Mummies, urban legends, and immortal souls — oh my! What scary stories top your list?
There is one thing all people — regardless of race or nationality, age or gender identification — enjoy: a good story. Even better? One that keeps them hanging on to the edge of their seats until the very end. Spooky tales have long been told by the campfire, and as technology has progressed, writers and filmmakers have continued to spin frightening narratives for successive generations.
As the weather cools and the nights grow longer, many people will be snuggling up with a good book or introducing younger readers to some of their childhood favorites. Whatever your pleasure, here are five chilling stories to add to your list.
R.L. Stine’s classic series has been scaring grade schoolers like my son since “Welcome to Dead House,” the first “Goosebumps” novel, premiered in 1992. A prolific horror author, Stine rolled out the series to the elementary school crowd to follow up his “Fear Street” books for teens. With more than 400 million books sold, Stine’s scary tales have been frightening fans of all ages for years, and with a Marvel collaboration and new “Goosebumps” spinoff in the works, he doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.
“Scary Stories to Tell in The Dark”
During a completely unscientific survey of my friends and colleagues about which books scared the crap out of them growing up, Alvin Schwartz’s collection “Scary Stories to Tell in The Dark” topped the list. First released in 1981, the book “offers up some of the most alarming tales of horror, dark revenge, and supernatural events of all time.” Schwartz draws on folklore, urban legends, and his extensive research for the book, which has frequently shown up in the American Library Association’s most challenged books list.
Publishers Weekly called Dean Koontz’s novel, “Watchers” a cross between “Lassie” and “‘E.T.” with “a touch of ‘The Wolfen’ and a dash of ‘The Godfather.’” The supernatural thriller follows a man out for a hike who encounters a golden retriever that prevents him from venturing further into the forest. With more than 450 million copies of his books sold, it’s easy to see why Rolling Stone dubbed Koontz “America’s most popular suspense novelist.”
“Wait Till Helen Comes: A Ghost Story”
Writer Mary Downing Hahn knows what kids like to read. The former librarian has been writing for over 30 years across several genres, from historical fiction to fantasy. While Hahn is a versatile storyteller, most readers know her for her spooky tales, including her best-selling book “Wait Till Helen Comes.” According to Kirkus Reviews, Hahn “has mastered the art of the not-too-creepy ghost story,” so it’s no surprise she’s a favorite for tweens who love a good mystery.
“My Soul to Keep”
Tananarive Due isn’t a household name like Stephen King, but she should be. The novelist and screenwriter is a master of black speculative fiction, often weaving historical elements into her work. In “My Soul to Keep,” the main character, Jessica, seems to have everything going for her — until the people around her start to meet their end. King called the book “an eerie epic that bears favorable comparison to ‘Interview With A Vampire,’” and Publishers Weekly said it was “populated with vivid, emotional characters ... a chilling journey to another world.”