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Friday, October 12, 2012

359

Really Scary Books! BOO!

I'm so scared, you guys! Just compiling this list is scary! What's that noise? Who are you? Why are you holding that candlestick? IF I TELL YOU WHAT ALL THE BEST SCARY BOOKS ARE, WILL YOU LET ME LIVE? Only if I provide a mix of old-time Gothic and new-time eek? Okay. Also, this is not just about me. Let's crowd-source this mother.

The Historian, Elizabeth Kostova – This is all you need to know: it's $2.99 for the Kindle, it's 720 pages long (see also "Dracula," by Bram Stoker), basically nothing ever really happens (if you don't like that in small doses, please do not read Gothic fiction, and show yourself out), and you will be transfixed. To be fair, it does that ANNOYING vampire book thing that all vampire books do. You know? "In books, you may have read that vampires eat their lobster like THIS, which is ridiculous, because, in REALITY, vampires eat their lobster essentially the same way in all respects except they also sparkle in direct sunlight." I totally love this book.

The Turn of the Screw, Henry James – I'm not just including this because I feel obliged to, or anything. Shiver! Are you on Team Ghost or Team No Ghost, the Governness is Insane? Edmund Wilson waffled, but is Team No Ghost, the Governness is Insane. I am firmly Team Ghost. As though you could have any doubt. You will like it if you like Henry James? And, I'm sorry, all the earth's children are precious, but if you don't like Henry James ... then you're probably not the jerk who stole MY copy of The Portrait of a Lady. Oh. You know what? That should be on this list, too. Madame Merle! Osmond!!!! Ladieeeees, I can't say this enough: prenups if you've got any money, k? Remember, you already have a prenup, it's just called "The Laws of the State You Live In." If you think you know yourself better than your state lesgislators, write your own damn document. But, also, it'll never come up, because you didn't marry Madame Merle or Osmond. Or a child-molesting ghost from a Henry James novella.

Duma Key, Stephen King – HOLD UP. I know, I know. What about It? What about Pet Sematary? Well, people who like being scared have already read those. Duma Key is an under-appreciated recent King novel which scared the shit out of me. Really! Take it somewhere, but not the beach. Trust.

The Haunting of Hill House, Shirley Jackson - All the Shirley Jackson. Every single word of Shirley Jackson. All those horrible little short stories. Urban alienation! Fear! Loneliness! Spinsters going quietly insane! But especially this. Always this. OH, IT IS SO SCARY. How I love it. I love you, Shirley Jackson. Have you ever read any actual novels by Ira Levin? He's the guy who wrote "Rosemary's Baby" and "The Stepford Wives," and both of his books are actually grim and serious and about the themes referenced above, and the more successful film adaptations of his work at least echo that. Anyway, he's a gateway Shirley Jackson, who was actually a genius, while he was a very competent stylist.

The Amityville Horror, Jay Anson – True story: when the actual house came on the market a few years back, I tried to convince my husband we should buy it. "You want to live on Long Island?" "I want to throw the greatest parties that town has ever seen! I want to hold a seance! I want to tap on the walls! I want to..." Didn't happen. But now it's BACK on the market, and I kind of hate living in Utah? Unffhfhf, what a Pin Up that would be. Edith would make the disgusting spider eggs! Did you think about them before bed last night? I did. I did. I also never returned the terrible Ryan Reynolds movie to Blockbuster, who eventually just charged me for it. It's 99% abs. If only he'd realized the ghosts exclusively attacked while he was shirtless!

The Book of Revelation, God – What? If it's true, it's EXTREMELY SCARY. I don't even like thinking about it. Maybe if I check under the bed first.

Hell House, Richard Matheson – This one is cheating, for me, because I haven't read it, but people tell me how scary it is on the regular, so let's find out for ourselves, shall we? Who has read it and has opinions? Right off the bat, let me say, it's not the best title. Not very subtle. Might as well call it: "A Demonic Blonde Child Who Stands Over You While You Sleep."

The Wise Woman, Philippa Gregory – THIS FUCKING BOOK, OKAY? Look, you read eighty or ninety fluffy Tudor historical romances by this woman, like a boss, so you think "oh, fun, this one has witches!" Then you read it on a plane. Then the SCARY THING happens. Then you spend the next two and a half hours drinking vodka tonics and wondering if you could ask the stranger sitting next to you to hold your hand and tell you it's going to be okay.

The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein – It's not the creeping menace of socialism that disturbs me, it's the yawning abyss of the Beyond. Do you doubt me? Do you? I thought not. Now, please go and read the one hundred and fifteen one-star reviews on Amazon.

The House of the Seven Gables, Nathaniel Hawthorne – He is The Best, and this is The Best. Did you know the Pyncheons are actually Thomas Pynchon's ancestors? Did you know New England is terrifying? If you're in Salem, please visit and send us a picture! We don't even know what a gable is, despite having read at least four books which feature them prominently. Is it an old, old wooden ship from the Civil War era?

Bunnicula, Deborah and James Howe – Oh, stop kidding around. You know I'm right. It's practically a Christopher Pike book.

All of Them, Christopher Pike – A malevolent sociopath who feeds on the fear of preteen girls. His thirst was finally slaked as the new century dawned, but he may yet return to prey upon both the living and the dead.

359 Comments / Post A Comment

maybe partying will help

All the Shirley Jackson, yes. Also all the James and Deborah Howe, which are one thousand times better than Pike because THEY ARE ABOUT A VAMPIRE BUNNY. I am partial to Nighty Nightmare, personally.

For some reason my mother saw fit to read me The House of the Seven Gables when I was a kid. I have no idea why. I also read a lot of books about witches, which were the scariest thing ever, but I just kept reading them. Pretty much every historical novel about Salem ever.

This is probably the 80th time I have mentioned the book version of The Wicker Man (the old one, obvs) on the Hairpin, but seriously. Read it. Watch the movie too, of course, but the book is even more evocative and weird.

yrouttasight

@maybe partying will help I seriously came here just to say VAMPIRE BUNNY.

HE DOESN'T SUCK BLOOD, HE SUCKS THE ORANGE OUT OF CARROTS.

..that sounded dirty, but you get the idea.

maybe partying will help

@yrouttasight

The Celery Stalks at Midnight is. Just. LOOK AT THE TITLE.

frigwiggin

@yrouttasight Those books were an amazingly formative part of my childhood, and I still try to talk to pets in ways that they'd find interesting in case they write a book about themselves someday.

cecil hungry

@frigwiggin I still talk about "Minion Onions" a lot. Bunnicula was very formative for me. What great books.

koume

@maybe partying will help Don't forget Howliday Inn! No vampire bunnies, but it does have werewolf dachsunds and evil schemes.

maybe partying will help

@koume

Oh but Return to Howliday Inn! Felony and Miss Demeanor!

lora.bee

@maybe partying will help TODAY VEGETABLES, TOMORROW THE WORLD.

I love Chester.

PistolPackinMama

@lora.bee Bunnicula was the first book I can remember reading as a chapter-a-night bedtimes story where we all helped read as opposed to my mom reading. I think I was in 1st grade. We laughed like loons.

raised amongst catalogs

@PistolPackinMama YES, that. I have the same memories of the Bunnicula books at bedtime, loon-laughs and all. Also, was it you who mentioned Victorian Farm, etc. in the comments section in the last week? If so, OH MY GOODNESS THANK YOU SO MUCH. How those managed to get by me I'll never know, but they are bringing so much joy into my life right now.

PistolPackinMama

@this brave bird (formerly vanillawaif) Yay! It was meeeeee! Let's discuss!

raised amongst catalogs

@PistolPackinMama AHHH OK! I am only four episodes in because I'm trying so hard to savor them. Ruth's home remedies! The red lip gloss! I kind of don't get why they have to pull shifts in the shepherd's hut all night because I raise sheep and ours rarely if ever need assistance giving birth, so it must just be a trait of Shropshire sheep?
THE ITALIAN TAILOR WHO HAD HEART PAINS EVERY TIME RUTH MADE SEWING MISTAKES.
How curmudgeonly is the owner of the estate? How terribly dry and stiff must the owner's son's upbringing have been? FERRETS HUNTING RABBITS?!?

ETA: Ruth making brawn. Basically everything Ruth does.

wharrgarbl

To be fair, the other Book of Revelation was pretty fucked up, too.

wee_ramekin

The Descent by Jeff Long is the scariest book I have ever read. Please read it immediately if not sooner.

I usually don't get too scared when I'm reading books since I can just put them down and walk away if they're too scary, but this book creates such creepy imagery that you can't stop thinking about the pictures it paints.

The book is science fiction, but...not really? It's not about outer space or anything; it's the type of science fiction that starts in our world as it is now and then imagines how our world would be if the events the author writes about happened.

New Hoarder

@wee_ramekin Have you read the sequel? Deeper, I think it's called. Not as good as the first one, but yeah, nightmares! I am suspicious of any crevices anywhere! Potholes, hell no!

New Hoarder

@wee_ramekin Also, just that first chapter alone is enough to be The Scariest Ever.

wee_ramekin

@New Hoarder Yes! The first chapter! Holy God, it was horrifying. And I did read Deeper, which, I agree, was not as good as the first book. It did provide some nice resolution though, and some intriguing philosophical questions.

Chesty LaRue

@wee_ramekin Yay! Everyone I ever mention this book to asks what it's about, and then promptly thinks I'm weird for liking it.

Lucienne

An Instance of the Fingerpost. And Maureen F McHugh's short story collection After the Apocalypse is really good at conveying . . . creeping paranoia and dread.

PistolPackinMama

@Lucienne Iain Pears' other book, the intellectual history one with the philosopher= book of creeping dread.

Lucienne

@PistolPackinMama Fingerpost was so great, I don't ever want to read another Pears novel.

PistolPackinMama

@Lucienne That's how I felt about The Dream of Scipio.

He must really stick with people that way.

catsuperhero

@Lucienne I took a creative writing class offered by Maureen in college! She was cool. I learned that I can't make characters do anything. My stories bored everyone. She let me down easy.

Cat named Virtute

@Lucienne I bought this because you talked it up so well in the Fake Murder thread! But it is soooooo long and I haven't been able to make myself read past the first forty pages yet. Sads.

Lucienne

@Cat named Virtute Oh no! I hope you do manage to get past the first forty pages because the payoff is really great, but if you don't, well, it's just a book! :)

Hilary Lehman@twitter

Things I have learned from my vampire readings: Nothing actually works to keep vampires away ... except communion wafers. Garlic, no, communion wafers, yes.

Also, semi-spoiler alert:

The Historian won an award for best novel in progress when Elizabeth Kostova was writing it, and I can totally see why. Loved the book, hated the ending.

PistolPackinMama

@Hilary Lehman@twitter Like Captain Corelli's Mandolin. I wanted to right hook that guy at the end, when 70 pages from the end I was all yessssss Captain Corelli!

maybe partying will help

@Hilary Lehman@twitter

That was exactly how I felt about The Historian. I am currently reading her newer book, The Swan Thieves, and hoping the same thing doesn't happen.

