a haunting

Photo from coverbrowser.com

You may remember Shirley Jackson from her excellent, excellent short story, “The Lottery”.

You may remember this book as the source of that rather disappointing CGI-feast of a film starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and Owen Wilson. (That’s a remake; they say the original film adaptation is better.)

There is a haunted house. They call it Hill House. A scientist wants to write a paper about psychic phenomena. Three young people come with him: Eleanor, Theodora, and Luke. Mrs. Dudley, who cooks for them and cleans the house for them, insists that she be out of Hill House before the dark descends. The doctor’s party stays inside the mansion for roughly a week.

Consider the novel’s first paragraph:

Chapter 1

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.

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