So, the lead up to the story is that a skinwalker drags injured people into the deep forest and nails them to trees before summoning a demon into each of them, leaving them there as parasites who followed the Christians, until needed. Around the same time, a fugitive from the law takes refuge in the town that is having the abductions.

For this story to work, it has to be mostly isolated, but we're in the 60s man. The world and country, think U.S., is more and more connected. It's harder to hide anything supernatural. In Lovecraft's works, there was even the raid on Innsmouth in the 20s, one of the classic inspirations for the story.

How do I keep this area hidden away and isolated?

Note: It can't and shouldn't be completely isolated. The fugitive got there via road, and part of the point is humans are encroaching on the skinwalker's lands. But, it is mostly rural and local both in culture and economy. It can 'lag behind a bit' but should be consistent with the times.

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    $\begingroup$ Have it take place in Alaska. There are places up there that they don't see anyone new for months/years at a time. Communication is sporadic, troubled. You just have to give up the stories where the "stranger walks into the diner". This might be plausible even today, and definitely in the 1960s. $\endgroup$
    – John O
    Commented Jul 1, 2021 at 20:31
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    $\begingroup$ Where does food come from? If the town isn't mostly farmers, then everyone either hunts for food (i.e. regularly wanders through the forest, armed), or it's adjacent to a community of farmers, or there's a grocery in town (which necessarily imports food, which is in tension with it being isolated). This isn't an objection to your question, so much as a key decision you'll have to sort out. $\endgroup$
    – Tom
    Commented Jul 2, 2021 at 2:02
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    $\begingroup$ This question reminded me of the movie "The Village". You can consider watching that movie to get some ideas. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 2, 2021 at 15:44
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    $\begingroup$ Why should the town be closed? Is your objective to prevent "foreigners" from wandering in, or to prevent locals from seeking outside help? The two differ vastly. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 2, 2021 at 16:09
  • $\begingroup$ Dying rural towns are a dime a dozen, I've heard rumors about a little town called Jerusalem's Lot that was pretty much cut off from the outside world $\endgroup$
    – GammaGames
    Commented Jul 2, 2021 at 22:41

7 Answers 7


Real life example: Littlejohn Island, Maine

This is a 118 person town on an island that has a small road to it through the water. It has so little information about it that all the Wikipedia information is census data. The only thing that shows up in a google search is the nature preserve, which could be closed. There is a nature preserve on the island with a small forest, depending on how big you want the forest. To even get to the island you have to travel by sea or through Cousins island.

Why does that work?

The fact of the matter is that there are so many rural towns that even in the 60's most of them are below most people's notice. Many of the towns I looked at to get this answer didn't even have census data until 2010. Just make the town small and not on any main roads and that will be enough.


I suppose closed city could be solution.

  • Most people work on secret plant and don't leave the city
  • There are restrictions to even visit the city. You could add checkpoints around city 10-20km away from CIA and/or NSA
  • Government hides any news related to the city.
  • Communication with citizens is also restricted, for example nobody have direct phone number.
  • In addition at 1960s you could add some anti-communism paranoia

This city could be situated near ICBM site or secret military base or alternative space agency.

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    $\begingroup$ I love that one in China is home to "No. 404". I.e. "404 - city not found." $\endgroup$
    – Tom
    Commented Jul 2, 2021 at 3:48
  • $\begingroup$ The skinwalker is Navajo. They live in New Mexico, and that's even where the bomb was tested. But do you have an Idea on how to make it softer. Like the base was decommissioned, and the cold war is pulling out the budget. It's still watched, just not closed, and if its on or near the rez, that's more separation. $\endgroup$
    – Clair
    Commented Jul 2, 2021 at 16:39
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    $\begingroup$ The problem with a closed city is that the government maintains the "isolation" so then you'd always have access to the government. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 3, 2021 at 11:21

The town is an ancient enclave of an ethnic minority.

It was settled by long ago immigrants / refugees who never left. The immigrants are insular, still speaking their own language and with their own customs. There exist towns like this to this day. Rather than use a real town (of, for example, Hutterites or Irish Travellers or Geechees or Native Americans) make one up of people who suit your purposes.

