The Haunted House Synopsis

The Haunted House

John rents a house with his sister, Patty, despite the reputation that the house is haunted. The siblings find it impossible to keep any servants because of strange noises throughout the house so they live there alone, with one deaf stableman who is unaffected by the spooky rappings. Patty arranges for a group of friends to visit for three months to see if anyone else experiences supernatural activity in the house.  

The seven friends draw different rooms in the house to sleep in and they all agree to keep any ghostly encounters to themselves — unless otherwise forced — until twelfth night, when they will gather to share their individual stories.  

When they gather to share what has happened to them the stories are very varied but they all have a strangeness about them. The individual stories of the characters were contributed by Wilkie Collins, Hesba Stretton, George Augustus Sala, Adelaide Anne Procter, Charles Dickens and Elizabeth Gaskell.  


 The Story in context

 After the successful Christmas books of the 1840s, Dickens followed up with yearly Christmas stories published in his journals from 1850 to 1867. The 'Christmas numbers' as they were known included stories by Dickens as well as other authors. For Christmas in 1859, Dickens published this story, which includes short stories by Hesba Stretton, George Augustus Sala, Adelaide Anne Proctor, Wilkie Collins and Elizabeth Gaskell.


 "Is it haunted?" I asked. 

 The landlord looked at me, shook his head, and answered, "I say nothing." 

"Then it IS haunted?" 

"Well!" cried the landlord, in an outburst of frankness that had the appearance of desperation --"I wouldn't sleep in it." 

 "Why not?" 

"If I wanted to have all the bells in a house ring, with nobody to ring 'em; and all the doors in a house bang, with nobody to bang 'em; and all sorts of feet treading about, with no feet there; why, then," said the landlord, "I'd sleep in that house." 

The Haunted Man
To Be Read at Dusk
A Christmas Carol
The Signalman

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