Are you a fan of haunted houses? You’re not alone. Large swaths of people flock towards them during October as a kind of Halloween ritual. Many of them stick to haunted houses all year long. What the exact appeal is varies from person to person, but Steph Auteri’s fabulous deep dive into the haunted house as a metaphor accounts for one of the main themes of this staple of the horror genre: the inherent horror of having one’s shelter invaded.
Still, haunted houses don’t only feature in horror: one of the best and most famous literary examples is equal parts comedy and spiritual reflection. Oscar Wilde’s short story “The Canterville Ghost” switches from a hilarious parody of Gothic horror to a moving consideration of life, death, and life after death. And sometimes, haunted houses are nothing more than a plot device (yes, Hamlet’s castle, I’m looking at you).
So, to recap: not all haunted houses are created equal. And this time, I don’t mean from a genre or theme standpoint: the Overlook Hotel doesn’t look anything like Canterville Chase, and neither of them resembles Usher House. So where would you spend your afterlife if you were to stick around to do some haunting? Take this quiz to find out.
The Overlook Hotel: If you’re planning to fully lean into your ghostly presence, you can do no better than The Overlook. This secluded hotel in the mountains will provide a suitably terrifying scenario for your haunting exploits.
The House of Asher: If you don’t want to be a ghost full-time or take on the responsibility of haunting an entire manor, why not do a quick stint in a small house before it splits in two? You know, just to say you did it.
The Silver House: If a run-down, sentient house by the cliffs is where it’s at, look no further than the Silver House. Here’s an idea: maybe you can kick out the very spirit of racism imbuing the place and stay on as the proud sole inhabitant.
Canterville Chase: Life is serious enough, so why not make the afterlife enjoyable? Take full advantage of being the only ghost in a beautiful country estate…at least until a pragmatic family moves in and ruins your spooky fun.
Hill House: If you want to spend the afterlife terrifying people while maintaining plausible deniability, Hill House is for you. Real or imagined? A ghost or a telekinetic? No one knows for sure, and that’s just what a ghost who doesn’t want to worry about potential lawsuits needs.
The High Place: If picking between rural and urban (after)living sounds like an impossible task, fear not. You can keep your ambivalent soul happy in this lovely mansion close to the mountains, (un)living it up with rightfully angry ghosts.