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# 5 – The Haunting of Hill House

Why: It taught me the best ghost stories don’t have ghosts in them.

As October is coming, I thought I would include a book about ghosts. 

The lexicon of ghost stories is full of dreck. This is curious and a disappointment. There are countless novels and short stories of horror but many fail to provide a really scary story. The bottom line: a good ghost story should give one the creeps. Often an actual ghost isn’t as scary as the sense there may be one. 

Here is the opening line of the book: 

“No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met nearly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone.”

There is something creepy to Hill House but what is it exactly? Is the house truly haunted or is it all merely the figment of the imagination of the main character? *

‘The Haunting of Hill House’ certainly wasn’t the first ghost story I have ever read but it stands out as the most memorable. Reading it was a turning point for me. Afterwards when I read a ghost/horror story I want it well-written and giving me the heebie-jeebies

‘The Haunting of Hill House’ is another example of a genera that can also be good literature. Shirley Jackson was a careful and excellent writer.  For thems looking for a TGR (thumping good read) this All Hallows Eve you could not do better than this.



*The 1963 film version of the book “The Haunting” does a good job with this, providing the scares while remaining aloof to an explanation. I watch the movie every October if I don’t have time to reread the book. 

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September 2020

Spo-Reflections 2006-2018