The House of Mystery (Pre-Gaiman)
As some may already know, when Neil Gaiman created the masterpiece known as The Sandman, he actually took many characters from old DC comics and "revamped" them. So it was that he revisited Cain and Abel (as well as Destiny, Lucien as well as various other "hosts" of anthology series) from DC's horror anthologies of decades prior. One of these comics was of course, The House of Mystery which lasted for over 300 issues and thirty years.
It was midway through that series that Cain made his first appearance (House of Mystery #175) as the one who took care of the House of Mystery and this was how it remained for many years. In a short series, Elvira's House of Mystery, Elvira was temporarily introduced as the host but this didn't last.
"The air is musty, tired, OLD, it smells of lost dreams and rotten fabric" -- Dream of the Endless (Morpheus).
In the second issue of The Sandman, the House of Mystery was re-introduced, this time, again, as the home of Cain. However, now the House existed within the Dreaming, a place created by Neil Gaiman to be the realm of Dream of the Endless. In the Dreaming, there were many things and many places, one of which was the House of Mystery, located next door to the House of Secrets (Abel's home). This is how the House of Mystery has been portrayed until recent days when Lilah Sturges (then known as Matthew Sturges) decided to throw in a twist...
House of Mystery (Matthew Sturges)
In 2008, Lilah Sturges began writing a series entitled, House of Mystery, a story that opens with Cain noticing his House has gone missing. The series now follows individuals who have become trapped inside the House (with nothing to pass the time except telling stories, making the House quite similar to Gaiman's World's End story arc in The Sandman) and the House's journey as Cain tries to take back what's his. This series has also introduced a new aspect of the House, Harry Bailey, who it seems is not actually a true person, but a part of the House. In House of Mystery #35, Fig's Great Grandfather destroyed the House of Mystery because it had taken everything that he had away from him. In issue #36 a new story-line has happened and there is a new House of Mystery.
The new House of Mystery is a two-bar place where people can eat and drink and also tell stories to other patrons. The outside of the House of Mystery has frightening eyes and teeth and is visually different from the old House. When Cain comes back he will find that his House of Mystery is gone and in its place is a different House of Mystery. Cain was seen in the cemetery sitting down when a gangster from the 1930s (the Conjurer) with a clock compass appeared and told him about the new House of Mystery. The Conjurer says that this new House has been taken over by a new manager. Cain and the Conjurer form a team with two ladies (M. Emory and Every1) with the purpose of defeating Lotus Blossom, the new manager and her potent magic powers.
Fig's Great Grandfather and her father were hanged by the goblins with everyone as witnesses. Cain and his new team were planing to get his House back in a secret hidden place and Lotus's Grandfather, who was trapped in a glass bottle, wanted to help Cain and his team get the House back while also ending Lotus's plans and powers. In 2011, the House of Mystery series came to an end at issue #42 and the House went back to the way it had been. The new House of Mystery was destroyed and the characters in the story went back to their home timelines and some reunited with family and love ones and friends. Cain got his house back and he also built a new House for visitors and made it even scarier.
The New 52
The House of Mystery operates as the Justice League Dark's base of operations. John Constantine claims he won the keys to the place in a poker game between Father Time, Doctor Occult and himself. Zatanna makes reference to twin houses that coexist on a plane of space and time that intersect within limbo. The House of Secrets usually sits beside The House of Mystery, but the houses move around in limbo like the architecture within the buildings. The caretaker, Cain, is not seen in the Justice League Dark series because John Constantine won the key in a poker game. Constantine uses the House as a base to get away from his home in Liverpool, England and as a place of respite when he needs time away.
The Justice League Dark were fighting Nick Necro and his team (Black Boris, Black Briarthorne, Dr. Mist and Felix Faust). The House of Mystery was seen in Gotham City and it flew away and Constantine and his team where in the House of Mystery and the magic team where in the House of Secrets it was a battle about magic and the books of dark magic. Both House of Mystery and House of Secrets where flying in a porthole trying to find a place to to move to. The House of Mystery was destroyed when it crashed in the sand in the Sahara Desert in Africa with the Justice League Dark team trapped to fight off the magic team at the House of Secrets.
The House of Mystery rebuilds itself it is a living thing made with strong powerful wood and plaster to hold the house it has feelings in some kind of magic. John Constantine and his Justice League Dark are fighting off John's friend that is in the House of Secrets and getting the books of magic and in the book was Princess of Gemworld she and the Justice League Dark where finding and fighting something worse that was about to happen and the team will face. This was in the Annual tied in to the Justice League Dark.
As the team went on about the books of magic the other team was trapped in the House of Mystery. Inside the House of Mystery, Frankenstein, Black Orchid and Princess of Gemworld where trapped in the house and they saw a glass mirror with skeletons they fought off the skeletons and wander around the house with unknown rooms and they saw a party waiting for them people dressed in New Years costumes and told them we have been waiting for you and they where masked as insects disguised as people to kill them in the House of Mystery. [Flashback to House of Mystery #232] Black Orchid saw a room of plans and maps of the new 52 and top secrets plans for the Justice League and Justice League Dark and Animal Man and his daughter Maxine powers fighting off the ROT WAR.
Black Orchid saw her file of her powers about her powers and left the room to find Frankenstein and Princess of Gemworld and she found them and help them find there way of the House of Mystery traps places and find the other team that not in the House of Mystery.
