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Eleanor Lance

Eleanor Lance is a young woman with the power to see ghosts and the protagonist of the film, The Haunting. She is portrayed by Lili Taylor in the 1999 film and Julie Harris in the original 1963 film.


Eleanor is 32 when she first comes to Hill House, having spent most of her adult life caring for her demanding, invalid mother. She lives with her sister, brother-in-law, and niece and despises them as she despised her just-deceased mother. She is introverted, awkward, dreamy, and full of suppressed emotions. She sees her invitation to Hill House as a chance to really live her life for the first time, and glories in her new companions and the experience even though the house itself frightens her. The more time she spends in the house though, the more she seems to lose her grip on reality. The house singles her out and she begins to "dissolve" into it; she clings to both it and Theodora, to whom she announces she will live with after their summer here. Eleanor has a scare in the library tower and drives her car into a tree at the end of the novel, killing herself.


Eleanor is the one who discovered the house. In the 1999 film, the ghosts of the children who died in the haunted house by Hugh Crain tell Nell about their past before their demise.



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