
It also changes based on your area in the world.
A town can have any population density of 1000 – 100,000 – I’ll include villages as well, and some cities might catch my attention also.