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My story is set in the early 1990s, and it's about various races of immortal humanoid mythical creatures living amongst humanity in secret. The main setting is a town in America that's been around for hundreds of years. It's one of various immortal "sanctuary towns" in the world, places populated exclusively by immortals and the humans in the know about them. While immortals frequently live in secret within human societies, sanctuary towns serve several purposes:

1: They provide immortals who can't pass for human with a place to live without having to spend their lives hiding in caves.

2: They provide immortal parents with a place to raise their children without their immortality raising massive eyebrows among humans wondering why that couple barely looks 10 years older than their teenage son.

3: They just generally allow immortals to openly be themselves without having to worry about anyone seeing them use their powers.

4: It allows the town to be built with immortal abilities and limitations in mind, such as, say, an underground network of tunnels connecting various buildings together so that the vampires who aren't strong enough to resist sunlight can get to certain places in town during the daytime.

This particular sanctuary town, located somewhere in the eastern United States, is run by the Drake Clan, a centuries-old alliance of vampires and werewolves, with other immortal species as minority members of the clan. I mention this because vampires and werewolves each have an ability that I suspect people might want to know about and factor into their answers: werewolves have superhuman senses of hearing and smell, and vampires have the ability to control the minds of any human they make eye contact with (as long as they aren't exposed to sunlight).

With that being established, here's the problem: in order for a sanctuary town to exist, it has to be able to prevent anyone who doesn't know the secret from getting into the town, because merely entering the town would likely cause you to become aware of the existence of immortals within minutes, if not by seeing one directly, then by hearing people casually talking about them. Sure, letting some people in (while temporarily covering up anything supernatural) will be inevitable, especially when the government is involved, but keeping this to a minimum is necessary in order for the town to serve its intended purpose. So the town has to have some kind of reasonable justification for why it's so selective about who is allowed in the town limits. Key word being "reasonable". They have to have a cover story that most people will buy without batting an eye at it.

How does this sanctuary town contextualize the act of almost completely keeping outsiders out so that outsiders consider this completely normal?

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    $\begingroup$ Is this, in all appearances, a real life 1990s, or an alternative reality in which US government is using some excuses to keep certain towns "closed"? $\endgroup$ – Alexander Feb 4 at 5:50
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    $\begingroup$ @Alexander The US government does not know about the immortals. There are some people IN the government who are there to do things like facilitate fake IDs, but the government as a whole is not under immortal control because it's against the rules of the masquerade. $\endgroup$ – Cyrus Drake Feb 4 at 11:50
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    $\begingroup$ Vampire: "This is just a typical small town with nothing memorable or noteworthy. You'll be on your way now." Visitor: "This is just a typical small town with nothing memorable or noteworthy. I'll be on my way now." Seems a bit obvious. What's the problem with that? If the entire town is in on it, it shouldn't be hard to get them out of sunlight. And one can probably come up with a dozen ways to stop visitors from slipping through the cracks (e.g. set up cameras, make sure all residents report any visitor they see, monitor all roads into the town). $\endgroup$ – NotThatGuy Feb 4 at 18:00
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    $\begingroup$ @LaurencePayne I mean that in the canon of my story, every single creature that in real life we'd classify as mythical does exist or did exist at one point before going extinct. $\endgroup$ – Cyrus Drake Feb 5 at 0:06
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    $\begingroup$ Does it have to be on the mainland? How about an island offshore or in a large lake, that can only be reached by ferry? Or a place like Juneau, Alaska, which is on the mainland but can only be reached by plane or boat? $\endgroup$ – Shawn V. Wilson Feb 5 at 1:10

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The answer to this is very simple: make the entire town into a gated community. Encircle the whole place with a fence and have guards on the gates who are or can pass for human. The guards would ask everyone approaching the gates for ID or other evidence of eligibility to enter, and would turn away anyone who didn't belong.

This can be achieved easily and legally by making the town private property. Being private property, anyone who enters without the permission of the owners or their representatives is trespassing.

The only complication might come if one of the residents is wanted by the state or federal authorities... but there are ways around this too. If the town is big enough, it could have its own police force, courthouse, tax office, OHSA department, and a branch of pretty much every other nosy government department on-site, manned by residents who will report whatever they need to report without adding irrelevant little details such as the fact that the person in question's membership in the human race is questionable at best. There could even be a privately run prison on-site, where the owners get to say which prisoners are kept in which area. Obviously the non-human prisoners would be kept seperate from the unknowing human inmates that might be foisted upon the facility.

