We love gothic novels for their emotional power, their over-the-top drama, and the creepy-shivery feelings we get while reading them. Of course, part of the fun of gothic novels is that their characters and situations are so much larger than life…or are they? If you’ve started to suspect that the drafty cathedral your family has called home for countless centuries may in fact be the setting of a bona fide gothic novel, here are 13 spooky ways to tell for sure:
1. Either there are no clocks in your house, or your house is filled with clocks…but they’re all set to different times.
2. Also, though you refer to it as “your house,” it’s actually one of the following: a dilapidated mansion, a moldering manor, or a crumbling castle with no plumbing to speak of. Also, the wind is always howling outside.
3. People around you are regularly tumbling dramatically down stairs and breaking all of their bones.
4. You can tell that things are starting to get kind of serious with the guy you’ve been seeing because he’s started talking about how you two are actually one person and how if you’re ever separated by death he will throw himself into your open grave and be buried alive with you. Also, you suspect that the two of you might be somehow related. Best not to dwell.
5. Flickering candles everywhere.
6. Three or more friends or family members have wasted away from mysterious fevers, but always looked great doing it.
7. Instead of watching TV, you plot revenge.
8. Every time you’re about to finally fall into bed with the long-term object of your obsession, a gust of wind ablows the French doors open, a candle gutters out, and one of you immediately begins to waste away from a mysterious fever.
9. Your living quarters are no great shakes, but you’ve noticed that going outside is somehow always a bad idea.
10. 20% of the meals served and eaten in your house are laced with some kind of drug or poison.
11. People are constantly being locked in their rooms or locking other people in their rooms without anybody ever batting an eye over it.
12. Most of the marriages of the couples around you were motivated by vengeance.
13. An attic without an insane person chained up in it for years just doesn’t have that lived-in feeling. Same goes for cellars, and the odd cupola.
Do you suspect you might be living in a gothic novel?