The Haunting of Bly Manor’s mysterious lung illness is actually tuberculosis
The Haunting of Bly Manor has been a big hit with viewers ever since it landed on Netflix on October 9, but a particular topic in episode eight has left fans baffled.
During the penultimate episode of the supernatural horror drama, the plot veers away from the main storyline and introduces viewers to sisters – Viola and Perdita – who used to reside at Bly Manor.
Explaining how the house came to be haunted, it's revealed that Viola died of an illness that is simply described as “the lung” before becoming a ghost and killing her sister, who has begun a relationship with her widowed husband.
Viola initially assumes she has the plague when she falls ill but a doctor later tells her she has "the lung" and describes it as having a very poor prognosis.
It's believed that "the lung" is actually Tuberculosis – an infectious disease usually caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) bacteria.
Tuberculosis generally affects the lungs, and was a very common sickness at the time, as The Haunting of Bly Manor flashes back to several centuries ago.
Tuberculosis was not easily treated back then and was often seen as a death sentence.
The disease is also highly contagious, which explains why Viola was not permitted to be in close contact with her husband or daughter towards the end of her life.
The majority of The Haunting of Bly Manor is based on Henry James’ 1898 novella The Turn of the Screw.
However, episode eight is actually based on another of the writer’s works, The Romance of Certain Old Clothes.
In the source material it is Perdita – not Viola – that dies, and the cause is not tuberculosis as she passes away due to complications during childbirth.
The Haunting of Bly Manor is streamin on Netflix now.
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