Posts Tagged ‘Haunted House’


S4E10B – The Haunting of Hill House (book)*


Wherein we dance through the gray miasma blurring the boundary between psychological and supernatural horror. I am pleased to be accompanied by two previous guests who bring with them an enthusiasm befitting this eye-opening peer into the gothic terror of one of literature’s paramount tales on the classic haunted house archetype. Joining me this trip are Amanda Andros (playwright: and Laura Valle (Major Horror community fansite:

Our trio was equally fascinated by the storied background of the author, which entailed a deservedly lengthy biographical overview. She was someone we were all vaguely familiar with due to her epic success in the short story world due to a piece permanently burned into the American literary canon: The Lottery. In preparing for the podcast, Laura and Amanda were both inspired to earmark other works by this author as well as a fairly recent biography of her life. Her personal tale was found to be just as up and down as that of the protagonist in her book.

All three of us felt the sparse style of writing was able to capture the mood and compliment the plot quite well. Laura noted the isolation of the protagonist who was desperately trying to fit in and compared the detailed insight akin to the style utilized by Stephen King (though she found this author’s ability to wrap things up a much tidier affair). Amanda compared the writing to Flannery O’Connor in that the dark parts came sudden, sharp, and abrupt. Ryan appreciated the false climax that led up to a much more original and powerful ending. 

Please enjoy this exuberant review of a well-respected, but sometimes overlooked important author and one of her crowning achievements.




“The Haunting of Hill House (1959)” by Shirley Jackson (book)

Ryan: 5 Stars “…A place of nuanced genius where psychological suspense meets the supernatural, highlighting the lulls of reality in which we deceive ourselves while we all slowly tilt toward an inevitable yet unpredictable whizz-bang ending!…

Amanda: 5 Stars “…The embodiment of psychological darkness…a manifestation of horror in a physical sense…

Laura: 5 Stars “…What’s so haunting…is the sort of like devastating character study of the protagonist, and just sort of watching this…ascent into hopefulness, and then like crashing descent to hopelessness…

(Click the links to read full written reviews on



Although not read by us prior to the recording of the podcast, we checked out an interview of Ruth Franklin who wrote a biography on the author that was published in 2016: Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life. The interview of the biographer for “BBC Books and Authors” was on the episode “A look back at the year and the work of Shirley Jackson”( We also listened to the fourth season review “Shirley Jackson: Her Life & Her Stories” on the podcast “Good Mourning, Nancy” (, which was very enjoyable and informative. You can learn more about Shirley Jackson by visiting this website To check out the award established in her name “for outstanding achievement in the literature of horror, the dark fantastic, and psychological suspense” visit:

Shirley is probably most famous for her short story “The Lottery,” which was first published in 1948 by the New Yorker magazine (read it on their website here: The first visual adaptation of this story was made for Encyclopædia Britannica’s ‘Short Story Showcase’ series and featured the film debut of a young Ed Begley, Jr.. You can watch this 1969 short film here: Ryan talked about the rumors that Jackson wrote this work in a fit of passion, which reminded him of a similar tale about the subject-fitting song “Paranoid” by metal legends and originators Black Sabbath. Check out their eerie and trippy original music video for this song:

Like a lot of authors, Shirley Jackson, was inspired by the real world when she created her stories. We mentioned the disappearance of Paula Jean Welden, which resulted in her book Hangsaman. Ryan also brought up two places that directly inspired elements of this book. For more on the Borley Rectory of England check out episode 87 of the “13 O’Clock” podcast ( and an article in “The Observer” by Amelia Hill called: Hoaxer’s confession lays the famed ghosts of Borley ( For more about Glamis Castle of Scotland check out episode 103 on the “History Goes Bump” podcast ( 

During our show we talked about the author inserting a humorous scene with the Doctor’s boorish wife and her sycophant helper, the former who unsuccessfully used automatic writing via a planchette (this website has some good depictions of the device: to summon the spirits of Hill House. These characters reminded us the character “Otho” played by Glenn Shadix in the cult classic film: Beetlejuice. You can enjoy YouTube snippets of the actor’s performance in the movie here:, as well as his work in the famous ghostly inspired dinner dance sequence here:

Lastly, here is the Instagram post mentioned by Ryan depicting acorns, which he felt indicative of the moods in the novel:

* DISCLAIMER: Please be advised that the views and opinions of the hosts and guests of NDIOS are completely their own and do not necessarily reflect the views and beliefs of the other hosts and guests or that of NDIOS.