"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."
The Haunting of Hill House was not an easy read for me. And that was mostly because of this constant feeling of déjà vu when I began reading about the guests of Hill House. I knew I hadn't read this book before (or so my read list says). So why did Eleanor's situation seem familiar... and yet not? It was only 1/3 through the book that I realised I had actually seen the 1999 movie adaptation called The Haunting. It was a special effects-filled horror flick that was all about the show and far less of tell, although I understand that the 1963 version is more true to the Shirley Jackson tale.
"No ghost in all the long histories of ghosts has ever hurt anyone physically. The only damage done is by the victim to himself. One cannot even say that the ghost attacks the mind, because the mind, the conscious, thinking mind, is invulnerable; in all our conscious minds, as we sit here talking, there is not one iota of belief in ghosts."
The Haunting of Hill House was a completely different read from my previous RIP IV book, The Strain. The Strain was all da-dum-da-dum-dum (erm that's the Jaws music), then argh argh! (that's me freaking out a little as darkness fell and the book got more gory and the wind began to blow and the blinds kept making this creak-creak noise...). Shirley Jackson's work is so subtle that you're not quite sure if anything is happening at all, or if it's the imagination of the guests or even if it's all in your head... and that is perhaps the most terrifying kind of horror.
This is my third read for the RIP IV Challenge.