Profs and Pints Online presents: “The Haunted House,” with Sara Cleto and Brittany Warman, former instructors at Ohio State University and co-founders of The Carterhaugh School of Folklore and the Fantastic.
[This talk will remain available in recorded form at the link given here for tickets and access.]
The haunted house has long held a place in the imaginations of those who enjoy a bit of uncanny terror, posing the ultimate threat to security and normalcy. It’s a place where something familiar becomes strange and unsettling, even threatening. You initially might have thought you’re safe—after all, you should be safe indoors—but you’re not. Sanctuary and shelter have turned against you. The very walls trouble your dreams.
Come tour some of the most terrifying real estate ever imagined with Sara Cleto and Brittany Warman, who have earned themselves a large and devoted following among Profs and Pints audiences. In this online talk they’ll show you the fascinating folkloric, literary, and real-world history of the haunted house, and might even leave you wondering about the creepy old places with doors you’re afraid to knock on come Halloween.
They’ll begin by discussing the scary structures of fairy tales, such as gingerbread houses and Bluebeard’s castle, exploring how the early stories told about them influenced the terrifying tales of Henry James’ Bly Manor and Edgar Allen Poe’s House of Usher.
They’ll consider the impact of haunted space on the Gothic and horror genres and explain why haunted houses are often so opulent and so decadent in their decay. And they’ll conclude by examining how these tales still resonate today, in haunted houses both purportedly real and those decidedly fake, meant for shocks and thrills. Even Disney’s Haunted Mansion ride will make an appearance. It’s a scary world after all.
What might the haunted house have to say about history, culture, and society? What draws us, again and again, to haunted houses, making us want to visit them, find their ghosts, and uncover their stories? Knock on the door, and let’s find out.