The best defence that the town could have is to be populated by law-abiding taxpayers, and for anyone found breaking the law to be dealt with in the accepted manner on-site. Yes, people there might break the law, but they're arrested, charged and put on trial according to the law... with records to prove it.

On the rare occasions that a stranger must be allowed to enter, there could be a mechanism to warn the residents who cannot pass for human to get out of sight immediately... perhaps the street lights flicker in a particular pattern, there is an ultrasonic and/or subsonic tone, and/or some other cue that humans can't perceive or wouldn't recognise as being significant.

The concept of fortified cities has been around since ancient times, so it is no stretch of the imagination for this town to date back to the first days of the colonisation of the Americas by Europeans. As long as the town only remains physically apart from the rest of the country, but joins in politically - i.e. pays taxes and adopts the laws of the nation which controls the land on which it is located - there is no reason why it couldn't have existed since well before the USA became an independent nation.

Take the walled city of Carcassonne for example. It is thought to have existed as a fortified location since 100 BC, and for most of its existence, while the gates may have stood open, if undesirables came along - like strangers in armour and carrying weapons - the gates would have been closed to them.

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  • $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$ – Monty Wild Feb 6 at 0:04
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Salvator's Sanatorium for the Privileged Underprivileged.

Silly name for a Nut-house for the ultra rich.

Cover story: Everyone in the town is either a delusionally insane Eccentric millionaire, or one of their caregivers.

So obviously any visitor will encounter some very strange conversations, people taking about performing supernatural acts, etc.
The staff even cater to the whims of their eccentric patrons/patients, creating special effects to allow them to live out their fantasies. Want to lift a bus? Just mention it to your caretaker, she will arrange a hidden crane to do the heavy lifting!

Visitors are firmly reminded that it is impolite, indeed against county ordinance, to stare, point fingers, interrogate or otherwise belittle the inhabitants of this facility. They are also required to sign a non-disclosure agreement before entering town limits, as the privacy of the "guests" must be respected. No photography, etc.
After all, money makes majesty, and by that measure all of the inhabitants of this town are royalty.

P.S. Because every person in the town is (supposedly) filthy rich, visitors get charged truly obscene priced for basic amenities. A 500 dollar hamburger and fries and a 8000 dollar hotel room will discourage visitors from loitering around and making a nuisance of themselves.

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    $\begingroup$ I like this idea, but you'll have a constant stream of paparazzi, ambitious psychiatrists, federal agents, robbers, etc. trying to get into the honeypot. But if your vampires are good enough at mentally dominating their thralls, this is actually a plus. $\endgroup$ – Mike Serfas Feb 4 at 17:12
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    $\begingroup$ @MikeSerfas With a legally binding nondisclosure required for entry, and the inhabitants only showing visitors what they want them to see, the facility will get rich very quickly from lawsuits. Not to mention those 500 dollar burgers, the 75 dollar/minute street parking, the 1200 dollar a day road tax, etc. $\endgroup$ – PcMan Feb 4 at 18:32
  • $\begingroup$ Okay, this doesn't work for the actual sanctuary town I had in mind, but this is a very fun idea I might use for some other sanctuary town that shows up! $\endgroup$ – Cyrus Drake Feb 5 at 1:10
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    $\begingroup$ @MikeSerfas That's inspired (and would apply equally to other cover stories, of course). If the vampires are capable of altering memories, then, if they're careful, any person that gets in becomes a witness that there isn't anything supernatural going on and there's no reason to investigate. $\endgroup$ – A. B. Feb 5 at 4:58
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I think people are making this more complicated than it needs to be.

Let the town sit at the end of the road.

Possibly in a nature reserve, like @EveryBitHelps suggests. It should preferably be situated in the most boring combination of agricultural land and patches of nature that is at all possible. Make sure the local regulations on camping (with tents as well as with RV's) are strict, and that no official hotels, hostels etc exist in the area. I say official, as you will of course want visiting immortals to be able to find a place to stay, but these establishments are not in the phone book, don't pay taxes and overall just don't show up in the records.

Very few people would have a reason to go there to begin with, and no one would have a reason to stop there on their way somewhere else. I mean, under what circumstances would you go to a town without any famous sights, where you don't know anybody? This is before the internet, so it's easy to keep the amount of information that could draw outsiders to a minimum.

