As a child, Steve is a loving, caring older brother who is helpful around the house, from aiding his father in renovation efforts, to comforting his younger siblings when they are scared.
As an adult, Steve deals with his past trauma by writing it down and publishing it as a novel, much to his siblings' chagrin. He is worn down by guilt and often comes off as inconsiderate, though he still cares about his family and doesn't want them to follow the same path as their mother or Nell.
He is desperate not to accept the truth of Hill House, believing his life was marked by his mother being ill rather than the House manipulating things, and tries to convince his siblings that there's a history of mental illness in the family. He's so afraid of this mental illness that he gets a vasectomy so he can't pass it onto any potential children.
In summer of 1992, he and his family move to Hill House.
Around three in the morning, Steven is awakened by his father. They wait in the room as Olivia Crain tries to open the door. After she walks away, he says they're going to run. He tells him to close his eyes and he'll carry him out. Steven ignores this and sees his mother limping after them as he is carried. As they drive away, he sees Olivia Crain looking out of the window. He yells at his dad that they can't leave her, but he ignores him ("Steven Sees a Ghost").
Right out of college, he had a vasectomy, not wanting to to pass on his "rotten" genes to any potential kids. ("Witness Marks"). At some point after this, he married Leigh, who eventually wanted to start a family. The two would attempt to conceive a child to years, with Steven unable to tell her the truth.
In 2012 Steven writes a book about what happened in Hill House, due to his prior novels not selling well. He sends copies to his siblings to hear what their thoughts are, and if anything needs changing. Shirley is against Steven capitalizing off of what happened to their family, and the two get in an argument over it in Steven’s house, with Shirley telling him not to publish it. ("Steven Sees a Ghost").
Theodora secretly takes Steven’s money to get her PHD. ("Touch").
He wrote at least 10 books.
In September of 2018, Steven and Leigh separated when he presumably came clean about his vasectomy, leading to him moving out of the house.
On October 27, 2018, Steven meets with Irene Walker to discuss her experiences with ghosts. He receives a phone call from Eleanor Crain, but ignores it. When he's setting up his room for the night, Shirley phones and says that she's worried about her, and he says he'll look into it ("Steven Sees a Ghost").
That night, Hugh calls him and tells him to watch his sister, Steven ignores him. He falls asleep, only to awaken at 12:03, gasping for air. He realizes what the phenomenon was caused by, and tells this to Irene the next day, signing a book for her and agreeing to tell her story ("Steven Sees a Ghost").
He returns to his apartment in LA. He notices Luke stealing from him. Steven takes what Luke had stolen back and gives him $200. When he turns on the lights, he finds Nell standing in the dark. He then gets a phone call from Hugh, informing him that Nell was found dead at Hill House, having presumably committed suicide. Steven turns around and is met with Nell’s ghost looking back at him, causing him to fall to the ground ("Steven Sees a Ghost"). At 2:22, he phones Shirley and tells her that Nell died ("Open Casket").
Steve and Shirley talk and she tells him that he has to get Luke and Hugh there ("Open Casket").
Steven books a flight for himself, Luke, and Hugh, with Hugh insisting on flying coach. When Steven and Luke arrive at the Harris Funeral Home, Steven has an emotional breakdown upon seeing Nell’s body. When going for a drink, Steven see’s Nell’s ghost and tells himself to get it together, believing he’s going crazy. When Hugh arrives, Steven quickly becomes hostile, questioning his father about the monthly letters Nell would send him. When Hugh tells Steven that Nell had said the Bent-Neck Lady was back, Steven becomes outraged at Hugh for continuing to let Nell believe those stories, accusing him of ignoring the signs of mental illness just as he did with Olivia. When the lights go out, Steven continues to berate Hugh for withholding information from them, and insisting on Hill House being haunted. The two get in an argument, with Steven claiming the wrong parent had died that night, before Nell’s coffin suddenly collapses. Steven, Luke, and Hugh lift up the coffin, with Steven still in emotional distress over Nell’s death (“Two Storms”).
Steven and Shirley have a stained relationship at the start of the series, due to Steven publishing a book he wrote on the haunting his family experienced at Hill House. Shirley interprets this as an exploitation and sensationalizing of their mother's death, mental illness, and the trauma their younger siblings experienced. Although Steven offered all of his siblings a cut of the money, Shirley had refused, and was under the impression the others had followed her lead. Despite everything, they still do genuinely care for each other, as shown when Steven sees Nell's body at the funeral and Shirley attempts to comfort him when he backs away in distress. After the last night at Hill House, Shirley and Steven are on better terms and get together for family occasions.
