Halloween is fast approaching, which means it’s time to start prepping for all the ogres, goblins, ghouls, and ghosts you’re sure to meet come October 31st. Lucky for you, there’s a plethora of spooky reads to get you in the spirit. Here are 13 of our favorite ghost stories.
Intensely attached twins Julia and Valentina move to London when their aunt dies and leaves them her apartment on the edge of Highgate Cemetery. As they become involved in the lives of the eccentric neighbors, the twins discover that much is still alive in Highgate—including, perhaps, their aunt.
College student Devin Jones takes a summer job at the Joyland carnival hoping to forget the girl who broke his heart, but he winds up facing the legacy of a murder, the fate of a dying child, and revelations about life that will change his world forever.
After her death in 1973, Susie Salmon is adjusting to her new home in heaven, and watching life on earth continue without her. Her friends are trading rumors about her disappearance, her killer is trying to cover his tracks, her grief-stricken family is unraveling. From above, Susie learns more about the man who took her life, and watches as her father searches for answers.
A surreal, genre-breaking cult hit, HOUSE OF LEAVES is less a novel than it is an amalgamation of footnotes, manuscript pages, a film account, and crazy marginalia. The horror at its heart is the story of a family who move into a new house to start over, only to discover their home has supernatural qualities larger on the inside than the outside, endlessly shifting hallways, and secrets that gnaw at the dark places in everyone’s soul.
A young family that moves into a small home on Ash Tree Lane where they discover something is terribly wrong: their house is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. Of course, neither Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Will Navidson nor his companion Karen Green was prepared to face the consequences of that impossibility, until the day their two little children wandered off and their voices eerily began to return another story -- of creature darkness, of an ever-growing abyss behind a closet door, and of that unholy growl which soon enough would tear through their walls and consume all their dreams.
While there are no actual ghosts in REBECCA, the ever-present reminder of the first Mrs. de Winter drives every character in this classic and harrowing story. If a massive, mysterious estate doesn’t seem creepy enough, add in the “accidental” death of the revered former mistress and the sadistic tendencies of a certain Mrs. Danvers to get the full effect. Our poor naïve American narrator never stood a chance against the ghostly expectations of her new husband’s murdered wife.
I watched the classic Hitchcock film of Daphne Du Maurier’s gothic masterpiece starring Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine for the first time in years the other night, and in loving it was reminded of how much I also loved the book. Is there a first line of a novel more evocative than “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again”? Only Hitchcock could do justice to the moodiness and plot twists of Du Maurier’s genius work.
For fans of “American Horror Story”
Though visually stunning, “American Horror Story” is pure nightmare fuel. Borrowing from the classic horror tropes that precede it, AHS is comparable to Shirley Jackson’s classic supernatural thriller THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE. Four seekers arrive at the notoriously unfriendly Hill House, where they experience powerful encounters with inexplicable phenomena. (shudders)
A modern classic of Gothic horror, Susan Hill drew upon the rich tradition of British ghost stories to craft this atmospheric tale of a mysterious specter whose appearance heralds the death of a child. Who is the terrifying woman in black and why does she haunt the halls of the isolated Eel Marsh House?
One of literature's most gripping ghost stories depicts the sinister transformation of 2 innocent children into flagrant liars and hypocrites. Elegantly told tale of unspoken horror and psychological terror creates what few stories in literature have been able to do -- a complete feeling of dread and uncertainty.
Joe Hill’s beautifully textured, deliciously scary debut novel delivers good old-fashioned skin-crawling terror when a jaded rock star is haunted by a ghost he purchased on the internet. (Stephen King fans take note: Joe Hill is one of his sons.)