These fictions sometimes extend to phantom settlements. In 2010, the place (because no such term—city, town, hamlet—exists for imaginary locations) known as Argleton disappeared from Google Maps. The poverty of digital archives means its provenance remains a mystery, but it existed for some brief period prior to this date. It lived, as it were, for some time as a settlement within the boundaries of the civil parish of Aughton in West Lancashire. The cascade effect of digital technologies has ensured its survival, partial as it may be, in real estate, employment, and weather databases. At time of writing, TravelRepublic.co.uk lists the West Tower Country House Hotel, the Swan Hotel, Martin Lane Farmhouse Holiday Cottage, the Farmhouse Burscough, and numerous others as potential holiday accommodations in Argleton. Padz.com lists rental accommodation—at least one “BRILLIANT MALE STUDENT FLAT!” and numerous others—in Argleton. And Enormo.co.uk has “a modern, two bedroomed, ground floor apartment, located in an established area just minutes walk from Ormskirk Town Centre shopping and transport facilities” located in the ghost precinct. Attempt to walk it and only fields are found.
more from James Bridle at Cabinet here.