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Headscratchers / The Haunting of Hill House

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  • Why do the spirits sometimes appear as corpses and sometimes appear normal?
    • Hazel only ever appeared as corpse-like and she told Olivia that Poppy's always lying, and Poppy was the most active ghost who appeared as her younger and livelier self. Even when she was trying to torment Hugh, she appeared younger than she should have. It may be that the spirits can choose their appearance, like Hugh becoming his younger self when hugging Olivia and Nell in the Red Room but then returning to his older self when talking with Steve.
  • Even if they allow Hill House to be as a favor for the spirits within it, the house clearly feeds off of the suffering of its inhabitants and the spirits there with few exceptions go out of their way to terrify people and goad them into dying on the grounds. Why would they just accept that and let it be? Hugh's agreement with Olivia only applied to him, nothing's stopping any of the children from coming back with a demolition crew, especially after the Dudley's pass on.
    • Strictly speaking, not ALL of the inhabitants are actively working with the house to cause death. Certainly, Poppy is taking actions that are designed to increase the number of permanent residents. The rest, however, seem to not particularly mind new people, but also seem to actively try to scare them. Scared people are less comfortable and the house can't feed on people who are focused, busy, or want out. Thus why Hugh could never open the Red Room and was resistant to basically everything while, say, Olivia who's already psychic and sensitive and suffering from migraines (possibly caused by MOLD) and can't focus is easily manipulated by the various entities running about. In other words: only one, possibly two, of the ghosts want new residents, everyone else seems to be indifferent, leaning towards 'scare them away'.
  • Why could Steve enter Luke's treehouse when no one else is ever shown interacting with someone else's version of the Red Room? Nell and Shirley couldn't get inside the room while Theo was in there, and no one else even seems to be aware of anyone else's rooms. And since Steve wrote about it in his book, he seems to have genuinely been there, rather than Luke hallucinating him there or anything.
    • Well Nell knew enough about their rooms to name them stuff like [Theo’s] Dance Studio etcetera. So....
    • Maybe, but that was after she was a ghost, so that could have been supernatural knowledge at that point.
    • In the flashbacks Steve and Luke do seem to have a special bond. Steve is far more protective of Luke than the other siblings, and there does seem to be a form of Big Brother Worship on Luke's part. And it's no coincidence that it's Steve who tells Luke about Nell's death and has that moment with him. So it makes sense that Luke would let Steve into his treehouse.
    • Or more simply, they just went in together. When Steve was with Luke, they were in the treehouse. And when Steve was by himself, it was a games room.
      • The question is if they really have been in there together. In the last episode, when the Red Rooms different variants are shown, we see a short clip from the same scene and this time we only see Luke speaking with Steve, but no Steve. Maybe Steve imagined meeting Steve in the games room, while Like imagined Steve being with him in the treehouse?
  • Was the vision of Olivia that Hugh sees outside Hill House an actual ghost or a coping mechanism? The Olivia inside the House seems to imply it was a coping mechanism, but how trustworthy is she?
    • He mentioned that his shrink told him that that was something widows and widowers did as a coping mechanism and that plus the Olivia inside the house statement.... yeah, it was himself all along.
      • Word of God says that Olivia is the one who put the buttons on Nell's eyes at the funeral home, though, so house!Olivia lied and the shrink was wrong, simple as that.
    • If she's lying then it does tie into her plan to have everyone join her in the house forever. So if Hugh now believes that the visions he's been having of his wife are just hallucinations, then it gives him more motivation to join her.
  • Luke as a child needs some pretty strong glasses. Yet as an adult, his vision seems to be fine without them. It's obvious he's not wearing contacts, and there's no mention of him getting any kind of eye surgery. It's possible he had something done while he was growing up with Aunt Janet, but it just seems odd that such a prominent character feature just kinda... vanishes.
    • Agree, especially since (IMO) Luke was the character whose adult actor ”felt” the least like the child. A pair of glasses on both of them would really have helped.
    • Luke could have been far sighted, which can improve greatly and even go away with age.
    • Yep considering he was only six, they might have been corrective glasses that he eventually didn't need. My brother had glasses for a brief period at that age and eventually he didn't need them anymore - and still doesn't.
  • Why doesn't Hugh own a damn drill? He could have been through that lock in minutes.
    • In the Red Room? In the finale Steve says to take the door off its hinges, and Hugh says he tried already. And considering they're fixing up the house for someone else to buy, perhaps he doesn't drill through it to avoid damaging it. At least at the beginning when he could just assume there's a key for it they haven't found yet.
  • By the end of the season, we're lead to believe that Abigail was the "other body" mentioned by police when interviewing Hugh all those years ago. However, the Dudley's hid the body and never told anyone about it. We see them take her body away before any police arrive. So, who was the second body?
    • I'm pretty sure the other body was Mr. Hill, as found by Mr. Dudley and Hugh in the walls. Hence the "That had nothing to do with us" line that Hugh gave to the interrogating officer.
  • Small detail, but after Abigail has been fatally poisoned, most of the family has fled the house, and Olivia went back into the Red Room and found Abigail's corpse: who was the youngish brown haired lady in dated clothes who took Ghost!Abigail's hand and led her down the hall? Just some random house ghost, or a character from Hill House lore who'd been mentioned already?
    • I'd thought this was a ghost version of Abigail's mother, since ghosts in this setting are not exactly bound to time as we mortals are. We know Abigail's mother died decades later, but that wouldn't stop a ghost version from being able to be there for the daughter's death.
      • Though there is a resemblance, she's played by a different actress than Mrs. Dudley. It's not clear who she actually is, but it's possible that she's Mr. Dudley's mother/Abigail's grandmother, who worked and died at the house.
  • This probably has an explanation...but why are all the siblings so cruel to Nell before her death? Luke has an excuse - he's an addict and motivated solely by his addiction in the periods before Nell's death. Although of course all the siblings are highly traumatised by the experience of Hill House, Theo seems especially incongruous in the flashback. Of course her gift is very difficult and dangerous for her, but she is extremely rude and cold towards Nell. Why wouldn't she try to use her gift to help her sister? They all behave as if Arthur has just left Nell, rather than died.
    • Because they don't have the same awareness of Nell's situation as the audience. We see poor Nell suffering from her husband's death. The siblings don't. They just get Nell interrupting their lives repeatedly with phone calls and surprise visits. If you're on the other side, sometimes a grieving friend or sibling can be a bit of a nuisance - and many people do often wish that they'd "get over it" after it's been a 'reasonable' mourning period. And really in the bit with her and Theo, it's Nell who was being cruel since Theo's gift causes her a lot of pain and Nell was insisting she use it in a way that wouldn't do any good. Theo wanted Nell to move on, and playing into her desire that her husband's ghost is haunting her is not going to help that.
    • Steve has good reason to be annoyed at Nell - considering she showed up to a public book reading and caused a scene. Regardless of the ethics around the book in the first place, it was pretty uncalled for.
  • Why are Nell and Olivia's spirits able to appear at Shirley's funeral home? Or at Steve's apartment? The mythology of the show implies that ghosts are tethered to the house.
    • The same reason Nell is able to see visions of the Bent Neck Lady. It seems that since the Crains lived in the house for so long, the ghosts were able to appear before them. They can't appear as much as they can in the house, but perhaps their familial bond allows it. None of the non family member ghosts appear outside the house, do they?

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