I first became aware of The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson when I was about ten and saw the movie (the original 1963 version, not the remake which is total crap.) This is, in my opinion, the best of the best when one is talking about ghost stories and haunted houses. A true classic.
First published in 1959, Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House
has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror. It is the story
of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill
House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a
"haunting"; Theodora, his lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless,
fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the
future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be
merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is
gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its
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 neatly, 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.
Hill House has an impressive list of tragedies connected with it, but
then, most old houses have. People have to live and die somewhere, after
all, and a house can hardly stand for eighty years without seeing some
of its inhabitants dies within its walls.
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