Haints are restless spirits of the dead. They have not yet left our physical world. They exist between this world and the beyond. Maybe they are not ready to depart. Maybe they have a grudge to settle. Maybe they intend to do harm or cause trouble . . . like moving things around or slamming doors, stealing things or . . . terrifying people. These ghosts were well known to our forefathers. And they were not often the friendliest of spirits.
The question is: How do you keep the haints at bay? Those in the South had an answer. They knew that haints can’t cross water, in fact haints fear water. So they tricked them.
Legend says the haints liked to hang out on the porch. By simply painting the porch ceiling the color of sky (generally light blue), the haints became so insecure that they relinquished their porch position. Some people went even further and painted doors, shutters and window trim “haint blue”. It discouraged haints from “crossing” over into the home.
As a bonus, our forebears discovered haint blue paint can also keep spiders, wasps and nesting birds away. To those invaders, haint blue looks like endless cold sky. From a more scientific vantage, these original blue paints were often “milk” based with lye in their composition. Insects avoid lye. It was an early insect repellent. Are both theories correct?
The extra bonus is psychological. On a cloudy gray day, there is nothing more uplifting than a ceiling that makes you feel it is a clear blue day.
In our current times, we still see haint blue on porch ceilings. At Porch Swing Boutique Home Rentals, we side with the wise elders. The porch ceilings on our rental bungalows are haint blue. Since we maintain all our homes, the last thing we need is to deal with the ghost and ghoul variety of pests.
So which color is haint blue? Color consultants have visited old mansions in the South and even in New England to recreate this mystical color pallet. They have discovered more than one haint blue. It varies from milky powder blues to shades of aqua, teal, periwinkle, light green and even grey.
This popular trend is expanding all along the east coast. There’s Charleston Haint, Ohio Haint, Savannah Haint and of course La Maison Haint. And we have our own Porch Swing Haint. Our color is Sherwin William's “Pool Blue #SW6944”.
It may just be a can of paint, but we call it ghost insurance . . . for our guests’ “HAINT FREE” stay.