For lovers of Fantasy and Horror stories, Halloween is one of the best times of the year. Perfect for aficionados of the weird and macabre, we’ve compiled a reading list of truly creepy tales from some of the greatest horror authors of the past. If you’re after something terrifying to read this Halloween, this collection of scary stories is sure to get you in the mood.
“With a mocking smile, he placed one hand upon my shoulder and, holding me tight, bared my throat with the other, saying as he did so: “First, a little refreshment to reward my exertions.”– Bram Stoker, Dracula
Jonathan Harker is a newly-qualified solicitor from England who travels to the Carpathian Mountains on the border of Transylvania, Bukovina, and Moldavia to oversee the sale of a castle. The current owner of the property is one Count Dracula, whom Harker initially perceives as gracious and welcoming, but whom he soon realises has diabolical plans of a preternatural nature.
The narrator tells the story of how the young governess is hired by a man who has become responsible for his young nephew and niece after the tragic deaths of their parents. Set in a remote estate this critically acclaimed novella tells the tale of a governess who, looking after two children, becomes convinced that the grounds are haunted.
Around two hundred years ago the famous writer Lord Byron rented the mansion known as the Villa Diodati on Lake Geneva. Accompanying Byron, among others, was the 23-year-old poet Percy Shelley, his mistress, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, and Byron’s physician John William Polidori. The summer would be forever known as the ‘Lost Summer of 1816’. For three days they were shut up in the Villa due to cold and stormy weather, which would serve as the backdrop to the telling and writing of horror and ghost stories—the most notable of which was Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”.
This book contains a collection of Lovecraft’s best and most chilling horror short stories, including the seminal The Call of Cthulhu. Contents include: “Dagon”, “The Outsider”, “The Dunwich Horror”, “The Colour out of Space”, “The Lurking Fear”, “At The Mountain of Madness”, “The Shadow out of Time”, “The Shadow Over Innsmouth”, “The Whisperer in Darkness”, and more. The perfect collection for horror lovers and fans of Lovecraft’s terrifying fiction.
First published in 1897, The Blood of the Vampire is a vampire novel by prolific writer Florence Marryat. The story revolves around one Miss Harriet Brandt, the daughter of a mad scientist and a voodoo priestess who leaves her home in Jamaica for the first time to travel to Europe. However, Harriet is not a normal young woman, as everybody who gets close to her becomes ill or even dies.
This vintage book contains a collection of Edgar Allen Poe’s 1843 short stories, including The Tell-Tale Heart. An anonymous narrator recounts a murder that he has committed, detailing how he carefully dismembered the body and concealed it underneath the floorboards. His endeavours, however, are threatened when his guilt and insanity take on the form of a hallucination that the victim’s heart is still beating from beneath the floor.
The Ghost Stories of Charles Dickens is a collection of thirteen of Charles Dickens’s best ghost stories, including his famous “The Haunted Man and the Ghost’s Bargain”. A fantastic teller of macabre tales, Dickens presents his full gothic talents in this chilling collection. The stories include: “The Gift Diffused”, “The Gift Reversed”, “A Child’s Dream of a Star”, “Christmas Ghosts”, “To be Read at Dusk”, “The Ghost Chamber”, “Mr Testator’s Visitation”, and more.
Whilst going through some notes left behind by his grand-uncle and renowned Professor of Semitic languages, narrator Francis Thurston stumbles across evidence related to the existence of a cult that worships an ancient god. As he follows the nightmarish connections made by his deceased ancestor, he begins to realise the horror and madness that is about to be unleashed upon the world.
Mary Shelley’s 1818 gothic masterpiece, Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, is a novel about a young scientist called Victor Frankenstein who creates a monstrous but conscious creature in a secret scientific experiment. The result of a competition to see who out of Mary Shelley, Percy Shelley, and Lord Byron could write the best horror story, Shelley’s famous tale is a must-have for fans of horror fiction.
Originally published in 1820 as part of the collection, “The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon”, it tells the story of Ichabod Crane who visits the town of Sleepy Hollow, which is plagued by the ghost of a headless horseman. Acknowledged as one of the most iconic and gripping horror tales in American literature, it contributed to Irving’s reputation for dramatic flair and wit.
Throughout his life, Machen espoused the existence of the mystical and supernatural, a belief reinforced by numerous inexplicable and, he would argue, a preternatural experience that he himself was witness to. His life and work revolved around this idea, and in time he became one of the masters of modern supernatural horror fiction. The stories of this collection include: “The Novel Of The Black Seal”, “The Novel Of The White Powder”, “The Great God Pan”, “The White People”, “The Inmost Light”, “The Shining Pyramid”, “The Happy Children”, “The Bright Boy”, “Out Of The Earth”, “Children Of The Pool”, and “The Terror”
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