“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.”
‘Nuff said, amirite? We here at Book Punks LOVE Shirley Jackson, and as far as I’m concerned The Haunting of Hill House is one of the greatest haunted house books ever written. This first paragraph is, for lack of a better word, haunting. I was first introduced to this story by my grandmother, who LOVES the old movie adaptation; I walked into her living room one night when I was a small child, saw the scene featuring breathing walls, and promptly went back to my room, lay down, and stared at the ceiling in abject terror for hours.
Naturally, once I reached teenagerhood after years and years of revisiting my horror via watching the movie every year during the Halloween season, I decided to read the book. I spent my adolescent years in a house that was most definitely haunted, and I very clearly remember the electricity going out when I was reading it before bed, and lying awake in darkness knowing I would never, ever be able to fall asleep. (If you don’t believe in ghosts, I dare you to maintain that skepticism after spending some time in my former home. My mom and I both have nightmares about it, still, ten years after having moved out.) I just want to add that the electricity ALSO went out when I was reading The Shining, so the ghosts in my house obviously wanted to destroy my ability to sleep, ever again.
But enough about me. Based on this first paragraph, would YOU continue reading The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson?
In closing, here is a still of the housekeeper of Hill House, because no one will come any closer than that. In the night. In the dark.