Hilary Lehman@twitter

@maybe partying will help Let me know, because I really enjoyed most of the book! I'd be willing to read her again.

maybe partying will help

@Hilary Lehman@twitter

At the pace I'm going, I should have an opinion by next Friday Open Thread, certainly. :B

Bittersweet

@maybe partying will help Ha, I just finished The Swan Thieves. It's very good, but not scary at all. I was looking forward to reading The Historian, but now I'm a little...um...scared.

Hilary Lehman@twitter

@Bittersweet I'm a total wimp, but I read it when I was 18 and was fine.

HeyThatsMyBike

@Hilary Lehman@twitter Same here. After like 7 months reading the damn thing, the ending was a major letdown.

But I'm quite pleased to see that I'm not the only person that actually got through it all!

noReally

@PistolPackinMama Heard an interview with Louis de Bernières where he said he got the call from his agent, someone wants to make a movie of Corelli's Mandolin. He said, "Tell them to change the ending. Everybody hated the ending."

New Hoarder

@Hilary Lehman@twitter I barely remember the ending, and while that book creeped me out an eensy bit, it didn't scare me so much as haunt me. I could *feel* Kostova's words, you know? Not too many books stick out vividly for me years after I've read them, since, like any good 'Pinner/ 'brarian, I read about a dozen a month!

Miss Maszkerádi

@Hilary Lehman@twitter I was let down by the ending at first too, and I still don't think it's ideal, but it has grown on me. It doesn't explain everything -- WHY is he amassing this particular library, for instance? Also, after 700 pages ruminating on the nature and meaning of the keeping of history, the idea of a collected library of evil, curated by an immortal and evil man, biding his time.....it isn't a great big whiz bang ending, more the kind that will just sort of marinate disturbingly at the back of your mind.

I fucking love that book.

MarianTheLibrarian

@Hilary Lehman@twitter I've read both! I actually don't remember much of anything about The Historian except really loving it. The Swan Thieves took me a while, and it's very different from The Historian, but once I got into it, I was totally hooked and had such incredibly vivid images in my mind of the characters, paintings, etc.. Go for it!

PistolPackinMama

I skipped a panel at a conference (listening, not presenting) to read the end of The Historian. It may be a book in which not much happens, but it was a really engrossing lot of nothing.

HeyThatsMyBike

@PistolPackinMama It also made me want to travel to Eastern Europe really badly. I think that is basically that book's entire legacy for me.

valentin

@HeyThatsMyBike An Instance of the Fingerpost. And Maureen F McHugh's short story collection After the Apocalypse is really good at conveying . . . creeping paranoia and dread. servicii ieftine

The Lady of Shalott

omg omg "The Wise Woman" scared the BEJESUS out of me, holy CRAP.

Also also also THE LITTLE STRANGER by Sarah Waters. Auguughghghghghghghghg.

AND for a real-life scary? "The Stranger Beside Me" and then also "The Gift of Fear," by Gavin Debecker, which everyone should read anyway because it's important and it's actually about NOT being scared any more, but it freaks me out just thinking of all the bad shit juju people do to one another.

wee_ramekin

@The Lady of Shalott Oh man, The Little Stranger is super creepy. I thought that was one of Sarah Waters's best books. A heck of a lot better than The Night Watch, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker and Orange prizes.

K.@twitter

@The Lady of Shalott GOOD GOD THE LITTLE STRANGER. A friend who recced it to me said, "You know, it doesn't really get scary until you're more than halfway in," so I must be a GIANT BABY because I was scared ALMOST IMMEDIATELY.

The Lady of Shalott

@K.@twitter I wasn't really scared-scared until about the halfway point, but before that I was definitely all creeped out and jumpy! So it's not just you.

AND wee_rams, I really really really didn't enjoy The Night Watch and I let it put me off The Little Stranger for WAY too long. Don't do that, people! READ THE LITTLE STRANGER.

Decca

@The Lady of Shalott I remember reading The Little Stranger on a crowded train, on a bright sunny day, and literally whimpering out loud at one point because I was so afraid. Which, in retrospect, I thought was a fantastic recommendation for Waters as a writer if she was able to reduce me to a quivering wreck in that most un-atmospheric of reading circumstances.

wee_ramekin

@The Lady of Shalott GIRL, have you read her other books (Tipping the Velvet, Affinity, and Fingersmith)? AGH THEY ARE SO GOOD.

Affinity is really creepy...it actually reminded me a little bit of The Yellow Wallpaper. Read it!

Fingersmith is actually also kind of scary, in a psychological-ish sort of way. It is also a love story. Hee!

And Tipping the Velvet...man, that is just one awesome book about super hot, cross-dressing lesbians. Read it now now now now NOW!

The Lady of Shalott

@wee_ramekin YES YES I HAVE!!! But then after I read The Night Watch I was all ugh, no more Sarah Waters for a while. AND I MISSED OUT ON BEING PETRIFIED OF THE LITTLE STRANGER.

lizardjellybean

@The Lady of Shalott YES YES THE LITTLE STRANGER AHHH!
I was gonna read all the comments but I got too excited about recommending the Little Stranger, so I just hurried on down here and I'm SO glad someone is already talking about it.

Also guys. HEART SHAPED BOX. Joe Hill! Stephen King's son! READ IT!!!

Man, I love horror novels. Ooh, also, Carrion Comfort by Dan Simmons! That one too! So scary! But not really horror but kinda? (I mean, look at that cover. On the newer edition. With the creep-face.)

Cat named Virtute

@wee_ramekin DID YOU KNOW SARAH WATERS IS WORKING ON A NEW BOOK THAT SHE DESCRIBES AS A LESBIAN ROMP THROUGH THE ROARING TWENTIES? HAVE I EVER WANTED ANYTHING MORE IN MY LIFE NO I HAVE NOT.

wee_ramekin

@Cat named Virtute Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?! That is literally the best news I've had all week. I am so excited.

PoBoyNation

@Cat named Virtute Oh mah gah!!!! So exciting.

Cat named Virtute

@wee_ramekin Whenever my friend Vanessa and I get sad, we remind ourselves about the next Sarah Waters book and it helps. FLAPPER LESBIANS.

anachronistique

@Cat named Virtute HOLY SHIT WHAT. (Sorry for being late, everybody, I was in a car for most of the weekend!) FLAPPER LESBIANS?????

Also, I love The Night Watch aaaand The Little Stranger would make a BRILLIANT horror movie. I actually don't own that book because I don't want to have it in the house, watching me.

Cat named Virtute

@anachronistique Okay, so I misremembered the quote, but she talks about it in this chat: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/booksblog/2011/jul/13/live-webchat-sarah-waters?commentpage=2#comment-11584291

1920S LESBIAN ANGST YES PLEASE.

noctifer

@The Lady of Shalott Late to the party but: Yesss. SHIVER. And I was even more scared at the very end, which made me retrospectively terrified throughout the whole narrative in hindsight. You know?

JanieS

OMG The Historian. Except it didn't really scare me so much as fill me with an insatiable desire to travel through Turkey and Eastern Europe. I'll hunt for vampires while I'm doing it though, don't get me wrong.

Also Shirley Jackson FTW. If by "W" you mean "nights spent perching nervously on your bed in the dead of night wondering about the uprightness of your walls and the firmness of your floors".

JanieS

@JanieS P.S. the real House of Seven Gables is beautiful and I would move in today, because New England is the best and has the best kind of scariness.

PistolPackinMama

@JanieS Mee tooooooo! I'll meet you in a cafe in Istanbul and maybe we will be hissed at by a mysterious woman and then one of us will turn out to have a dragon birthmark?

Or not. That could also happen.

JanieS

@PistolPackinMama I will wait in every cafe until a genial Turkish professor of English-and-vampire-lore befriends us. I've got nothing better to do.

harebell

@JanieS
Tea Obreht's The Tiger's Wife is maybe not scary per se, but incredibly well written and all about vampires in Serbian/Bosnian/Croatian folklore. I just thought it was very, very good. Maybe you would like it too, for a very different, defamiliarized look at Eastern European vampires?
(Also, fantastic strong complex female characters).

JanieS

@harebell I've been circling that book almost every time I head into a bookstore lately. I should definitely check it out.

Kara Reynolds

AGREED ON THE WISE WOMAN! Alys is almost beyond redemption and so is every other character. Terrifying. (the best PGreg book is definitely The Queen's Fool)

wee_ramekin

Also! If you are the last person on Earth who hasn't read The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, READ THAT SHIT NOW. Scary, feminist, and short! So short, in fact, that you could read it on your lunch break if you follow the link in this post.

frigwiggin

@wee_ramekin I just read it a couple months ago for the first time, and HOLY FUCKING SHIT. I can't even.

TheBelleWitch

@wee_ramekin I love this recommendation!

Decca

@wee_ramekin I am that last person on Earth! And, hey, I am writing this comment sitting at a computer in my university library and I am going to check this book out this afternoon.

wee_ramekin

@Decca DECCA! You're going to love it. It's a short story, so I don't know if you'll be able to find it on its own, but definitely read it. I'm excited for you!

highjump

@wee_ramekin Until quite recently I worked at an awesome museum* of women's history that has an amazing portrait of CPG nursing the daughter that was the 'inspiration' for The Yellow Wallpaper and so, so, so many people would come in and be like "Cool!" and I would be like "OMG, I know, The Yellow Wallpaper, right?!" and they would be like "???" and I would die a little bit inside and that is one of the top ten reasons I do not work there anymore.

*Sewall-Belmont House, if you're in DC you should go: http://www.sewallbelmont.org/

Decca

@wee_ramekin I have a copy in front of me! I'll let you know how I get on.

wee_ramekin

@wee_ramekin Ooooo, and I just mentioned this in another thread, but I'll post it here too! Affinity by Sarah Waters (author of The Little Stranger which everyone is righteously recommending) is scary in the same way that The Yellow Wallpaper is scary, so fit you like TYWP, read that! Also, Sarah Waters is a brilliant wordsmith - she has won numerous awards for each of her books - and I think everyone needs to know about her.

dj pomegranate

@wee_ramekin Guys, just totally sat here at my work desk and read The Yellow Wallpaper, which I had never read/heard of. Awesome, feminist, scary, and short indeed!

I have read very few of these books, mostly because I was a serious and scaredy-cat child, but now my appetite is whetted, even though I am also kind of a scaredy-cat adult, too.

rimy

@dj pomegranate I just read it, too! Thank you @wee_ramekin - it was great, and so was the "Why Did You Write It" link at the bottom. Are there any more terrifying little short stories I can eat up the rest of the day with?

wee_ramekin

@rimy Have you read The Lottery by Shirley Jackson? It's another short story that "everyone on Earth has read" (except that I hadn't read it until a few months ago). It's terrifying.

dj pomegranate

@wee_ramekin I actually hated The Lottery, but I do recognize it's value and message. I think I disliked it because it didn't terrify me, it just made me really, really angry!

rimy

@wee_ramekin I read The Lottery in 9th grade lit - it obviously made an impression since I clearly recall that I read it then!

