Real Places Behind Famously Frightening Stories
Light your pumpkin and read about the real places behind some of the world’s classic spooky tales
- By Robin T. Reid
- Smithsonian.com, October 16, 2009
(Gary Eastwood Photography / Alamy)
“Last night, I dreamt I went to Manderly again.” And so begins Daphne du Maurier’s Gothic romance about a young bride trying to live in a home possessed by the spirit of her husband’s first wife.
Manderly was largely based on Menabilly, an Elizabethan-era manor the English writer first saw in the 1920s when she trespassed on its grounds near the Cornish coast. Two decades later, du Maurier--flush with the proceeds from the bestselling novel--was able to rent Menabilly. She lived there with her family until 1969.
The manor house is not open to the public. However, the owners rent out two cottages on the grounds as holiday rentals. The beach around Polridmouth Bay--where Rebecca deWinter’s wrecked sailboat washed up--is accessible via a short hike from the village of Fowey.
Fans of the 1940 movie version of “Rebecca” shouldn’t even try to find the baronial estate that features so prominently in the Oscar-winning film. Director Alfred Hitchcock used a model for the exterior shots. He shot the movie in California since England was in the throes of World War II at the time.