Visit These Real-Life Literary Horror Houses

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The former home of horror icon H.P. Lovecraft is up for rent. We feature the apartment mentioned in The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, below. Every writer needs a place to call home — preferably one that can shelve an infinite number of books. To get into the spirit of the spooky season, we searched for the homes of some of horror literature’s finest authors to see where they get their inspiration and penned some of their most famous works.

H.P. Lovecraft

Move into the terrible, horrible home of H.P. Lovecraft — the horror author’s residence from April 1926 to May 1933. The address for this Providence, Rhode Island house — the unit up for rent is a studio apartment — was listed as that of Dr. Marinus Bicknell in The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. Lovecraft lived there during a prolific time in his career. He also wrote At the Mountains of Madness during that period.

“As for the place — I have a fine large ground-floor room (a former dining room with fireplace) and kitchenette alcove in a spacious brown Victorian wooden house at the 1880 period — a house, curiously enough, built by some friends of my own family, now long dead.”

Photo credit: Byron Espinoza

Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury’s Cheviot Hills home in Los Angeles, where the Something Wicked This Way Comes author lived for 50 years, was recently torn down by architect Thom Mayne (he plans to build a new house in its place). In the future, there will be a wall around the property that is etched with the titles of Bradbury’s books. Speaking of books, Bradbury had a massive home library that was donated to the Waukegan Public Library, where he was a patron.

Stephen King

The best-selling horror author’s home in Bangor, Maine is instantly recognizable thanks to its spider web front gate topped by iron bats. Rolling Stone described the interior of King’s home in an interview with the Carrie novelist:

Once buzzed in, a visitor enters a sort of Stephen King nirvana – rooms decorated with fan-created artwork populated with characters from his novels, a Stephen King Simpsons action figure, a freakish bobble-head doll of the demented clown from his 1986 book IT, and piles and piles of books. He keeps an old Gothic house (complete with spiderwebs and bats on the front gate) just a few miles away that draws bus loads of tourists, but he’s virtually never there.

House Crazy goes into some detail on the mid-nineteenth century home, to which King regrets adding those bats as it seems to draw the crazies.

Anne Rice

In an effort to “simplify her life,” Anne Rice sold her New Orleans mansion known as St. Elizabeth’s, a 58,500-square-foot former Victorian orphanage that takes up an entire city block. Rice and late husband Stan bought the home in the ’90s and started restoration to turn it into a showpiece. Rice hosted many parties there, and Bill Clinton was one of the mansion’s esteemed guests. Rice also collected dolls — thousands of them — which were displayed in the home, but have since been sold. St. Elizabeth’s is no longer open for tours, according to Rice’s website (where you can see other photos).

Clive Barker

Clive Barker’s former Mediterranean villa in Beverly Hills, California is located in the coveted Beverly Crest neighborhood. Barker wrote his 1992 novel The Thief of Always there. You can see some of the author’s paintings in these photos of the real estate listing, which indicates that the swanky pad has “a self-sufficient suite that could be used as live-in maid quarters, a second master bedroom or even an en suite for a boomerang mother.”

Edgar Allan Poe

From the Philadelphia Poe House:

Poe (1809-1849), one of America’s most original writers, lived in this red brick home with his wife, Virginia, and his mother-in-law, Maria Clemm, for about a year. During that time, he penned The Black Cat, which describes a basement eerily similar to the one here. Visitors can tour the stark rooms and cellar of the three-story home where Poe’s imagination ran seductively wild. Rangers recount how Poe dealt with family poverty, Virginia’s grave illness and his own personal demons. In the buildings are exhibits on Poe’s family and his literary contemporaries, plus a theater that shows an informative eight-minute film. Administered by the National Park Service, this was Poe’s residence in 1843 before he moved to New York City. Of his several Philadelphia homes, only this one survives. It serves as a tangible link to Poe at the height of his literary achievements. Although best known for his Gothic horror tales, Poe also created beautiful poetry, was a pioneer science fiction writer, and is credited with inventing the modern detective story with Murders in the Rue Morgue.

The Poe House in Baltimore, where the author is buried, is also available for tours.

Photo credit: Unabridged Chick

Photo credit: Unabridged Chick

Shirley Jackson

Shirley Jackson moved to North Bennington, Vermont after her husband Stanley Edgar Hyman accepted a teaching gig at Bennington College. It wasn’t a pleasant time for the author. From the New York Times:

The villagers were an inbred, suspicious lot, and they treated the Hymans as outsiders. Shirley herself faced the daily ordeal of encountering them at the grocery store and the post office. She hated and feared them, and in the years to come they called her a Communist, a witch, an atheist and a Jew. And within the Hyman marriage itself there were also stresses. A friend in North Bennington once saw Shirley lugging groceries uphill, hugely pregnant, when Stanley rushed down from the house, grabbed the mail out of her hand and rushed back inside without even offering to carry one of the bags.

The writer of website Unabridged Chick visited Bennington and took the above snaps of Jackson’s former abodes. Blogger Audra writes:

North Bennington seems unchanged from the ’50s when Shirley Jackson lived there: we were able to find both houses she wrote about as their facades were literally unchanged from sixty years ago. (Which was good as North Bennington had zero signs indicating Jackson lived and worked there. Perhaps they still hate how she saw them.) The first house was the rental featured in Life Among the Savages, notorious for the over-the-top columns that literally towered over the rest of the neighborhood. . . . We went in search of Jackson’s next house, a purchase documented in Raising Demons. Armed this time only with a street name and some geographical references (near the bank and school), we drove around trying to look as unsuspicious as possible until we hit upon what we think is The House.

Neil Gaiman

We have five words for you: “Neil Gaiman’s Massachusetts home library!” To explore Gaiman’s bookish oasis further, visit this digital bookshelf. Gaiman also had (and may still have) a home near Menomonie, Wisconsin.