Embracing Fear: Spooky Season Reads to Send Shivers Down Your Spine
Scary books, where do we begin? First of all, fear is subjective to the person going through it. We all have things that scare us, but what we fear is not always the same thing. Take me, for example, I’m claustrophobic with a fear of the darkest parts of the ocean, tornadoes, and big cats (tigers, lions, etc.). Sometimes fear is born out of past traumas, and other times it just exists for no rhyme or reason.
I think it’s fair to say that, for the most part, we tend to stay away from what scares us. But there is a certain time of the year when we seem to embrace what we fear a little more easily. Yes, I’m referring to Spooky Season and, during this time, many of us look for things to scare us, like books and movies. Because as long as we’re not really experiencing the things that scare us, it’s fun, right? Our pulse quickens, our senses heighten, the little hairs stand up on the back of our necks—it’s exhilarating.
So let’s get down to it, since this post is about books. We all know Stephen King is The King of Horror, no pun intended, and his most terrifying book is probably Pet Sematary. And if you haven’t read it, go do it now. For those who have read The King and are looking for something else to read for Spooky Season—something that will send a shiver down your spine, make you jump at every bump in the night, and give you nightmares—read on. These books will leave you disturbed, uncomfortable, and let’s just say you may want to sleep with the lights on.
When paranormal investigators Allen Mandel, Jane Rivers and Billy Kasch are invited to film the infamous Forester House for their popular cable television show Ghost Scouts, they think they’ve scored the coup of the season.
Forester House is reputed to be one of the most haunted houses in the country. For 130 years it has hosted tragedy, madness, perversion and murder, and now the Ghost Scouts team is spending the night.
The Ghost Scouts are no strangers to bizarre phenomena: glowing mists, mysterious voices and things that go bump in the night…
Tamsen Donner must be a witch. That is the only way to explain the series of misfortunes that have plagued the wagon train known as the Donner Party. Depleted rations, bitter quarrels, and the mysterious death of a little boy have driven the pioneers to the brink of madness. They cannot escape the feeling that someone–or something–is stalking them. Whether it was a curse from the beautiful Tamsen, the choice to follow a disastrous experimental route West, or just plain bad luck–the 90 men, women, and children of the Donner Party are at the brink of one of the deadliest and most disastrous western adventures in American history.
While the ill-fated group struggles to survive in the treacherous mountain conditions–searing heat that turns the sand into bubbling stew; snows that freeze the oxen where they stand–evil begins to grow around them, and within them. As members of the party begin to disappear, they must ask themselves “What if there is something waiting in the mountains? Something disturbing and diseased…and very hungry?”
An aging death-metal rock god, Judas Coyne, is a collector of the macabre: a cookbook for cannibals… a used hangman’s noose… a snuff film. But nothing he possesses is as unlikely or as dreadful as an item he learns is for sale on the Internet. For a thousand dollars, Jude will become the proud owner of a dead man’s suit, said to be haunted by the deceased’s restless spirit. Judas has spent a lifetime coping with ghosts – of an abusive father, of the lovers he callously abandoned, of the bandmates he betrayed – so what’s one more?
But what UPS delivers to his door in a black heart-shaped box is no imaginary or metaphorical ghost, it’s the real thing. And suddenly the suit’s previous owner is everywhere – behind the bedroom door… seated in Jude’s restored vintage Mustang… staring out from his widescreen TV – dangling a gleaming razor blade on a chain from one hand…
A recurrent, unidentifiable noise in her apartment. A memo to her boss that’s replaced by obscene insults. Amanda—a successful architect in a happy marriage—finds her life going off kilter by degrees. She starts smoking again, and one night for no reason, without even the knowledge that she’s doing it, she burns her husband with a cigarette. At night she dreams of a beautiful woman with pointed teeth on the shore of a blood-red sea.
The new voice in Amanda’s head, the one that tells her to steal things and talk to strange men in bars, is strange and frightening, and Amanda struggles to wrest back control of her life. Is she possessed by a demon, or is she simply insane?
The strange black rain falls like a shroud on the small town of Bixby. It comes down in torrents, warm and unnatural. And as it falls, the town changes. One by one, the inhabitants fall prey to its horrifying effect. One by one, they become filled with hate and rage…and the need to kill.
