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Workbook answers of the haunted house || treasure chest : a collection of poems.
Text-based Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)
1. Longfellow presents his ghosts as:
Answers: (b) inoffensive
2. Ghosts in the poem move about:
Answers: (b) on some errands
3. Which of these statements is NOT true?
Answers: (a) The speaker cannot see or hear ghosts.
4. What kind of spirit-world is conceived?
Answers: (c) delicate and quiet
5. The ghosts visit their former dwellings as:
Answers: (a) guests
6. What kind of bridge on the sea waves is imagined?
Answers: (d) waving
7. 'As silent as the pictures on the wall'. Which figure of speech is used in this line?
Answers: (d) simile
8. Who are referred to as the 'Owners and occupants of earlier dates'?
Answers: (a) ghosts
9. The phrase 'hold in mortmain' implies:
Answers: (b) permanent ownership
10. What brings in balance in human lives?
Answers: (b) opposite forces in life
1. What does the poet mean by the first sentence of the extract?
Answers: The poet means that all houses where people have lived and died are haunted.
2. In what way are all houses 'haunted'?
Answers: All houses are haunted because the spirits of the dead, described as harmless phantoms, move in and out through open doors.
3. Why is the phrase 'harmless phantoms' unusual?
Answers: The phrase is unusual because it goes against the common belief that ghosts are menacing and harmful. Here, the ghosts are portrayed as harmless.
4. What kind of the spirit-world is conceived by the poet later in the context?
Answers: The spirit-world is conceived as delicate and floating like an atmosphere.
5. Where can we, according to the poet, meet ghosts?
Answers: We can meet ghosts at the doorway, on the stair, along the passages, and even at dining tables.
1. What kind of ghosts are imagined by the poet earlier in the context?
Answers: The poet imagines ghosts that are impalpable and move to and fro, leaving impressions on the air.
2. Where do we 'meet' them? Are they visible?
Answers: We meet them at the doorway, on the stair, along the passages. They are not physically visible.
3. Explain the last two lines.
Answers: The lines describe the ghosts as impalpable impressions on the air, a sense of something moving to and fro, emphasizing their intangible nature.
4. The poet says "We meet them at the doorway, on the stair." What does he mean by this?
Answers: The poet means that ghosts can be encountered in various places within the house, such as the doorway and on the stair.
5. Where do they throng, as mentioned later in the context?
Answers: They throng at dining tables, and the illuminated hall is crowded with silent and harmless ghosts.
1. Who are the uninvited guests at the table?
Answers: The uninvited guests at the table are the ghosts or spirits.
2. Why are they there uninvited?
Answers: They are there uninvited because they are the former dwellers of the house, and their presence is a result of the memories and emotions associated with them.
3. What is surprising about these uninvited ghosts?
Answers: The surprising aspect is that these ghosts are described as silent and inoffensive, contrasting with the common perception of ghosts as menacing.
4. What is meant by "As silent as the pictures on the wall"?
Answers: This means that the ghosts are extremely quiet and silent, similar to the stillness of pictures hanging on the wall.
5. What can the speaker see and hear which others cannot?
Answers: The speaker can see and hear the phantoms or ghosts, something that others, like a stranger sitting by the fireside, cannot perceive.
1. What contrast is made in the first two lines here?
Answers: The contrast is between what the stranger at the fireside can perceive (only the present) and what the speaker can see (all that has been, from the past up to the present).
2. What do you think of the extraordinary powers of the speaker?
Answers: The speaker seems to possess extraordinary powers, allowing them to perceive events and forms beyond the present, reaching back into the past.
3. What has been told by the speaker about the unseen 'forms' earlier in the context?
Answers: The speaker mentions that the forms are invisible to the stranger but visible and clear to the speaker, indicating a connection with the spirit world.
4. What does the poet mean by 'All that has been is visible and clear'?
Answers: The poet means that the speaker has the ability to see and understand everything that has happened in the past, making it visible and clear to them.
5. Who is 'He' in Line 3? Is he a normal human being?
Answers: 'He' refers to the stranger at the fireside. While he is a normal human being, he lacks the ability to see and hear the things that the speaker can perceive.
1. What idea of ghosts is given earlier in the context?
Answers: The idea of ghosts given earlier is that they do not have permanent title-deeds to their houses or lands, and the owners and occupants from their forgotten graves claim ownership.
2. Where can we 'meet' the departed spirits?
Answers: We can meet the departed spirits in the houses they once owned and occupied, as they reach out from their forgotten graves.
3. Who do not have title-deeds to their 'house or lands'?
Answers: Living human beings do not have permanent title-deeds to their houses or lands, as the departed spirits continue to claim ownership.
4. What do the departed spirits claim from their graves?
Answers: The departed spirits stretch their dusty hands from their forgotten graves to hold in mortmain their old estates, indicating a sense of continued ownership.
5. Explain the phrase 'hold in mortmain'.
Answers: 'Hold in mortmain' means to possess in inalienable or permanent possession, suggesting that the departed spirits retain ownership of their previous estates.
1. Why does the poet describe all houses as haunted earlier in the context?
Answers: The poet describes all houses as haunted because he believes that the spirits of the dead move in and out of these houses, creating a delicate and floating atmosphere.
2. How have the ghosts been described by the poet?
Answers: The ghosts are described as floating like an atmosphere, wafting through earthly mists and vapors, and representing a vital breath of more ethereal air.
3. What can the speaker see or hear?
Answers: The speaker can see and hear the phantoms or ghosts, distinguishing them from a stranger sitting by the fireside who cannot perceive these supernatural beings.
What kind of the world of spirits is? How does the poet describe the spirit world?
Answers: The world of spirits is described as delicate, floating, and existing like an atmosphere. The poet portrays it as a vital breath of more ethereal air.
5. What crosses through earthly mists and vapours?
Answers: The vital breath of more ethereal air, representing the spirit-world, crosses through earthly mists and vapors.
1. Whose lives are being referred to in Line 1?
Answers: Human lives are being referred to in Line 1.
2. What brings about balance in our short lives?
Answers: Balance in human lives is brought about by opposite attractions and desires, representing the struggle between instincts for sensual pleasures and higher instincts for noble goals.
3. Explain the last two lines of the extract.
Answers: The last two lines convey that the equilibrium in human lives results from the opposing forces of instinctual enjoyment and the more noble instinct that aspires to higher goals.
4. State what fills our life with anxieties and fears, later in the poem.
Answers: Later in the poem, the poet states that our worries and fears are influenced by an unseen force from an undiscovered planet in our sky.
5. Which 'bridge of light' connects our world to the heavenly world?
Answers: The 'bridge of light' connecting our world to the heavenly world is mentioned in the context of the moonlight forming a bridge on the sea waves.
1. What brings about balance in our lives, as mentioned earlier in the context?
Answers: The balance in our lives is brought about by opposite attractions and desires, representing the struggle between instincts for sensual pleasures and higher aspirations.
2. Explain the metaphor used by the poet in the first two lines.
Answers: The metaphor of "perturbations, this perpetual jar/ Of earthly wants and aspirations high" suggests the constant disturbance and conflict between earthly desires and high aspirations.
3. What do you mean by 'earthly wants and aspirations high'?
Answers: 'Earthly wants and aspirations high' refer to the conflicting desires of the human soul, with earthly desires pulling in one direction and higher aspirations pulling in another.
4. What are 'perturbations'?
Answers: 'Perturbations' refer to mental disturbances or disruptions caused by the conflicting influences of earthly desires and higher aspirations.
5. What is determined by an unseen, undiscovered planet in our sky?
Answers: The poet suggests that the anxieties and fears in human life are determined by an unseen, undiscovered planet in the sky.
1. When and how is a 'bridge of light' formed?
Answers: The 'bridge of light' is formed when the moon emerges from some dark gate of cloud and throws its light over the sea, creating a floating bridge.
