December 3, 2018

" Why are Victorian houses so creepy?"/"As a child, I'd internalized this enough that..."

"... I thought 'haunted' was the name of the architectural style. I only found out I was wrong when I described my aunt's house as haunted and people were confused" (Metafilter).


anti-de Sitter space said...

"Why are Victorian houses so creepy?"

Cause spending close to a hundred grand to repaint a San Fran gem is scary.


J. Farmer said...

She may not be far off. I don't know a great deal about architecture, but wasn't Gothic revival part of the Victorian movement? And "gothic" has essentially become synonymous with horror and the supernatural.

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

" 'Tis not the House that makes the Home,
but the ghouls that dwell therein "

paulmichiel said...

I read somewhere that a housing boom-and-bust in the late 19th century led to the abandonment of a lot of Victorian houses, which then entered the culture as prototypical “haunted” houses in the early 20th. No idea if that is accurate.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Stephen King's house is a Victorian

Earnest Prole said...

By Victorian what she almost certainly means is Second Empire with a mansard roof.

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

a pink and white striped awning and some lingerie-clad mannequins will take the curse off

tcrosse said...

It's hard for a house to be creepier than the Winchester Ghost House in San Jose. CA.

Howard said...

It Winchester Mystery House. The answer is Hopper Psycho House

Will Cate said...

It was that third-floor organ loft that always used to freak me out.

Stephen Cooper said...

How sad, to feel so good about yourself, that you can think "Victorian Houses are Haunted"
while - and I hope I am wrong, but maybe I am right - while you don't care about anybody else all that much
nothing in this world is more haunted than pride
and selfishness
and pride

"Hey look at me nothing wrong with me" but look at those haunted Houses!

you do not want to be the person who thinks that way

I have seen houses ready to fall to the ground, creaky with age

Gabriel done broke down the door

but I have never been tempted to think that I am good and the houses are bad
to think that I am a man with no pride or selfishness in my heart
and that the poor humble house, which was home to so many people
to so many people who were so kind and so full of life an love, it is not their fault that they died long ago
to so many good people --- I havenever been tempted to think that such a house is haunted

that it (the house) is full of the pride and selfishness that are the real constituents of that which is haunted

If you think you have seen a house that you think is haunted
ask yourself
who is more full of pride and selfishness
me or the house

God loves us all

and does not want us to be proud and condescending

not even to houses we think, childishly, are "haunted"

Guildofcannonballs said...

Victoria was a White.

Whites are haunted.

Haunted literally means "white" in Basilic.

EDH said...

What a great idea for a book.

A compendium of all the confused first perceptions and beliefs we had about the world as a kids.

That stuff can be revealing and funny, both about our innocent perceptions -- and subliminal messaging from the culture.

It'd be interesting to see the trends between different generations.

gilbar said...

"Why are Victorian houses so creepy?"
mostly, 'cause of all the murders
the incest and cannibalism too; but mostly, the murders

mockturtle said...

Victorian houses are so ugly only ghouls will live in them.

Elizabethan and Georgian are nice, though...

Crimso said...

If you like Victorian, take a ride through Old Louisville (basically the area between downtown and U of L). Spent a great deal of time in a few of those old Victorians throughout the 80s.

Crimso said...

No murders, but yeah, incest and cannibalism.

Crimso said...

Usually combined in a single event.

Quaestor said...

The only movie that really scared me, and still gives me a genuine frisson of disquiet was the 1963 Robert Wise film, The Haunting. The film's exteriors were shot at a huge pile in Warwickshire called Ettington Park. It's now a luxury hotel, but I wouldn't stay there on a bet. Creepy...

Portions of the house date to the Tudor era, and was expanded in Georgian times. However, the current exterior was mostly done in the 1850s. Consequently, the guidebooks call Ettington Park "the most important and impressive High Victorian house in the [Warwickshire]". In England Victorian refers to a timeframe, not a specific architectural style.

The interiors of The Haunting were shot on the soundstages of MGM's British studio in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire and were dressed in a lavish style Americans would see as typically Victorian with lots of "silk" brocade wallpaper. When the lights go down and the moonlight shines of that paper — holy moly!

Michael Fitzgerald said...

Victorian... Are they the ones who would, picnic in cemeteries, have open casket wakes in their parlors, and pose for pictures with the corpses of their kin?

Kay said...

Something about the “modern” style of architecture, I dunno, evokes “modernism,” which includes rationality and rejection of superstition and the supernatural as part of its tenants.

I’ve recently been watching the old TV series, Dark Shadows, which has the gothic revival of the Victorian era, but channeled through the modern sensibilities of the 60’s and 70’s.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Victorian Houses

Dark dreary lighting, dark wood, blocked windows, constipated floor plans, cluttered environment, overly ornate heavy dark furnishings, heavy draperies, velvet fabrics, weird oppressive wallpaper, plants struggling to live in the dark sunless interior.

Open up the G-Damned windows. Get some air into the place. Let some light in!!!! Paint the walls and strip off that horrifying wallpaper.


NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

Maybe because the Victorians themselves were pretty morbid and creepy. It was the era of Spiritualism and postmortem photography.

Char Char Binks said...

Because babies died in them.

Gabriel said...

Cultural ossification. When movies were new, Victorian houses were 50 years old. Movies copy movies. The creepy movies you saw had Victorian houses so you associate them with creepiness.

If movies had come along a few decades later, ramblers would be the archetypical haunted house.

Leora said...

I grew up in Victorians and don't find them creepy at all. I should mention that we once had two run away teenagers (from a local reform school) live in the attic for a week without anyone in the family noticing except the dog. My father eventually went up there thinking he would find a bird or a squirrel and found them.