Episode 32 - The Haunting of Hill House
Sorry we're late, but here's the all new discussion of Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House! How does it compare to other scary stories? Is it the first American Haunted House novel? Is it SCARY? What about the Mystery Spot? I didn't even make a joke about female orgasm and I said Mystery Spot like 15 times!!!
Our next discussion will be about The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle. You can also read Horror at Red Hook by H.P. Lovecraft to prepare, but be forewarned, it is hella racist.
Theory: Hill House is the Actual Original Mystery Spot
Corinne mentioned the Mystery Spot in this week’s episode, specifically the one in St. Ignace in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The first Mystery Spot was opened in Santa Cruz, California in 1939. They’re optical illusion roadside attractions that popped up all over as average citizens started buying their own cars and driving cross country.
There is, technically, an optical phenomenon that is common to all of the Mystery Spot sites. They are built on what are known as “gravity hills.” On a gravity hill, the appearance of the environment (the way the trees grow, etc) can cause a slight downhill slope to appear as an incline. So, if you watched someone riding a bike down it, it might appear that they were actually riding uphill. The illusory aspects of Mystery Spots are further exploited by constructing tilted buildings out of the side of hills and then hosts performing demonstrations, like rolling balls “uphill,” or having volunteers bend down and reach passed their toes without tumbling over.
I’d love to post photos, but I’m sure I don’t have the permission. So here’s a link to the Santa Cruz Mystery Spot.