“How To Be Old and Creepy,” by H. A. Piacentino

Oct 31st, 2021 | By | Category: Fake Nonfiction, Prose

Old and creepy is the new modern minimalist. Fuelled by series like Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House, millennials have been leaving their city lofts in droves to find freedom and frights in the country.

I often hear that you’re either old and creepy or you’re not. After all, you can’t simply age a hundred years or will a gargoyle into existence. Truth is, there’s so much you can do to get the look.

Old and neglected go hand in hand. Peeling wallpaper (or peeling paint, or peeling anything really) is a great place to start. Concentrate hard on the corners and you’ll feel it come away. With a little effort, you’ll soon have strips hanging down to your floors, casting strange shadows.

Creaking floorboards help take it to the next level. Working the nails is the key here. You’ll want to do this regularly as an unexpected creak is a scary creak. Try doing it at night; a noise in the dark is worth ten in the light of day. Allow a draft to run through and you’ll start to get that Others vibe in no time.

Some say that a leaky roof is the way to go, but I don’t agree. Keep yourself dry and you’ll find all types of bugs nesting in your crevices. A big fuck off spider hanging from a beam just can’t be beat.

Of course, the look is only part of it. Creepy also needs a past. I’ll put it plainly: you need a murder. Creepy goings-on happen every day, but a murder is both terrifying and fascinating. Even an attempted may be enough to lure a wannabe influencer.

Murder is slowly going out of fashion, so you’ll have to work hard at this one. Your sale is the moment to make it happen. When people come to view, consider this: Does the dad look like the kind of angry that wields a sledgehammer? Does the mum have that frayed, twitchy energy? Do they have pale twins with dead eyes and the same haircut? If yes, get to work. Shed the grime from your windows to let in the light, flush through that rust-coloured water before they reach the bathroom, tell the spiders to piss off for ten minutes. Do anything you can to entice them.

All of this takes practice, and you won’t become the next Hill House over night. But I promise you, if you put in the time, you’ll get the crime. Here’s to old and creepy!

About the author: Smallcombe Manor is a manor house in Wiltshire, England. Smallcombe has appeared in Buzzfeed’s Top 10 Eerie Country Homes and was recently described as a ‘crumbling 17th century creepfestby Vice.

If you have information on the Smallcombe Manor murders, please contact the Wiltshire Police unsolved hotline on 0800 505 505.


H. A. Piacentino lives and writes in Glasgow, Scotland. His partner assures him he’s not funny. His work appears or is forthcoming in BOMBFIRE, HOLYFLEA!, and FlashFlood. You can find him on Twitter @h_a_piacentino

Tags: , ,

Comments are closed.