What was the influence of the spirits in Edgar Allen Poe's story "The Fall of the House of Usher"?
If "spirits" means ghosts or phantoms, there is little mention of these in Poe's story. Indeed, the only direct reference to "spirits" comes in Usher's song lyric "The Haunted Palace":
Wanderers in that happy valley
Through two luminous windows saw
Spirits moving musically
To a lute's well-tuned law
These lines denote the health that the imaginary region described enjoyed before its decline. The "haunted palace" is clearly intended as a metaphor for Usher's house, and so we can infer that Usher considers that the "harmonious spirits" have departed in his case as well, to be replaced by ill-omened
Vast forms that move fantastically
To a discordant melody
The development the lyric describes is from spirit to non-spirit, and from harmony to discord. It is what has left the House of Usher in the zombie state that so horrifies the narrator when he first arrives, an atmosphere of suspended decomposition. The state of being buried alive or persisting in a decayed condition until final dissolution is triggered was one that had a morbid fascination for Poe, as shown by "The facts in the case of M. Valdemar," written six years after "Usher."
The ultimate expression of discord comes when Usher buries alive the sister who is described as his second self. When he discovers that he has done this, it destroys both the human representatives and, more improbably, the physical fabric of the House of Usher.