Now for the few that get the idea to go there there are measures:

Put a roadblock on the only road there. I imagine a construction site or something where a worker can come talk to the odd car that shows up to tell them that there will be slow going all the way there. The point is to deter all but the most intent. If someone insists on passing through, an alarm goes off in the town, and the visitor can be slowed down enough to give inhabitants plenty of time to adapt their appearance.

Make sure the streets are laid out to keep outsiders in a certain area. Put important stuff on main street. You may not have to completely evacuate the town every time some government official pays a scheduled visit to the town hall and has lunch at the one diner set up to look normal.

Optional: Patrol the surrounding wilderness, and possibly put up a network of microphones or similar. You don't want to be surprised by a hiker or a band of boy scouts. A job for a few werewolves?

If anyone finds everything out, that's a separate issue. If they cannot be controlled and need to disappear, the road to the town is a good place to arrange a car accident. It's well known to be dangerous stretch, which is also why local officials need to fix it up so often, which is a perfect cover for the construction sites mentioned above. If you can limit these disappearances to one every few years or so, that's probably enough to keep you off the radar.

I don't think it has to be much more complicated than that!

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    $\begingroup$ Nature reserve is a bad idea. People visit nature reserves. $\endgroup$ – Jack Aidley Feb 4 at 17:07
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    $\begingroup$ I would add one more suggestion (which actually appears in some other answers) - make sure there is not a single hotel or bed & breakfast in this town. RV parking is prohibited as well. Anyone thinking of traveling there would be quickly discouraged. $\endgroup$ – Alexander Feb 4 at 17:39
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    $\begingroup$ @JackAidley & jamesqf: I don't know what I was thinking. You are right! Of course a nature reserve is out of the question. Edited. $\endgroup$ – EdvinW Feb 4 at 17:55
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    $\begingroup$ @jamesqf Just enough :) Over 99% of backpackers don't venture away from mapped trails. $\endgroup$ – Alexander Feb 5 at 4:41
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    $\begingroup$ I like the idea of laying the town out to keep outsiders in a certain area. If I were designing this town, I'd have a main shopping street, then surround that with residential streets - when the visitors leave the main street and see that they're just among houses now, they'll turn back. Then have other commercial areas somewhere beyond those, catering to people who don't want to risk going into the visitor-friendly area. Effectively you'd have a town within a town, with one area where the locals keep up the pretence that everything is normal, and the rest the real sanctuary. $\endgroup$ – A. B. Feb 5 at 5:14
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This is Clarks, LA.

LA-Map, CLarks,LA

Here's the wikipedia entry for Clarks.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clarks,_Louisiana

Clarks, LA is the biggest town in Caldwell Parish - and exists on the main backroad (US-165) between Monroe and Alexandria. When I was a kid, growing up in the 90's, we drove that road.. oh, once a quarter or so, on the long drive from Baton Rouge to Monroe to go visit a friend or do a bit of fishing up at lake D'Arbonne.

A thousand people live in Clarks, but... I can't remember that town. There is nothing there. A McD's maybe? I'm sure there's a local diner, but who stops there? Even if you do, it's likely only for gas and smokes at best.

Nothing ever happens in Clarks - at least nothing that makes the news. I'm sure there's crime and drugs and the local sheriff has things to do, but.. it's so forgettable it's anonymous.

Here's the current news aggregation from the city:

https://www.newsbreak.com/louisiana/clarks

NOTHING happens there. Ever. The closest news is from the next Parish over. It has no particular industry, no real reaon to visit, isn't near a park and exists basically in a giant area of nothing.

That's what you want. You want a town like Clarks - it doesn't even have to have all of those crazy safeguards. A post office staffed by the locals. The ENTIRE PARISH has ten thousand people - your IMmortals could run the entire parish government by holding four or five key positions.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caldwell_Parish,_Louisiana

Everyone thinks it's a big deal to hide - but it's not. Everyone in Clarks knows everyone else - literally. There's no reason to stop, nothing to see - if you don't have business in Clarks, why even bother worrying about it?

You didn't know about the town 'till I mentioned it.

The US isn't filled with big cities - it's filled with forgettable backwaters like this one. Honestly, that's all you really need.