As children, Luke and Steven have a very close relationship, with Luke only inviting Steven into his tree house, and Steve repeatedly comforting and protecting a scared Luke. As adults, Luke's addiction has distanced them, with Luke having stolen from Steven many times to buy drugs, and Steven even admitting to being tired, and at the end of his rope with Luke. Despite this, Steven seems to still feel an obligation towards Luke as his older brother, and in Steven Sees a Ghost when he catches Luke attempting to rob him, he does nothing but give Luke 200 dollars out of his wallet. In Two Storms, Steven comforts Luke multiple times. Steven is afraid that Luke will commit suicide like their mother and Nell, and repeatedly tells Luke that he needs to "get [his] shit together". In Silence Lay Steadily, Steven celebrates Luke's second year of sobriety with everyone.
Theo and Steven have the most indifferent relationship of the family. They seem to be closer with their siblings than with each other, and together have a distinct lack of tension. Theo went behind Shirley's back and accepted Steven's royalty money from his book, and used it to go to college and get her PhD in psychology. They seem to have somewhat of an understanding, seen in Two Storms, where they continually fill each other's alcohol glasses without being asked, and also when Theo simply raises her hand to silence Steven. He was immediately accepting of her sexuality when she was accidentally outed at Nell's wedding.
Before Nell's death, Steven was mostly fond of Nell, similar to how he felt protective of Luke. He did not believe any of her ghost stories and continually dismissed her as being delusional or mentally ill, which she grew to resent him for. At her wedding, he was very happy for her, complimenting her many times and telling her that "[she] deserves this". They argued on screen only once, when he was furious and humiliated that she crashed his book signing. In Steven Sees a Ghost, he leaves her a voice mail reassuring her about her worries and wishing her well, indicating that he still cares for her. He is devastated when she dies, wracked with guilt, breaking down at her funeral viewing and seeing her ghost everywhere. In Silence Lay Steadily, he attempts to apologize for his behavior, but Nell gently tells him, "It wouldn't have changed anything. I need you to know that."
As a child, Steven's bond with his dad is strong. He is constantly volunteering to help with the house in any way he can, even insisting on it when Hugh tries to refuse. After their mother's death, Steven and his siblings are raised by their Aunt Janet, and Steven grows up to be bitter and resentful of Hugh for withholding information from them about Olivia's death. In the present, Steven is very angry with his father, as he believes that Hugh fueled his wife and Nell's mental health delusions and was partially responsible for their suicides. In Two Storms, Steven shouts at Hugh multiple times, culminating in a very tense and heated moment where he tells Hugh that "my problem is that the wrong parent died". In Witness Marks, Hugh finally apologizes to Steven for his failures. After this, and a few emotional conversations, Steven is much more amiable around his father, even relying on him for protection inside Hill House. In Silence Lay Steadily, Hugh finally reveals the truth of Hill House to Steven - who has come to understand his father's side of the story - and leaves the responsibility with him when he dies.
As a child, Steven is shown to be close with and idealize his mother, though it is clear that she seems to favor the twins. At one point, he discovers an old vanity in the game room and fixes it to gift Olivia in hopes it will cheer her up, but she smashes the mirror in a fit of terror, startling him. As an adult, he admits to missing her deeply.