...anything else? *greedy*

MissMushkila

@rimy I have the worst memories of The Yellow Wallpaper, because two girls in my class read it out loud for a philosophy project, and they were SUPER BORING readers. I'm following the link to give it a chance.

Decca

Tons of Daphne Du Marurier, especially Don't Look Now and Jamaica Inn. The parts of Moby Dick on the whiteness of the whale, that scared the bejaysus out of me. The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters is really effective. I remember The Island of Doctor Moreau really freaking me out, as well.

The original Dracula is great, but the original Frankenstein is SO BAD.

Also Say Cheese and Die, obviously.

Lucienne

@Decca Oh man, I too dislike Frankenstein! (Except critically: critically it is fassssscinating. But as a novel: gtfo.)

Charlsie Kate

@Decca Dracula is arguably the scariest story I've ever read. The original scary story. When he sees Dracula crawl out of the window and up the face of the house? *shudder*

I LOVE the House of the Seven Gables. Hephzibah makes me so sad, with her penny candy. SAD!

Also, Treasure Island has the best scary beginning of any novel ever. THE SEAFARING MAN WITH ONE LEG!

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde frightened me, in the best way. Sea Wolf is scary in a nightmare kind of way. Like, what if you fell off a ship in the San Fran Bay and were on Death Larson's ship as a basic prisoner? That could happen to anyone!

Where Pies Go When They Die

@Decca Oh I love Frankenstein dearly! In a sort of painful way, because it's so inescapably bleak. The DeLacey family chasing the monster away is just too much sad for me to handle! Also I suspect a small fraction of my love might be down to the 1994 (I think?) Kenneth Branagh film (and by that I mean Kenneth Branagh in the Kenneth Branagh film. Hot DAMN) and also the brilliant National Theatre production with Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller.

Hot Doom

@Decca I came to the comments to check if anyone had mentioned Don't Look Now, and otherwise evangelize the HELL out of that story. HOLY. CATS. It is scary as all get out and gets my pulse up just thinking about it.
Actually, I recommend everyone just do themselves a favour and get a du Maurier short story anthology. Some of the stories are pulpy and others are just dread-inspiring great, great, horror stories.

Decca

@Hot Doom (formerly LolaLaBalc) I think Don't Look Now miiiight be the scariest thing I have ever read. Or, that I had the most visceral reaction to. I literally threw the book across the room when I read the last paragraph, because I was so utterly freaked out and panicky.

Amphora

@Decca For one of our family road trips my parents bought Jamaica Inn on tape and I spent the whole two-day ride cowering in the back seat. The actor's voice made it especially creepy. "JAMAICER INN!!!"

Decca

@Amphora Okay, that kind of sounds hilarious.

teaandcakeordeath

This is my scary book story.

So I had just read 'Whisper of Death' by Christopher Pike and when it starts there's a girl who falls asleep and when she wakes up, there's no one else in the world. All the people are gone. It was so so eerie.

I finished reading it, went to sleep (scared) and then the next morning headed to school. And found it deserted. What I didnt know was that a snow day had been called and I was the only one who didnt find out. It was all ok though - I only spent 20 minutes walking around in a deserted snowy abandoned school. *shudder*

Lyssachelle

@teaandcakeordeath HOW ARE YOU STILL OKAY?!?

I still have trouble eating hamburgers after "The Immortal"... (I initially called this "Remember Me" whose plot I mixed up with "Whisper of Death" because that's the one the abortion, right?. Now I'm googling all the Christopher Pike books and probably getting nothing done for the rest of the day....)

teaandcakeordeath

@Lyssachelle
I have hamburger paranoia too! On reflection those books have influenced my personality more than I would have thought.
This is a good link for you if youre anxious to waste time, likepike.blogspot.com I spent about half a day on that a while ago. Maybe I need hobbies ...

chevyvan

@teaandcakeordeath Man...I remember that being one of his weirder books. Yes, it was about an abortion. Yeah, I am in danger of this derailing my whole day so I will just say this: Kiss Me. Teenager contracts mouth herpes. Goes on vengeful rampage. Classic. CHRISTOPHER PIKE 4EVER!!!

Lyssachelle

@teaandcakeordeath And my day is officially shot. I'd pretend to be upset, but OMG, CHRISTOPHER PIKE.

Super Nintendo Chalmers

@chevyvan OMG it was Gimme A Kiss. Also the main character in that book FAKED HER OWN DEATH because she was so mortified that a page of her journal where she and her bf had sex for the first time had been xeroxed by her arch-nemesis and distributed around the school. And ALSO her account of them having sex was totally untrue for that reason.

I freaking love that book. It's so weird and over the top and teenagery.

Super Nintendo Chalmers

@Lyssachelle My final college paper in a religion course called "The Meanings of Death" was an analysis of teenagers and death that featured close readings of Whisper of Death and Remember Me and also some cultural analysis of the whole teenagers + death combination.

Going back to reread those Pike books was weird though. Whisper of Death, though still creepy and weird and all that, was so blatantly, grossly anti-abortion that I wondered how I'd missed that completely when I was a tween.

teaandcakeordeath

@Lyssachelle
Everything is crazier than I remember it!

@chevyvan
She had a cold sore! It was a book about a girl going mental over a cold sore. Maybe STD's were more taboo back then?

@Super Nintendo Chalmers
Your course sounds like fun! I know Whisper of Death was anti abortion but it never really convinced me abortion was bad, however it did put me off sleeping with douchey guys called Pepper who are unfaithful and mean.

Gina@twitter

@teaandcakeordeath Whisper of Death was my favorite!! I read it a million times. Also, whenever I hear someone mention Occam's Razor, it makes me think of the scene where one of the kids is walking an a wall and it gets thinner and thinner until it's razor sharp and they slip and slice themselves in half. I'm gonna go home and reread this.

feartie

The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner, by James Hogg. A classic from Scotland, one of the homes of Hallowe'en (hey Ireland, you too).

Not really scary - one young man who think's he's the top dog, is suddenly visited by a mysterious stranger called Gil-Martin, who only he can see. Gil-Martin starts telling the young man, well, if you are on of the Elect, God has already saved you, so you can basically do what you like on earth and still go to heaven, right?Ah yes. It starts getting bloody from there.

Another one of the perhaps psychological, perhaps demonic line of creepy fiction. Oooh, and with the stock-horror artifice of 'an old shepherd found this confession, and I, your helpful editor will explain it to you'. But the editor is a massive and gleeful snark. Go to it!

enantiom3r

@feartie I just finished it! And while I agree not reaaally scary in the usual sense of the word, it was certainly creepy enough to give me terrible nightmares... so if you like your scares delayed, I guess this is the book? Hogg is such a delightful weirdo.

yeah-elle

John Bellairs' The Mansion in the Mist scared the crap out of me as a child. Creepy alternate dimensions! Magical cubes! Mist!

Don't know if its terror holds up once you pass the age of eleven, however.

stonefruit

@yeah-elle All the John Bellairs books still creep me out. And I'm well past 11.

They creep me out in the best possible way, though! And they make me nostalgic for New England.

yeah-elle

@stonefruit I should revisit them for some seasonal creepy reading!

Ham Snadwich

@yeah-elle - I was just going to suggest Bellairs, John - all. Especially good since it was illustrated by Edward Gorey.

The Roald Dahl Book of Ghost Stories is pretty damn creepy too. Also House of Leaves.

stonefruit

@yeah-elle so should I! I got most of them at a library book-fair a few years ago :)

Super Nintendo Chalmers

@Ham Snadwich Yes yes yes to all of these. I know a lot of people don't like the footnotes in HoL but THEY ARE THE BEST.

The House with a Clock in Its Walls is probably going to be my forever-favorite since it's the one I read first (required reading in elementary school, which was pretty neat in retrospect).

Spice&Snails&PuppyDogTails

@Ham Snadwich Oh god The Witches.

stonefruit

@Spice&Snails&PuppyDogTails SQUARE FEET, NO TOES.

noctifer

@yeah-elle ALL the Bellairs books hold up extremely well as an adult! Happy to report the results of my Bellairsathon at age 28.

noReally

No Goosebumps? Even just, in general?

True story: I sat between Walter Kirn and R.L. Stein while Kirn told Stein, in pretty much so many words, that as a child he'd found Goosebumps incredibly sexy. When Stein got up an left WK reiterated that really, really, didn't everyone get all worked up reading Gosebumps? Uh, nope. Sorry Walter.

yeah-elle

@noReally "Say Cheese and Die!" gave me a few nightmares, for sure.

maybe partying will help

@noReally

"Night of the Living Dummy." I canNOT with dressmaker's dummies or dolls or anything that looks human but isn't.

The Lady of Shalott

@maybe partying will help Have you guys seen bloggerbeware.com? Because I laughed hysterically at his reviews of the Goosebumps books even though they legit scared me as a kid.

frigwiggin

@noReally Sexy? Uhhhhh, what.

I have fonder memories of the really weird later ones, like Beast from the East.

maybe partying will help

@The Lady of Shalott

brb, going to there.

Decca

@noReally I often amuse myself by reading the Goosebumps plot summaries on Wikipedia.

"Klutzy wimp Gary Lutz finds an online advertisement for a clinic that specializes in body-swapping. However, the experiment goes awry when, instead of the body of a cool jock named Dirk, Gary finds himself in the body of the one thing he fears most -- a bee."

lora.bee

@noReally LET'S GET INVISIBLE! That book...oh my word. Terrified me.

These weren't scary books, but did anyone else read Bruce Coville?

frigwiggin

@lora.bee As in, Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher? Hell yes! The Skull of Truth introduced me to the idea of homosexuality.

lora.bee

@frigwiggin Yes yes!! And Aliens Ate My Homework!

Spice&Snails&PuppyDogTails

@noReally Bruce Coville! The Skull of Truth is my favorite, but I love them all -- and about a year ago I found out he and Tamora Pierce are super-good friends, and that made me love him EVEN MORE. (The Trickster God is actually Bruce Coville, y'all!)

On a scarier note, any Poe love? I don't know how I feel about his writing as an adult, because I read it as a child and was too badly terrified to ever again pick up a story he'd written.

MoxyCrimeFighter

@lora.bee COVILLE! Until I was about 12, I think I read everything that showed up in my library with his name on it. I was so upset that it seemed to be taking him forever to write a sequel to that unicorn book (which, eventually he did, and I know this because I looked it up on Wikipedia about a year ago, and my God, the books sound so cheesey).

Does anyone remember the compendiums? There was a story in one about a girl who drowned but didn't know it, and she eventually encountered her own waterlogged corpse. Gaaah, drowned bodies freak me outtttt.

