Geoff Manaugh explores the intersection between architecture and debilitating fear:
I'm also curious if these sorts of paranoias are ever directed at landscapes and the built environment. In Stasi-era East Germany, for instance, was there ever a kind of architectural paranoia, when you realized that your neighbor's house was not, in fact, a house... but a listening post for the government.
In fact, I'm reminded of an old post on BLDGBLOG in which we saw photographs by Robin Collyer documenting houses that aren't houses at all: they're disguised electrical substations built to look like detached single-family bungalows....
This makes me think of Judge Schreber, the famously schizoid target of one of Sigmund Freud's later analyses, who, upon being institutionalized, made sure to diagram the spatial layout of the hospital for fear that the rooms and layouts might change or betray him. His legendarily bizarre autobiography thus includes hospital floorplans. Was the architecture itself part of some vast conspiracy? his illness seemed to ask.
There's more, much more, including some cyborg spies disguised as insects. Read the whole thing.