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Place the town in the centre of a large nature reserve/park. Some sections of the park may even be open to the public. But the town itself and some sections of park is reserved for "park maintenance employees" and their families. Everyone knows about the old parktown, can talk about it in day-to-day conversations but non-residents are restricted entry.

Many years ago, a wealthy tycoon decided to create several large nature reserves/parks across the country in order to protect the environment/endangered species. Each of these parks are run by employees who get to live onsite with their families in dedicated parktowns. Park employees even get added "access benefits" at the other parks and parktowns around the country! Who doesn't want to apply to work at these parks!

Because of the somewhat isolation or distance from towns outside the park perimeter, it is known that these parktowns are fully operational with on-site schools, shops, police, social and medical services. Human-passing employees work the various curio/food/craft shops around the park perimeter and as park rangers ensuring human safety (and compliance with non-entry). Nonhuman-passing employees work back-of-house etc.

To help with the seperation of work/life and give employees and their families time to unwind and relax, away from "demanding customers", these towns purposely exclude non-residents (although occasionally a non-resident does ignore the no entry signs/barriers across the roads leading to the town, with ensuing drama).

Edit: As a frequent visitor to various parks/reserves, I know the following rules/features would raise absolutely no eyebrows.

  • it is not uncommon for various internal roads to be marked as "no entry/staff only". Some even have barricades to stop the really inattentive/self-absorbed guests from proceeding.

  • it is not uncommon to see some roads closed off as "temporarily closed" due to flooding/damage or area regeneration efforts etc.

  • Advertising your park/reserve as holding various dangerous animals, will allow frequent signage reminding guests that absolutely no camping/hiking is allowed. Entry at the main gates would make this clear to the guests and they could even be made to sign-in and sign indemnity papers. Humans will be stupid and try get out of their cars but they do so at their own risk.

  • typically internal park roads are designed by the park to get visitors the best views while also allowing some secluded areas for animals to get away drom the human noise pollution (and protect critically endagered plants or animal/bird nesting sites). These particular parks in question could easily design all internal roads that can be accessed by guests to avoid huge swatches of nature preserve, without guests even being aware that they have been diverted (personal gps machines were not common back in the 90's). Only by accessing the "staff only" roads would anyone be able to get anywhere close to the park town.

  • park employees and families will know all the best spots to get away from the guests. Including which regions of the park are out of bounds to guests etc. Park rangers patrolling the parks will be able to ensure guests stay to the guest roads.

  • Those non-human's that can't control themselves attacking humans would be a danger to any solution to the OP's question and would be subject to internal control by the town leadership.

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    $\begingroup$ Since these immortals/creatures are rare, you can also spin it as a preserve and research station "for the preservation of key endangered species". $\endgroup$ – bta Feb 4 at 17:08
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    $\begingroup$ A research station/facility would also allow human townspeople to explain away why "so many" outsiders keep applying for jobs in the park, and hardly any (if ever) locals get hired! And if any "endangered species" ever got out of the park and attacked a local, that would certainly quell any sceptism at the "it was an attack by a rare breed of <insert wild animal best fitting description>" type excuse that most cover-ups would call for. $\endgroup$ – EveryBitHelps Feb 4 at 18:22
  • $\begingroup$ You've got the core problem right there in the 3rd bullet: "Humans will be stupid" $\endgroup$ – arp Feb 6 at 0:33
  • $\begingroup$ @arp: Hence the warning signs: "Trespassers will be eaten!" $\endgroup$ – Codes with Hammer May 14 at 15:55
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Rumors are your friend! Everyone knows that that town has bad vibes. You don't want to be there, and especially not after dark. Sure, there's money, but it's tied up with the mob or with gangs or something. People die a lot (maybe they don't, but doesn't stop you from spreading rumors. It's not even supernatural stuff, it's just people being crappy. There's never enough evidence to convict. You heard a tourist was killed a few years ago, but the investigation never found anything. There's not even anything to do, unless you like touring (insert utterly boring thing here). Why would you go there? It's probably called something like Washington or Centerville. Some super-common boring name. The reputation is for it being generally unpleasant with nothing about it worth seeing, and it's in the middle of nowhere, so you'll only find it by accident if you're REALLY lost. You could also combine this with one of the other ones, like a blocked road or something.