Reginal T. Squirge

What, no Goosebumps!?

meetapossum

@Reginal T. Squirge Have you read Blogger Beware? It has THE BEST summaries of the Goosebumps series.

Like this gem from Ghost Camp:
"Lucy pleads with Harry to help her by allowing her to take over his mind and body. Harry is willing to go to third base tops, so he turns her down."

frigwiggin

@meetapossum This reminded me that I first learned about pewter from a Goosebumps book. Or rather, the book mentioned pewter and I had no idea what that was, so I looked it up in our gigantic dictionary. Learning!

sophi

@meetapossum I have a huge crush on the guy who writes Blogger Beware. I don't know what he looks like, or anything about him OTHER than that he is really good at writing about Goosebumps, but honestly I don't need to. I want him to be my boyfriend.

Scandyhoovian

Yes, yes, a thousand times yes, to The Historian! I loved that book. But not for its scary factor, more for its "this book pings my love of libraries and traveling and vampire mythos all at the same time," plus the twist at the end filled my heart with geeky bookish joy. ENJOY, ALL YE WHO READ, but perhaps don't expect full-on scary, where it's only just delightfully slight-edge-of-your-seatiness.

Also, may I recommend The Terror, by Dan Simmons? Scared the pants off me more than once while remaining history-nerd-pleasing and enthralling all at the same time. VERY well written. VERY entertaining. I've recced it to so many people now, I feel I may have even done it here at the 'Pin before...

JanieS

@Scandyhoovian In one of my classes in Library School, we got to read The Historian as the basis of a project on the intersection of archives, history, and collective memory. That was a great class.

maybe partying will help

@Scandyhoovian

Another freaky weird scary Simmons book is Carrion Comfort. I have it tagged as "fucked-up" on Goodreads.

Scandyhoovian

@JanieS Oh, that sounds FASCINATING!

JanieS

@Scandyhoovian Oh, man, it really was. Half the class was all snooty and "this is about VAMPIRES WTF", and my friend and I were just "do you not see how that makes EVERYTHING BETTER?!"

Elsajeni

@Scandyhoovian I have The Terror but I'm afraid to read it because it's so thick and I know it'll take me a long time to finish and I don't want to be scared for that long. :(

cecil hungry

FYI, that copy of "Hell House" is the graphic novel version. Don't buy it if you just want to read the book. This is my book club selection for October and now I don't have time to track down the real version. Which is sad because I <3 scary books (and no, neither our library nor Barnes & Noble carry the damn thing).

frigwiggin

It's not precisely SCARY, but I recently read M. T. Anderson's Thirsty, and it's pretty eerie and sad and atmospheric and has a creepy, ambiguous ending! It was one of the best vampire books I've read in a long time, and simultaneously made me feel depressed for the Youth of Today!

TheBelleWitch

Wuthering Heights! OK, I KNOW everyone hates Cathy and Heathcliff and their stupid melodrama, but I maintain that book is a horror story. There's dudes opening graves and cuddling dead chicks, for god's sake. And I still get shivers reading the Cathy-as-ghost-at-the-window bit in the beginning.

Decca

@TheBelleWitch Wuthering Heights is most definitely a metaphysical / psychological horror story, it is not a love story at all! Everyone is horrible! Animals are mutilated! And yeah, there's a line describing Lockwood's hand closing on a tiny, ice-cold hand at the window that makes my stomach lurch with fear every time I read it.

Lyssachelle

@Decca THANK YOU. Teenage me loved some Heathcliff (mostly because of Kate Bush) but SUPER CREEPY, HELLO?!?

Bittersweet

@Lyssachelle Nothing to add to this thread except HEATHCLIFF, IT'S ME, UH-CATHEE I'VE COME HOOOOME AND I'M SO COOOOOOOLD, LET ME IN AT YOUR WINDOW-HO-OH-OH...

Which will now remain lodged in my head all afternoon.

dracula's ghost

I just deleted an epic and hilarious rant about how much I loathe The Historian and can not believe it is number one on this list and how my heart has broken into a trillion pieces, each piece shattered anew into yet another trillion pieces

just thought you should know

Where Pies Go When They Die

FIRMLY TEAM GHOST. I like the Henry James short stories a lot; The Beast in the Jungle is also terrifying and tense even though nothing happens. Actually nothing. In the same nothing-happening vein is The Minister's Black Veil which I think I read after seeing it mentioned on here? Anyway I was oddly light headed after reading it having repeatedly held my breath, realised I was holding my breath and close to fainting, breathed, held again, etc etc. Which means it's pretty damn creepy.

Jolie Kerr

@Where Pies Go When They Die OH GOD THE MINISTER'S BLACK VEIL OH GOD OH GOD SOMEBODY HOLD ME OH GOD

Where Pies Go When They Die

@Jolie Kerr SERIOUSLY. I read it all sleep deprived in the early hours of the morn, mid essay crisis, and would not be surprised to find some sinister undertones should I reread that essay ("Woolf's Mrs Dalloway depicts THE SIN WITHIN ALL OUR SOULS").

Where Pies Go When They Die

@Jolie Kerr (I mean ok that is not exactly an undertone).

Jolie Kerr

Ooooooooooooo boy! *licks chops* I've been really really really waiting for this one, and specifically asked Nicole if she'd do this for the Calendar. I have about a million things to say here but first [SPOILER ALERT] one of the things I'm working on for later in the month is a Salem Tourism Guide. House of the 7 is absolutely on there — I've been about a million times and I never get tired of it. I won't step on my own post by saying anything else about it but just...oh man, you guys, I'm a real whore for Hawthorne.

The Historian is entirely marvelous and the description Nicole gives could not be more perfect. Please everyone read it.

The Wise Woman FREAKS ME THE FUCK OUT EVEN JUST SITTING THERE ON MY BOOKSHELF. Oh God, those dollies....

A few months ago, Nicole and I were emailing about macabre book selections and these were some of the ones I came up with:

Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been" springs to mind. And obvious things like "The Cask of Amontillado" and "Dracula" natch. Also "Jabberwocky." Oh man, my boyfriend and I basically fell in love because of "Jabberwocky."

The Lady of Shalott

@Jolie Kerr THE DOLLIES, THE DOLLIES. The wax. The iron pins.

yeah-elle

@Jolie Kerr Ahhhh, "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been"—how could I forget about this story? Just thinking about it gives me the willies.

evil melis

@Jolie Kerr Also shouldn't this have a "WITCH MUSEUM" tag at the very least?

Jolie Kerr

@evil melis What happened to our new tagline???? EDITH PROMISED!

Also: I will explain what a gable is!! But you have to wait for the Salem tourism guide ',..,' (that's a vampire emoticon, btw)

TheLetterL

@Jolie Kerr For those of us going to Salem in very very near future, would you say the best house/site/museum/store/attraction is called the something something "witch" something something?

(Srsly, Salem, I love you but maybe find a thesaurus.)

Jolie Kerr

@TheLetterL If you email me I'll give you my patented Salem route! When are you going, you lucky thing?? We were going to try to make it up during October, but instead will be there on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. It's my feller's first time and I'm SO excited to show him all around!!

TheLetterL

@Jolie Kerr Done! That is really sweet, thank you. I've been a handful of times over the years but always seem to fall into the same people watching/shopping rut, so I'm looking forward to hearing some new thoughts.

In return, I offer to the Hairpin my best Salem story: A few years ago, I was in one of the more tourist-oriented witchy shops. Two young teenage girls come in, and one slips a few books about Wicca into her backpack. (It was like a scene from The Craft, yes.) The staff tries to quietly resolve things, but that doesn't work, so the owner gets involved. She begins by literally shrieking at the girl: "HOW FOOLISH CAN YOU BE, STEALING FROM A WITCH?"

Jolie Kerr

@TheLetterL STOP IT. That is the greatest story ever. Also: Email received, stay tuned for a few suggestions. xoJK

Megasus

The Exorcist the book isn't on here? Also I just read my Complete Poe and call it a day. Some people do Lovecraft too I guess.

maybe partying will help

@Megano!

Yeah, I have a book of Lovecraft short stories that I like to read around Halloween.

Disco Sheets

@Megano! I make it a point to read at least one EA Poe story each October, and it usually ends up with me reading half the collection in one night and then not being able to sleep for hours.

frigwiggin

Ooh, does anybody have spooky audiobook recs? Drifting around the house in a big sweater listening to something Halloweeny sounds perfect right now.

SarcasticFringehead

@frigwiggin Ooh, BBC has dramatic readings of horror things sometimes. Right now, for instance, they've got Lovecraft's "The Shadow Over Innsmouth," plus other scary stuff.

ETA: dammit, I lied - they're not streaming the Lovecraft anymore. Still some scary stuff up there, though.

rocknrollunicorn

@frigwiggin I had never read Rebecca before (I know, blasphemy!) so I listened to it on audiobook and it was really good. Also, I listened to "Full Dark, No Stars" by Stephen King and didn't love the first story, but thought the other 3 were pretty great.

K.@twitter

Wait Till Helen Comes (helpfully subtitled A Ghost Story) was a favorite creepy YA/children's horror book of mine. More recently, Brian Evenson's Windeye quietly scared the living daylights out of me (mainly because a lot of his stories play on the terror of subtle differences, like one day a house has a window that wasn't previously there, one day their is something hard to explain but definitely new about your boyfriend, etc.) If you like your scary words accompanied by scary pictures, there is no graphic novel more terrifying than Black Hole by Charles Burns. I just CAN'T EVEN DEAL with the actual creepy-crawly feeling that book gives me whenever I think about it & it's been 5+ years since I last read it. Justin Evans' A Good and Happy Child was creepy as all get out and HOLY SHIT, how have I not brought up The Love Curse of the Rumbaughs, which is supposedly YA but is actually THE SCARIEST THING I HAVE EVER READ IN MY ENTIRE LIFE JESUS CHRIST. It's an impeccable gothic horror tale that should definitely read if you have an interest in taxidermy, Freudian "mommy issues," and you NEVER WANT TO SLEEP SOUNDLY EVER AGAIN.

Edited to add: Also, I know that the world is ~divided~ when it comes to Bret Easton Ellis, but damn did Lunar Park scare me. And not just because of the evil living Furby-like creature.

Kivrin

@K.@twitter I just came here to post about Wait Till Helen Comes. That book and The Dollhouse Murders wrecked me when I was a kid.

maybe partying will help

@K.@twitter

Black Hole is in my library Halloween display. Because WHAAAT.

@Kivrin

The Dollhouse Murders and Time Windows. Evil fucking dollhouses, what even.

MsLady

@Kivrin Oh, God, The Dollhouse Murders! I loved that book when I was a kid. I recently found a copy in a used bookstore and re-read it--still super creepy!

miss olsen

@K.@twitter OH MY GOD WAIT TIL HELEN COMES! Had totally forgotten it. Gasped out loud when I remembered it ALL in one terrifying rush of a moment. Also, Time for Andrew by the same author! The rest of her work is not as scary but oh boy I went through a hardcore Mary Downing Hahn phase as a kid.

