The recent BBC Radio 3 documentary programme, Into the Eerie, gave a good account of some of the ways that the eerie worms its way into the English landscape. As a point of departure, Mark Fisher’s notion of the eerie, which he laid out in his The Weird and the Eerie, was discussed. For Fisher, whereas the weird is characterised by a superfluity of presence (why is there something when there should be nothing?), the eerie is conversely characterised by an excessive absence (why is there nothing when there should be something?). A Lovecraftian entity with a tentacled face is weird; a piano playing in an empty room is eerie.
Although the focus was very much on the English landscape, it was notable that the programme was predominantly concerned with the way that the eerie seems to have arisen to prominence as a response to the so-called Anthropocene, that is, the ongoing geological age in which human activity is seen to be the main influence on the climate and the environment. This is of course a global phenomenon but the programme was quite right to focus on the more local ways that it has registered at a deep level.