The Haunting of Bly Manor: Is it based on a true story?

Bly Manor True Story
Netflix

Netflix’s horror breakout series returns for another tale of a haunted house on October 9. The Haunting of Bly Manor is the sequel for Mike Flanagan’s famed Haunting anthology thriller. With its premiere date nearing, fans eagerly anticipate its brand new story. However, is The Haunting of the Bly Manor based on a true story?

The first season, The Haunting of the Hill House, drew inspiration from Shirley Jackson’s 1959 novel of the same name. The story centered on the Crain family and their haunted childhood home, Hill House. While many of Jackson’s works were influenced by experiences of real hauntings, the same cannot be said of Bly Manor.

Where is The Haunting of Bly Manor based?

Bly Manor is the name of the haunted house in Henry James’ 1898 horror novella, The Turn of the Screw. The story tells about a young woman who moves to the English countryside to care for two orphaned children. Things started to change when she encountered ghostly entities, convincing her that the house is haunted.

The young governess named Dani will be portrayed by Hill House alumna Victoria Pedretti. The two orphaned children, Flora and Miles, are played by Amelie Bea Smith and Benjamin Evan Ainsworth. The cast is also joined by Rahul Kohli starring as the manor’s chef Owen; Henry Thomas as the emotionally distant uncle of the orphans, Henry Wingrave; and Oliver Jackson-Cohen as Henry’s business associate, Peter Quint. Bly Manor also stars T’Nia Miller, Tahirah Sharif, Amelia Eve, Kate Siegel and Katie Parker.

Is The Haunting of the Bly Manor based on a true story?

Rather than real-life encounters, James’ novella is a purely fictional ghost story. In other words, The Haunting of Bly Manor is not based on a true story. However, Creator Flanagan shares how thrilling and fun the experience was to play in Henry James’ world.

“So, we were able to open up his entire library of ghost stories, stuff that’s never been adapted, and build the whole season out with the entirety of Henry James’ supernatural library. And that has been a real treat, because we really get to do things that I’ve never gotten to see before. Turn of the Screw is really just our way in,” Flanagan said.

While Hill House introduced the story of family struggle and trauma, Bly Manor tells a tragic star-crossed romance and broken hearts.

The sequel will also draw inspiration from James’ other works, specifically, The Jolly Corner and The Romance of Certain Old Clothes. The former features a menacing doppelgänger, while the latter is about two sisters and a mysterious chest of beloved dresses. Both stories are also fictional rather than true tales.

“It certainly provides a new way to tell a love story, and there are three of them that really beat at the heart of this season,” Flanagan explained of the choices of inspiration. “They all have a very dark edge to them. And by the end, it’s really hard to differentiate tragedy with romance.”

Revealing the secret of the show’s compelling horrors, Flanagan furthered, “That sense of romantic longing for someone who meant so much to us—but who’s gone—really is the heart of any ghost story.”

The Haunting of the Bly Manor Trailer

The new series will drop the nine episodes all at once on Netflix on October 9. While we wait for its official release, check out its full trailer below.

Ria Genteroy
Ria Genteroy is an English Language Studies graduate from the University of Santo Tomas. A media personnel by profession and a storyteller by heart, she aspires that her words spark meaningful conversations.