Shirley Jackson's daughter sings The Grattan Murders.
November 6, 2022 5:23 AM   Subscribe

Shirley Jackson's daughter sings The Grattan Murders.
In the Netflix adaption of Shirley Jackson's classic horror novel The Haunting of Hill House, the ghostly Poppy sings a gory old murder ballad to a member of the trapped family - a scene which I believe also appears in Jackson's source novel. That song has many names, but Jackson herself knew it as The Grattan Murders, and sometimes sang it to her delighted children as a lullaby. One of those children recently read my PlanetSlade piece about the real-life 1893 Indiana family massacre which inspired the song and got in touch, offering to sing it for me in her mother's trademark style. Here's the video.
Role: writer/researcher/fan
posted by Paul Slade (4 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

It’s good that her mother had talent, as she sure doesn’t.
posted by Ideefixe at 4:51 PM on November 8, 2022

That seems a little harsh. Part of the appeal of genuine folk music is that anyone can sing it - not just professional singers or those with a conventionally "good" voice. Bear in mind also that the idea of the performance here was for Sarah to render the song with the same vocal inflections her mother had used in singing it to her - and that includes the playfully countrified accent.
posted by Paul Slade at 1:32 AM on November 9, 2022 [5 favorites]

Terrific piece of history here. Thanks so much for sharing it!
posted by mochapickle at 4:56 PM on November 13, 2022

I couldn't find her birthdate but I assume she's in her late 60s or early 70s, so I appreciated this. Maybe she doesn't have the best voice but there was something kind and genuine about her doing this and I loved it. Thank you for having this happen and sharing it!
posted by edencosmic at 6:12 PM on November 16, 2022

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