2. What is the function of this bridge?
Answers: The function of this bridge is to connect the earthly world with the realm of mystery and night, allowing human fancies to cross over.
3. Which figure of speech is used in the first two lines here?
Answers: The figure of speech used in the first two lines is a metaphor, where the moon is compared to a gate of cloud and its light to a floating bridge of light.
4. Where does our fancy take us?
Answers: Our fancy takes us into the realm of mystery and night, crossing the trembling planks of the moonlit bridge.
5. Which realm is the poet talking about in this extract?
Answers: The poet is talking about the realm of mystery and night, a world beyond the tangible and known, associated with the moonlit sea.
1. What has the poet told us about the world of spirits?
Answers: The poet has conveyed that a bridge of light descends from the world of spirits, connecting it with the earthly world.
Answers: The departed spirits can be encountered on the bridge of light descending from the world of spirits.
3. What is the significance of 'So' in Line 1?
Answers: The 'So' in Line 1 indicates a connection or consequence, suggesting that the bridge of light is a result or continuation of the previous statement about the moon's bridge of light.
4. Which bridge descends from the world of spirits? What has it been compared to?
Answers: The bridge of light descends from the world of spirits, and it has been compared to the moon's bridge of light that descends from the clouds.
5. What do we often think of?
Answers:We often think of wandering thoughts above the dark abyss, as our thoughts sway and bend on the unsteady floor of the bridge of light.
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Haunted Houses: ICSE Class 10 English questions and answers
Get notes, line-by-line explanation, summary, questions and answers, critical analysis, word meanings, extras, and pdf of the poem “Haunted Houses” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow which is part of ICSE Class 10 English (Treasure Chest: A Collection of ICSE Poems and Short Stories). However, the notes should only be treated for references and changes should be made according to the needs of the students.
Line-by-line explanation of the poem
Word meanings, about the author, workbook answers/solutions, additional/extra questions and answers, additional/extra mcqs.
The poem starts by saying that every house where people have lived is haunted. Here, “houses” is our physical existence, and being “haunted” means we’re left with permanent impressions from the people we’ve known. These influences hover quietly like ghosts, often going unnoticed but still leaving their mark.
Longfellow suggests that these impressions are always present, appearing at various stages and transitions in life – in doorways, on stairs, and through passages. He is saying that at any given time, we are only conscious of a fraction of these influences. However, beneath the surface, our minds are crammed with memories, imprints, and echoes of past bonds, similar to a hall filled with polite, harmless spectres.
The experiences and recollections of our interactions are deeply personal. An outsider might only see someone’s present self, but that person feels acutely their whole backstory and the many forces shaping their current views and emotions.
While we may feel ownership over our experiences and memories, Longfellow claims true ownership is hard to grasp. People from our past, even those forgotten, keep swaying our choices, perceptions, and sense of self.
The poem then zooms out to a bigger metaphysical perspective – that an ethereal realm of memories and old impacts envelops our tangible existence. This realm profoundly enriches our daily lives, giving depth and dimension to our present understanding.
Our lives are depicted as a delicate balance of past influences, some tugging us towards base desires, others lifting us towards higher aims. This balance is maintained by unseen or subtle influences, which Longfellow poetically compares to undiscovered stars or planets.
Using the moon as a metaphor, the poet stresses how past influences can light our path, guiding us through the vast expanse of life’s journey even as we head into the unknown.
All houses wherein men have lived and died Are haunted houses.
Here, the term “houses” is a metaphor for our bodies or lives, and being “haunted” indicates the indelible mark or influence left by the people we encounter. Just as every house has its history, every person carries the memories and impacts of past relationships and interactions.
Through the open doors The harmless phantoms on their errands glide, With feet that make no sound upon the floors.
Open doors signify moments of vulnerability or openness in our lives. The “harmless phantoms” symbolise individuals who’ve passed through our lives, sometimes unnoticed or unacknowledged, leaving subtle but meaningful imprints. Their silent movements suggest that often, the full depth of their influence isn’t immediately evident.
We meet them at the door-way, on the stair, Along the passages they come and go, Impalpable impressions on the air,
The various places mentioned (door-way, stair, passages) allude to the different phases and transitional moments in our lives. These people affect us at varying intensities and at different times, but their impact remains, even if it’s as elusive as “impressions on the air.”
There are more guests at table than the hosts Invited; the illuminated hall Is thronged with quiet, inoffensive ghosts,
Our conscious mind (the “table”) often only acknowledges a fraction of the influences and memories we carry. However, our subconscious (the “illuminated hall”) is filled with countless past interactions, represented here by the “quiet, inoffensive ghosts”.
The stranger at my fireside cannot see The forms I see, nor hear the sounds I hear; He but perceives what is; while unto me All that has been is visible and clear.
Our experiences, memories, and the impact of past relationships are deeply personal. Others might only see our current state, but we are vividly aware of our history and the multitude of influences that shape our present perception and feelings.
We have no title-deeds to house or lands; Owners and occupants of earlier dates From graves forgotten stretch their dusty hands, And hold in mortmain still their old estates.
This suggests that while we may feel ownership over our bodies and lives, we don’t truly own the influences and memories within us. People from our past, even those long forgotten, continue to impact our choices and perceptions.
The spirit-world around this world of sense Floats like an atmosphere, and everywhere Wafts through these earthly mists and vapours dense A vital breath of more ethereal air.
The “spirit-world” signifies the realm of memories and past influences that envelope our tangible existence. This ethereal realm breathes life into our daily experiences, enriching our understanding and perspective.
Our little lives are kept in equipoise By opposite attractions and desires; The struggle of the instinct that enjoys, And the more noble instinct that aspires.
Our lives are in a constant state of balance, shaped by both our baser instincts and higher aspirations. These instincts are influenced by the varied people we encounter, some pulling us toward momentary pleasures and others elevating us toward greater goals.
These perturbations, this perpetual jar Of earthly wants and aspirations high, Come from the influence of an unseen star An undiscovered planet in our sky.
Our internal conflicts, the battle between our desires and aspirations, often arise from hidden or unacknowledged influences. This “unseen star” or “undiscovered planet” symbolises those powerful yet unrecognised people or moments that guide our inner compass.
And as the moon from some dark gate of cloud Throws o’er the sea a floating bridge of light, Across whose trembling planks our fancies crowd Into the realm of mystery and night,
This picturesque imagery depicts how past influences can serve as guiding lights, much like how the moon illuminates a path across the sea. It emphasises the idea that our past shapes and influences our journey, even into the unknown.
So from the world of spirits there descends A bridge of light, connecting it with this, O’er whose unsteady floor, that sways and bends, Wander our thoughts above the dark abyss.
Building on the previous imagery, this concludes the poem by suggesting that the world of past influences (or spirits) provides a connection to our present. As we navigate our lives, our decisions and feelings are continually shaped by those who’ve left their mark on us.
Haunted : In this context, it means deeply influenced or pervaded by memories or impressions of people from the past.
Houses : Representing the lives or bodies of individuals. A metaphor for the container of one’s experiences, memories, and the imprints of people they’ve met.
Phantoms : Ghostly figures, representing lingering memories, influences, or impressions of individuals who’ve passed through our lives.
Errands : Their purposes or reasons for influencing our lives.
Glide : Move smoothly and continuously, indicating the subtle and often unnoticed manner in which these influences manifest.
Door-way, Stair, Passages : Different phases, moments, or transitions in life. These are the points where we often encounter new people and experiences.
Impalpable : Difficult to feel or grasp, highlighting the elusive nature of some influences or memories.
Guests : The various people, memories, or influences present in our lives.
Hosts : Represents us or the individual’s conscious acknowledgment of these memories or people.
