The book that launched a thousand spooky stories, as claimed by so many writers including Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Andrew Michael Hurley and Joe Hill. The Haunting of Hill House has entered the canon of gothic literature.
A psychologist, who specialises in the occult (parapsychology), rents a well-known haunted house for an experimental study. He invites three other people who have experience of the supernatural. The story is told from the perspective of one of the guests as she encounters the staff - an unwelcoming married couple - and all the bizarre events within the house, such as banging doors, unexplained chills, cold spots, writing on the wall, strange animals and smells. Spooky stuff indeed. After their first evening meal, the host tells his guests about all the people who have connections to the house who died in bizarre and mysterious circumstances.
The writing is detailed and tense, atmospheric and very well crafted as it follows the characters' slide into states of paranoia and terror. It is a complex and intricate portrait of mental health and the effects of grief, loneliness, fear and isolation. Above all it shows how the human mind is far more scary than any perceived ghosts.
A brilliant classic, well deserving of its place in psychological and supernatural literature.
Originally published by Viking Press on 16 October 1959. This edition by Penguin on 1 October 2009.