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The Hidden Puzzles You Need To Watch For In The Haunting Of Bly Manor

The Haunting of Bly Manor, Netflix's sequel series to The Haunting of Hill House, has premiered to great reviews and is clearly a hit, scaring viewers and pulling their heartstrings all at the same time. The horror series is based on Henry James' novella The Turn of the Screw, with inspiration from his other works, like "The Jolly Corner" and "The Romance of Certain Old Clothes." The second season isn't connected to Hill House in any direct ways, though themes and actors — like Victoria Pedretti, Henry Thomas, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, and more — carry over.

One key similarity between Bly Manor and Hill House are the hidden ghosts, and there are plenty. Looming in the background through many different scenes, these figures definitely add to the creepy feeling of the show, but they are also a very important part of the story for audiences to figure out. Watch closely, as these are all puzzle pieces that help form the full picture of Bly Manor's story. 

The Bly Manor ghosts are puzzles you need to solve

On Bly Manor, young Flora (Amelie Bea Smith) has a dollhouse, filled with handmade figurines of everyone in her life, as well as quite a few strange figures scattered throughout the house. As it's soon revealed, these are all ghosts, stuck in Bly Manor for one reason or another. They each have their own story, hinted at throughout the season and — thankfully — explained later on.

Flanagan spoke about the mysteries of Bly Manor with Vanity Fair, explaining, "We wanted our hidden elements to tell their own story." All the details are important, so you really want to pay attention to everything. Like a puzzle, you can try to put it all together and solve the mystery before the show does. But don't worry if you don't catch everything, since "by the end of the season, you're going to know who they are and why they're there," as Flanagan promises. The show does a great job illustrating the lush and extensive history of Bly Manor as the episodes go on, with episode 8, "The Romance of Certain Old Clothes," going the most in-depth into exactly how Bly Manor came to be such a dark place. 

How Bly Manor's ghosts differ from the ghosts of Hill House

While both stories in Flanagan's anthology are filled with ghosts and creepy moments, the figures scattered throughout all of Hill House are mostly there to scare viewers and serve as secrets discovered on repeat viewing. A lot of them were added during production, with Flanagan explaining that they were ultimately "just trying to hide faces and figures." There are obviously a few very important ghosts on The Haunting of Hill House that get more of a background and purpose in the story, like the Bent-Neck Lady and Poppy and William Hill. But even at the end of the season, the reason behind the house and its strange behavior is never explained. While watching Hill House, finding the many ghosts is a fun part of the experience, but ultimately inessential.

Unlike its predecessor, The Haunting of Bly Manor fully explains the origins of each ghost, such as the frightening Lady of the Lake, and how they end up stuck on the estate after dying. Paying attention to all the details with a close eye will pay off, and you may just figure out all the show's many secrets before the final episode ends.