Illuminated hall : A space representing one’s conscious awareness or present state of mind.
Fireside : A personal, intimate space within oneself; one’s comfort zone or inner sanctum.
Forms : The clear memories or impressions of past interactions or individuals.
Title-deeds : Claims or rights to ownership.
Lands : Tangible assets or the physical aspects of life.
Mortmain : A term meaning ‘dead hand.’ Here, it signifies the unyielding grip or influence of past memories or individuals over one’s present life.
Estates : Represents assets, experiences, or memories one ‘owns’ in their life.
Spirit-world : The realm of memories, past influences, and impressions that surround our tangible reality.
Sense : Our current, tangible reality or conscious understanding.
Atmosphere : The enveloping space filled with past memories and influences.
Equipoise : Balance or equilibrium.
Attractions : Desires or tendencies influenced by past experiences or individuals.
Aspirations : Higher goals or ambitions, also influenced by our past.
Perturbations : Disturbances or conflicts within oneself.
Star, Planet : Unseen or unacknowledged influences guiding our inner decisions and feelings.
Moon : A guiding light or influence.
Gate of cloud : Obstacles or moments of obscurity in life.
Sea : The vast expanse of one’s life or experiences.
Bridge of light : The connection between past influences and the present.
Abyss : Deep, uncharted territory or the unknown aspects of one’s life.
The beloved 19th century American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow often turned to history and legend to remind his readers of their shared heritage. Works like “The Song of Hiawatha,” based on Native American oral traditions, and “Paul Revere’s Ride,” celebrating a pivotal moment in the Revolutionary War, cemented Longfellow’s status as a chronicler of the American experience.
In “Haunted Houses,” the “phantoms” are not vengeful spirits or mischievous poltergeists; they are the lingering memories and influences of people now gone. Longfellow suggests these spectral impressions quietly share our spaces and activities, observing our daily lives. Though we may not actively notice them, the ghosts of loved ones remain connected to us, floating through our consciousness.
The gentle, singsong rhythm and rhyme scheme, along with Longfellow’s peaceful tone, evoke solace rather than fear. His assertion that all houses are “haunted” is a reassuring acknowledgement that those we’ve lost can still inhabit our lives and thoughts, as long as we hold them in our memories. Rather than a frightening concept, Longfellow presents a vision of haunting that is comforting – our departed loved ones never truly leave us, but remain imprinted on our hearts and woven into the fabric of our lives.
1. How does Longfellow describe all houses where men have lived and died?
Answer: Longfellow poetically refers to all houses where men have lived and died as “haunted houses.” In this context, the term “haunted” doesn’t refer to ghostly apparitions in the traditional spooky sense. Instead, it evokes the idea that memories, emotions, and experiences of the past inhabitants still linger, making their presence felt in subtle and profound ways.
2. What do the “harmless phantoms” in the poem represent?
Answer: The “harmless phantoms” are emblematic of memories, past experiences, and perhaps the spirits or essences of those who once occupied the houses. These phantoms are memories that are ever-present but intangible, exerting a silent influence on the living.
3. How do these phantoms move through the houses?
Answer: These phantoms are depicted as moving silently, gliding through open doors “with feet that make no sound upon the floors.” This quiet, unobtrusive movement emphasises the subtlety with which memories and past experiences can permeate our present consciousness.
4. How does the poem address the concept of memory and its impact on an individual’s perception of reality?
Answer: The poem places a strong emphasis on memory as a living entity, suggesting that the past is not dormant but actively engages with and influences the present. Through lines like “All that has been is visible and clear,” Longfellow posits that memory offers clarity and understanding. These memories, whether personal or inherited from previous generations, become a part of our lived reality, even if they remain unseen to others. In this way, Longfellow underscores the idea that our perception of reality is deeply interwoven with our memories and the legacies left behind by those who came before us.
5. What does “Impalpable impressions on the air” suggest about the nature of these phantoms?
Answer: This phrase suggests that the phantoms, or memories, leave behind a feeling or essence that’s almost intangible, yet undeniable. They’re not physically present, but their ethereal nature affects the atmosphere, changing how one perceives and feels about a space.
6. How does the poem describe the presence of these spirits during gatherings or dinners?
Answer: The poem paints a poignant picture of social gatherings, where there seem to be more guests (in the form of spirits or memories) than those physically present. It’s a reminder that our past, our memories, and those who came before us always accompany us, even in our most communal moments.
7. How do the spirits in the “illuminated hall” behave?
Answer: The spirits in the “illuminated hall” are characterised as being peaceful and passive, existing as “quiet, inoffensive ghosts.” They are likened to the silent images in paintings, suggesting a passive observance rather than an active presence.
8. What distinction does the poem make between the perceptions of the speaker and a stranger by his fireside?
Answer: The poem elucidates a personal, intimate connection between the speaker and his surroundings. While a stranger might only perceive the current, tangible reality, the speaker is deeply connected to the past, seeing and hearing memories and experiences that are invisible to others.
9. How does Longfellow address the concept of ownership and the passage of time in the stanza about title-deeds?
Answer: Longfellow delves into the fleeting nature of ownership and possession. By stating that no one holds eternal title-deeds to land or houses, he emphasises that life is transitory. Previous owners, though long gone, continue to exert influence, highlighting the cyclical and interconnected nature of existence.
10. What does the term “mortmain” imply in the context of the poem?
Answer: “Mortmain” literally translates to “dead hand.” In the poem, it’s used to depict the enduring, unyielding grip of the past and those who’ve passed on. It conveys the idea that the influence of the dead remains, particularly in relation to possessions and legacies.
11. How does the poet describe the relationship between the world of sense and the spirit-world?
Answer: Longfellow crafts an ethereal imagery where the spirit-world envelops the world of sense like an all-encompassing atmosphere. It’s not separate but coexists with our tangible world, interweaving with it. This suggests that memories, spirits, and past experiences are ever-present, subtly shaping our perceptions and feelings, blending the tangible with the intangible.
12. What does “a vital breath of more ethereal air” symbolise?
Answer: This poetic phrase encapsulates the essence of memories and spiritual presence that vivifies our surroundings. It emphasises the life-giving and influential nature of past experiences and memories, which, though intangible, breathe vitality into our present, making the past ever-present.
13. How are our lives described in terms of opposing forces?
Answer: Longfellow captures the delicate balance of life, held in check by contrasting forces. Our lives swing like a pendulum between hedonistic desires and loftier aspirations. This juxtaposition elucidates the human condition, torn between immediate gratification and the quest for higher purpose or meaning.
14. What are the two opposing instincts mentioned in the poem?
Answer: Longfellow distinguishes between the primal, earthly instinct that seeks pleasure and enjoyment and the more elevated, noble instinct that strives for higher goals, ideals, and aspirations. This duality reflects the complexities of human nature, our simultaneous pull towards both the material and the spiritual.
15. How do “earthly wants and aspirations high” affect our lives, according to the poem?
Answer: They introduce a state of continuous tension and flux in our existence. This constant tug-of-war between base desires and loftier ambitions is a central theme of human existence. It’s this interplay, driven by unseen influences, that shapes our actions, decisions, and feelings, making life a complex dance of contrasting desires.
16. What might the “unseen star” and “undiscovered planet” metaphorically represent?
Answer: These celestial bodies symbolise unknown forces, influences, or factors that unconsciously drive our desires and actions. Just as these heavenly bodies exert unseen gravitational forces, the poem suggests there are intangible elements in our lives that shape our earthly wants and higher aspirations.
17. How does the moon play a role in illustrating a connection to the mysterious?
Answer: Longfellow employs the moon, a luminescent beacon in the night, as a metaphorical bridge between the known and the enigmatic. Its radiant path over the sea serves as a conduit for our imaginations, beckoning us to explore the realm of mystery, the unknown, and the depths of our own psyche.
