Gothic Haunting is a sub-genre which combines often fictional horror with historical horror. It also involves death, supernatural elements, and a person or place under haunting. Gothic Haunting is often different from traditional haunting novels, because it carries a type of satisfying sort of horror blanketed in romanticism and aesthetic beauty. Specific time periods such as the Victorian Era or beautiful architecture to a haunted home may contribute to a gothic vibe within this genre. Below are five beautifully portrayed works of gothic hauntings that will leave you pleasantly satisfied.
By Shirley Jackson
The Haunting of Hill House, by Shirley Jackson, published in 1959, is sure to provide more than a few eery house creaks. Dr. Montague decides to spend his summer at Hill House in order to scientifically prove the existence of the supernatural. Dr. Montague will be accompanied by three other individuals: Eleanor Vance, Theodora, and Luke Sanderson.
Eleanor Vance, a character struggling with the theme of freedom, decides to accompany Dr. Montague on his adventure in hopes of beginning her own. Theodora, chooses to stay at Hill House simply because she needs a place to crash. Lastly, Luke Sanderson, a troubled kid, is forced to stay at Hill House because his aunt and owner of Hill House wishes to get rid of him for a bit. Soon the four will realize they encounter more than they bargained for and not everyone may survive!
By Richard Matheson
The second novel on this list involves a house so powerful that it may sense and corrupt its victims before they even step foot onto the property. Imagine a house that can enter the minds of those who are brave enough to explore it, and channel and exploit their emotions and weaknesses.
Hell House, by Richard Matheson, published in 1971, is a terrifying masterpiece that plays on the reader’s every fear. The novel focuses around the characters Dr. Barrett, a physicist with an unwavering interest in parapsychology, Dr. Barrett’s wife Edith, and two mediums named Florence Tanner and Benjamin Franklin Fischer. William Reinhardt, a very wealthy man, hires the team to explore the possibility of life after death.
What better way to do that than to enter the most haunted house on the planet? This won’t be like any haunted house you have ever stepped into before!
By Sarah Walters
The Little Stranger, by Sarah Walters, published in 2009, is more than your average ghost haunting story. This novel takes place in the postwar era of 1947, in England. The main character in this novel is a single middle aged doctor named Dr. Faraday. Dr. Faraday suffers from much anxiety, as does most of the town during such an anxious time period in history. During the story, Dr. Faraday is called to evaluate a 14-year-old girl at Hundreds Hall estate.
The Dr. has been here before and found himself plagued by an unusual feeling at the home, but at the same time is very drawn to the estate. It is a beautiful home that has an eery vibe. Faraday finds that the child fears something within the home and this is where the story begins to really become interesting. What is so uniquely rich about this story is the time period and political history interwoven in a horrifying Gothic tale. There is an underlying theme of a society focusing on the wealthy vs. the poor, concepts of progression and social change that lead to haunting murders.
By Stephen King
Stephen King’s well-known masterpiece The Shining, published in 1977, couldn’t be forgotten as a great gothic haunting novel. This story focuses on Jack Torrance, an aspiring writer who is recovering from alcoholism, and is asked to take a job to overlook an empty hotel in Colorado. Torrance brings along his family, but soon readers will realize his decision was a huge mistake. This hotel is rich in historical events and thanks to his son Danny, those events are about to be relieved. Supernatural forces are at work and soon everyone is going to be in a mess of grave danger!
By Susan Hill
The Woman In Black, written by Susan Hill, published in 1983, has a similar historical theme to The Little Stranger. Like The Little Stranger, The Woman In Black exploits a time period in history and the social injustices which took place. This novel used a unique and creative approach to share the anxieties and injustices woman faced during the Victorian era. Arthur Kipps, a junior lawyer, is assigned to take care of deceased Alice Drablow’s affairs at Eel Marsh. A recurring theme of children dying begins to make itself present to Kipp and he soon finds himself submerged in tragedy and sinister secrets regarding Drablow. Hill’s novel is rich with history, gothic beauty, politics, and horrifying truths.