I saw The Haunting as a pre-teen; a grave mistake according to my parents and a good idea according to my ‘sitter.
Shirley Jackson wrote The Haunting, the novel that became the film, while living in North Bennington, VT. Her husband, Stanley Edgar Hyman, taught at Bennington College, my Alma mater, and The Haunting was inspired by the home they inhabited. Rumor has it Shirley was a witch which was one of the topics of conversation between her son Barry and I that took place on the college’s Commons Lawn, the end of which being known as The End Of the World.
I lived on campus during my time at Bennington but pressing stuff had me arrive before on campus housing was ready one semester. The college graciously put me up off campus and it was only after I drug my weary ass up to my third floor room that I realized I was in Jackson’s Hill House, aka The Haunting thereof.
“How funny” was my first thought soon followed by fear. My second thought–how silly. The movie was scary when I was a kid, the novel I’d read years later was certainly frightening, but this was fiction. Why was my fear non fiction?
As my mind spiraled year’s back to pre-teen terror inspired by present day lodging, I noticed a padlock on the door to the attic. Yea, this door was in my room and I wondered in my non-pre-teen mind–why the padlock?
I eventually fell asleep and while nothing happened, something happened.