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    $\begingroup$ So what happens when someone goes there and finds that it is perfectly pleasant? $\endgroup$ – DKNguyen Feb 5 at 0:29
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Disguise the place as a sanatorium for hosting people suffering from an untreatable and deadly disease. Outsiders will be happy to not poke their nose into that place and whoever has to deal with it, out of fear for the disease.

If you want some real case example, the communities hosting leprosy afflicted people in Japan are a good one, as you can see in the movie Sweet Bean

The film centres around Sentaro, a middle-aged man who runs a small dorayaki shop in the outskirts of Tokyo. The shop is frequented by locals as well as secondary-school pupils. When he puts up a notice saying that he is looking for a co-worker, he is approached by Tokue, a lady in her mid-seventies, who states that she has always wanted to work in a dorayaki shop. Sentaro initially rejects her application, afraid that the work would prove too much for the old lady who, moreover, has somewhat deformed hands. He is swayed, however, when he tries Tokue's bean paste; its taste and texture are far superior to that of the factory-made bean paste Sentaro has been using. Sentaro asks Tokue to start making bean paste with him, revealing that up until now, he did not actually like his own product.

Business begins to thrive, and very soon Tokue also starts serving customers and packaging dorayaki. However, when customers realise that the deformities to Tokue's hand were caused by leprosy, they stop coming, and Sentaro is forced to let her go.

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    $\begingroup$ Is there anything that would be analogous for a 1990s setting? Leprosy was terrifying and shunning when no one knew how it worked, but now that we have antibiotics and germ theory it's not as scary. Indeed with germ theory the idea of an entire town being shunned for having a disease seems a bit far-fetched. $\endgroup$ – user2352714 Feb 4 at 8:24
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    $\begingroup$ @user2352714 if I remember correctly in the 90's AIDS infected people were seen in a similar way. And the prejudice against leprosy is far than gone, despite the segregation laws being abolished. $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch Feb 4 at 8:28
  • $\begingroup$ How do you keep out health inspectors who drop by to make sure that the correct treatments are being used and that the patients are being looked after properly? $\endgroup$ – Monty Wild Feb 4 at 8:47
  • $\begingroup$ @MontyWild: The local health inspectors are part of the community that can pass for human? As long as the guy who appoints and directs the local health inspectors is on board, you can keep that locked down pretty easily. $\endgroup$ – ShadowRanger Feb 5 at 15:41
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Military compound

There's so many military facilities all over the US, and almost as many acronymical organizations behind them that one or two more wont stand out. Whoever decides to dig into the organization behind gets a friendly meeting and is either brainwashed, bribed or sucked dry. Whoever comes close to the compound sees a fence, some signs, and maybe some burly, strangely hairy guards. Whoever tries to fly a drone over the compound suddenly finds their drone attacked by bats, or has some really pissed off officials of the W.O.L.F. (Weapons Overhaul and Lethalization Force) knocking at their door. Heck, since being part of the US defense portfolio, your compound even gets official funding without having to produce any returns.

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    $\begingroup$ I'm a little confused here - is the compound actually part of the US military, or just pretending? Either way seems like it will invite a ton of scrutiny, as you either get the oversight of the US military, or you get put on a militia watch list. $\endgroup$ – Nuclear Hoagie Feb 4 at 14:18
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    $\begingroup$ @NuclearHoagie you have some immortals which have been around for centuries. If they haven't had infiltrated the US government by 1900, they did something tremendously wrong. So it would have been rather easy to create a small division tasked with some military or intelligence like task, which mainly works as a cover for this compound which actually is a town for the immortals. Air force bases often have towns for the families attached or nearby, so families living on the compound wont stand out. And since you're inside the government, scrutiny wont be that hard. $\endgroup$ – Erik Feb 4 at 14:38
  • $\begingroup$ The OP specified that the immortals don't control any significant chunk of the government - a few have infiltrated public posts to arrange fake IDs etc., but it doesn't sound like there'd be enough of them with enough clout in any one department to get a base built without oversight. If it hadn't been for that, this was what I was thinking, too. $\endgroup$ – A. B. Feb 5 at 5:18
  • $\begingroup$ @Erik: Not just Air Force bases. Major Army posts often have whole towns on base. So you've got a major Army base, with a DARPA enclave, with a WOLF second-order enclave, each with its own residential area. Because nothing says "major government project" quite like unnecessary redundancy. (Bonus points if I've described the layout of any real world military base.) $\endgroup$ – Codes with Hammer May 14 at 15:59
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Consider the example of the monastic community of Mount Athos in Greece, which keeps out women - indeed, all female creatures other than cats & hens: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monastic_Republic_of_Mount_Athos

