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Hugh Crain is a major character in The Haunting of Hill House and the patriarch of the Crain Family.

Whilst unreserved in his efforts to conceal the supernatural happenings at Hill House, Hugh attempts to keep his family safe by keeping the secrets of Hill House hidden from them; he finds this hard, however, and eventually fails in his duties.


Life at Hill House[]

Hugh's life at Hill House is complex. He begins noticing things amiss around Hill House shortly after they move into the property, but believes he can fix the issues up. Later, when he becomes aware of the paranormal happenings at the house, he tries to shroud these from his family. Instead, he lies to the Crain children, and his wife Olivia, about what is going on in the house. Specifically, on one occasion he heads the Dudley's advice and sends Olivia away from Hill House when he believes that the house is corrupting her.

When Hugh realises that Olivia is trying to kill his children in the Red Room — a direct effect of the house, and more importantly Poppy Hill's influence — he takes the children from the house and convinces them that their mother committed suicide. He makes a deal with the Dudley's that they will keep what happened that night a secret as long as he seals off the house but keeps it in the family.

Returning to Hill House[]

Hugh becomes increasingly anxious when his daughter, Nell, begins experiencing issues and believes she is seeing the Bent Neck Lady once more. He reunites the Crain family back together, but is not quick enough to save his daughter, Nell, who has already returned to Hill House and died as a result.

Hugh continues to lie to his children about what happened at Hill House, but when he too begins seeing the Bent-Neck Lady once more, he has no option but to tell his children the truth about Hill House. Afterwards, when Luke Crain returns to Hill House, Hugh tells the family that they must once more return to the house for the final time.

Upon doing so, all of the Crain children become locked within the Red Room, and Hugh comes face-to-face with Olivia for the first time since her death. Hugh is aware that, as an extension of the house, Olivia is trying to kill her children to force them to stay with her forever. Hugh pleads with Olivia, and is first unsuccessful in saving his children. Hugh eventually agrees to remain at Hill House forever with Olivia in exchange for his family's safety. As a result, Hugh passes the promise he made with the Dudley's to Steven and the other Crain children, and purposefully overdoses.[1]


As a younger man, Hugh was an incredibly gentle and loving father who the children relied on for comfort. He appeared to be less firm than Olivia, as shown when he let Shirley keep the diseased kittens. He also had incredible patience, not expressing anger at Steve even when he believed Steve didn't unplug the fan, and being willing to listen to the children's fears about the House.

Hugh was by all means an ordinary person who didn't know how to cope when the House began to manipulate his wife's mental health. His help towards Olivia was limited as he didn't understand the extent of what was going on until her death. After Olivia died and the Crain children left the House, he shut himself off and withheld information to try and protect his children.

As an older man Hugh has become distant, vague and awkward, unable to articulate himself properly and finding it very difficult to communicate with his children, who all hold a degree of resentment towards him. He is still a well-meaning person and tries to offer emotional support at times, but is mostly rebuked for it. Hugh however still shows resolve when talking about the House, and remains firm in trying to protect the Crain siblings from it.



Hugh Crain: "Some things can’t be told. You live them or you don’t. But they can’t be told."
-- Silence Lay Steadily


  • Hugh was aware of the supernatural happenings at Hill House, but lied to his children.
  • He made a pact with the Dudleys to keep Hill House in the family always.
  • Hugh began seeing Olivia Crain shortly after her death. It is made clear, however, that this was not her ghost — which was trapped at Hill House — but an extension of his imagination.

See More[]


Crain Family Hugh CrainOlivia CrainSteven CrainShirley CrainTheodora CrainLuke CrainEleanor Crain
Hill Family William HillPoppy HillHazel HillJacqueline Hill
Group 2 Carl WalkerIrene WalkerMaxMr. DudleyClara DudleyLeigh CrainKevin HarrisAllieJaydenArthur VanceKelseyJoeyPaigeJanetAbigailTrish ParkRyan QualeAndiStaceyEileenRickDr. Montague