~Today’s blog comes from Kathleen O’Brien!~
In the classic horror movie “The Haunting,” we learn that “some houses are born bad.”
Do you believe that?
Probably not—or you wouldn’t admit it in front of your boss, anyhow. But there is something about a house that really gets under our skin. Think about the literary houses that haunt our dreams. Hill House. The House of Usher. The Amityville Horror. The Overlook Hotel. (Okay, that’s not technically a house, but it’s still a structure that scares the bejeepers out of me.)
And it’s not just fiction. Real-life houses, too, seem to take on almost mystical powers. For instance, it’s apparently difficult to sell a house where a terrible murder has occurred. Sometimes the owners have to raze the house and sell the bare land instead.
That made me wonder…why just the house? Why aren’t we scared of the land, too?
Here are some of the reasons that occurred to me.
1) Ghosts. For this reason to hold water, though, we’d have to believe that ghosts don’t know how to open doors. If we’re afraid of the spiritual afterleavings of the murdered people, why would we believe they’re gone just because the house is gone? Were they stuck inside the structure itself? Why? Even if they can’t pass through the walls, why can’t they just turn the knob and float out?
2) The house did it. Maybe we’re afraid that, like Hill House, the boards and bricks themselves are evil. The house is a breathing, thinking, scheming Bad Thing, and it drew the trouble into itself. If we leave it standing, and we dare to live there, it’ll suck some more bad stuff into our lives.
3) There’s something icky left behind. Like blood, or chunks of brain. Are we afraid that, if we live in a murder house, we might one night stumble across a nasty bit of body goo? Or maybe the murderer’s drool, which might still hold some hyper-contagious psycho germs?
4) OCD. If we can still see the closet where the bodies were stuffed, or the wall where the blood was splattered, we won’t be able to stop picturing it, replaying it in our minds, thinking about it, imagining what it was like. Eventually we’ll go nuts and lose our jobs. Or kill our families.
5) No privacy. Maybe we’re afraid we’ll be put on some haunted house tour, so that buses full of sweaty people will drive by at all hours of the day and night and stare. Or take pictures of us in our robes as we go out to get the paper.
What other reasons can you think of?