When you think of Netflix’s Outer Banks, you probably think of wide open water, sunny boats, and the warm glow that seems to permanently exist in the Chateau, the waterside home of the teen thriller’s hero, John B. Routledge (Chase Stokes). Yet, there is one central location in the series that couldn’t be further from Outer Banks’ signature sunny aesthetic: the Crain House.
The spooky home — which is introduced in sixth episode “Parcel 6” — is the abode of Mrs. Crain (Sharon E. Smith), an old woman who murdered her husband with an axe according to local legend. Mrs. Crain’s home is so scary, it would probably give the American Horror Story Murder House the chills. It’s also basically real, according to the cast.
“Mrs. Crane? She’s real. She owns that house,” Rudy Pankow, who plays Outer Banks mischief-maker JJ, told Refinery29 in February with a chuckle. Then his co-stars, Madison Bailey and Jonathan Daviss, filled in the full story. The pair explained that the real-life woman who owns the Charleston, S.C. home where Outer Banks filmed the Crain House scenes is also a widower (“She didn’t kill her husband. She’s a sweet lady”). Still, her home is just as chilling as it looks on camera.
“Set decoration barely touched that house. Which was terrifying,” Bailey, who plays environmental activist Kiara, said. Pankow echoed his co-star’s anxiety over the meant-to-be-haunting locale, saying, “Locations did great.”
Bailey even had her own hair-raising experience in the home during Outer Banks production. “In that house, there’s a video where I’m filming and I try to Snapchat my friend,” Bailey explained. “I was like, Hey, what’s up. I’m holding my flashlight and the second I start recording, my flashlight is cutting on and off. I was like, Bye! This is not happening. I am not okay with this!”
However, one of the absolute creepiest Outer Banks moments in the Crain House wasn't actually filmed in the Charleston area home. As “Parcel” reaches its crescendo, the Pogues head into Ms. Crain’s basement to try to find the Royal Merchant gold they believe is hidden down there (they are correct). It is a moment so claustrophobic you can practically smell the centuries-old must. Yet, the basement scene was shot entirely on a set. “The majority of our stuff is all on location. Besides that basement,” Bailey explained, with Daviss adding that the soundstage shoot was “fun!”
Yet, the cast’s fears always come back to the IRL Crain House, “There is a basement in the real house. And it looks kinda like the one in the show,” Daviss confirmed. “That basement does exist in that house.”
At this point, don't be surprised if the “Crain House” pops up in an inevitable AHS season 27 — it's certainly qualified.