Formerly friendly neighbors turn to crazed maniacs. A stranger at a gas station shoves a nozzle down a customer’s throat and pulls the trigger. A soaking-wet line of movie-goers smashes its way into a theater to slaughter the people inside. A loving wife attacks her husband, still beating his head against the floor long after he’s dead. As the rain falls, blood flows in the gutters―and terror runs through the streets.
“All you girls were less than human. Playthings in a twisted doll house.”
Olivia is taken from the sidewalk near her college and thrown into a van. Her captors, who she soon discovers are vile, sadistic monsters, abuse her immediately, both mentally and physically. Then she is taken into a house, into a locked room, where everything is cotton candy pink. The pink furniture is designed with rounded edges and corners bolted to the floor, and the seams at the bolts melted. This is where the nightmare begins. She is now a part of their collection.
Charles and Laura are a young, happily married couple inhabiting the privileged world of Cambridge academia. Brimming with excitement, Charles sets off with his daughter Naomi on a Christmas Eve shopping trip to London. But, by the end of the day, all Charles and his wife have left are cups of tea and police sympathy. For Naomi, their beautiful, angelic only child, has disappeared. Days later her murdered body is discovered.
But is she dead?
In a howling, bumping story of past and present day hell, Jonathan Aycliffe’s haunting psychological masterpiece is guaranteed to make you sink to untold depths of teeth-shaking terror.
362 Belisle Street is a homeowner’s dream. A nice neighborhood, close to schools, new hardwood floors, unique original detail. So why then, wonders real estate agent Glenn Darnley, won’t this charming property stay off the market? Perhaps the clawed feet of the antique bathtub look a little too threatening. Or maybe it’s the faint hospital-like smell of the room off the top of the stairs. It’s possible that the haunting music that pours out from under the steps keeps the residents awake at night.
The first occupants are a young couple, Rebecca and Daniel Mason, who have big dreams of wealth and success. It doesn’t take long for them to realize that they’re not welcome in their new house. After a ghostly seduction and a violent confrontation, the property is once again for sale. Next comes Barbara Parkins, a divorcée, and her unhappy young son, Petey. Lonely and looking for companionship, the two find comfort in some new, playful young friends. When the Parkins family leaves, the house is sold again. Last, ownership goes to Richie Bramley, a drunken writer and lost soul. But like the others, he can’t settle down in this house — which has a mind, and a heart, of its own.
For Glenn, however, the house is a dream, always warm and welcoming. The floors gleam, and sun pours in through the windows. Owners come — and 362 Belisle makes sure owners go. It’s waiting patiently for its beloved to realize how much it loves her. It’s waiting for Glenn, the very special person who can finally turn this house into a home.
A haunting and deeply unsettling novel that immerses readers in the chilling world of Lester Ballard, a young man whose life takes a tragic and disturbing turn. Set against the backdrop of rural Tennessee during the mid-20th century, the story unravels the harrowing descent of Lester into isolation, madness, and depravity.
The narrative is driven by Lester’s gradual disconnection from society, a process that begins with the loss of his family’s property. Forced to live in the woods and abandoned buildings, he finds himself increasingly alienated from the local community, eventually spiraling into a dark and violent abyss.
Through Lester’s journey, the novel delves into the psychological ramifications of isolation, rejection, and the devastating consequences of a shattered sense of belonging.
With its haunting atmosphere, deeply flawed protagonist, and exploration of the human condition, Child of Godis a gripping and thought-provoking novel that lingers long after the final page is turned.
Whoever is born here, is doomed to stay ’til death. Whoever settles, never leaves.
Welcome to Black Spring, the seemingly picturesque Hudson Valley town haunted by the Black Rock Witch, a seventeenth century woman whose eyes and mouth are sewn shut. Muzzled, she walks the streets and enters homes at will. She stands next to children’s bed for nights on end. Everybody knows that her eyes may never be opened or the consequences will be too terrible to bear.
The elders of Black Spring have virtually quarantined the town by using high-tech surveillance to prevent their curse from spreading. Frustrated with being kept in lockdown, the town’s teenagers decide to break their strict regulations and go viral with the haunting. But, in so doing, they send the town spiraling into dark, medieval practices of the distant past.