“The nameless child you’ll see behind the staircase, when people migrate up and down the stairs, which is a lot. The ghost doctor we see in the study and then a couple of other places. And Viola, we see her in the attic,” Kniest says.
By keeping the hidden ghosts consistent and identifiable throughout, Flanagan and the show create a feeling of lived-in history for Bly Manor. These are real inhabitants damned to spend their days standing around a cavernous manor, unnoticed by anyone other than the ultra observant Miles and Flora Wingrave. But of course, the reality of bringing in actors for Easter egg appearances is a touch more mundane than that, according to Kniest.
“It’s funny because the actors who play the parts come in, but then when we use (the characters) as ghosts, a lot of times they’re sort of background actors or stand-ins, or stunt doubles,” the cinematographer explains. “So they wait around a lot for us to get set up. But then I think they’re super excited when we get to actually put them on camera.”
The scattered ghosts aren’t the only Easter eggs for The Haunting of Bly Manor. For one, Dani’s room at the hostel is “217”, which is the number of a fateful room in The Shining (the book, not the film, though as director of Doctor Sleep, Flanagan is clearly well-read on both). Nor are the ghosts the only bit of visual flair for these nine episodes. Kniest, who previously shot horror film Hush alongside Flanagan, describes Bly Manor’s black and white eighth episode as one of the biggest draws of this particular job.