Where Fictional Gods Reside: The House on the Rock

The House on the Rock is a real place about an hour west of Madison Wi, that I write about in American Gods, and I had to tone down my description of it and leave things out in the book in order to make it believable. – Neil Gaiman

If the author of the Sandman comics, Coraline, Good Omens (with Terry Pratchett), Neverwhere, and several other dark fantasy/horror works believes that a place needs to be “toned down” to be believable, the creator of that place must be doing something right. The House on the Rock, which provides the inspiration for one of the settings in Gaiman’s novel American Gods, is a regional Wisconsin tourist attraction that opened in 1959 and is still operating today. Even more interesting than a house that boasts attractions like a room designed to look like it stretches to infinity, a 200 foot sculpture of a whale and giant squid fighting to the death, and the world’s largest indoor carousel, is the story of its creator.

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