In a recent piece for The New York Times, writer Steven Kurutz unfolds the history of the haunted house genre, from its beginnings in the 18th century with the publication of The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole in 1764, through the decades of Victorian haunted house fare, to today where the banal suburban homes of the Paranormal Activity franchise are mustering more fear and terror in viewers than anyone could have possibly imagined a few short years ago. So what is it about the haunted house genre that has such lasting power? Kurutz speaks with John Tibbetts, a Media Studies professor at the University of Kansas and the author of The Gothic Imagination, who explains the source of its endurance in both fim and literature is how it plays with our collective notion of home as a safe place. “That’s your sanctuary,” Mr. Tibbetts said. “When that barrier is breached, you’ve had it.” You can read the fascinating article in full by visiting NYTimes.com, and be sure to also follow Steven Kurutz on Twitter.