As Halloween draws near and I continue to read some darker titles, I thought it might be fun to share five of my favorite horror/ghost stories. I am always drawn to darker tales of the unknown and fascinated with the possibilities of the paranormal. I enjoy nothing more than a good excuse to dim the lights and curl up with a spooky read. I truly live to torture myself.
The Devil Crept In
By Ania Ahlborn
Young Jude Brighton has been missing for three days, and while the search for him is in full swing in the small town of Deer Valley, Oregon, the locals are starting to lose hope. They’re well aware that the first forty-eight hours are critical and after that, the odds usually point to a worst-case scenario. And despite Stevie Clark’s youth, he knows that, too; he’s seen the cop shows. He knows what each ticking moment may mean for Jude, his cousin and best friend.
That, and there was that boy, Max Larsen…the one from years ago, found dead after also disappearing under mysterious circumstances. And then there were the animals: pets gone missing out of yards. For years, the residents of Deer Valley have murmured about these unsolved crimes…and that a killer may still be lurking around their quiet town. Now, fear is reborn—and for Stevie, who is determined to find out what really happened to Jude, the awful truth may be too horrifying to imagine.
The Devil Crept In works its way into your psych as you slowly try to unravel what is happening within Ahlborn’s clever use of narration. The end result is an accumulation of mystery and the unexpected that leaves you shocked and disturbed.
By Peter Straub
In life, not every sin goes unpunished.
For four aging men in the terror-stricken town of Milburn, New York, an act inadvertently carried out in their youth has come back to haunt them. Now they are about to learn what happens to those who believe they can bury the past — and get away with murder.
Quite possibly one of the most haunting tales I have ever experienced, Ghost Story set the bar in the genre and seems to define the supernatural. But there is a lot more happening beneath the surface of this complex, beautifully written story that is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat. Things are not what they seem.
By Stephen King
Jack Torrance’s new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he’ll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote…and more sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around the Overlook is Danny Torrance, a uniquely gifted five-year-old.
The Shining is an annual read for me. An atmospheric story of the possible and seemingly impossible that utterly terrifies me. The elements of isolation, paranormal and a psychotic breakdown come together to deliver a truly psychological and unsettling experience. Room 237 still haunts my nightmares.
The Woman in Black
By Susan Hill
Arthur Kipps, a junior solicitor in London, is summoned to Crythin Gifford to attend the funeral of Mrs Alice Drablow, and to sort through her papers before returning to London. It is here that Kipps first sees the woman in black and begins to gain an impression of the mystery surrounding her. From the funeral he travels to Eel Marsh House and sees the woman again; he also hears the terrifying sounds on the marsh.
Despite Kipps’s experiences he resolves to spend the night at the house and fulfil his professional duty. It is this night at Eel Marsh House that contains the greatest horror for Kipps. Kipps later discovers the reasons behind the hauntings at Eel Marsh House. The book ends with the woman in black exacting a final, terrible revenge.
While not as terrifying as some ghost stories, The Woman in Black still warrants a spot among my favorites. Told with an air of authenticity and almost poetic prose that transports the reader back to the 19th century, brilliant narration offers one of the most chilling tales of revenge I have encountered. Recommend reading with the lights out!
Let The Right One In
By John Ajvide Lindvist
It is autumn 1981 when the inconceivable comes to Blackeberg, a suburb in Sweden. The body of a teenage boy is found, emptied of blood, the murder rumored to be part of a ritual killing. Twelve-year-old Oskar is personally hoping that revenge has come at long last—revenge for the bullying he endures at school, day after day.
But the murder is not the most important thing on his mind. A new girl has moved in next door—a girl who has never seen a Rubik’s Cube before, but who can solve it at once. There is something wrong with her, though, something odd. And she only comes out at night….
Let The Right One In creeps me out. This is a prime example of vampires written horrifyingly well. A slow burn read that crawled under my skin and remained there long after I completed the last page. It is worth noting the original film does not disappoint (but I still favor the book).
What’s on your October reading List?
Do you enjoy picking up a few ghost stories and darker reads? Have you read any of the above? I would love to know which stories managed to haunt you the most. Leave a few of your favorites in the comments!