Did any of yall read American Girl magazine (unnecessary question)? Remember the short story contest they used to have? Remember a winner one year in the 90s that involved a dead girl named Lydia and a creek and microfilm and PURE TERROR? Still gives me a little chill to think about.

maybe partying will help

@all

Mary Downing Hahn was an author I would dare myself to read as a kid. For some reason The Spanish Kidnapping Disaster really freaked me out.

Other scary kids book author: AVI. Avi, o Avi. Wolf Rider? What was that about? And Jade Green, and Something Upstairs! Ack. Hell, even the owl in Poppy was terrifying.

HeyThatsMyBike

@Kivrin I forgot about the Dollhouse Murders! My love of these books also go a long way to explain why I watch so much crime-related television today.

Lyssachelle

@MsGray As a gift for her ninth birthday, I bought my best friend's daughter all the books her mother and I read as kids and I made sure to include Dollhouse Murders and Wait Until Helen Comes and Christina's Ghost. (With fun stuff like The Witches and Island of the Blue Dolphins and Hank Cowdog, etc...)
When my friend saw what I sent her, she said she was almost afraid keeps the books in the house overnight, just THINKING about how bad they scared her made her want to hide. It didn't help that I bought used copies so they were the old, original covers too...

Of course, she still let her daughter read them. They gotta learn on their own!

bessmarvin

@K.@twitter OMG someone else understands my Lunar Park-related trauma!

K.@twitter

@Kivrin OMG, The Dollhouse Murders! I remember checking that out of my elementary school library and being subsequently horrified.

@bessmarvin You are not alone in your Lunar Park-related trauma. That book had a seriously creepy and unsettling vibe that was impossible for me to shake.

PomoFrannyGlass

@maybe partying will help AHHH, Wait Till Helen Comes was my FAVORITE. I could probably still recite it from memory/draw the cover. I loved all of her non-scary books too.

Also: AVI. In 6th grade we all had to read Something Upstairs (because historical) and he came to the public library and talked and I read all his stuff forever for years.

Another also: Can you guys help with a Shelf Discovery Plotfinder type deal? There was a book that terrified me as a child, about a girl living in a country house for the summer and there is a nice little boy ghost and a VERY SCARY bad man ghost and it turns out their whole haunting deal has to do with special, old, collectible stamps that are hidden in the house's library. I would love help remembering the title.

And I had to put Lunar Park down at the first sign of the sentient furby. Eek.

Lyssachelle

@PomoFrannyGlass CHRISTINA'S GHOST!! CHRISTINA'S GHOST!!!!!!!

I only scream that because I remember that book vividly; I bought it with my own money when I was like 10 and the book had a printing error and was missing most of its pages and we had to return it.
AND because the old man ghost was SO SCARY.

PomoFrannyGlass

@Lyssachelle THANK YOU!! I usually have a good memory (or passable Google skills) for this kind of thing and that one has been irking me for YEARS.

Elsajeni

@miss olsen I REMEMBER THAT LYDIA STORY IT SCARED THE SHIT OUT OF ME.

My favorite ghost book as a kid was Stonewords (another one helpfully subtitled "A Ghost Story"), where the little girl meets the little ghost girl who has her same name and as they get closer to the date of the ghost girl's death she starts looking all decayed and horrible.

Emma Peel

@K.@twitter OMG THAT LYDIA STORY. I hadn't thought about it in probably 10 years and I usually can't remember the plot of something for 10 minutes. It ends with her getting dragged into the creek, right? SO SCARY.

Amazing that it was written by a preteen probably. I wonder what happened to whoever wrote it?!

sandwiches

@Elsajeni Stonewords!!! So amazing, I was obsessed with that book. I'm sure it freaked me out as a kid when she starts decaying, but all I really remember is that it made me cry giant buckets of tears, so much so that even now I am feeling sad thinking about Zoe and Zoe Louise.

anachronistique

@maybe partying will help FUCKING TIME WINDOWS AUGH.

@miss olsen HOLY SHIT I REMEMBER THAT TOO. Not the actual story but the CREEPING DREAD and wanting to throw up out of terror.

dj pomegranate

I keep waiting for someone to make Revelation into an awesome creepy insane scary movie. Seriously, many-horned beasts, whores of Babylon, chanting angel dudes?! Why has this not been turned into a movie yet?

Spice&Snails&PuppyDogTails

@dj pomegranate There is a truly terrible version, based on Tim LaHaye's Left Behind books! I was snookered into watching it as a young teenager by the parents of a friend, who were very concerned about saving my soul through FEAR.(Warning: it is the worst. No awesome horsemen or anything, just a boring blond Beast from the UN who makes everybody get microchipped or have their heads chopped off. There's also lots of martyrdom.)

dj pomegranate

@Spice&Snails&PuppyDogTails Ugh, believe it or not, I HAVE SEEN THAT. It is basically How Not To Film The Apocalypse 101. NO HORNED BEASTS AT ALL.

travelmugs

@dj pomegranate Ha. I was just coming in to add "Left Behind." Apocalypse movies shouldn't have Kirk Cameron in them. :-/

dj pomegranate

@travelmugs UNLESS...You guys, what if the apocalypse actually means that Kirk Cameron plays the lead in every movie...FOREVER?!

Valley Girl

If you've only ever seen the Will Smith adaptation/abomination, Matheson's I Am Legend is a must. It's up on Google Books but I'm not sure how many pages might be missing.

I was thinking of watching The Mist (in b&w, of course) tonight to celebrate the spooky season. Maybe I'll bust out the novella and curl up in front of the fire instead.

Reginal T. Squirge

When I saw the The Mist in the theater, I was really excited because of Frank Darabont/Stephen King so I read the story just before I saw it.

Me and my girlfriend (at the time) went and when the alternate ending happened (you know) I said, out loud, "OH SHIT!" and she didn't know why I was so surprised because she hadn't read it.

For real, though, that alternate ending was badass.

Valley Girl

@Reginal T. Squirge I got a copy of the novella with the DVD, so for me it was reversed! The one they went with for the movie was infinitely more memorable, that's for sure.

meetapossum

NICOLE. I have pictures of The House of the Seven Gables!! I went there two years ago. My friend did all the witch (and pirate?) stuff with me, but wouldn't pay for the ticket into the house, so it was just me alone nerding out.

meetapossum

@meetapossum Oh man, they are huge. Sorry :(

MsLady

@meetapossum Ha, same thing happened to me when I visited Salem with my friends in college--none of my friends wanted to pay to go into the House of Seven Gables with me. I think I did eventually talk one person into going with me. I wonder where those pictures went...

Jolie Kerr

@meetapossum Do you want to email them to me for use in my Salem Tourism Guide piece? jolie@thehairpin.com - I can resize and such!

meetapossum

@Jolie Kerr Sure! I have other Salem-y pictures, too.

NeenerNeener

@meetapossum
I went this past summer, but wouldn't pay to get in.

@Jolie, I have pics of it as well, with a surprise guest. And in my pics it really needs a paint job, which I would expect they would have done by now.

journie cruz@twitter

@meetapossum Lucky me! I too dragged a friend with me to Salem but she DID go in the Seven Gables with me. A lady with a super big ass got stuck in the sharp turn of the secret passage in the chimney area. Everyone behind her had to turn around and go back down because she couldn't get through. And I was sort of traumatized because I was the first person to go up and it WAS a tight turn and I thought MY big ass wasn't going to make it through. So I felt relief, but was almost more scarred that someone else had to go through it. Because she was a lot older than me and I could have handled the humiliation in a more humorous manner. And I would have had my friend with me.

Gina@twitter

@meetapossum I live in Salem and have hopped over the fence to get in more times than I should admit to. We were always sent there on school projects but the tickets are expensive! My wayward youth spent looking at gables, I guess.

Lyesmith

I read We Have Always Lived in the Castle and then The Haunting of Hill House and now I've picked up The Witchcraft of Salem Village because Shirley Jackson is amazing. I had a hard time falling asleep after reading The Haunting of Hill House and I live in a condo. And I really want to know what the hell was haunting Hill House, besides absolute reality I guess.

@serenityfound

@Lyesmith If you haven't seen the original film version of The Haunting of Hill House, you must do so immediately. It's one of my favorite films ever and so insanely creeptastic. It's a pretty great adaptation, too, if you ask me.

Scandyhoovian

Also, re: Elizabeth Kostova, I just laughed really hard at the Wikipedia page for The Historian:

"Although many reviewers compared The Historian to Dan Brown's historical thriller The Da Vinci Code (2003), Kostova has said her book 'is part of a tradition where literary craft and experiments in form are all as important as action... the only overlap is this idea of people searching for something in history. I'm still surprised when people make this comparison, I'm very grateful my publisher has never pushed it.' Moreover, the only real historical personage in her novel is Vlad Ţepeş and she changed the name of some locations 'fearing some readers might confuse fantasy and reality, as they have with Brown's novels.'"

mlle.gateau

"Just keep in mind that although the tree made a beautiful sacrifice, the boy never cared, and the boy killed the tree. It's like watching somebody kill a puppy for no reason."

This is amazing, and I'm glad that lots of other people also hate The Giving Tree. That book always made me SO SAD as a child. SO INCREDIBLY SAD.

Edit: This is the only good thing about The Giving Tree- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYQavD9mSIc

wee_ramekin

@mlle.gateau Hahahaha, I love that video. One of the better ones, I think!

oh! valencia

@mlle.gateau I read that book to my daughter just last night, and I always make sure to talk about how awful the boy is being to the tree. So awful! Also, what kind of terrible life he must be having due to his complete lack of empathy.

oh! valencia

Has Shel Silverstein ever written a defense of that story? Anyone know? I would really like to know what he was thinking!

lora.bee

I bought this collection of semi-erotic horror short stories at the thrift store that I was hoping would be scary, but they were just kind of vaguely disturbing. Though it did contain the classic line "His eyes glowed like the dials of an alarm clock radio."

meetapossum

Can we also talk about Sheridan Le Fanu? The stories in In a Glass Darkly are creepy as heck.

simone eastbro

Fact: tried to do The Stepford Wives for a book report in 6th grade and didn't understand why I wasn't allowed.

ajayne

You guys, The Great and Secret Show by Clive Barker! It's so epic and weird and disturbing and wonderful. I'm always surprised everyone's not talking about it all the time.

all the bacon and eggs

@ajayne I loved that book. I'm not sure if I thought it was "scary," though definitely very weird.

ajayne

@all the bacon and eggs The terata haunt my nightmares!

Olivia2.0

YOU GUYS. I (apparently, I don't remember it) read my baby sister Bunnicula when she was...I dunno, 4? 3? To this day she is TERRIFIED of rabbits. I also sent her this article, so, HI SQUIRT!

