14 Horrifying Quotes for Shirley Jackson’s 104th Birthday

14 quotes from the mastermind behind ‘The Haunting of Hill House’ (and hundreds of other chilling tales) on her 104th birthday.

Female Authors

Shirley Jackson; writer of six novels, two memoirs, and over 200 short stories; would have been 104 today. She is the mastermind behind The Haunting of Hill House, which has taken over horror television by storm, as well as many other scary and mysterious tales. She has been praised by other notable writers including Neil Gaiman, Jonathan Lethem, and A.M. Homes, and has since been largely revisited by today’s readers. In honor of her 104th birthday, here are 14 of her noteworthy, insightful, terrifying, comical, and sometimes just plain-old truthful quotes.




1. “I’m going to put death in all their food and watch them die.”


2. “Fate intervened. Some of us, that day, she led inexorably through the gates of death. Some of us, innocent and unsuspecting, took, unwillingly, that one last step to oblivion. Some of us took very little sugar.”


3. “Poor strangers, they have so much to be afraid of.”


4. “So long as you write it away regularly nothing can really hurt you.”


5. “To learn what we fear is to learn who we are. Horror defies our boundaries and illuminates our souls.”


6. “All I could think of when I got a look at the place from the outside was what fun it would be to stand out there and watch it burn down.”


7. “Journeys end in lovers meeting; I have spent an all but sleepless night, I have told lies and made a fool of myself, and the very air tastes like wine. I have been frightened half out of my foolish wits, but I have somehow earned this joy; I have been waiting for it for so long.”



8. “Fear,” the doctor said, “is the relinquishment of logic, the willing relinquishing of reasonable patterns. We yield to it or we fight it, but we cannot meet it halfway.”


9. “We eat the year away. We eat the spring and the summer and the fall. We wait for something to grow and then we eat it.”


10. “I can’t help it when people are frightened,” says Merricat. “I always want to frighten them more.”


11. “A pretty sight, a lady with a book.”


12. “Am I walking toward something I should be running away from?”


13. “No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality.”


14. “I delight in what I fear.”