18. What does the “floating bridge of light” symbolise?
Answer: The “floating bridge of light” epitomises the transient and fragile connections between our present reality and the vast expanse of the unknown or the past. It’s a bridge of understanding, memory, and imagination, allowing us to traverse the chasm between the tangible and the ethereal.
19. How is the bridge described, and what might its characteristics suggest about the nature of connecting with the unknown?
Answer: The bridge’s described instability — swaying and bending — underscores the precarious nature of our connection with the unknown. Venturing into the realms of memories, past experiences, or the spiritual involves uncertainty, vulnerability, and a leap of faith.
20. How do our thoughts wander according to the last stanza?
Answer: Our thoughts, guided by imagination and curiosity, meander over the ethereal bridge, exploring the mysteries of the spirit realm, the past, and the profound depths of human experience. This wandering signifies our innate desire to understand, connect with, and perhaps find solace in the intangible.
21. What is the overall tone of the poem towards these “ghosts” or memories?
Answer: The poem radiates a contemplative, introspective, and even reverential tone towards these “ghosts” or memories. Longfellow doesn’t view them as eerie or ominous but rather as silent witnesses to our lives, ever-present reminders of our rich tapestry of experiences, connections, and legacies.
22. How does the poem suggest the simultaneous presence of the past and the present?
Answer: Through the omnipresent phantoms or memories that glide through homes, linger in gatherings, and influence our daily experiences, the poem beautifully intertwines the past with the present. It’s a poignant reminder that our past is not a distant, disconnected realm but is alive, influencing, and interwoven with our present.
23. What might the “dark gate of cloud” represent in our lives?
Answer: This evocative imagery can signify challenges, uncertainties, or obscured memories that momentarily eclipse our clarity. Yet, just as the moon’s brilliance emerges from this dark gate, moments of enlightenment, understanding, and revelation emerge from our trials and tribulations.
24. Why might Longfellow have chosen to describe these spirits or memories as “quiet” and “inoffensive”?
Answer: By characterising these spirits or memories as “quiet” and “inoffensive,” Longfellow underscores the subtle, gentle influence of the past. These memories don’t intrude or disrupt but rather exist harmoniously alongside our present, whispering insights, evoking emotions, and shaping our perceptions.
25. How does the poem address the idea of memory and recollection?
Answer: Longfellow paints memories and recollections as tangible, ever-present entities, much like spirits or phantoms. They are not mere abstract notions but actively influence our present, reminding us of people we’ve met, places we’ve been, and experiences we’ve had. These memories, though intangible, give depth to our present, making our lives richer and more layered.
26. How does the poet perceive the distinction between the visible and the invisible?
Answer: The poet sees a thin veil separating the visible from the invisible. While a stranger might only recognize the tangible present, the poet perceives a deeper layer of existence, where memories, past experiences, and perhaps spirits from bygone eras coexist with the present, subtly influencing and shaping it.
27. What does the poem convey about the nature of existence and our connection to the past?
Answer: The poem suggests that existence is a rich tapestry interwoven with memories, past experiences, and the legacies of those who came before us. Our connection to the past isn’t just historical or genealogical; it’s emotional, spiritual, and deeply personal. The past isn’t truly “past”; it constantly informs and enriches our present.
28. How does Longfellow view the passage of time and its impact on spaces we inhabit?
Answer: For Longfellow, time doesn’t merely pass; it accumulates, leaving behind layers of memories, emotions, and experiences. The spaces we inhabit, like homes, bear silent witness to this passage of time, becoming repositories of countless stories, echoes of laughter, whispers of secrets, and traces of lives lived.
29. How does the imagery of the “floating bridge of light” help in understanding our connection with the mysterious or the unknown?
Answer: The “floating bridge of light” stands as a delicate, ethereal link between the known and the mysterious. Its transient and fragile nature mirrors our tentative grasp on the intangible aspects of existence, like memories or the spiritual realm. It symbolises our innate desire and effort to connect with, understand, and explore the profound depths beyond our immediate perception.
30. In the context of the poem, how does Longfellow perceive the influence of those who came before us on our lives?
Answer: Longfellow reverently acknowledges the indelible mark left by predecessors. Their legacies aren’t just material but are deeply emotional and spiritual. They linger in the spaces we inhabit, in the air we breathe, and in the very fabric of our existence. They silently guide, influence, and shape our lives in ways both subtle and profound.
31. How does Longfellow personify houses in the beginning of the poem?
Answer: In the poem, Longfellow personifies houses by suggesting that they have memories and histories, and are thus “haunted.” When he writes “All houses wherein men have lived and died / Are haunted houses,” he is not referring to the traditional idea of ghosts but to the lingering memories, experiences, and influences of those who once occupied these spaces. The houses “remember” the lives of their former inhabitants, making them repositories of personal and collective histories.
32. What significance do the “open doors” hold in the context of the poem?
Answer: The “open doors” in the poem symbolize accessibility and openness to the past. They indicate that the memories and influences of those who lived before are not shut away but can freely move, impacting and interacting with the present. The doors also suggest a permeability between the past and the present, emphasizing the idea that our history is always with us, influencing our current lives.
33. What does the poet mean when he says, “Impalpable impressions on the air”?
Answer: “Impalpable impressions on the air” conveys the idea of subtle, intangible influences that are felt but not seen. These are the fleeting feelings, memories, or presences of past inhabitants that, while they may not manifest physically, leave a mark or influence on one’s perception or emotions. It’s akin to feeling someone’s presence or their legacy even if they aren’t physically there.
34. How does Longfellow differentiate between the perception of the stranger at the fireside and his own?
Answer: Longfellow notes that while the stranger perceives only the present moment – what is immediately visible and tangible – he himself can see and feel all that has transpired in that space before. The line “He but perceives what is; while unto me / All that has been is visible and clear” suggests that the poet has a deeper connection or sensitivity to the histories and memories contained within the space, while the stranger remains unaware of such influences.
35. What does the line “All that has been is visible and clear” suggest about the narrator’s understanding of the past?
Answer: The line “All that has been is visible and clear” suggests that the narrator has a profound connection to and understanding of the past. He can vividly perceive and recognize the influences, memories, and legacies of those who have come before him. This clarity indicates that, for the narrator, the past is not a distant or faded memory but a living influence that continually interacts with the present.
36. How does Longfellow use the imagery of “dusty hands” stretching from “graves forgotten” to convey the idea of legacy and influence?
Answer: The imagery of “dusty hands” stretching from “graves forgotten” evokes a powerful sense of the past reaching out to the present. Even though the people from the past have been buried and perhaps forgotten by the world, their influence remains, like hands trying to connect with the living. This vivid imagery underscores the idea that legacies, memories, and histories continue to play a role in the present, even if they originate from individuals long forgotten.
37. What does the poet mean by “a vital breath of more ethereal air” in relation to the spirit-world and the world of sense?
Answer: The phrase “a vital breath of more ethereal air” alludes to a purer, more refined essence that comes from the spirit-world. In contrast to the “earthly mists and vapours dense” of the physical world, this ethereal air represents the intangible, spiritual influences that are ever-present around us. It suggests that there is a continuous interaction between the tangible, sensory world and the intangible, spiritual realm.
38. How does the poem explore the tension between earthly desires and higher aspirations?
Answer: Longfellow addresses the dual nature of human beings, who are torn between their base instincts or “earthly wants” and their nobler desires or “aspirations high.” This duality is captured in the lines “Our little lives are kept in equipoise / By opposite attractions and desires.” The poem contemplates how these conflicting forces keep our lives in balance, suggesting that both our earthly desires and higher aspirations shape our experiences and actions.
