The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson


The Haunting of Hill House is the archetypal haunted house story. Way before we had 90s teenagers sprinting around spooky cabins, Dr Montague, Theodora, Luke and Eleanor decide to explore Hill House, the creepiest abode of them all.

As the group comes together to explore the mysteries of the house, we see the sequence of events through meek and mild Eleanor. Liberated from cares in the first time in her adult life, she has been invited to spend the summer because of her supposed sensitivity to psychic activity. The house takes a hold of Eleanor, with is gothic turrets and chilling past.

The writing is wonderfully uneasy, designed to unsettle: the descriptions of the house as confusing, off-kilter and uncanny, and the dialogue between the four characters which seems to be innocuous banter but with a weird, sinister tone.

This is a psychological thriller as much as a supernatural one- nothing too gory happens, there is no defined evil antagonist and yet it still manages to terrify. After all, it’s what you can’t see that’s scary.

Read: For a proper old-fashioned scary story.

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