All over Europe, provocative politicians are invoking the past. Here we imagine what would happen if this caused a split between this world and the next.
Alternative Für Deutschland don’t meet their hero
Wearing a green anorak and a beanie hat, a man holds a microphone and bobs up and down excitedly. A practiced performance begins and the man’s booming voice rings through the abandoned building.
He calls into the dark corners of the room. ‘We are here, in the depths of old East Berlin to invoke the presence of our greatest leader. Wrongly derided as a madman or murderer, our great wartime hero must return.” The odd looking man does a strange dance and lights some incense. The two quiet party leaders stood somewhat behind him are oddly quiet, rapt almost. They mouth a name, ‘Adolf’, to each other in a kind of prayer.
“Tonight the conditions are just right,” they whisper in unison.
Then everything goes quiet as a dreadful wind echoes through the exposed beams near to an hole in the ceiling. A shadow sweeps inside from the night sky.
The outline of a 19th century army uniform is just visible. “Ich heisse Otto von Bismark”, the shadow says, solidifying slightly. The ghostly face raises an eyebrow. “You were expecting someone else, weren’t you?”
Maggie Thatcher still won’t turn
In a Brighton hotel, a Conservative MEP stands stock still, staring out of the window. He had hardly dared to hope that dear departed Maggie would have returned from the beyond to pass her damning judgement here, of all places. He had stalked Hillsborough, Orgreave, the whole city of Liverpool— it seemed ludicrous that she’d haunt this bloody hotel, he thought, the site of her closest call, really?
It seemed ludicrous that she’d haunt this bloody hotel he thought, the site of her closest call, really?
But there she was.
Her pale presence was hovering by the window with its back to him, she was staring intently out into the world she was no longer part of.
The MEP gasped again. ‘Milady.’
She nodded slightly but did not move her head. She appeared incapable of turning her spiritual form to face the visitor.
“I really wish I hadn’t said that stupid phrase about turning, Daniel. This dead lady is really not for turning. I suppose Michael Foot thinks this is very funny indeed.” Muttering, ghostly Margaret Thatcher glided out of the window, leaving the human with a wry smile, and a tear in his eye.
Trains on time
The quiet station in the Italian hillside looked undisturbed to the casual observer. A bald man was stood hidden from view underneath a lone thin tree sprouting from the scrubland outside of the dilapidated and unused entrance. He was, however talking to someone.
Or at least the ghost of Benito Mussolini thought he was.
In the space where a ticket office once stood, the ghost was pointing to an now-invisible clock and gesticulating. His speech was ragged and angry. A small child came cantering up the hill and the ghost watched slowly. In the child’s hand was a little engine with a wheel missing.
The ghost made an instinctive grab for the toy. However the boy hardly registered the apparition above its head, and quickly changed his mind about playing in the station.
Even in death making trains run on time was the stuff of myth.