39. How is the “undiscovered planet in our sky” a metaphor for unseen influences in our lives?
Answer: The “undiscovered planet in our sky” represents the unknown or unacknowledged forces that impact our lives. Just as an undiscovered planet might exert gravitational forces that influence other celestial bodies without being directly observed, the unseen influences from our past or from those we’ve encountered exert a pull on our thoughts, feelings, and actions. This metaphor underscores the idea that there are always underlying factors shaping our experiences, whether or not we’re aware of them.
40. In what ways does the imagery of the moon’s “floating bridge of light” parallel the bridge of light from the world of spirits?
Answer: Both the moon’s “floating bridge of light” and the bridge of light from the spirit world serve as connectors between two realms. The moon’s bridge connects the earth to the mysteries of the night, while the spirit bridge connects the living with the influences of the past. These bridges symbolise the thin boundaries between the known and the unknown, the tangible and the intangible, and the present and the past. They illustrate the idea that our reality is continuously intertwined with mysteries and influences beyond our immediate perception.
41. What do the “trembling planks” of the bridge represent in terms of human understanding and emotions?
Answer: The “trembling planks” of the bridge suggest the fragile and uncertain nature of our understanding and connection to the intangible influences of the past. This instability reflects the human emotions of doubt, fear, and awe when confronted with the unknown or the profound. The trembling planks signify our tentative efforts to grasp and understand the deeper mysteries of existence and the influences that shape our lives.
42. How does the poem convey the idea of the interconnectedness between the past, present, and future?
Answer: The poem paints a vivid picture of how the memories, legacies, and influences of the past are ever-present, shaping our current experiences and, by extension, our future. By emphasizing the presence of “harmless phantoms” and “quiet, inoffensive ghosts” in our daily lives, Longfellow suggests that our present reality is continuously intertwined with the past. The interconnectedness is further highlighted by the bridges of light, which serve as pathways linking different realms of time and existence.
43. What might be the significance of the “unsteady floor” of the bridge that connects the world of spirits with the present world?
Answer: The “unsteady floor” of the bridge symbolizes the uncertainty and volatility of our understanding of and connection to the past and the spiritual realm. It reflects the inherent instability and unpredictability of life, where our perceptions and beliefs are constantly challenged and reshaped by new experiences and insights. This unsteady foundation reminds us of the delicate balance between our tangible reality and the intangible influences that surround us.
44. In what ways does Longfellow challenge traditional notions of the supernatural in this poem?
Answer: Instead of presenting the supernatural as something fearful or malevolent, Longfellow depicts it as a benign and ever-present influence. The “harmless phantoms” and “quiet, inoffensive ghosts” stand in contrast to traditional ghostly figures that haunt and terrorize. Longfellow’s ghosts are simply remnants of the past, memories and influences that permeate our lives. By doing so, he reframes the supernatural not as distant and eerie entities, but as familiar, omnipresent echoes of previous lives and times that silently shape our present.
1. How does Longfellow describe the houses wherein men have lived and died?
A. As beautiful monuments B. As haunted houses C. As empty shells D. As remnants of history
Answer: B. As haunted houses
2. What do the “open doors” in the poem symbolize?
A. Mystery B. Isolation C. Death D. Accessibility to the past
Answer: D. Accessibility to the past
3. Which line indicates that the narrator perceives more than the stranger?
A. “We meet them at the door-way, on the stair” B. “The stranger at my fireside cannot see” C. “Impalpable impressions on the air” D. “Owners and occupants of earlier dates”
Answer: B. “The stranger at my fireside cannot see”
4. What do “dusty hands” stretching from “graves forgotten” represent?
A. The aging process B. Lost memories C. Legacy and influence D. Decaying past
Answer: C. Legacy and influence
5. What do the “harmless phantoms” in the poem represent?
A. Scary entities B. Memories and past influences C. Traditional ghosts D. Unknown future events
Answer: B. Memories and past influences
6. Which element serves as a connector between two realms in the poem?
A. Sunlight B. Moon’s bridge of light C. Trees D. Shadows
Answer: B. Moon’s bridge of light
7. What keeps our “little lives” in balance according to the poem?
A. Wealth and poverty B. Love and hate C. Opposite attractions and desires D. Day and night
Answer: C. Opposite attractions and desires
8. How does the poet depict ghosts in the poem?
A. Threatening B. Mischievous C. Quiet and inoffensive D. Noisy
Answer: C. Quiet and inoffensive
9. What does the “undiscovered planet in our sky” metaphorically signify?
A. Unknown mysteries of the universe B. Unseen influences in our lives C. New possibilities D. Future explorations
Answer: B. Unseen influences in our lives
10. What does “a vital breath of more ethereal air” allude to?
A. Fresh start B. Nature’s beauty C. Purer essence from the spirit-world D. Need for ventilation
Answer: C. Purer essence from the spirit-world
11. How does the poem represent the struggle between earthly desires and higher aspirations?
A. As a balance of good and evil B. As a continuous conflict C. As a dance between light and dark D. As opposite attractions keeping lives in equipoise
Answer: D. As opposite attractions keeping lives in equipoise
12. What significance does the “unsteady floor” of the bridge hold in the poem?
A. Robust connection between realms B. Fragility of human understanding C. Steadfast beliefs D. Risky endeavors
Answer: B. Fragility of human understanding
13. What does the imagery of “dusty hands” from “graves forgotten” imply?
A. The burden of the past B. Forgotten heroes C. Influence of past individuals, even if forgotten D. Abandoned places
Answer: C. Influence of past individuals, even if forgotten
14. How does Longfellow’s portrayal of the supernatural differ from traditional depictions?
A. He presents it as harmful B. He sees it as familiar and ever-present influences C. He doesn’t acknowledge the supernatural D. He sees it as a temporary phase
Answer: B. He sees it as familiar and ever-present influences
15. Which line from the poem suggests a permeability between past and present?
A. “All houses wherein men have lived and died” B. “The stranger at my fireside cannot see” C. “Through the open doors” D. “Our little lives are kept in equipoise”
Answer: C. “Through the open doors”
16. How are the ghosts described in relation to the dinner table?
A. As unexpected guests B. As the main hosts C. As distant observers D. As uninvited guests
Answer: A. As unexpected guests
17. How does Longfellow view memory in the poem?
A. As a burden B. As a fleeting moment C. As a living entity D. As a distant past
Answer: C. As a living entity
18. What does the “ethereal air” contrast with in the poem?
A. The spirit-world B. Earthly mists and vapours C. The open doors D. The undiscovered planet
Answer: B. Earthly mists and vapours
19. The “floating bridge of light” thrown by the moon is compared to what in the poem?
A. A pathway to the future B. A bridge connecting the spirit world and the present C. A reflection of human desires D. A bridge to the unknown realms of the universe
