Visit your local Halloween haunted house or watch a horror movie, and you’ll probably see a creepy Victorian structure that simply exudes terror. But as art historian Sarah Burns points out, in the 1870s, Victorian houses were just…houses. “Half a century later, however,” she writes, “that very same style had become a signifier of terror, death, and decay.”

How and when did these once-normal houses become associated with death, haunting, and horror?

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