Happy Friday friends! It's sure to be a festive, spooky weekend with Halloween almost here, so we're getting into the spirit at Norris House. Check out our newly painted "haint blue" porch ceilings!
For those new to the concept, haint blue porch ceilings are quintessentially Southern. "Haint" is the Gullah pronunciation of "haunt", and refers to evil spirits. Apparently originating to the early 1800s and particularly associated with Charleston and Savannah, haint blue ceilings were believed to keep evil spirits away from the inviting interior of your home. It was widely accepted that evil spirits cannot cross water, and the calming blue hue's similarity to water effectively tricked the haints into believing they could not cross the front porch. There's a lovely article with some details (and gorgeous pictures) available online in the Charleston Scout Guide. Historic and brand new haint blue ceilings appear all over the South.
Unsettled spirits aside, some folks swear that haint blue is also an effective insect deterrent. Traditionally, experts suspect this was a nice side effect of the fact that historic haint blue paint was made with lye, a known insect repellent. Modern formulations no longer include lye, but people still report reduced instances of spiders, wasps and other creepy crawlers daring to touch their haint blue porch ceilings. It would be perfectly fine with us if the insect kingdom agreed to remain in the yard!