Rewatched the first episode of American Horror Story as part of highly delicate TV negotiations (to wit, John’s desire to see the end of the season of The Shield is stronger than my desire to watch the next episode (now next two episodes) of AHS, and I’m not watching it when I have the TV alone because he’s interested in it.
First thought: okay, yes, the neighbour is
a ghost part of the house. My bad, and my missing that fact on the first viewing is the reason for the post title. The whole bit with showing up in the middle of the night as Ben’s lighting a fire and petting his face and telling him not yet, it’s time to enjoy the house for now: she’s a haunt. And I think that makes her daughter one too. Still maintain that the burnt man is not a ghost; I do think he’s supporting its efforts in some way, given the grin after Ben ran off from him. John thinks he’s trying to help and is unwittingly perpetuating some kind of cycle, caught in its story.
(There are actually several examples of
preservation stasis and repetition in the episode. Ben’s fire-setting echoes Larry’s fire-setting. Constance describes giving up on her (purported) movie career as “taking that little butterfly of a dream and putting it in a jar.” Moira’s younger self as another example of the past weirdly preserved. The jars in the basement.)
I am going to use the word “haunt” from now on, I think. The word “ghost” has two very strong connotations; that of a lost and semi-aware or unaware echo or recording, and that of an aware and restive (and often malevolent) conscious being that’s died and turned intangible. I definitely don’t think the haunts in the house are the former, and the discussion between Constance and Moira just makes the latter seem implausible. “Don’t make me kill you again” is not a threat that I think makes sense between a pair of intangible entities. I’m not saying they aren’t dead; I’m just getting, more, the impression that their essential selves are glued to the house as if it were flypaper, and that is why they are there. Not because they died with something left unfinished, but because they died and were kept.
Need a break; have to move both the cat and the laptop so that I can get a drink of water.
 Amusingly, this is also the acronym for American High School, the test environment in Fallout: New Vegas – Old World Blues created by Doctor Borous. Whom I think I despise more than anyone except Caesar’s Legion. The length of this tangent suggests that I should get off (or onto) my ass and finish the game.