OhMarie

I love Apocalypse/Post-Apocalypse/Dystopian books. Like, I do not believe that zombies are real, but World War Z scared me so bad I bought an emergency kit for my house.

Kivrin

@OhMarie My husband harassed me until I read World War Z. I just wasn't interested at first because I've never been into zombies. Of course the book made me realize that the reason I'm "not into zombies" is because I'M FREAKING TERRIFIED OF THEM.

Rock and Roll Ken Doll

@OhMarie
Oh man, I read that book in one sitting.

New Hoarder

@OhMarie Post-apocalyptic books: what my dreams and nightmares are made of! So compelling, but then I freak out because they seem to not be too far from reality. To detox after one, I have to read Sophie Kinsella-like books to get a normal functioning state again.

And World War Z. Yeah. Some of those entries? No. No. No thank you.

BornSecular

I don't really do scary stories, but my husband thinks Ray Bradbury writes some good ones: Trapdoor, Gotcha, The Whole Town's Sleeping, & The October Game. He keeps trying to get me to read It.

Personally I think The Stand is super scary, mostly because of how the people act to each other. I think things that could totally happen in real life are terrifying, like keep-me-awake-thinking-about-it terrifying. I thought that movie about the virus that came from a monkey (Contagion or something?) was way scarier than the Chuckie movies when I was young!

Lyssachelle

Another kid book, (I'm too much of a wuss to read grown-up scary books, I blew my bravery as a child) but how about "scary Stories to Tell in the Dark"? The stories were old tales like the haunted prom dress and the Wendigo, but those illustrations STILL scare the shit out of me...

PistolPackinMama

@Lyssachelle And then you can go read Grimm's actual tales and be all like DISNEY WHAT?

Wendigo: True story. Windigo are, in N. Woodlands folklore, really not very nice at all. Not. At. All. Cannibal vampire ice monsters? People who transform into awful things and then feast on the flesh of their own communities? Not nice.

So anyway. Up on the Gunflint Trail in N. Minnesota, lots of places have "Indian" names, or names derived from Native origins. Some of them are general- any time you see the word "Manitou" [ahem Manitoba anyone?] means something like "spirit" and there are lots of place names with that word in it around.

But up on Gunflint there is also an establishment called Windigo Lodge. Which is not like calling something "Ghost Lodge" or "Spirit Lodge" or even "Devil's Lodge." It's more like "Pederasty Pitstop" in the sense that it's really pretty inappropriate. "Mass Murderer Mall." Windigo Lodge is a pull tabs and burgers and pool kind of place, and you know. Vacation beer. But. It's burned down to the ground. Twice.

...
...
...
...
...

Look, I'm not saying (I am totally saying). Maybe it's time to change the name of the Lodge, Lodge owners. Just, do it.

MsLady

@Lyssachelle YESSS. I have always loved creepy things and scary stories, and I memorized every single story in those books, and made myself the go-to scary storyteller at all the elementary school sleepovers. But I still had to turn the pages with illustrations as quickly as possible!

yeah-elle

@Lyssachelle Yep, those illustrations made me and pretty much everyone else I know shake in their boots. Recently, the collection was republished with different illustrations, which is just blasphemy. I feel like I may have even read about it here.

Lyssachelle

@PistolPackinMama STOP RIGHT THERE, because that is the one story that always freaked me out the most, with picture of the footprints and the calling of that guy's name and because it was Native American and I was a kid in Texas and we all knew all those Native American tales are TOTALLY true because someone's grandfather's uncle saw it when he was a boy and AHHHHHH!!
Never going to Gunflint, even if it does have a bad-ass name.

@yeah-elle I completely reject that as being a true thing because who on God's green earth would do that?!? The pictures are the BEST PART.

Elsajeni

@Lyssachelle That's the scariest book I own, for sure. Ugh Harold the scarecrow I CAN'T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT.

Edit THERE WAS A NOISE OUTSIDE AS I WAS POSTING THIS
A SCRATCHY NOISE
OH MY GODDDDD CAT WAKE UP AND PROTECT ME

MarianTheLibrarian

@Elsajeni I can't even handle the name Harold. Of course, now I look at my icon to the left and realize it's Harold Hill, but the thing is, he's Harold Hill, he's not just Harold. I cannot deal with the name Harold. In high school, some friends and I would get the audio tape and turn off the lights and listen to the Harold story hiding under the covers. Maybe we were supposed to be listening to it ironically, but I still remember the terror. Oh the terror.

Kristen

Hooray! Literary horror (and really, straight-up horror written even slightly decently) is by far my favorite genre.

I tried to read Hell House a while back and I could not get into it, I think in part because it is SO SEVENTIES (everyone is repressed and the horrors that surface are metaphorically obvious and kind of laughable representations of their sexual urges) and in part because the basic setup (a bunch of people go to a Haunted House and try to figure it out) is just so familiar from parodies and remakes etc. that it's hard to get through that to the horror.

A few scary books I've read lately, Stephen King and previous mentions excepted:

~THE RAISING, by Laura Kasischke. This is was probably the best as well as the scariest book I read last year. Set on an idyllic college campus, full of ghosts and murder and evil sororities and just...damn. I cannot recommend it enough, especially to read around Halloween.

~GHOST WRITER, by John Harwood. I don't understand why this book isn't more famous than it is. The author is Australian, I think, and this is a flawless literary ghost story. I would recommend it 100% without reservations to anyone on here.

~Ghost Story, by Peter Straub. Classic.

~Broken Harbor, by Tana French. Technically, French's books are mysteries, but there is an aura of supernaturalish melancholy about everything she writes, and this one in particular left me curled up on the bed, staring at the ceiling. I think she's one of the most talented writers working today; <3 everything she writes other than Faithful Place - The Likeness was also very good.

~The Terror, by Dan Simmons. On the one hand, I have the most extraordinarily vivid, terrified memories of reading this book. It's based on a historical event (the loss of the ship the Terror in the Arctic, all abroad froze or starved to death). I was flying alone and I remember just sitting on the plane, shivering and scared. On the other hand, everything else I've ever read by Dan Brown is kind of shit and occasionally quite racist, so I'm not quite sure if you can trust my memory.

Ramsey Campbell's books leave me feeling too squicky and itchy to actually enjoy them, but if you're a real horror buff and need a new fix, he's worth checking out.

What else? House of Leaves is divisive but worth it; The Passage by Justin Cronin is overrated but compelling; The Room by Emma Donogue isn't exactly horror but will leave you gripping it, white-knuckled, at parts...ok, that's probably enough, but I'll check back in as I think of more. <3!

Super Nintendo Chalmers

@Kristen I definitely agree about Hell House, although it was also the surprise-ghost-rape that really turned me off as well. I went through a whole Matheson period in grad school because they had a bunch of his books in the local library and he is a Pillar of Horror. I think I probably liked Stir of Echoes best.

Robert Maresco's Burnt Offerings is pretty darn good, although I am a fan of psychological horror involving houses, which is a very specific genre in which there are not a lot of quality offerings.

PomoFrannyGlass

@Super Nintendo Chalmers Good to know Burnt Offerings is worth it, I've had it on my shelf for years, and needed a nudge to read it. My favorite in "psychological horror involving houses" subgenre is The House Next Door by Anne Rivers Siddons. Best scary book I've read as an adult, hands down.

@Kristen Agree on Broken Harbor! And In the Woods, though it feels like straightforward crime/mystery throughout, ends on a pretty creepy note.

Super Nintendo Chalmers

@PomoFrannyGlass Also the movie version is quite atmospheric. I'm not sure objectively how good it is because I was just captivated by the Karen Black/Burgess Meredith/Bette Davis-ness of it all.

szarah

@Kristen I looooved The Terror. I did go through this awkward phase after reading it where I just people about the signs of scurvy. "Are your hair follicles bleeding?" I've tried to read other Dan Simmons, but I wasn't too into it either. I did read Drood and I thought it was interesting, but not really scary.

Kristen

Hooray! Literary horror (and really, straight-up horror written even slightly decently) is by far my favorite genre.

I tried to read Hell House a while back and I could not get into it, I think in part because it is SO SEVENTIES (everyone is repressed and the horrors that surface are metaphorically obvious and kind of laughable representations of their sexual urges) and in part because the basic setup (a bunch of people go to a Haunted House and try to figure it out) is just so familiar from parodies and remakes etc. that it's hard to get through that to the horror.

A few scary books I've read lately, Stephen King and previous mentions excepted:

~THE RAISING, by Laura Kasischke. This is was probably the best as well as the scariest book I read last year. Set on an idyllic college campus, full of ghosts and murder and evil sororities and just...damn. I cannot recommend it enough, especially to read around Halloween.

~GHOST WRITER, by John Harwood. I don't understand why this book isn't more famous than it is. The author is Australian, I think, and this is a flawless literary ghost story. I would recommend it 100% without reservations to anyone on here.

~Ghost Story, by Peter Straub. Classic.

~Broken Harbor, by Tana French. Technically, French's books are mysteries, but there is an aura of supernaturalish melancholy about everything she writes, and this one in particular left me curled up on the bed, staring at the ceiling. I think she's one of the most talented writers working today; <3 everything she writes other than Faithful Place - The Likeness was also very good.

~The Terror, by Dan Simmons. On the one hand, I have the most extraordinarily vivid, terrified memories of reading this book. It's based on a historical event (the loss of the ship the Terror in the Arctic, all abroad froze or starved to death). I was flying alone and I remember just sitting on the plane, shivering and scared. On the other hand, everything else I've ever read by Dan Brown is kind of shit and occasionally quite racist, so I'm not quite sure if you can trust my memory.

Ramsey Campbell's books leave me feeling too squicky and itchy to actually enjoy them, but if you're a real horror buff and need a new fix, he's worth checking out.

What else? House of Leaves is divisive but worth it; The Passage by Justin Cronin is overrated but compelling; The Room by Emma Donogue isn't exactly horror but will leave you gripping it, white-knuckled, at parts...ok, that's probably enough, but I'll check back in as I think of more. <3!

par_parenthese

AAAH BUNNICULA AAAAAHHHH! Oh man, that book scared the piss out of me when I was a kid! So fantastic. I <3 u forever for mentioning it, that more people may have the pants scared off their 8-year-old selves, amen.

@serenityfound

@par_parenthese Bunnicula and Howliday Inn forever!

Jolie Kerr

ALSO ALSO ALSO SINCE WE'RE INCLUDING YA EVERYTHING ALL THE THINGS EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM BY LOIS DUNCAN

Locked in Time is my favorite. I might have to purchase and reread it tonight after work. (Confession: I'm already rereading The House of the Seven Gables and I have a volume of Poe my boyfriend loaned me underneath it on my nightstand.)

maybe partying will help

@Jolie Kerr

Stranger With My Face! Summer of Fear!