Answer: B. A bridge connecting the spirit world and the present
20. How does Longfellow describe the nature of our understanding of the intangible influences of the past?
A. Robust and concrete B. Doubtful and questionable C. Fragile and uncertain D. Ignored and dismissed
Answer: C. Fragile and uncertain
21. In the poem, what does the “vital breath of more ethereal air” represent?
A. Fresh beginnings B. Tangible experiences C. Spiritual influences D. Earthly connections
Answer: C. Spiritual influences
22. How are the pictures on the wall described in relation to the ghosts?
A. As dynamic and lively B. As noisy and disruptive C. As silent and static D. As colorful and vibrant
Answer: C. As silent and static
23. What does “mortmain” metaphorically represent in the poem?
A. Death and decay B. A binding legal document C. The enduring grip of the past D. An unknown realm
Answer: C. The enduring grip of the past
24. How does Longfellow describe the guests at the table compared to the hosts?
A. Fewer in number B. More in number C. Equally present D. Absent altogether
Answer: B. More in number
25. The “bridge of light” mentioned in the poem connects which two realms?
A. Earth and sky B. Past and future C. World of spirits and the present world D. Happiness and sorrow
Answer: C. World of spirits and the present world
26. What is the primary theme of Longfellow’s “Haunted Houses”?
A. The terror of haunted places B. The nostalgia of past memories C. The influence and presence of the past in our present lives D. The excitement of discovering unknown realms
Answer: C. The influence and presence of the past in our present lives
27. What kind of impression do the phantoms leave in the poem?
A. Destructive B. Impalpable C. Visible and tangible D. Loud and disturbing
Answer: B. Impalpable
28. Which element in the poem indicates the unseen influence shaping our desires?
A. The harmless phantoms B. The illuminated hall C. The undiscovered planet D. The dusty hands
Answer: C. The undiscovered planet
29. How does the poem convey the presence of unseen forces in our lives?
A. Through eerie and spooky descriptions B. By highlighting tangible effects on our daily activities C. Through subtle, omnipresent influences D. By emphasizing the power of dreams
Answer: C. Through subtle, omnipresent influences
30. What does Longfellow suggest about the connection between the past and the present?
A. The past is always haunting the present B. The past and present are completely disconnected C. The past has a silent and profound influence on the present D. The present is always overshadowed by the past
Answer: C. The past has a silent and profound influence on the present.
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Haunted Houses Poem Questions and Answers & MCQs
Haunted houses poem questions and answers & mcqs.
Read the extracts and answer the following questions:
Question 1. All houses wherein men have lived and died Are haunted houses.Through the open doors The harmless phantoms on their errands glide With feet that make no sound upon the floors.
a. Name the poem and the poet of the given extract b. Where is the poem set? What are the phantoms doing? c. Where does the poet meet the phantoms? How does he perceive them? d. With whom are these phantoms compared to and when? Answers: a. The name of the poem is “Haunted Houses” and it is written by H.W.Long fellow.
b. The poem is set in a haunted house. The phantoms are seen to be doing their regular activities. They are gliding through the open doors noiselessly.
c. The poet crosses the ghosts on the doorway, stairs, along the passages and at the dining table. The poet perceives them as domesticated ghosts, unnoticeable, busy with errands, moving purposefully around the house as they did in life. The speaker describes them as harmless and inoffensive.
d. The poet says that there are more ghosts than the living people in the well-lighted hail at the dining table. The hail is filled with quiet, in offensive ghosts and then these ghosts are compared to the pictures on the wall. Just as the pictures on the wall are noiseless, harmless and inoffensive, so also the ghosts.
Question 2. There are more ghosts at table, than the hosts
a. Who are the guests and the hosts referred to in the above extract? b. What are the guests doing? c. What is illuminated hail thronged with? d. What idea does the poet intend to convey through the words that the houses are haunted? Answers: a. The guests are the ghosts and the hosts are the living people around.
b. The ghosts are noiselessly sitting at the dining table of the well lighted hail.
c. There are more ghosts at table than the living people.The illuminated hall is thronged or crowded with quiet, non-violent, harmless ghosts who are like pictures on the wall. The ghosts are silent and harmless like the pictures on the wall.
d. The poet conveys that the spirits or ghosts are real by explaining how people who have lived before us, after being departed, still remain with us in this world, but in a changed form.
Question 3. ‘Owners and occupants of earlier dates’
a. Who are owners and occupants of earlier dates? b. What do these owners and occupants do from the graves? c. How does the “spirit world” surround the world of life? d. What figure of speech is the line “From graves forgotten stretch their dusty hands?” What does it mean? Answers: a. The owners and dwellers of the houses are dead and so it is said here owners and occupants of earlier dates. They were owners and occupants when they were alive but now they are dead.
b. Since the once owners and occupants are dead now,they are in graves. They are forgotten now.But from the graves they stretch their hands and try to hold the mortmain (permanent ownership. of their old properties.
c. The spirit world surrounds the world of sense or world of living and floats like atmosphere. The spirits waft through the mists and vapours of the earth like a vital breath of unearthly air or of air beyond the world.
d. The line “From graves dusty hands” is a metaphor. It means that the dead still have a strong connection of mind with their possessions. So even though they are dead now and are forgotten by their descendants and are now in the graves, yet they stretch their hands to hold their possessions.
Question 4. Come from the influence of an unseen star An undiscovered planet In our sky.
a. What comes “from the influence. in our sky?” b. What simile is used to compare the things that are coming from the influence of unseen star and undiscovered planets? c. What “bridge of light”descends from the world of spirit? d. What can travel across the bridge to the world of spirit? Answers: a. The worries, the earthly wants that is our wants, desires, aspirations all come from an unseen star and an undiscovered planet in our sky.
b. The worries, aspirations, desires of the people are compared to a perpetual jar. Our worries, desires, cravings, aspirations all are unending like perpetual jar. It is the human nature to have worries, anxieties, cravings, desires and aspirations and they are eternal or never ending.
c. The unearthly beams of the moon, when fall on the water of the ocean, bridge of light is formed. So the ethereal image of the moonlight floating across the ocean waves is compared to a glorious “bridge of light” that descends from the world of spirits to the earth.
d. Our thoughts, memories and aspirations can travel across “the bridge of light” into the world of spirit. These travel across the trembling or shaking planks (since it is of light. of the bridge to connect with the spirits of loved ones who have departed before.
Question 5. O’er whose unsteady floor, the sways and bends Wander are thoughts above the dark abyss
a. “O’er whose unsteady floor” is referred to the above extract? b. What does the “bridge of light” connect to? c. Why is the poet saying “unsteady floor, that sways and bends”? d. According to the poet, the world of the spirit is real. How does he convey this? Answers: a. The unsteady floor of the “bridge of light” that descends from the world of spirits is referred to the above extract.
b. The “bridge of lights” connects the world of spirits and the world of the living.
c. Here the poet talks about the floor of the bridge of light made by the moonlight. The moonlight ‘sways and bends’ on the water to create this unsteady or movable floor of this bridge through which only spirits can walk.
d. Here H.W. Long fellow in his poem “Haunted Houses” says that we cannot ignore the presence of spirits around us. They also exist as much as we do. Reality extends much beyond what we can see rationally and the world has various realms. So it is not possible for us to know everything, we only know a part of it.
