Netflix’s Haunted is a non-fiction anthology series that allows survivors of paranormal encounters to share their stories through their own words. Each episode is also interspersed with terrifying dramatizations that will certainly leave viewers as haunted as the title suggests.
Haunted is a non-fiction anthology series on Netflix that is definitely terrifying. We’re no stranger to television shows documenting real life haunts and demonic possessions. I’d say many of us are as obsessed with these stories as we are with true crime documentaries.
You may have watched A Haunting on the Discovery Channel, or Most Terrifying Places in America on the Travel Channel, now Netflix is trying their hand at a paranormal docuseries with their new series, aptly titled, Haunted.
The first season features six self-contained stories. One thing I found interesting about the Netflix series is that each person tells their story in a room of their family members, friends, and/or paranormal investigators, rather than in confessional format. It creates a more conversational environment.
In some episodes, the family present has never heard the story before or may not have believed the victim in the past. Haunted is a surprisingly emotional show, often times the victim’s loved ones are moved to tears as they begin to comprehend their suffering.
While some of these re-tellings are more difficult to believe than others, especially for those of us skeptics out there, it’s undeniable that each narrator has been profoundly affected by witnessed horrors, real or make believe.
The mental and emotional toll these experiences have taken on each family is heartbreaking. Don’t expect to watch this for a complete story because you won’t find one. In most episodes the victim is still being haunted in present time, often after several years of peace, making the resurgence of their paranormal entities all the more disturbing. There are no happy endings here and it is unsettling to turn from one episode to the next with no resolution, knowing full well each person is still suffering to this day.
As for the dramatizations themselves, I was surprised by how genuinely frightening most of them were. Netflix doesn’t spare the blood and gore. Many of the sequences were cinematic in quality and felt like they were cut from recent horror films. If dramatizations are too hokey, it can often make or break a series of this nature so I was pleased to see them deliver in that regard.
The following is a brief overview of each episode.
The Woman in White
A family moves into a new home, unbeknownst to them, just before they arrived a woman drowned her two children in the bathtub and then hung herself in the closet. This story is narrated by the son of family who becomes a target of the woman in white. His bedroom contains the closet she died in and he begins seeing horrific visions of her. In present time, he theorizes her attachment to him was due to believing he was her son.
This is one of the strongest episodes of the season, especially because his daughter is present in the room where he is narrating from. It’s clear she’s emotional hearing her father talk about the pain he’s felt over the entirety of his life because of this malevolent spirit.
A pair of sisters claim to have grown up in a house of horrors with a serial killer for a father. He abused them frequently and their mother was often a willing participant. Not only did he abuse his family but he took in many outliers whom he proclaimed “strays” and would often murder them in twisted fashion. Later on, the women state their father became possessed by a demon or some other entity.
I found this episode to be one of the weakest in the bunch, namely because of the amount of holes in the story, such as asking audiences to believe their father was a serial killer and the family admitting there are still bodies out there, which they apparently know the location of. I think there would have been some documentation of this.
Demon in the DarkA still from Haunted (2018) on Netflix – Courtesy of Netflix
A man who dabbles in occultism risks putting his entire family at risk when a young girl begins having traumatic visions of a “bogeyman” figure in her bedroom. She and her mother find out it was due to her uncle’s meddling that this creature was summoned but she continues to be haunted by it to this day.
Even after moving out of the home, she states in her narration that the entity has attached itself to her and will likely plague her until the end of her days.
Children of the Well
A young boy living with a vigilant, religious mother who uses her religion as reason to abuse and antagonize her children, is visited by the ghost of three children who haunt the basement well in their home. At first he is frightened of them but they call out to him, begging him to come play. He finds a burnt doll in his bedroom and offers it up to them. Shortly after, his mother dies of sudden and mysterious causes. Was it the ghosts at work or something more realistic like a heart attack or aneurysm?
A UFO investigator sits in on this retelling as a woman dictates her life plagued by kidnappings, memory loss, and blackouts all at the hand of strange gray aliens. She believes she has been experimented on for periods of her life beginning from when she was a child and that this will continue until she dies.
She also claims she has had markings on her body that would disappear within 24 hours. Markings that suggest surgical and medical procedures inflicted upon her by the aliens as they study her. Whether or not this woman is telling the truth, it’s clear she believes in her story and is in agony over the prospect of this plaguing her for the rest of her life.
When a teenage girl is given an unorthodox gift from her boyfriend in the form of a tombstone, she discovers she has unwittingly invited a demonic presence into her life. Surprisingly, the force acts more as a guardian angel, protecting her from those that would do her harm. Until she gets serious with a boyfriend and, “Clarence” (the name inscribed on the tombstone), becomes violent towards him.
There is a strong implication that this woman is in love with or emotionally attached to her ghost. When her boyfriend insisted on blessing the house to get rid of Clarence, she chose to break things off with him instead.
Should you drop everything to binge Haunted on Netflix right now? Maybe not. But if you’re interested in ghost-hunting, or maybe you have supernatural stories of your own to tell, you might find some solace in watching this and realizing you aren’t alone.
Haunted is a quick binge too, with the first season consisting of only six 20-minute episodes. It’d be the perfect warm-up before a Halloween movie marathon.
The first season of Haunted is streaming now streaming on Netflix.
Do you believe in ghosts? Have you ever witnessed any kind of paranormal activity? Let us know your creepiest ghost encounters in the comments!