@serenityfound

@Jolie Kerr I never read Lois Duncan, but I read a ton of Mary Higgins Clark as a preteen/teen and they freaked me out pretty well.

MmeLibrarian

Oh, thank heaven. Maybe I can use one of these books to make myself STOP reading Shadow of Night, the sequel to A Discovery of Witches, neither of which are very good but I cannot stop someone save me from inertia and my own stupidity.

Bittersweet

@MmeLibrarian Noooo, I really like those books, mostly because I keep imagining Cumberbatch as Matthew in the movie version, but also because there's so much sitting around the Bodleian reading old manuscripts. Shadow of Night does go a little awry, though.

MmeLibrarian

@Bittersweet Okay, the Cumberbatch thing does help, though I think he would have to get seriously ripped to actually look like Matthew. Which I'm pretty sure I object to.

I think my main objection was that there isn't enough sitting-around-in-the-Bodleian going on. I felt like A Discovery of Witches started out all nerd porny and then tripped, fell, and turned into Twilight somehow.

Bittersweet

@MmeLibrarian OK, I'd settle for Henry Cavill, who is already seriously ripped for the new Superman movie. I know what you mean about the Twilight turn the book takes, but I was OK with that, mostly because Diana isn't some Bella Swan passive lightweight type. I have to admit I'm looking forward to the third book, when (if there's any justice in the world) she'll figure out how to control her powers and then start really ripping bad guys' heads off.

dracula's ghost

The Shining
House of Leaves
The Exorcist

If what you are usually scared by is stuff more along The Historian lines then don't read these because you will die

#historianburns
#relentlesshectoring

Seriously, if you love the faux academia stuff of The Historian then House of Leaves will blow your mind! It's a really elaborate fake film studies dissection of a fake movie, complete with made-up annotated bibliographies and stuff. It's so good, so scary in such a weird way, and so challenging in its structure, like I was actually frightened by the structure of the book, which is hard to even explain. It's about a labyrinth. Oh god I just got scared again

You also have to read it with a post-it note, like Infinite Jest

Super Nintendo Chalmers

@dracula's ghost I unabashedly adore House of Leaves, every fussy, footnoted bit of it. The first inkling of trouble -- the book falling off the shelf, measuring the house -- is still so so creepy to me.

cosmia

@Super Nintendo Chalmers House of Leaves is one of my favourite books ever even though I recognize its many flaws because the footnotes are ridiculous and because I pretty much got zero sleep the entire time I was reading it.

evaagnes

@dracula's ghost House of Leaves gave me a deep existential terror that nothing can match! The first time I read it, I couldn't put it down at all even though it gave me nightmares and now I re-read it every couple years just for the chills! Nothing scarier.

mysteriousandsneaky

@Super Nintendo Chalmers for me, the worst part was near the end, when the wall suddenly disappears behind Karen's back. Aaaaaaaaaaaah! What if you looked behind you RIGHT NOW and the wall was gone?

@serenityfound

Two of the scariest books I ever read were novelisations of X-Files episodes: the one about the twin boys (where the twin died young & there's a creepy Eastern European exorcism) and "Eve". Utterly terrified me, especially since we were on vacation in Iowa and staying in creepy old family houses.

Also, the last act or so of Duma Key. What the actual fuck. And Gerald's Game - pretty terrible book, but horrifying when you really think about all of the shit that happens. See also: The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, The Regulators, Apt Pupil. #IloveStephenKing

Lyssachelle

@@serenityfound True story; I once was watching the twin episode when it aired as a pre-teen and pretending to be a bad-ass in the house alone, in the dark and NOT scared, even though I have an irrational fear of scary children.
I got through the whole episode and was SO smug...until I walked into my parents' bathroom and suddenly my mom's hairdryer came on. I screamed, maybe peed a little and then ran to my neighbor's house.
It was just that the light switch controls the plug due to funky wiring and the dryer wasn't completely off and came on when I went in there, but as far as I was concerned (and convinced of for weeks) that hair dryer was the harbinger of the end of days.

That is only ONE of the times that X-Files has effed with my psyche. Reading a book of it would be EVEN WORSE.

@serenityfound

@Lyssachelle I actually stopped watching X-Files from about the 5th grade until the 8th or 9th because I loved it so much but I just couldn't take it. For some reason, I picked up these two books in that period when I wasn't watching and thought that was a great idea. ....so I slept in the (weird, semi-unused nursery) room with my mom for our whole trip, because I was too freaked out to sleep alone.

cosmia

@@serenityfound I'm rereading Rose Madder right now and I know it's an unpopular King pick but I'm so in love with it. On one hand it's kind of an inspiring story about a woman escaping an extremely abusive husband but also holy fucking fuck Norman is horrifying

catsuperhero

@Lyssachelle My X-Files novelisation freak-out was Tooms. I'm pretty sure he was in a few episodes (that I too stopped watching because GOD THE CREEPINESS), but the book was the worst. He was a guy who survived for hundreds of years by eating (I think) bile from livers he harvested. Mulder and Scully tracked him down, and found a huge nest just covered in bile.

But the worst part--the part that still freaks the hell out of me--was that the book was called "Squeeze." BECAUSE TOOMS HAD LEARNED TO ENTER HOUSES BY SQUEEZING THROUGH CHIMNEYS AND AIR DUCTS. Holy Jesus. He killed people via their air ducts. There is literally nothing you can do to secure all the air ducts in your house. I know, because I tried, and my parents yelled at me.

cosmia

@catsuperhero SQUEEZE I CAN'T EVEN THINK ABOUT THAT EPISODE OF THE X-FILES IT IS SO INCREDIBLY SCARY

@serenityfound

@cosmia @catsuperhero TOOMS. Oh man. He was in the first couple episodes of the first season, and then one or two more in later seasons. The worst thing for me about Tooms was his crazy cocoon/liver palace thing. And that he was always so sweaty. Ugh.

Lyssachelle

@cosmia @serenityfound LALALALA, TOOMS DOES NOT EXIST THERE IS NO BILE CAVE ONLY HEARTS AND FLOWERS AND PONIES, LALALALA!!!!!

I completely forgot about Tooms until this thread. Now I want my mommy.

catsuperhero

@Lyssachelle Yep. I am going to freeze tonight, because I am going to close all my ventilation. And do something to the cold air returns. And something to the chimney. Yep. I will be impervious.

seriously guys there is no way this guy wouldn't make it past my pitiful safeguards

yeah-elle

Can we talk about the masks at the end of The Ear, The Eye, and The Arm? The She Elephant and the plastic mines? Creepy colonialist Mrs. Horsepool-Worthingham? Crap, I loved that book but it was way too stressful for me as an 8 year old.

cosmia

@yeah-elle I never read that one, but have you read House of the Scorpion, also by Nancy Farmer? That was one of my favourite books as a 12 year old and sweet holy god it's so good, even rereading it as an adult. That terrible movie The Island clearly ripped it off.

anachronistique

@yeah-elle OH SHIT THAT BOOK. It doesn't leap to mind when I think of horror but it's such an amazing story.

dracula's ghost

Has anyone here ever heard of Children of the Dust? It's a brutal novel without any kind of redemption or happy ending, about nuclear holocaust, written for children. WTF, I grew up in a very un-sheltered time period, I guess. I read it like 100 times and still have nightmares about it. The cover was just an illustration of a mushroom cloud. I would ceaselessly ask my parents about it. "If a nuclear bomb got dropped what would we do??" My dad would always just be like "we'd die, hopefully"

fun times

batgirl

@dracula's ghost I never read that book but I did read one called After the Bomb which was frighteningly realistic YA book about what would happen in if a nuclear bomb was accidentally dropped on downtown LA. It included incredibly graphic descriptions of radiation sickness. I still have nightmares about this book. I had one about it last night in fact, where I couldn't decide if it would be better to die in the blast or survive. Still not sure of the answer to that though, but I think your dad might have had the right idea.

LooseBaggyMonster

@dracula's ghost Yes, I read and was terrified by that book! Especially the "purples" (shudders!) . To this day, I cannot stand apocalyptic tales.

iradinosaur

ooh oooh! John Connolly's "Noctures" is pretty great. It's a collection of short stories… kind of Stephen King meets Poe.

New Hoarder

This is where I laud The Thirteenth Tale (Diane Setterfield). Creepy as fuck.

Jolie Kerr

@New Hoarder HOLY CRAP YES OH MY GOD THAT BOOK WAS SO CREEPY I TOTALLY BLOCKED IT OUT. (I should consider yelling less? Sorry. Just ... this is my sweet spot, for serious.)

Lyssachelle

@Jolie Kerr You know, I didn't think about it at the time because I was SO engrossed, but it WAS creepy!! I was just so damn compelled to keep reading I didn't think about it...

JG3
JG3

Duma Key scared the bejeezus out of me! And I did make the terrible, awful mistake of bringing it with me on a beach vacation.

ayo nicole

The Handmaid's Tale! Oh my god!

wee_ramekin

@ayo nicole Agreed! Might as well throw 1984 in there, as well.

cosmia

@ayo nicole Also Oryx and Crake, which has the dual effect of terrifying me AND enraging me!

New Hoarder

@ayo nicole ORYX & CRAKE. Nightmares for days, weeks, now years! The PIGOONS... I am having issues reading the sequel (After the Flood) because I am still sooo creeped out from O&C. I am addicted to post-apocalyptic novels but they terrify me!

rimy

When I was a little kid, this book in The Hardy Boys series scared me so bad I had to put it down in the middle because I was sweating and my little heart was beating out of my chest.

Cat named Virtute

Okay, so I realize Turn of the Screw is usually an exception to this, but I have a Henry James question! I tried Daisy Miller and Washington Square when I was 16, and got NOTHING out of them. A lot of people say you can't appreciate James til you're older. Do you think this is true, Nicole? Is 25 and sort of worldly with a lit degree older? When do I get to truly commune with Jessa Crispin and appreciate James?!

Nicole Cliffe

Oh, please please. PLEASE!!!! Maybe do a Wharton first to get in the right mindset? Then do Portrait. Portrait is a perfect book. Then email me.

harebell

@Cat named Virtute
Nicole is absolutely right -- get in to the mindset, & start with Portrait, & all will be well. So good!

I think Henry James also takes a bit of patience/trust. I was a doubter about late James novels for a while, and then came to really, really love them -- but it was almost as though I had to get absorbed into a new culture and learn the rhythms of a new language in the process. It took a little telling myself not to be impatient. This is only true of the late James (e.g. Wings of the Dove, Golden Bowl), though. The earlier stuff doesn't need that much priming -- just a little tiny bit as Nicole says, and then it is so worth it.

Cat named Virtute

@Nicole Cliffe I work in a second-hand bookstore, and right after my lunch break, I grabbed The Age of Innocence and The Turn of the Screw and Other Stories and gave them to my coworker to take off this week's pay cheque. I will get Portrait from the library. How could I say no to you! I could not, that's now. I will report back soon.

