The building that inspired Shirley Jackson's "The Haunting of Hill House."
Born and raised in California and educated in New York, horror author Shirley Jackson moved to North Bennington, VT, with her husband in 1940 while in her early twenties. They lived in that town for the rest of their lives, him teaching on the faculty of Bennington College, while she kept house, raised their four children, and wrote horror stories that would become classics of the genre.
Her most famous novel is “The Haunting of Hill House.” Published in 1959, it’s the story of a haunted house and a haunted young woman named Eleanor, and the tragedy that occurs when those two hauntings collide. A 1963 Robert Wise movie adaptation of it has itself gone on to become one of the classics of the genre.
The building rumored to be the inspiration for Hill House can be found on the campus of Bennington College. It’s called Jennings Hall and is, at the very least, an eerie looking place.
Jennings Hall is an old, imposing, gray-stoned mansion used by the music department. It’s covered in creepers and very much secluded from the rest of the campus in an idyllic but spooky location on a hill. All in all, its appearance and setting seems to fit the description from the book’s opening sentences, “Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more.”
To find Jennings Hall, you just have to follow the campus signs.
Adapted with Permission from: The New England Grimpendium by J.W. Ocker
Know Before You Go
Jennings Hall is at the very northern end of the campus. Alone.
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