We covered Jason Shron's basement recreation of a VIA traincar almost 10 years ago, but his effort—staggeringly completist thought it is—is now just one among many examples of "secret fantasy worlds" built in the basements of otherwise unassuming homes. The Guardian's Amelia Tait takes a trip through some of the most amazing, starting with his.
Shron's train and the Maryland town aren't anomalies either. In December 2019, an American man made headlines for transforming his basement into a replica Blockbuster video store, with row after row of rental vids and a snack stand. Seven months earlier, a woman in Canada transformed the space under her stairs into Narnia. Just before that, a Harry Potter fan magazine documented a woman who had created wizarding streets complete with shop windows in her basement. American and Canadian basements are now home to life-size bakeries and wine shops, casinos and arcades. What possesses someone to create their own private world in their basement? What compels them to spend so much money and time bringing their vision to life? And is an underground fantasy-land actually beneficial, particularly when public spaces are shutting down because of the pandemic?