@hareball Thanks for this. Will get back to y'all!

Hot Doom

Ok, along with imploring, upthread, to read Daphne Du Maurier's 'Don't Look Now', I have a children's book/young adult recommendation: The Dark Thirty: Southern Tales of the Supernatural, by Patricia McKissack.
IT'S SO GOOD. I got it when I was about 9 and couldn't put it down, and read the stories over and over again. I went back to it recently (in my late 20s) and it is still fantastic. The stories are not all horror, but they're all creepy because they're fucking weird. They're set in the American south and involve ghosts, evil spirits entering a home via a little doll with an epic (for a child's story) climax and ending, and children being abducted. The illustrations are by Brian Pinkney, who does black and white line drawings that are really dynamic and go so well with the stories. Get it for a kid or get it for yourself and be thoroughly creeped out.

alicke

"Cruddy" by Lynda Barry. Please everyone read this, it's incredible. Terrifying, funny, heartbreaking.

Amphora

@alicke Wow I haven't thought about that book in years, and yes it is all of that.

cosmia

Yay, to the library I go!

I love terrifying movies but for some reason I never brought my A-game to reading horror lit. I also don't get as scared as I want to. The only books I can name right off the bat that freaked me out were House of Leaves (FUCK THAT ONE FUCKING SCENE WITH THE EXPLORER GUY), and a Stephen King short story, The Jaunt. CLOSER THAN YOU THINK DAD AHHHH

I'm also rereading Rose Madder and it's unbelievable how much paranormal Stephen King I devoured without batting an eyelash but the protagonist's terrifying abusive husband is the scariest part.

PomoFrannyGlass

@cosmia I went through a long King phase as a teenager and I think Rose Madder was the one that broke me. It just seemed so twisted. It's also the book in which I learned the word "fellatio."

Which reminds that I learned what an atheist was from Christopher Pike! Holy crap. The Season of Passage. Talk about twisted.

Super Nintendo Chalmers

@cosmia Why was HoL so.damn.scary? There wasn't even a monster, really, just those weird, dark, cold corridors. I love it though, even if reading some of the Jonny Truant bits makes me want to hit him.

cosmia

@Super Nintendo Chalmers The weird, dark, cold corridors! I get mildly claustrophobic and just the idea of slowly going insane while trapped in this weird house that keeps getting bigger on the inside, the idea of all that space and being stuck in it forever, just freaked me the fuck out.The Johnny Truant chapters were super annoying though, I agree.

lizardjellybean

@cosmia I really want to read HoL, but I keep getting majorly turned off by Johnny Truant. All I wanna know about is that house! I think I'll always be perpetually 1/3 of the way through that book.

batgirl

Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill scared the pants off of me! He's Stephen King's son so he knows from creepy.

Super Nintendo Chalmers

@batgirl I just finished his second one, Horns pretty recently and also like it a lot!

batgirl

Horns was pretty good too. Not as scary, but still super creepy.

Hollye

There was a girl on the G train the other day reading a Christopher Pike paperback with a pencil in her hand to make notes in the margins and the first thought that popped into my head was 'I bet that girl is a 'Pinner.'

This feels like a missed connection. Wanna be my friend G train Christopher Pike scholar?

space opera

First Love: A Gothic Tale by Joyce Carol Oates effed my shit up.

Corielle Hayley@facebook

Ditto on Historian. Super creepy. Also--Chuck Hogan & Guillermo Del Toro's The Strain & The Exorcist book bc OMG scary.

lizardjellybean

@Corielle Hayley@facebook Yeah! That first part of The Strain with the plane on the tarmac messed me up for DAYS. Although the second and third books are kinda meh, I think.

space opera

Also The Magicians and The Magician King by Lev Grossman are not horror but each have at least one scene that is so flat out terrifying that I wonder if the man might have missed his (other) calling.

Elsajeni

The most scared I have ever been in a public place in broad daylight was reading "The Emissary," a short story by Ray Bradbury.

This story appears in the anthology The October Country, and when I was a teenager I had a copy that, due to a binding error, was missing a chunk of pages -- the last few pages of "The Emissary" and the first few pages of the next story, which was about a murderous baby. So I read most of "The Emissary," which was a nice story about a kid who was too sick to go out, and how he missed his school and his friends and the outside world, but he would send his dog out and then use the leaves and twigs and notes from friends that the dog brought back to imagine what was going on outside. Nice story! Sweet! Never did know how it ended.

A few months ago I was in a bookstore and saw a zombie-story anthology that listed Ray Bradbury as one of the authors featured. "Huh," I thought. "I don't think I've read any zombie stories by Ray Bradbury. I wonder what story it is?" So I flipped to that page, and discovered that it was "The Emissary," and read it all the way to the end right there in the bookstore.

IT IS NOT A NICE SWEET STORY.

(Not even, objectively, particularly scary! But my long-held belief that it was just a nice quiet story about autumn and a sick boy and his nice helpful dog made it SO MUCH SCARIER.)

aubrey!

I am Team Ghost AND ALSO the Governess is Insane. They're not mutually exclusive. Maybe she is insane from seeing the ghosts, hmm?

Priscilla Peel

All of these books and stories are terrifying! I'm being scared right now by M.R. West's ghost stories. The spidery ghost with the black cobwebs over its eyes!!

Oliver St. John Mollusc

YOU GUYS! My book club is reading the Amityville Horror right now! I was just about to tear myself away from the computer to finish it now that I've got some daylight. Apologies if anyone has mentioned this upthread but... the writing is *really* bad. Good story! Bad writing. You should still read it, I just felt like it was my duty to warn everyone.

Also, the bouncer at Union Hall was reading a Christopher Pike book the other day. True story.

thatslikeyouropinionman

Is this an appropriate place to talk about how excited I am for my Halloween costume? I'm going to be Bunnicula...

superfluous consonants

um, THE WITCHES. the first time i read that i couldn't get past the first chapter (where Dahl explains all the various terrible things witches have done to children) and made my dad hide the book in the trunk of his car until he could return it to the library. i couldn't get all the way through it until two years later. HORRIFYING.

no bricks

@superfluous consonants I had a similar experience with that book! I started reading it out loud to my dad and was terrified after the first chapter...but he made me keep going! Ahh!

...and then I watched the movie of it.

Caitlin Young@twitter

1) Team Ghosts AND The Governess Is Insane! More fun that way.

2) I read The Haunting of Hill House over the summer after being in love with the movie for years. I wondered going in if it would still scare me after having seen the movie so many times. And then I got to the scene where the doctor's wife and her buddy are talking about their ~conversation with the spirits~ and it's all ridiculousness and pointless and then Nell's name comes up. AUGH. CHILLS EVERYWHERE.

marlae

I appreciate all you have done for myself and my family. My name is harry and after contacting so many fake spell casters that only played with my heart you´d got what I wanted: my family back. Your sincere kindness and thoughtfulness inspires me. You have touched my heart deeply and I will forever be grateful that you got rid of all the negative influences that surrounded my wife and I. Now we are back and my son is very happy again, with his parents together... Thanks ANTOGAI antogaispelltemple@yahoo.com all my gratefulness

HK
HK

Ack. I totally agree with everyone who made comments about The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters. It scared me SUBSTANTIALLY. the ending was too much. too much. I'm so glad I'm not alone with this anymore, because my sister read it too and she was bored. BORED! what.

(sorry for getting capsy, but this topic is exciting for me.)

anyway, if you're looking for a similarly creepy read, I also thought Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood was bone chilling. And based on a true story! ahhhhhhh. for real.

Minx

So in fifth grade, I discovered Masque of the Red Death. It was in a nice children's book of three scary stories, so it may have been abridged? I can't remember. Regardless, Poe did what he did best and thoroughly creeped me out. As I lay in bed that night, I was terrified that the Red Death was slinking down my hall to slay me with mysterious illness. I have no idea why it scared me so much. It didn't bother my peers that I shared it with. It doesn't bother me now. But something about that story just really bothered me as a ten-year-old. Who knows.

Julie Chase@facebook

One of my favorite scary books from the past few years is Dan Simmons' Summer of Night. It has that great boys on their bikes on a humid afternoon in their idyllic small town vibe. And then BAM. Things get CRAZY.

And I second the recommendation for Joe Hill's Heart-Shaped Box. That was a fantastic ghost story. His book of short stories 20th Century Ghosts is pretty creepy, especially the first story, and his novel Horns is delightfully warped.

rocknrollunicorn

I have the entire Christopher Pike collection proudly displayed on my bookshelf. I "like" him on FB, and he's not very good at social media, but he is in fact still writing and is going on a book tour soon and I'm strongly considering driving too far to see him in a couple of weeks. Whisper of Death was always one of my favorites, though now, like someone above, I realize it's pretty anti-abortion, probably. So how about Road to Nowhere, then. Or See You Later. Or Spellbound. Such generic titles for such fun books.

The only book that, thus far, has really and truly creeped me out was The Ghost Writer by John Harwood. It spooked me one night and I nearly had to put it in the freezer. I rarely get spooked.

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Far scarier than the scary books? The comment up above by "marlae." I know it's the same comment that account keeps making every so often but in this thread, I find it totally chilling. FAKE SPELL CASTERS AND NEGATIVE INFLUENCES.

alamuzmo

I know this thread is mostly dead now, but I just wanted to see if anyone else remembered The Christmas Killer by Patricia Windsor? Dear lord, finishing that book at 2 in the morning while home by myself was a poor idea. Eeep. Man, junior high, you had the best (and worst) books.

Chicago7

Hell House was a good book. After all, Richard Matheson never wrote anything bad. But it's not in the same league with Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House. There's a story about that book that the producer of the original film version tells. He had just finished West Side Story and the storyboards for The Sound of Music were underway. He was in his office, lying on the sofa, reading Hill House, when his secretary opened the door. He yelped and jumped a couple of feet off the couch, and asked her why she hadn't knocked. She said she had, several times, and when he didn't answer she opened the door to see if he was okay. The book scared him so badly he determined to make it into a film in between the big blockbusters. And his film version was aces. Yeah, Shirley Jackson. Her short story Daemon Lover still haunts me to this day. Every young woman's secret terror.

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My Name is lovely..I never believed in Love Spells or Magics until I met this special spell caster once when i went to Africa to Execute some business..He is really powerful.The woman i wanted to marry left me 3 weeks to our weeding ceremony and my life was upside down.she was with me for 3 years and i really love her so much..she left me for another man with no reason..when i called her she never picked up my calls and she don’t want to see me around her…so,when i told the man what happened.he helped me to do some readings,and after the readings he made me to realize that the other man has done some spells over my wife and that is the reason why she left me..he told me he will help me to cast a spell that bring her back.At first i was skeptical but i just gave it a try…In 2 days,she called me herself and came to me apologizing..I cant believe she can ever come back to me again EMAIL boomaspiritualtemple@yahoo.com

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