- "All those years trying to understand what happened in that house, you know what I never found? A reason. So don't expect one." - Steven Sees a Ghost
- "A ghost can be a lot of things. A memory, a daydream, a secret. Grief, anger, guilt. But, in my experience, most times they're just what we want to see." - Steven Sees a Ghost
- "Apparently, historical fiction is out of vogue." - Open Casket
- "She killed herself. It's so weird... I-I came home tonight, and I was in my living room... and... and she was..." - Open Casket
- "I'm offering to share the book. I'll give each of you eight percent of any royalties." - Touch
- "Beats the cold shoulder from Shirley. That table's getting tense." - Touch
- "Not Luke's first rodeo either. So what's different this time? Something must be. I mean, you know the definition of insanity. Doing the same thing over and over-" - The Twin Thing
- "You gotta come with me. You gotta come with me, Luke. It's Nell. Nell's dead." - The Twin Thing
- "You deserve this, Nellie." - The Bent-Neck Lady
- "Bullshit. I've seen all the phases with you. The Christian phase, the New Age phase, the crystal phase, the antidepressant phase. You don't get to just start smashing up our lives because you're transitioning into a new treatment, Nell. This was not the time or place." - The Bent-Neck Lady
- "You let her believe all that bullshit. All that bullshit about Hill House, and this is the inevitable conclusion, which makes you culpable, frankly. So you hear her spout some of the crazy stuff she said when she was six years old, and you don't think that maybe you should get her some help?!" - Two Storms
- "If I were you, I'd get off that high horse before I fall off." - Two Storms
- "You don't get it. You're the ghost. You are, Dad. You're the spectral presence-- I can see right through you. And the only difference between you and the stuff of campfire stories is that you keep getting older." - Two Storms
- "My problem is that the wrong parent died!" - Two Storms
- "Hell, I've seen things this week, but it's not real, it's not. And if you don't get that, if you don't get your shit together, like Mom and Nell didn't get their shit together, you're gonna end up just like them, you understand? Because it it's in our genes. It's-- It's a sickness. So you've gotta be vigilant. Get it together. And stop talking like a fucking crazy person." - Eulogy
- "An hour. He probably already has a needle in his arm." - Eulogy
- "I saw the police reports. Her skull cracked like a melon. There was blood all over the library carpet. There were bruises on her upper arms because someone grabbed her pretty hard. And a contusion on the back of her head from being shoved into a wall? Her ankle was twisted, so she was limping, she was bruised to hell, depressed out of her mind, unmedicated, untreated, and abandoned." - Witness Marks
- "Last time I saw Mom, the look in her eye, I've seen that look. In Nell, over the years, and Luke, from the start, from when he'd sit there drawing crazy ghouls in his tree house. And, hell, I've seen that look in the mirror. Our family has a disease that's never been treated, because it was easier to listen to your crazy stories about an evil house." - Witness Marks
- "Mom? Are you okay?" - Screaming Meemies
- "I'm-- I just-- I know you're taking a little vacation. I wanted to cheer you up." - Screaming Meemies
- "I can't say what happened. I don't remember. I mean, how I got out of the house. I-- I don't remember coming back to California. I don't remember us reconciling. Or finding out you were pregnant." - Silence Lay Steadily
- "No, Dad. I'm sorry." - Silence Lay Steadily
- "A marriage can be like a house, and a marriage can be haunted, and I let that happen to us. And I'm so sorry, Leigh." - Silence Lay Steadily
- "I'm saying, I built a wall around a big part of my life, and I hid behind that wall, and I thought that wall kept us both safe. But walls don't work that way. And all of that; the guilt, and the grief, and the secrets and the walls and the ghosts, right now, my only wish... my only wish is to come home. Please." - Silence Lay Steadily
- "Fear is the relinquishment of logic, the willing relinquishing of reasonable patterns. But so, it seems, is love. Love is the relinquishment of logic, the willing relinquishing of reasonable patterns. We yield to it, or we fight it. But we cannot meet it halfway. Without it, we cannot continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality. Hill House, not sane, stands by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it has stood for a hundred years and might stand a hundred more. Within, walls continue upright, bricks meet neatly, floors are firm, and doors are sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House... and those who walk there, walk together." - Silence Lay Steadily
Some of the other books Steven Crain had written (besides The Haunting of Hill House) include:
- The Haunting of Fairfield Hills
- The Haunting of Mendocino Hotel
- The Haunting of Rockhaven Sanitarium
- The Haunting of Rancho Los Amigos
- The Haunting of Battery Point
- The Haunting of Williamsburg
- The Haunting of The Queen Mary
- The Haunting of Alcatraz
- The Haunting of Danvers
Though he has written many Haunting books, The Haunting of Bly Manor is not one of them and all of his books (besides Hill House) were relatively flops. These titles can be seen in the first episode of The Haunting of Hill House, titled Steven Sees a Ghost.
|Crain Family||Hugh Crain • Olivia Crain • Steven Crain • Shirley Crain • Theodora Crain • Luke Crain • Eleanor Crain|
|Hill Family||William Hill • Poppy Hill • Hazel Hill • Jacqueline Hill|
|Group 2||Carl Walker • Irene Walker • Max • Mr. Dudley • Clara Dudley • Leigh Crain • Kevin Harris • Allie • Jayden • Arthur Vance • Kelsey • Joey • Paige • Janet • Abigail • Trish Park • Ryan Quale • Andi • Stacey • Eileen • Rick • Dr. Montague|