Haunted Houses Poem MCQs
Question 1. The ‘phantoms’ are described by the adjective a. impalpable b. inoffensive c. harmless d. quiet Answer: c. harmless
Question 2. Where do we meet them? a. at the door way, on the stair b. on the stair, along the passages c. at the doorway, along the passages d. at the doorway, on the stair, along the passages Answer: d. at the doorway, on the stair, along the passages
Question 3. “As silent as the pictures on the wall” is a ………….. a. metaphor b. simile c. symbolism d. imagery Answer: b. simile
Question 4. “From graves forgotten stretch their dusty hands” is a ………….. a. simile b. imagery c. metaphor d. b and c both Answer: d. b and c both
Question 5. “The forms I see,nor hear the sounds I hear” What does ‘forms’ refers to? a. guests b. hosts c. ghosts d. stranger Answer: c. ghosts
Question 6. What is the meaning of ethereal? a. unearthly b. unclear c. obliterated d. earthly Answer: a. unearthly
Question 7. Which is a simile? a. “This perpetual jar of earthly wants…. b. Houses wherein men have lived and died are haunted houses c. The spirit world around the world /Floats like an atmosphere d. We have no title deeds to house or lands Answer: c. The spirit world around the world /Floats like an atmosphere
Question 8. What is the meaning of perturbations? a. worries b. stress c. disturbances d. sadness Answer: a. worries
Question 9. “From graves forgotten stretch their dusty hands And hold in mortmain still their old estates” Who does ‘their’ in the above extract refer to? a. ghost b. people who have died c. children d. a and b both Answer: d. a and b both
Question 10. Why is the house haunted? a. because it is scary b. because people died there c. because ghosts are present there d. b and c both Answer: d. b and c both
Question 11. What is the meaning of equipoise? a. force b. balance of force c. undercover d. balance of energy Answer: b. balance of force
Question 12. The ghosts in the illuminated hail are compared to …………… a. as silent as the books on the shelf b. as silent as the pictures on the wall c. as silent as the toys d. as silent as the clothes in the cupboard Answer: b. as silent as the pictures on the wall
Question 13. “He but perceives what is; while unto me” In the above line ‘he’ is referred to a. the poet b. the ghost c. the stranger d. dead person Answer: c. the stranger
Question 14. The spirits of the spirit – world are said to be wafting through the earthly a. dust and vapours b. dust and mist c. mist and vapours d. all the three Answer: c. mist and vapours
Question 15. The poet says that the earthly wants and aspirations come from the influence of …………. a. an undiscovered star and an unseen planet b. an unseen star and an unseen planet c. an unseen star and an undiscovered planet d. an undiscovered star and an undiscovered planet. Answer: c. an unseen star and an undiscovered planet
Question 16. The poem deals with …………. a. the spirit world of ghosts and the world of living b. the poet and his dead ancestors c. the ghosts that haunt empty houses d. the ghosts who perpetually scare us Answer: a. the spirit world of ghosts and the world of living
Question 17. The mood of the poem is ………… a. sarcastic b. eerie c. contemplative d. humorous Answer: b. eerie
Treasure Chest A Collection of ICSE Poems Workbook Answers
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A Haunted House
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A Brief History of the Haunted House
How Walt Disney inspired the world’s scariest Halloween tradition
Former Assistant Digital Editor, Humanities
The scariest haunted house of 2017 is a giant walk-through attraction located in the former Georgia Antique Center in the outskirts of Atlanta. Named Netherworld , it features 3D special effects, aerial performers and, of course, flesh-eating clowns. Netherworld frightens so effectively, so inescapably, that people with heart conditions are warned against buying tickets .
This is what a haunted house is supposed to do. They exist to scare people. The idea behind haunted houses is not new, of course— people have entertained themselves with spooky stories for centuries — but haunted houses are different because they are inseparable from the holiday that vaulted them to cultural prominence. The tradition could not exist without Halloween; Halloween would not be the same without it.
The origins of the haunted house date back to 19th-century London, when a series of illusions and attractions introduced the public to new forms of gruesome entertainment. In 1802, Marie Tussaud scandalized British audiences with an exhibition of wax sculptures of decapitated French figures, including King Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, Marat and Robespierre. Tussaud's likenesses were remarkably accurate, and with good reason — she created death masks of the French Revolution's many guillotine victims . When she set up a permanent London exhibition, she dubbed her grotesque collection the "Chamber of Horrors" — a name that has stuck to the wax museum to this day .
At the turn of the 20th century, as Rebekah McKendry describes in Fangoria magazine , the closest relatives to modern haunted houses began experimenting with macabre themes. In Paris, the Grand Guignol theater became notorious for its on-stage depictions of graphic dismemberment ; the theater's director, Max Maurey, famously boasted that he judged each performance by the number of people who passed out, shocked, in the audience. In 1915, an English fairground in Liphook debuted one of the first " ghost houses ," an early type of commercial horror attraction. The public appetite for horror was picking up.
Lisa Morton, author of Trick or Treat: A History of Halloween , tells Smithsonian.com that Halloween-themed haunted houses first emerged during the Great Depression as American parents schemed up ways to distract young tricksters, whose holiday pranks had escalated to property damage, vandalism and harassment of strangers . "They came in about the same time as trick-or-treat did," she says. "Cities looked for ways to buy these kids off, essentially."
Those first haunted houses were very primitive. Groups of families would decorate their basements and hold "house-to-house” parties. Kids could spook themselves by traveling from basement to basement and experiencing different scary scenes. This 1937 party pamphlet describes how parents could also design "trails of terror" to spook their children. The effects may seem familiar to anyone who has ever been disappointed by a sub-par scare:
An outside entrance leads to a rendezvous with ghosts and witches in the cellar or attic. Hang old fur, strips of raw liver on walls, where one feels his way to dark steps....Weird moans and howls come from dark corners, damp sponges and hair nets hung from the ceiling touch his face....Doorways are blockaded so that guests must crawl through a long dark tunnel....At the end he hears a plaintive 'meow' and sees a black cardboard cat outlined in luminous paint..."
The haunted house didn't become a cultural icon, though, until Walt Disney decided to build one. Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion opened in 1969, nearly two decades after Disney first approved the beleaguered project . The attraction, which was designed in the style of the Evergreen House and the Winchester Mystery House , quickly became a success. In a single day shortly after its debut, more than 82,000 people passed through the Haunted Mansion. The attraction's centerpiece is the Grand Hall , a 90-foot-long ballroom sequence of dancing ghouls at a birthday party . Disney brought to scene to life through an exceptionally complex series of illusions known as Pepper's ghost, which use refracted light to project and shape ethereal images. "A lot of the professional haunters will point to one thing, and that's Disneyland's Haunted Mansion. It's the start of the haunted attraction industry," Morton says. The attraction was revolutionary, as she explains in Trick or Treat :
What made the Haunted Mansion so successful and so influential, however, was not its similarity to haunted houses and "dark rides" (that is, tawdry carnival haunted houses) of the past, but its use of startling new technologies and effects. Ghosts were no longer simply sheets hung in a tree, but were instead actual shimmering translucent figures that moved, spoke and sang. A witch wasn't just a rubber-masked figure bent over a fake cauldron, but a completely realistic bodiless head floating in a crystal ball, conducting a complex séance.
Within a few years, the haunted house had spread across the country. The United States Junior Chamber, also known as Jaycees, became famous for raising money through its haunted houses. (The fundraising venture was successful enough to spawn its own how-to guide.) In California, Knott's Berry Farm began hosting its own Halloween night attractions, which soon transformed into a multi-week slate of events. Every year, a man named Bob Burns attracted national media attention for his detailed recreations of classic horror movies . Evangelical Christians even made their own anti-Halloween attractions; Jerry Falwell and Liberty University introduced one of the first " hell houses " in 1972.
As Hollywood began to embrace slasher movies like Halloween , A Nightmare on Elm Street , and Friday the 13th , the haunted house industry reaped the benefits. The horror boom fueled a demand for scary attractions, not to mention cross-promotional advertisements. "If you went to a haunted house in the 1980s and 1990s, you would've seen a lot of Freddy Krueger, Jason, Pinhead. The haunted house industry really followed the movie industry at that time," Larry Kirchner, president of Haunted House Association , a trade group for haunted house operators, tells Smithsonian.com.
Professional haunted houses first emerged as a force in the same era, quickly outspending non-profit groups like the Jaycees. Then, tragedy struck: A fire at a haunted house in New Jersey trapped and killed eight teenagers . In the aftermath of their deaths, attractions were shut down , and politicians enacted stronger safety regulations. Volunteer organizations struggled to compete against new competition under tougher rules. Soon, many were forced out of business. It was a watershed moment for the industry, says Kirchner: "The Jaycees got pushed out because their haunted houses were fairly basic. It was based on the premise that people would volunteer, but when you have people opening big haunted houses with lots of advertising, that's hard," he says.
During the next two decades, the number of professional haunted houses erupted. Kirchner estimates that roughly 2,700 of them operated nationwide last year. A large haunted house attraction can reportedly earn $3 million during the Halloween season , and the industry is worth $300 million , according to an NBC report.
These days, haunted houses are no longer just about creepy characters and hyper-realistic horror. Instead, the industry has flocked to all sorts of new, extreme frights: zombie runs , escape games , and experiences seemingly designed to traumatize . How long will these successes last? Can the haunted house last another half-century? And if it does, what will it look like?