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    $\begingroup$ That way, nearly humans could wear a monk's cowl to hide their unusual appearance when near the borders. $\endgroup$ – chasly - supports Monica Feb 4 at 11:24
  • $\begingroup$ That's about what I would go for as well. The US is littered with cult compounds. As long as nobody escapes to tell the cops about crimes, and they pay their taxes, it's completely appropriate to have a walled compound where outsiders aren't allowed, along with some wacky beliefs like "priests cannot show their face to unbelievers". $\endgroup$ – user3757614 Feb 6 at 6:20
  • $\begingroup$ @chasly-supportsMonica: According to Teenagers From Outer Space, a big robe with cowl could even hide a Not Very Near Human from casual inspection. $\endgroup$ – Codes with Hammer May 14 at 16:02
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Steer Into the Skid.

There are a variety of towns that are known for their population of bizzare individuals and actually market themselves that way. There are plenty of cases of "Keep [Santa Cruz, Berkley, Portland] weird" campaigns which basically is the entire civic administration saying to the world, "You wanna be normal? This isn't the place for you!" If those are too left of center weird/ wrong coast for you, you have New England communities and the entire state of Florida for your East Coast weirdness. Vermont is generally Canada but in the U.S., and was briefly an independent nation from 1777 to 1791 and does not forget it. It also has a habit of electing independent candidates to Congress and has the 52 best GDP of any state in the union (including DC and PR), so there isn't a lot of reason to go there (It does have the 34th bed GDP per Capita, so there is money, just not alot of economic activity). Maine is another great state for a weird small town as the state is generally divided into two regions: Creepy Maine and Really Creepy Maine (Coastal and Interior) with the latter being sparsely populated and very little reason beyond camping for tourists to visit. Maine also happens to be the home state of Stephan King, who sets a plethora of his horror books in the state.

Finally, for a state on the East Coast that's perfect for Vamps, but no one would suspect Vampires to actually be, one must look further south to everyone's favorite freaky state: Florida. You have your choice of locations too. Tiny Coastal Town that has a small reliable tourist community to nibble from (don't worry, all those bodies are just alligator victims) or an interior podunk (seriously, find a major town east of I95 that isn't trying to get that Disney Money. I'll wait...) which is likely built up around agriculture (Oranges or Cattle... nothing else). Sure, it's the Sunshine State, but between that and the typical antics of Florida-Man, a small town of vampires is normal for Florida.

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  • $\begingroup$ And it may be the Sunshine State, but there's a whole lot of nightlife. $\endgroup$ – Graham Feb 5 at 1:12
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    $\begingroup$ @Graham: Depends on the part you go to... South Florida? They always puts on sunglasses wear their sunglasses at night (YEAAAAAAH!). Orlando? Yes, but there's a... mouse problem. Rest of the state? Mostly quiet in the off season. It is America's Retirement home. $\endgroup$ – hszmv Feb 5 at 11:58
  • $\begingroup$ +1 just for "mouse problem". :) $\endgroup$ – Graham Feb 5 at 15:05
  • $\begingroup$ I suspect there's places in Texas that check off many of the same criteria - including having once been an independent nation. $\endgroup$ – Codes with Hammer May 14 at 16:07
  • $\begingroup$ @CodeswithHammer: There was an X-Files episode featuring a Texas Town of Vampires. So, someone thought the idea was plausible. $\endgroup$ – hszmv May 14 at 17:11
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Just hope you like flying

It really depend on the size of the city, but as long as it doesn't require too much logistic going in it would be pretty simple, just don't connect it to the road network. if you place it in some valley in the middle of nowhere far from any landmark, you won't have anybody to find it even by chance.

Just create an airport the the scale needed by your city. sure it will be a bit expensive to import produce, but you won't have to pay for a massive security that are required by some other solution. and it is pretty unlikely that people would do 100km offroad , traverse a forest and a montain in the middle of nowhere, and even then you could probably see them coming form a mile away "ho, a beated up, covered in mud van, let's call the police"

And the other added benefit to this solution is that it won't really trigger people interest if it don't look forbiden to access it, just difficult.

