The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
In this story, we meet four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House:
- Dr. Montague, an occult scholar, looking for concrete evidence of a haunting
- Theodora, his lighthearted assistant
- Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists
- Luke, the future heir of Hill House
At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own. (This book is the inspiration for the first season of Haunting.)
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
A very young woman’s first job: governess for two weirdly beautiful, strangely distant, oddly silent children, Miles and Flora, at a forlorn estate… An estate haunted by a beckoning evil and half-seen figures who glare from dark towers and dusty windows; silent, foul phantoms who, day by day, night by night, come closer, ever closer.
With growing horror, the helpless governess realizes the fiendish creatures want the children, seeking to corrupt their bodies, possess their minds, own their souls. But much worse the governess discovers that Miles and Flora have no terror of the lurking evil. For they want the walking dead as badly as the dead want them.
The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware
When Rowan Caine stumbles across the ad, she’s looking for something else entirely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss: a live-in nanny post with a staggeringly generous salary. And when she arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten. By the luxurious smart home fitted out with all modern conveniences. By the beautiful Scottish Highlands. And by the picture-perfect family. What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare—one that will end with a child dead and herself in prison, awaiting her murder trial.
Writing to her lawyer from prison, Rowan struggles to explain the unraveling events that led to her incarceration. It wasn’t just the constant surveillance from the cameras installed around the house. Or the malfunctioning technology that woke the household with booming music. Or the lights that turned off at the worst possible times. It wasn’t just the girls, who turned out to be a far cry from the immaculately behaved model children she met at her interview. And it wasn’t even the way she was left alone for weeks at a time, with no adults around apart from the enigmatic handyman, Jack Grant. It was everything.
She knows she’s made mistakes. She admits that she lied to obtain the post and that her behavior towards the children wasn’t always ideal. She’s not innocent by any means, but she maintains that she’s not guilty—at least not of murder. Which means someone else is.
Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemi Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find—her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemi knows little about the region. Noemi is also an unlikely rescuer: she’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing.
But she’s also tough and smart, with an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemi; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom.
Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemi but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemi digs deeper, she unearths stories of violence and madness.
Home before dark by Riley Sager
Bells that ring themselves, record players that turn on and play music to empty rooms, ghosts that can climb out of wardrobes… Maggie Holt doesn’t believe in these things, even though they are the details of the story that made her family famous.
Twenty-five years ago, she and her parents, Ewan and Jess, moved to Baneberry Hall, a rambling Victorian estate in the Vermont woods. They spent twenty days there before fleeing in the dead of night, an ordeal Ewan later recounted in a horror memoir, House of Horrors. His tale of ghostly happenings and encounters with the malevolent spirits became a worldwide phenomenon, rivaling The Amityville Horror in popularity and skepticism.
Maggie has lived her life in the shadow of her father’s book, so when she inherits Baneberry Hall after his death, she returns to renovate the house to prepare it for sale. However, her homecoming is anything but warm. People from the past, chronicled in the House of Horrors, lurk in the shadows. And locals aren’t thrilled that their small town has been made infamous thanks to Maggie’s father. Even more unnerving is Baneberry Hall itself: a place filled with relics from another era that hint at a history of dark deeds. As Maggie experiences strange occurrences straight out of Ewan’s book, she starts to wonder if what he wrote was more fact than fiction.
Alternating between Maggie’s uneasy homecoming and chapters from her father’s book, this is the story of a house with long-buried secrets and a woman’s quest to uncover them—even if the truth is far more terrifying than any fictional haunting.