Hulu’s ‘Goosebumps’ begins with a death. We find a teenager, Harold Biddle, alone in his house, taking pictures of seemingly random things, when a knock on the door catches his attention. For someone living in an isolated house in the middle of the woods, you’d think Harold would be more careful about opening the door to just anyone. But soon enough, all focus is turned away from what he should or shouldn’t have done to what happens to him.
Harold dies in 1993, and it isn’t until 2023 that the truth about his death comes to light. The only thing that people know is he was burned alive in his basement. But what really happened that night? What led to the fire, and why was no one around to save him? Here’s everything you need to know about Harold Biddle’s death. SPOILERS AHEAD
Who Killed Harold Biddle?
The cause of Harold Biddle’s death isn’t exactly a mystery in Port Lawrence. Everyone knows that he was alone in the house and, due to his own negligence, might have left a candle burning in the basement, where he was trapped and was engulfed by the flames. Harold’s parents didn’t stick around for long after their son’s death, and with their departure, there was no one to control the narrative of Harold’s death. With the house left empty, stories started to emerge about it being haunted, and because ghosts are related to unresolved deaths, the natural conclusion was that Harold’s death was no accident.
Over the years, theories circulated about Harold’s sudden and brutal demise and his ghost haunting the house, but no one actually tried to figure out who, if there was one, was the murderer. The haunted house’s story became just another chapter in the urban legend of Port Lawrence, with people more interested in partying in the haunted house rather than getting to the bottom of the truth.
When Nathan Bratt inherits the house, he is intrigued by the story, but before he can even make it to the basement, he suffers an injury, which leads his blood to fall right above the stairs of the basement and is used by Harold’s ghost to free himself. Over the next few days, Harold takes control of Nathan and uses him to do what he couldn’t do when he was alive, and this connects to his death as well.
It’s clear that Harold was trying to bring back Slappy. He was an outcast in school and might have been interested in Slappy simply because he was curious or maybe because he thought Slappy would help him change his life. That night, Sarah, Nora, and their friends break into Harold’s house. It’s unclear whether it was just some prank or if they knew what Harold was up to and wanted to stop him. Considering the gravity of their conversations about Harold trying to bring back “him,” the latter appears to be more probable.
They distract Harold by ringing the doorbell a couple of times and then sneak in through the backdoor. They scare him a little, cornering him in the basement, where he lights a candle because the light fuse has gone out and there is no electricity. They try to scare him from the other side of the door, not realizing that he has fallen down the stairs on the other side and that the candle fell on his papers and caught fire. While the other teenagers make their way out of the house with the case, which possibly contains Slappy, Harold is trapped in the basement where the fire gets out of control, and he has no way out.
Sarah, who was friends with Harold, implores her friends to go back in and help him. But by then, the fire is already raging, and it’s clear that whoever goes in there would not come out alive. They don’t want to die with Harold, so they leave him to his devices, running away from the scene of the crime with the case and the truth about Harold’s death. Years later, Margot and her friends discover the mystery when a possessed Nathan gives them Harold’s diary, through which they are transported into the past, where they see everything happen in front of their eyes, realizing that the parents they love are actually murderers.