The House of Mystery has different doors when you enter the rooms the doors disappear and you open a another door it takes you to a different place in the rooms like the library or the kitchen the garden room. The House of Mystery is a maze it will take you places by surprise it has a lot of traps that you can not get out at all or fight your way out trying to find you way back where you started from. The House of Mystery is in the winter mountains in Narda Panbet and John Constantine went back to his House of Mystery to check up on his team to see how there doing at the House of Mystery. The House of Mystery will be seen again but the team will be taking a break from the house and they have series events happening in the two worlds of war on the books of magic.
The House of Mystery will be seen again with the Flash and Swamp Thing fighting off Doctor Occult magic power as he takes over the House of Mystery. The Justice League Dark team went back in the House of Mystery for a rest from all the events and war they fought with the Tim Hunter and his army. Deadman, Zatanna, John Constantine and Frankenstein where upset at Argus team and wanted to left alone in the House of Mystery with there new plans on Dr Occult evil magic powers and plans.
The Justice League Dark went back to the House of Mystery and all of a sudden a plant came up and it was green, it was Swamp Thing taking over the House of Mystery and helping the team. Dr. Occult attacked the Justice League Dark and Swamp Thing and took control of the House of Mystery and brought back the dead soldiers from the past wars from the House of Mystery cemetery to attack the Justice League Dark and Swamp Thing.
The Flash came in and helped the team and tried to stop Swamp Thing plants from growing in the battle with the dead and now half the team has a help from the Flash and Swamp Thing against Dr. Destiny evil plans and powers that are happening. We see Swamp Thing trapped in the House of Mystery under Dr. Destiny mind control powers to make dreams happen in real life to scare people. Swamp Thing will fight back and the Justice League Dark will find him and help stop Dr. Destiny evils plans from taken the House of Mystery under his command and true power.
The Justice League Dark went and found Swamp Thing under Dr. Destiny control and power. The Justice League Dark where attacking Dr. Destiny and then the evil doctor had a plan in his mind and he changed into Madam Xanadu mother and trapped the Justice League Dark team with the Flash in the House of Mystery and his evil plans in this nightmare city he has made in his mind.
The Justice League Dark was seen still fighting off Dr. Destiny and his evil nightmare and all of a sudden they saved Swamp Thing from being trapped and all of a sudden Swamp Thing made a army called Swamp Things to attack Dr. Destiny and they defeated him at the end and Madam Xanadu gave John Constantine the jewel hear and told him to hide it and not to loose it again and also not let this tragedy nightmare happen again at all. The team got there House of Mystery back and everything was getting back to normal and Madam Xanadu was sad to know something bad happened now and was a war with the Justice League and Justice League of America and there team the Justice League Dark it was called the Trinity War and it just started now.
The Justice League Dark will have to leave the House of Mystery to take care of the crisis first and finish it and later go back to their House of Mystery when everything goes back to normal. The House of Mystery was seen in the series called Trinity War and the Justice League Dark were searching for Madam Xanadu who was missing. Wonder Woman went to find this Justice League Dark and told John Constantine and his team to come and help out and find out what was wrong with Superman and his powers. The Justice League Dark and Wonder Woman went in the House of Mystery and they saw Batman and the Justice League and the Justice League of America and now the Justice League Dark where there to help out and find out what was hurting Superman.
Wonder Woman and the Justice League and the Justice League of America and the Justice Dark got in a fight to find the magic that was hurting Superman and all of a sudden they went there own ways to find the source of power and evil that did this to Superman. Leaving Batman and some members of the Justice League in the House of Mystery to find there own way back to A.R.U.G.S base. After the team broke up to stop and find the gold skull of all the power and get it back to safety. Half the JLA and JL where in the House of Mystery and Catwoman said the word please to open the door and the door open.
In the House of Mystery they saw food on the dinner table and Vibe wanted something to eat and Steve Trevor said do not eat the food in the House of Mystery and that the house has feelings to make us welcome and all of a sudden the glass shattered and Batman, Deadman, Kanta came thought the glass window and shattered it by the Phantom Stranger and warned them that the gold skull was something bad to happen and that they have to find Madam Xanadu to break the gold skull and its evil power.
Batman told Deadman in the House of Mystery of what he saw there and with the loss of Phantom Stranger was killed trying to tell Batman and the JL and JLA the message of the golden skull and it evil power. The JL and JLA have to find Madam Xanadu and the plans to stop this war and battle from happening. The two groups left the House of Mystery to find her and that she was in Greece in the old temple of power and that John Constantine has the power of the gold skull and Batman told him to give it to him and John Constantine said no bats and that he wanted it was a trapped during the whole thing it was the Outsider who wanted all the power that he can have and open the porthole to another time.
In the after the events of the Trinity War series the House of Mystery will be back in fully operation to the Justice League Dark Team plans. The House of Mystery is seen again with John Constantine battle the little people who look like him and act like him where demons and where after him only and the Justice league Dark team where under some mind control power this is during the events called Forever Evil new series that is happening.
John Constantine cant remember how here got back in the House of Mystery after the battle when the portal opened when evil came to this world. John Constantine wandered the world and was seen in Paris, France and in New York City. He thought the house was playing game and he know the House of Mystery always changing things around all the time because it has felling for things.
After all the events that happened and the Justice League Dark fighting him. He knew it was a dream all the time and Zatanna was in bed with him and John Constantine sward at her and it was not her it was crazy nurse and that she need his help to fight off the Evil and that she had made her army and it was a version of Swamp Thing with lots of plant heads from the House of Mystery garden.