In the four previous posts in this series, we deduced a number of principles, or rules, that apply, in general, to fiction that involves a haunted house. These rules can be used to create a haunted house in both printed and cinematic horror stories.
This post brings these rules together in a simple list that is likely to be handier and dandier than the separate lists in the previous posts. In writing about fiction, especially fiction that is often about supernatural or paranormal events, it’s a good thing to have one’s guidelines readily available.
These nine rules apply to the interior of the haunted residence:
- It should be spacious--the bigger, the better.
- It should house many rooms.
- A haunted house often symbolizes its resident’s state of mind.
- A haunted house is often associated with the resident’s past.
- A haunted house may be the portal to another dimension or to hell itself.
- To be, horrors must be perceived (even mysterious phenomena, whether paranormal or supernatural, must be seen, heard, smelled, tasted, and/or touched).
- A haunted house will probably have an emotional effect upon its resident.
- The phenomena associated with a haunting should also be associated with the resident and with his or her mental states, moral failings, or personal experiences.
- A haunting may result from a condition or set of circumstances other than ghostly habitation (mental illness, practical joke, hoax).
- Relate the place with death and decay.
- Ensure that the estate is at least ten acres in size, remembering that the bigger the grounds, the better.
- Make the estate isolated, and surround it with a high wall or a forest.
- Associate the house with its resident (the story’s protagonist).
Have fun in creating your house of horrors!