‘The Haunting Of Hill House’: Is The New Nexflix Series Based On True Events?

Fans are intrigued -- and terrified -- by Netflix's latest offering and are wondering if the Gothic ghost series is based on actual events.

Netflix's 'The Haunting of Hill House,' promo image, poster
Netflix

Fans are intrigued -- and terrified -- by Netflix's latest offering and are wondering if the Gothic ghost series is based on actual events.

The Haunting of Hill House burst onto Netflix this month and already people have been devouring the series. Many people have binged on the 10-part series in under 24 hours. Of those who have tuned in, many are taking to social media to report back on just how scary the TV series is. Others still are wondering just how authentic the terrifying new Gothic series is. So, is The Haunting of Hill House based on real events, or is it really just a great ghost story?

Originally, The Haunting of Hill House was a book written by Shirley Jackson in 1959. Since publication, this book has been a finalist for the National Book Award and is often considered one of the best literary ghost stories of the 20th century. Netflix’s version of this classic ghost story is not the first adaptation either. 1963 saw the first movie adaptation of The Haunting of Hill House. Then, in 1999, a remake was done. In both instances, the movie was renamed, The Haunting.

However, it is the TV adaptation that seems to be getting the most attention at the moment. Many fans have taken to social media to talk about how much they loved — and feared — the new TV series. In fact, as the Independent points out, the movie is considered so scary by some that it induced nightmares. And, for others still, it even invoked moments when they felt like vomiting because they were so terrified.

Even horror literary legend Stephen King loves the new Netflix series and describes their adaptation as “close to a work of genius,” when he tweeted about it recently.

So, is The Haunting of Hill House based on actual events?

According to Bustle, The Haunting of Hill House isn’t based on any real-life events. However, there is some evidence that the author, Shirley Jackson, was inspired by certain real locations that helped her to create the fictional Hill House and all of its hauntings. Bustle lists the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California, as one of the inspirations for Shirley when setting about to write The Haunting of Hill House.

Is Netflix's 'The Haunting of Hill House' based on real events?
  Steve Dietl / Netflix

In addition, according to her biographer, Ruth Franklin, Jackson used the following real places as inspiration for The Haunting of Hill House.

“[Jackson] needed a good house for inspiration. For some time she had been collecting newspaper clippings of old houses: Wallace Fowlie gave her some from France, and Hyman bought her a box of hundreds of postcards depicting houses from around the world…. She wanted something ornate, like the Château de Monte-Cristo, a turreted Renaissance castle built by Alexandre Dumas père; Neuschwanstein Castle, a fairy-tale-like Romanesque Revival palace in Bavaria; or Grim’s Dyke, a combination Gothic Revival/late Elizabethan mansion in London that had belonged to W. S. Gilbert.”

So, while The Haunting of Hill House is not actually based on real-life events, it could be considered inspired by real locations to help create the eerily scary Gothic vibe that viewers are loving so much presently.

The Haunting of Hill House is currently streaming globally on Netflix.

Netflix lists the following synopsis.

The Haunting of Hill House is a modern reimagining of Shirley Jackson’s legendary novel of the same name, about five siblings who grew up in the most famous haunted house in America. Now adults, they’re reunited by the suicide of their youngest sister, which forces them to finally confront the ghosts of their own pasts… some which lurk in their minds… and some which may really be lurking in the shadows of the iconic Hill House.”