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Managed engagement. Your town is normal, innocent, not very wealthy. It has double the RDA of coal tar in the water, the unemployment office posts online ads for jobs that are six months old and never get filled (except by particularly tasty young unpaid interns). There is "no reason to go there", but people do - the local convenience store has an ironclad contract with local leaders in soda and chips that disheartens rival vendors, their truck goes there every day, and the person who drives it and unloads is utterly enthralled by the vampires. There are some state cops who do a daily patrol - ditto. The state sends road inspectors who make predictable reports. Bored kids cruised their car there and said the local factory smells like vomit and they can't see how anybody lives there.

Basically, the town leadership predicts every type of interaction that they would be expected to have with the outside world, formal or informal, and charms the people who would make it in advance. They then serve as a sensory network to report back if anyone else is considering entry.

Despite all this, you still have a huge problem with aerial surveillance. If people are flying around with Tinkerbell wings the NRO is going to know about it. Also their counterparts around the world. How do you charm secret agents in many different countries? I assume your vampires don't really rule the world or they don't need a sanctuary. I don't see a bright future for your people under all-seeing Jove.

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Practice Aggressive Redlining

There are local employers; they never advertise job openings to non-Immortals (or people otherwise in the know). They never hire non-Immortals. Homes are not available for sale to outsiders. Apartments are not available for rent. By common consent, the community excludes "people who would be a threat to the community".

There is not a hotel or motel (obviously situated) in town, though one may be subsidized far enough outside of the community to provide a place for residents to direct people there who were just passing through.

If someone who is a threat to the privacy of the community somehow manages to come into possession of property in or near the town, they are actively snubbed (or, for a darker turn, harassed and threatened) until they get the idea and leave.

Care is made to be sure no major highways or other roads run through the town (or parts of the town that are close to major streets passing through are only populated by those who can "pass" as normal mortals). The more obviously visible parts of the town are calculated to be uninteresting, so as not to attract tourism, or any attention at all.

Be Friendly to outsiders - as long as they are only passing through

It will call attention to the town if obvious hostility was shown to outsiders. Your townsfolk are friendly (the ones who aren't hiding when "normies" are in the neighborhood). It's just not possible for an outsider to settle down there.

Also, news travels fast on the occasions when someone who doesn't belong has shown up. There may even be residents who appointed to follow and keep tabs on strangers (in a friendly, "helpful" way).

(Recommended reading: The Santaroga Barrier, by Frank Herbert)

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No electricity

Due to their claimed religious beliefs, the citizens of your 1990s town refuse to allow electrical or Internet service to be placed in the town. Outsiders will have no interest in spending time in such a place. (Seriously, how long would you stay there?)

Such a strategy works for the Amish. As long as they pay taxes and commit no crimes, they are left alone.

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  • $\begingroup$ You can also have crap food there. $\endgroup$ – DKNguyen Feb 5 at 0:30
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    $\begingroup$ Internet is valid for today, but not an issue in the 1990s. Until 1993, "internet" just meant email, FTP, MUDs and similar stuff. I remember how excited everyone was when we found the workstations now had Netscape 2 in my second year at uni. And at home, everyone was on dial-up until well into the 2000s. $\endgroup$ – Graham Feb 5 at 1:07
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With a little help from the US government, have the area declared part of the US's nuclear weapons program. Several cities (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oak_Ridge,_Tennessee) were fenced off and had guard posts (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oak_Ridge_gatehouses) to prevent entry by unauthorized people as part of the Manhattan project.

For bonus points maybe it is actually a toxic waste dump for material processed in nuclear weapons. No normal person would want to live near there, but being immortal they might not care about the extra radiation.

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There are two approaches.

One is to create an artificial barrier. This is highly effective as you can legally and completely control who enters. A gated community (as another answer suggested), but it could also be a mining town or another industrial community where everyone works for "the factory" and "the company" owns all the land. A strict religious community could work the same way.

The second is to create a virtual marsh around the community where everyone just gets stuck. First, make the place not interesting. No interesting jobs, no interesting landscape or beautiful mountains. There are lots of such places in the world where people are leaving towards the cities and nobody new settles there anyway. For the few who irrationally want to come and live in Boring As Hell, make them get stuck in red tape and bureaucracy. First you need permit X, to get that you need signature Y. Also, please provide that list of documents. Allow 6-8 months for the approval process. Sorry, your documents got lost, please send again. Meanwhile, that house you wanted to buy isn't on the market anymore. No, you can't rent that appartment without permit Z. Yes, you can get that document easily once you have a job in the town. Please add the permit you will get once you have a job to your job application. Wrong office. Closed over the summer...

