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Why is Victorian architecture associated with all things scary?

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From The Addams Family to Psycho, the movies have perpetuated this association

Why do most people conjure up images of old, dilapidated Victorian homes when thinking about haunted houses?

The movies have certainly perpetuated this association, from Casper to The Addams Family to Psycho, to name a few examples. But looking to the style of Victorian homes—and its namesake—may provide some answers.

Characterized by ornate molding and decorative trim found both on the facade and in the interiors as well as architectural elements like turrets, towers, bay windows—all dressed with heavy drapery and other accessories—the Victorian style took its cues from Gothic architecture, emerging in the mid-to-late 19th century during the reign of Queen Victoria.

Queen Victoria herself might have contributed to the style’s connection to the spooky. When her husband Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha died, she was devastated and wore black for the rest of her life, even withdrawing from the public. With a story like that and the architecture to match, it’s no wonder why the Victorian style will remain a popular shorthand for all things scary. Watch the video above to get a closer look.