A cool possibility about this is that presumably your story is told from the point of view of your fugitives. The people in this town will be wary of the fugitive especially if they know there is something in the woods preying on their people.

The townsfolk have reasons for staying among their own kind. They are not defenseless.

  • $\begingroup$ I was just thinking about have a Native American community. The point on the fugitives really ups the paranoia. What about a missionary? Do you think they would chase off the missionary or let them stay? $\endgroup$
    – Clair
    Commented Jul 2, 2021 at 16:49
  • $\begingroup$ I am thinking New Mexico. Any thoughts on which Native American Nation to use? I'm thinking either Apache or Navajo. I'll just replace the woods with an old ghost town. Grew up in New Mexico. $\endgroup$
    – Clair
    Commented Jul 2, 2021 at 16:54
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    $\begingroup$ Neither Apache or Navajo. If you can look past the racism, Lovecraft's "Transition of Juan Romero" has some cool ideas. hplovecraft.com/writings/texts/fiction/tjr.aspx Your village should be of natives that have been there even before the Apache or Navajo came. Those groups are wary of the people who live in this village. I am thinking Anasazi. There are some very creepy things about the Anasazi.smithsonianmag.com/history/riddles-of-the-anasazi-85274508 $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Commented Jul 2, 2021 at 20:52

Have a single road into and out of the town. It might be isolated part of the year by heavy snow (in the north), heavy rains (east coast), fog (west coast), flooding (mid south), hard terrain (Appalachia or Rockies), or distance (east Texas, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada)

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    $\begingroup$ or Northern Minnesota, Wisconsin or the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. $\endgroup$
    – CGCampbell
    Commented Jul 2, 2021 at 12:52
  • $\begingroup$ What do you think of having it on or near a reservation, in empty New Mexico. $\endgroup$
    – Clair
    Commented Jul 2, 2021 at 16:41
  • $\begingroup$ That's a good idea. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 2, 2021 at 17:24
  • $\begingroup$ I second New Mexico. I remember driving through on 550 (a fairly major 4-lane road) and realizing that outside of the asphalt under the tires, I had not seen civilization for a full hour. No cars, no houses, no powerlines, just me and the road. Then I turned a corner and saw civilization! COWS! No farm, no fence, but cows! Man must be nearby! Just move your story two hours from the nearest paved road and you’re set. $\endgroup$
    – UrQuan3
    Commented Jul 3, 2021 at 20:00

What about Appalachia? There were hundreds of small isolated communities that only started seeing regular contact with the outside world in the 60's and 70's. Some of them were relatively substantial. Look up a movie called "The Hollow." Its about a community called Allentown that was secluded geographically, but then also the community members were reclusive and stayed away from the outside world because of their economic positions and the general culture of the town.

Another example would be the blue Fugates of Kentucky, who interbred from a very small group for a couple hundred years, causing many of them to have a condition called hereditary methemiglobinemia. This condition makes your skin blue, so not only did they isolate themselves, but they were generally ostracised from local society when contact with the outside world was more realistic.


The town is is a very rural place (i.e. deep in the mountains in western Wyoming). There is one county road that is full of potholes. Very few people live there. Let's say ~250. The buildings would be blanketed by thick forestry. The people there are mostly hunters and fishermen, and sell it at the local market. This town would be pretty much isolated from the rest of the world.

  • $\begingroup$ Or in southeastern Oregon. $\endgroup$
    – user86525
    Commented Jul 6, 2021 at 0:00

Maybe a town in the Rocky Mountains, at the base of a mountain somewhere in the middle, maybe, and there's no road. Also, the residents hunt in the thick forest that surrounds the city and fish in a small stream that teems with fish. The population would be, perhaps, 100 people, 30 female adults, 30 male adults, 14 female seniors, 14 male seniors, and 12 kids. The money would be wooden coins. The town would be very isolated from the rest of the world, and basically nobody would see there, except for those who are brave enough to hike through the Rockies and cross the forest that is full of wild beasts, and the airplanes back then wouldn't be powerful enough to cross the Rockies. So yeah, the town would be very isolated from the rest of the world.


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