18 Sly Easter Eggs Tucked Away in The Haunting of Bly Manor
The Haunting of Bly Manor is a well-crafted horror masterpiece with compelling tragedies and beautiful acting. It’s also, simply put, a fun time, coming with not only spooky hidden ghosts but also plenty of Easter eggs to enjoy! In the miniseries, pop culture references are as bountiful as Chef Owen’s puns. The writers meticulously studied the works of Henry James and dropped literary allusions all throughout the storyline. You won’t find a shortage of Hill House references either, especially throwbacks to gut-wrenching lines that’ll make you gently weep “O Willow Waly” into the night. Did you catch all of the greatest Easter eggs in The Haunting of Bly Manor? No worries if you haven’t – we’ve rounded up an exhaustive list of sly references tucked away in the limited series!
Room 217 in Stephen King's The Shining
Before setting off for Bly Manor, Dani emerges from a flat with the room number 217. Stephen King devotees may recognize this as the room number in the creepy Overlook Hotel from the book version of The Shining. Mike Flanagan, the creator of the Haunting anthology series, also directed Doctor Sleep, the follow-up to The Shining. The Stanley Kubrick film doesn’t feature the number 217, but rather 237 – the lodge where the movie was shot requested this change due to worries that people wouldn’t want to stay in room 217 after seeing the movie.
Creepy Kids From Henry James's The Turn of the Screw
The Turn of the Screw plays a significant part in The Haunting of Bly Manor. The book’s plot similarly follows a new governess taking care of orphaned kids whose uncle doesn’t want to deal with them. Like the kids in the novella, Flora and Miles are cursed by the ghosts of Rebecca Jessel and Peter Quint.
"O Willow Waly" From The Innocents
The song “O Willow Waly” is haunting and creepy all by itself, but it’s the stuff of nightmares when superimposed over the horrors at Bly Manor. The storyteller recites its lines, Flora hums it, the music box plays it, and Viola sings it. While it gives off major cursed-ancient-nursery-rhyme vibes, it was actually written by Georges Auric and Paul Dehn for the 1961 film The Innocents (which is also inspired by The Turn of the Screw).
The Conflicted Son From Henry James's Owen Wingrave
Bly Manor’s resident punny chef is inspired by a Henry James short story called Owen Wingrave. Yes, Owen’s last name is Sharma here, and Wingrave is Henry’s family name. But Owen Wingrave does follow a man who has to strike a balance between his needs and his family’s desires. Whereas the short story’s Owen abandons his military education, the show’s studies in Paris to become a chef.
The Replica Forever House From Hill House
Flora’s creepy (but low-key helpful) dollhouse is a replica of Bly Manor. Likewise, Shirley Crain keeps a model of Olivia’s forever house. Both are pretty spooky, but mostly sentimental.
The "Welcome Home Nell" Message From Hill House
While Miles is at boarding school, Flora sends him a drawing and letter that reads “COME HOME.” This is a wink to the “Welcome Home Nell” (originally thought to be “Come Home Nell”) message scrawled on the wall in The Haunting of Hill House. Creepy! (But mostly sad.)
Matt Smith's Doctor From Doctor Who
Flanagan is a notorious Whovian. The most direct Doctor Who reference in Bly Manor is the outfit that Owen wears to his mother’s funeral – a tweed jacket with a distinguished bow tie. Matt Smith’s version of the Doctor is famous for saying that “bow ties are cool.” (As confirmation, actor Rahul Kohli, who plays Owen, tweeted that this outfit choice was a direct reference to the Doctor.) We also see Miles wearing a bow tie when he and Flora perform for the staff.
The Lion Doorknobs From Hill House
Viewers might notice that Bly Manor has lion knockers. This is a subtle nod to the lion knobs in The Haunting of Hill House. This detail pays homage to the Shirley Jackson novel that inspired Hill House – in it, Eleanor fondly pays attention to stone lions while driving.
Jamie affectionately calls Dani “Poppins” throughout Bly Manor. It’s not too hard to decode that this nickname comes from Mary Poppins, the magical Disney nanny famously portrayed by Julie Andrews. Unmistakably, the pet name is due to the fact that Dani is the kids’ governess.
The Bent-Neck Lady From Hill House
Yes, there are totally similarities between sweet Nell Crain and the tightly wound Henry Wingrave. In episode six, Henry’s menacing alter ego bends down on him the same way that the Bent-Neck Lady looks down at little Nell in The Haunting of Hill House. And as it turns out, the Bent-Neck Lady is none other than Nell herself . . . much like how Henry haunts himself.
Hugh Crain's "I Can Fix It" Line From Hill House
In episode six, Charlotte meets with Henry one last time before she leaves for India with Dominic. She tearfully apologizes for not telling him that Flora is his daughter. When Charlotte is about to bid Henry goodbye, she tells him, “I can fix it,” referring to her marriage and family. This is a reference to Hugh Crain’s “I can fix it” catchphrase all throughout The Haunting of Hill House. Of course, Hugh can’t fix everything, and Charlotte ends up dying in an accident abroad.
The Crains' Forever House From Hill House
In episode seven, Peter Quint explains the idea of the forever house to the children, who, according to his plan, would eternally be tucked away into memories. In The Haunting of Hill House, Olivia Crain actually talks to her husband about building a forever home after they finish fixing up Hill House. (Hill House, however, does become their forever home, for better or for worse.)