If there's nothing worthwhile to get in your community for outsiders, they won't put up with all of that and move somewhere else.

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  • $\begingroup$ I see you've played Bureaucracy by Infocom. $\endgroup$ – Codes with Hammer May 14 at 16:05
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Let everyone in

You don't hide it completely. That would not be a good solution. As any place prohibited from access by outsiders will eventually raise eyebrows (See Area 51). And more if it is a civilian place. You only need that the outside world does not know about the immortality stuff. So you accomplish this by controlling the information. This can be done with one method in 2 ways. The method is memory/mind intervention. And can be used first as making outsiders perceive the city/place as a normal city/place, by constantly changing what their minds are observing through the senses. The other way is by wiping memories that could not be fixed with the prior method (maybe you can add new memories). That would also allow for convenient uses like making everyone getting close to the city getting lost in a certain period of time because an eternal event so everyone can be more relaxed. And as you stated. Vampires have mind control, so they or maybe other eternals with more powerful mind abilities could be in charge of this task.

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Research into the 'Vatican' and the 'Holy City' as (former) real world examples for highly restricted access into populated cities.

Surround the "secret" part of the town with a a ring of normal humans / vampiric thralls / werewolves (when it is not currently their time of the month) to deter people coming in. Combine that with using an easily controllable mountain range and build the city for "free exposure of immortal powers" into the mountain. You can leverage some earth faeries magic to build a kind of Menzoberrenzan for those who want to live in.

The big problem with open spaces are paparazzies, telescopes, drones and satellites that allow peeking into the city without even entering it - so hosting a six-armed, eight-legged giant spider half-goddess might pose publicity problems. Same for social networks / youtube - you would need some way to purge leaked information in a hurry - some skilled hackers or techno-mages maybe?

If all else fails - make a public front of an amusement-park (would need tourists) or a hollywood-esk setting for filming fantasy flicks to explain away sightings. Hand-wave the remaining things-to-be-explained using mind-magic and illusion spells.

If nothing else helps, maybe some of the residents have special dietary needs to get rid of people that get too nosy.

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Frame challenge - ridiculous overpopulation

Your town has been around for hundreds of years and people are allowed to procreate. But nobody dies! Every generation is still around - possibly still having kids - and every new generation has kids and so on.

The population expands exponentially if there are no artifical ways of controlling it - and yet they all live in the same small town with no one noticing.

These immortals with their superpowers will long ago simply have outlived and out-bred ordinary humans. Eventually they will fill the entire world. By that time it will be so overcrowded that death would be a happy release.

Can they even die by suicide?

It doesn't make sense.

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Give it a horrible name

Put it at the end of a long road that terminates in town so you get no through traffic, people dont visit accidentally, they have to choose to visit there.

And give it a horrible name: "pus lane", "boring empty wasteland", "vomit valley", "murder setting", "drab estate", "muggers target", "incest views", "dead baby", "leukaemia lake", etc. You want a name that if used in the sentence: "I did not have a good time at Smallpox Plateau", nobody is surprised.

That way tourists scanning a map decide that the place sounds unpalatable and should be excluded from their tour, especially since it's a 2 hour detour off the highway.

Keep real estate prices high (or make sure theres no available real estate), and keep the absolute minimum shops you need (dont want farmers coming to you cause you have the nearest hardware store).

And spam TripAdvisor with 0-star reviews. "Boring Village is the most boring place on Earth."

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    $\begingroup$ I would totally go to Anthrax Forrest and steal their street sign $\endgroup$ – Christian Feb 4 at 13:10
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    $\begingroup$ eh, backpacker would totally go for that $\endgroup$ – shas Feb 4 at 17:04
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    $\begingroup$ Some tourists might be put off by an unpalatable name, but others will be drawn to that. A lot of people will think it's funny. You may have more luck with a bland and unmemorable name (which may still have some occasionally coming your way, but trying to stop that with a name alone is asking too much, and those who still want to pass by despite it having a bland name would probably be less inclined to try to get past any obstacles on the way). You probably also don't want to go overboard with the negative reviews for the same reason. $\endgroup$ – NotThatGuy Feb 4 at 23:16

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