What makes that house so spooky?


I started to do a search to find some spooky and haunting buildings to share for a Halloween post.  The first issue I came across was  having to take the time to get copy rights permission for all of the  wonderful photos that would be ideal for this post.  Then, as I scrolled through them, I began to question what was eerie and what just seemed derelict.  I guess for some people that is just one in the same.   But, honestly, what makes a fright evoking structure?  I decided to dig through my own photos to see what I could find and perhaps answer this question.  Maybe you can help me figure this out.


I came upon the photo of this barn, and although, it felt a bit creepy when hubby and I were there, it doesn’t seem unsettling now.  But believe me, it was one of those building you step cautiously into.

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I  was leery when I stepped just inside the barn to get a photo of the silo.


I couldn’t help but want to try and get other angles.  I got the shot, but one of those spin tingling chills up my back had me  quickly scurrying out.  Maybe it was my mental note of all those large moaning and groaning beams looming overhead.


But I wonder, does that same barn look haunting now that it is viewed in black and white, making the blue sky now look ominous?



What about this house.  Creepy?



Or just another fixer upper with potential?

I wander through this house on a regular basis and found it charming from the first time I laid eyes on it.  My son’s girlfriend, when first seeing the house, found it creepy.

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I wonder if the black and white photo does more to muster that unsettling feeling.  If so, is it because  it mimics moving through a house in complete darkness?  Isn’t that when all the creepy and ghoulish always come out?

Take for instance these photos.  Are you expecting a black mass to glide down the stairs at you or something menacing to glare over the bannister? Or did that just come to mind when I put the thought into your head?




Is eeriness defined by clapboard covered in clambering vines?



Need it look abandoned?



Does evidence of neglect and disrepair immediately create the thought that no one dared enter in years due to the its wickedness?



Perhaps it has to just be derelict and a bit askew to be haunting.



This one doesn’t seem to have fallen as far into disrepair as the previous house. However, what may alarm you is that we approached the owner to buy it. Seriously, we did!  Sadly he was not prepared to sell at that time and this part of the porch roof, somewhat intact at the time of this photo, has now nearly collapsed. (Sad face) Sigh.



Maybe it is the black and white photo of a derelict house surrounded by sinuous bare tree branches that makes the perfect creepy mix.



Could it be it is the type of structure with obvious places where little critters have easy access and have taken residence?  Therefore, you have the sense something is ready to pounce?



Here’s one that is nearly all of the above: derelict, abandoned, easy passage for critters (and believe me this seemed one of their favorite lodging spots), vines and leaf barren trees abound, shown in black and white,

Have we found the essence of hauntingly spooky yet?

An interesting tidbit:  This is the back portion of that house I previously mentioned we were trying to purchase.  Yes, we are that crazy!



Our boys had dubbed this little cottage we  looked at as creepy. However, I must add that they said it was due to the artwork and perhaps, also, the low ceilings that made the small room feel confining.  (Yes, coffin~like, although some may just say cozy)



Now this place appear quite friendly, wouldn’t you say? This is Magnolia Plantation in Charleston, South Carolina.   Dear hubby and I had visited here during daylight hours a few years back and we felt nothing unusual about the place.  However TAPS from Ghost Hunters, while trolling about late at night, seem to think differently.  See, I told you things to go bump more in the night!  It is said the plantation is one of the most haunted places in the country.


For me the scariest thing about Magnolia was the Gardens.  One never knew when there would be a gator at your feet! (okay, maybe I’ve exaggerated a bit, but I nearly did step on one.  I took a very steady, but heart palpitating, step back  while he remained still and  looked quite bored.  Yes, I’ve digressed from haunted, but you can’t dismiss that it was quite unnerving.)



I do have one particular house in mind that we may all agree is quite high on the scare-o-meter.   It was actually used as a Haunted House back when I was a teenager.  By day, I dreamed of living there.  The night I drove up to tour it as a haunted house…well, I still dreamed of calling it home.

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Photo credit: Equinox27’s photostream (flickr)


So, have we gotten anywhere in our deciphering of what constitutes a hauntingly spooky  house?  I have come to one conclusion.  Labeled scary, spooky, haunting, creepy or the like, I still find all the above photos charming.  Well, except that gator!!!

What sort of place says creepy to you?  Have a house that sticks hauntingly in your mind?



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3 thoughts on “What makes that house so spooky?

  1. I agree!! It seems more things go bump in the night in the old places. The house that I lived in that was my ultimate favorite was our 1883 brick house in Ohio. (a mere five years. 1993-98) I miss those old rattling windows. (new owner changed them out for the updated model ~ Booohoooo!!!) Love the creaks, too!!! I adored the house you grew up in! I recall being there once and wanting to peek into every nook and cranny. I’d have loved to have grown up there…minus all the hard farm work you endured. 😉 Thanks for sharing your favorite, Marcia.

  2. Is Creepy defined by looks, sounds or a combination? Our old farmhouse I grew up in was built in 1833 and well cared for however, it was drafty & old. When those windows rattled in the wind and those floor boards creaked when I walked them, I would find my beloved home creepy!!

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