'The Haunting of Hill House': 7 Burning Questions Answered
Netflix's The Haunting of Hill House is one wild ride.
As viewers all of the world finish the first season of the horror series, many are left feeling relieved to finally get some closure to the Crain family’s story. However, there are still some burning questions left unanswered — at least, upon first glance.
A recap of where it all went wrong for the Crain family in Episode 6.
Below, we’ve rounded up seven things that are weighing on our minds after the Season 1 finale... and everything we know about their answers.
How did Hill House get haunted in the first place?
The show takes us through so many twists and turns that some of us forgot to think about how Hill House became haunted in the first place. And it’s not just you — at no point in the series were we given any explanation as to what went wrong to conjure up all the evil in the house. According to creator and director Mike Flanagan, this was not the original plan.
“We had a whole history of Hill House that we were going to shoot,” he said in an interview with Thrillist. However, time and resources ran out, and the crew ended up having to change their plans.
The cast chats about the Netflix series based on Shirley Jackson's iconic novel.
“That's the one thing I wish we had gotten to do, kind of visually watch Hill House come to life and learn more about the ghosts. Learn who they were before we encountered them as ghosts,” Flanagan added. “But there's also something nice, at the end of the day, about not knowing. That there's some ambiguity there, too.”
Who is the tall, floating man with the bowler hat?
Anyone who has seen the series can agree that this guy is straight out of a nightmare, but who or what does he represent? In case you didn’t missed the quick few lines explaining it, the tall man is the “ghost of Poppy Hill’s medically-insane husband William Hill,” and his excessive height as a ghost comes with his frustration over being short while he was alive.
He was tricked into being admitted to an asylum (under the guise of “boarding school”) as a child, and soon met, fell in love with, and married Poppy. Living in Hill House drove him even more mad, and that’s why he buried himself in the wall of the house to be found by Hugh many years later. And why does William’s ghost seem to target Luke? Luke stole his bowler hat as a child — and he’s not going to let it go!
Is Abigail really dead?
Soon after the wide-eyed girl’s dramatic death-by-poison scene, she appeared again, very much alive, in front of Hill House. So, was Abigail actually dead after drinking the poison? Yes, she was, and Abigail’s ghost still existing in the house is the reason why the Dudleys do not want the house to be destroyed — they still visit her!
There was a lot left unanswered in the first season finale.
Who put the buttons on Nell’s corpse’s eyes?
The most haunting moment of Episode 6's long tracking shot was never explained. Who placed a button on each of Nell’s eyes in her coffin? All of the Crain siblings were incredibly disturbed by it, and yet, after each of them denied Shirley’s immediate accusation, no more investigating was done. Viewers have their theories, including Buzzfeed writers, who wonder if Olivia’s nickname for Nell, “buttons,” suggests that it was Olivia’s ghost who placed the buttons.
Theo ditches her gloves at the end. Does she still have her powers?
The only Crain family member with the power to feel other people’s (particularly dead people's) emotions with the touch of her hand, Theo wears gloves throughout the entire series in order to protect herself from the unwanted chill. That is, until the end, when she finally takes them off, presumably for good. Does this mean that Theo no longer has her psychic abilities? One fan posted her suggestion that maybe Theo's powers were tied to the house and are therefore gone. Perhaps we will never know.
Creator Mike Flanagan reveals the answer.
The ending scene suggests a real, peaceful conclusion. But is it actually?
“One thing I can say is that we talked for a very, very long time about putting the Red Room window, that weird vertical window, in the background of this shot,” Flanagan said in that same Thrillist interview. “And I ultimately decided not to. It was too cruel. But there was a lot of talk that this peace might not be real. In the version we ended up going with, I think it absolutely is real,” he concluded.
Will the Crain family’s story continue with Season 2?
According to Mike Flanagan, probably not. In a recent Vulture interview in which he discussed the future of the show, Flanagan didn’t hesitate when asked if a potential second season would follow the Crains again. “As far as I’ve ever been concerned with this, the story of the Crain family is told. It’s done … It felt like the Crains had been through enough.” Instead, Flanagan says that he is mulling over the idea of an anthology. Move over, American Horror Story!
The Haunting of Hill House, Streaming now, Netflix