Being the first song written for the album, "The Haunted Man" was recorded in a recording session in Perugia, Italy, where Natasha recorded a male choir and "projected it out of an amp out over a canyon to get that amazing slapback echo, to get that feeling of soldiers coming back from war."
In various interview she explained the song:
I think the whole album is about The Haunted Man, he features in most of the songs, where he can be a lover in a relationship that's gone wrong or relationship baggage I want to let go of. In this one, it's a husband who's come back from war. It's using that metaphor of war. The man is really traumatised, the woman is trying to help. By the end of the song, the male voices and female voices are speaking to each other but it's about how men and women speak very different languages sometimes. So the women will try and fix something by being nurturing and show love and the men are saying, I just want to go to my cave. It was using the idea that my Granddad went away to war, nobody was offered help in those days, and how did that affect his relationship with my Grandma. Our families have all experience a lot of that in this country and that dynamic can come through in modern relationships too. I wanted to make it like a mini-musical, so the woman is alone and then the soldiers come over the hill and we panned the sound across so it sounds like soldiers coming over a hill. I feel like it explores all the different textures of the record. I wanted to write a song that was like a soundtrack.
That song to me is almost like a film in itself. In my mind, it’s like this weird wartime musical. It basically starts off very simply, with my voice just explaining how the protagonist, the woman in the song, is waiting for her husband to come back from war. And she can’t sleep because she’s convinced he’s not gonna come back. And so it’s that kind of resolution to loss I guess, and it’s pretty sad. And then slowly the snares, like you say, they come up in the mix, and these voices come. And we actually planned it to come up and over something, like a hill. So it’s like all of the soldiers are coming back from war, and then the final section is all the women are singing in response to the men.
'The Haunted Man' is a metaphor for how I feel men and women relate to each other in times of conflict. My granddad went away to war and when he came back he was given no therapy or help. It was only two generations ago, I can't believe it. It's still recent history for all of us that our grandparents went through a fucking hideous nightmare experience.
When this song was performed during the Haunted Man tour, Natasha would hold up a old transistor radio to project the male choir.
In June 2013, Khan said she was working on a 10-minute dance piece for the song, which was delevoped for 12 women and 12 men who would do a dance on cliff tops. "I’m really hoping to direct it myself, if I can get some budget together", she added. However, the project might have been put on the back burner.
- "Bat For Lashes – The Haunted Man". 16 October 2012. Uncut.
- "Bat For Lashes - Natasha Khan's Guide To New Album The Haunted Man". 12 October 2012. Q Magazine.
- "Bat For Lashes: English Embrace". 22 October 2012. Interview Magazine.
- "That's The Spirit! Natasha Khan Of Bat For Lashes Interviewed". 7 October 2012. The Quietus.
- Dukoff, Lauren (10 June 2013). "BAT FOR LASHES". The Lab Magazine. (Archived from the original on 27 June 2013)