Kirchner doubts that the haunted house is here to stay. "If I was going to guess, I'd say no," he says. "Every business will eventually fail, so we just want to last as long as we possibly can."
A Halloween without haunted houses? Now that's a scary thought.
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Chris Heller is the former assistant digital editor, humanities, for Smithsonian magazine.
The Haunted House Riddle
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Top 13 places in Russia where you may face a ghost
1. Kusovnikov House in Moscow
In the 19 th century house № 17 on Myasnitskaya street in central Moscow was inhabited by a rich, but very greedy couple – Pyotr and Sofya Kusovnikov, who scrimped on almost everything. Extremely suspicious, they used to hide money from their servants in different places. Once they hid some in the fireplace, but the janitor accidentally burned it when lighting the fire. When she found out, Sofya died instantly of a broken heart, her husband passed away a little later. Since then, the ghost of a hunched old man in a coat has routinely appeared on the street near the house – this is Pyotr Kusovnikov mourning his lost money.
2. Sokol metro station
During WWI, not far from the modern Sokol station of the Moscow metro, a cemetery for fallen soldiers was located. In 1918, mass executions of White officers and priests by the Reds were held there. All this led to the appearance of ghosts in the dark tunnels of the station. Early in the morning diaphanous figures with festering wounds can be seen there.
3. St. Michael’s Castle in St. Petersburg
This castle was a royal residence built by order of Tsar Paul I. On March 21, 1801, he was killed there by a group of conspirators. It is considered that the restless spirit of the tsar was unable to leave the castle. It appears there in the corridors with a burning candle in its hand.
4. Znamenskaya Tower in Yaroslavl
During the Civil War in Russia (1917-1922), a group of White troops held positions in the Volkovsky theater in Yaroslavl. The Red commissar in command of the siege promised to spare their lives. However, he lied and all the Whites were executed at the Znamenskaya Tower. Since then, the ghost of the commissar who didn’t keep his promise has been seen at the place of his crime.
5. Igumnov House in Moscow
The house at 43 Bolshaya Yakimanka Street in Moscow, also known as “Igumnov House,” serves today as the residence of the French ambassador. It was built at the request of the industrialist Nikolay Igumnov in the late 19 th century. He settled his young mistress here, but one day caught her with a lover. The lover was kicked out, but the girl was never seen again. It is believed that the outraged Igumnov bricked her up in a wall. During Soviet times, people often saw the ghost of a young girl walking through the walls with deep, plaintive sighs.
6. House of Rasputin in St. Petersburg
The flat on the second floor at 64 Gorokhovaya street in St. Petersburg is today a usual residential apartment. However, in the early 20th century it was home to one of the most mystical figures in Russian history – Grigory Rasputin. His ghost sometimes appears here, scaring inhabitants with its clunking steps and grunting in dark corners.
7. House on the Embankment
This house at 2 Serafimovicha Street, simply known as “House on Embankment,” is among the most famous in the Russian capital, known as the place of residence for the Soviet crème de la crème : writers, artists, actors, generals, athletes. However, it also has a dark history. During the Great Purge, a campaign of political repressions in the USSR, dozens of the house’s inhabitants were arrested and executed. Today, the house is full of the ghosts of those victims, who sometimes appear in their old dwelling place.
8. Tower of the old hospital in Ryazan
Among the high-rise modern buildings at 15 Gorky Street in Ryazan is an old tower – all that remains of the old hospital. At night, a lonely dark figure can be seen walking in this tower. This is the ghost of Alexander Smitten, who administered the hospital more than a century ago.
9. Griboyedov Canal in St. Petersburg
During a misty night in March, one can see the ghost of a young girl near the Griboyedov Canal in St. Petersburg. Her face is blue because of asphyxiation, and there is a big red mark on her neck caused by a rope. This is famous revolutionary Sophia Perovskaya, who assassinated Tsar Alexander II and was hanged for her deed. To meet this ghost is a bad omen, and can cost nocturnal pedestrians their lives.
10. Nizhny Novgorod Kremlin
There is a legend that when the Kremlin in Nizhny Novgorod was being built, the constructors were unable to finish one of the towers. It kept falling down. In the end, they decided to make a sacrifice and to build the tower on the blood of the first person who passed by. It happened to be a pregnant woman hurrying to the river for water. She was seized and bricked up in the tower alive. The ghost of a pale woman holding a baby has appeared near this place ever since.
11. Oldenburg Palace near Voronezh
Built in the late 19th century, the palace belonged to Princess Eugenia of Leuchtenberg. Today her ghost rises from the deep casemates of the palace to wander through its rooms and corridors. There is also another ghost there, much older — the ghost of a young peasant girl. It is even said that Princess Eugenia saw it when she was alive.
12. Stalin’s country house near Sochi
Stalin’s ghost can be seen at his country house, located today within the Green Groove hotel near Sochi. The “father of the nations” walks in his white jacket, smoking his trademark pipe.
13. Psychiatric hospital near Nizhny Novgorod
Near the modern psychiatric hospital in the village of Lyakhovo near Nizhny Novgorod, one can see an abandoned old building. Several dozen years ago a young girl hanged herself there because of unrequited love. At night it is possible to see a white silhouette and hear the moaning and cries of the “love-stricken schoolgirl” as the locals call her.
And if you want to see a UFO, here are several places in Russia where you will have a chance.
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'The forms I see, nor hear the sounds I hear'
In this sentence what does 'forms' refer to?
What is the meaning of ethereal?
Which is a simile?
This perpetual jar of earthly wants.......
The spirit-world around this world
Floats like an atmosphere.........
All houses wherein men have lived and died are haunted houses.
We have no title deeds to house or lands........
The author of haunted houses is______________
'From graves forgotten stretch their dusty hands,
And hold in mortmain still their old estates'
Who does this this sentence refer to?
People who have died
What is the mood of the poem?
What is the meaning of perturbations?
Why is the house haunted?
Because it is scary
Because people died there
Because ghosts are present
All of the above
What is the meaning of equipoise?
Balance of Forces
Balance of Kinetic Energies
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The website of author William Ryan
A House Of Ghosts
Winter 1917. As the First World War enters its most brutal phase, back home in England, everyone is seeking answers to the darkness that has seeped into their lives. At Blackwater Abbey, on an island off the Devon coast, Lord Highmount has arranged a spiritualist gathering to contact his two sons who were lost in the conflict. But as his guests begin to arrive, it gradually becomes clear that each has something they would rather keep hidden. Then, when a storm descends on the island, the guests will find themselves trapped. Soon one of their number will die. For Blackwater Abbey is haunted in more ways than one . . . Read More
The Constant Soldier
1944. Paul Brandt, a soldier in the German army, returns ed and ashamed from the bloody chaos of the Eastern front to find his village home much changed and existing in the dark shadow of an SS rest hut – a luxurious retreat for those who manage the concentration camps, run with the help of a small group of female prisoners who – against all odds – have so far survived the war. Read More
The Holy Thief
Captain Alexei Korolev of the Criminal Investigation Division of the Moscow Militia, is asked to investigate. But when he discovers that the victim is an American citizen, the NKVD – the most feared organisation in Russia – becomes involved.
Read more and download the first chapter>>
The Bloody Meadow (US: The Darkening Field)
The Twelfth Department
It soon emerges that the victim, a man who it appears would stop at nothing to fulfil his ambitions, was engaged in research of great interest to those at the very top ranks of Soviet power. When another scientist is brutally murdered, and evidence of the professors’ dark experiments is hastily removed, Korolev begins to realise that, along with having a difficult case to solve, he’s caught in a dangerous battle between two warring factions of the NKVD.
And then his son Yuri goes missing . . . Read More
- About William Ryan
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