(Posted by Madison)
The team's job is to "establish the facts" regarding "survival" (p. 10), i.e., discern if there's life after death. I like the idea of science versus the supernatural. Barrett and Florence are at opposing ends of this spectrum.
The number 13 is known in numerous cultures to be unlucky (or lucky depending on where you are). Here's a wiki page if you really want to learn more about it. The number 13 is used several times in Hell House. It's alluded to that some of Belasco's female guests became pregnant and the babies (13) ended up in "Bastard Bog" (p. 42), 13 guests were killed off by pneumonia, and Barrett's dynamometer device reads "thirteen hundred and forty" when measuring the teleplasm on p. 90.
The meaning of goodbye is important to Matheson. In a book about possible life after death this makes sense, assuming we don't actually say goodbye when the body dies.
The man smiled briefly. "Good-bye, then," he said. He turned away.
"I trust he meant au revior," said Edith (p. 28).
Au revior translates to "goodbye until we meet again." The man saying "goodbye" indicates finality, suggesting Edith and the others won't come back. Belasco says Auf Wiedersehen (p. 38). In German the phrase is very formal and unlikely to be used familiarly. However, it literally translates to "until our reunion," much like the French au revior.
Is there anything scarier than a house without windows? Time must move like it does in a casino (i.e., not at all). "He had them bricked up," Barrett said (p. 30). Maybe one of the reasons the book is split up by dates and times rather than conventional chapters is to make the reader feel this casino-like time warp. It also makes the book incredibly hard to put down because I can't get to the end of a section...I just want to keep reading.
Florence refers to the house as IT: "It knows we're here," and as having an ATMOSPHERE "more than I can bear" (p. 36). Sean's guess was that the house did it, and I have to concur. Whatever individual spirits inhabit the house make up a collective evil.
The house is reported to exhibit everything from apparitions and levitation to ghosts. Some of my favorites on this laundry list include: automatic drawing/painting/speaking/writing, book tests, breezes, crystal gazing, ectoplasm, elongation, eyeless sight, facsimile writing, flower clairsentience, glossolalia, impersonation, imprints, knot tying, newspaper tests, paraffin molds, percussion, psychic photography, raps, skin writing, slate writing, smells, stigmata, telescopic vision, transcendental music, transportation and water sprinkling (p. 45-46).
Florence is described as looking akin to a Dresden doll, which is creepy AF (p. 47).