All Hallow’s Read

(This is also posted on my mommy-blog on the Houston Chronicle but I’m posting it here too because I’m too busy watching The Omen to write a real post here today.)

I know. It’s been too long between posts but I’ve been busy and I’m about to bribe you with small tokens so you’ll forgive me. One of those tokens is a picture of me in the bathtub. You’re welcome. But all the good parts covered in blood. Sorry.

A few days ago Neil Gaiman wrote a post entreating people to begin a tradition of giving away a scary book at Halloween. I love this. I’ve built an entire dollhouse filled with hundreds of tiny hat-tips to the horror books and films that made life in small town Texas seem (just for a moment) a little more dark and exciting and open to the chaotic terror of not knowing what might be lurking in abandoned houses and echoing wells.

When I was little I feasted on Ruth Chew books.  Sadly, they’re all out of print now but I’ve rummaged through back rooms of used book shops and library sales to piece together a small collection to pass on to Hailey. I couldn’t imagine my childhood without these small assurances from Ruth Chew that there was something magical out there if I looked hard enough, and I wanted Hailey to know that thrill as well.

This year Hailey was finally old enough to appreciate Ruth Chew. Ironically, at the same time she was being discovered by a new reader, Ruth Chew died, her books out of print and her work mostly forgotten.

But I haven’t forgotten.

I cut my teeth on Ruth Chew and by third grade I was reading Stephen King. In fourth I was devouring Poe and by seventh grade I discovered Lovecraft and Bradbury. Ruth Chew started me on a journey that gave me the gift of wonder. It was a journey that took me to dark and terrible places and which served me well, as it taught me the best way to appreciate the light. It’s a gift I can’t repay, but one which I can pass on. I can pass on great books to others and listen with pride as Hailey reads her own battered copy of Coraline to herself under her covers.

Last month I stayed at the Stanley Hotel and was photographed in Stephen King’s room, in the same bathtub that inspired the horrific corpse-in-the-bathtub scene from The Shining. For a brief second I was part of the story and while most people would find this whole thing macabre and vaguely wrong I loved it. It is, without exception, one of my favorite pictures of all time.


In honor of All-Hallows Read I’m giving away a few horror books here. All you have to do is tell me what your favorite scary book or story is in the comments section. I’ll randomly select a few people to win book gift certificates that you can use to buy your own scary book or that you can pass on to a friend.

Happy Halloween, y’all.  Go read.

594 replies. read them below or add one

  1. What to Expect When You’re Expecting always scares the bejesus out of me.

    Oh wait…you mean a “real” scary book with blood and guts and gore and scary people with knives and screaming and suffering?

    Yeah, then I understood it correctly.

    elizabeth recently posted Seriously- this happened.

  2. It’s all about Stephen King. I will never forget reading the opening of “It” with the scary ass clown in bed late at night as a kid and seriously sleeping in my parents book for like a month after. I had to stop reading it and didn’t pick it up to finish it until a couple years later. Yay, the end is lame, but for the most part, King is the master.

  3. Yeah, I meant “parent’s room”.

  4. “Going Rogue”… it scared the crud out of me. :S

    wende recently posted Envy Not.

  5. I heart Neil Gaiman and all his books, but the scariest book for me is my collection of Poe’s short stories. I especially find The Tell-Tale Heart to be the scariest story in there.

    And I cut my pre-teen teeth on Christopher Pike books, which kept me up very late many nights and had me sleeping with a nightlight well into my teens.

    caramama recently posted Question of the Week - Halloween Fun.

  6. The Shining. Hands down.

    Becky Mochaface recently posted Minutes.

  7. –>I read it multiple times when I was a teenager and had to skip paragraphs which was the equivalent of shutting my eyes watching a scary movie for Stephen King’s The Dark Half.

    WebSavvyMom recently posted Flashback Friday Part 75 - Be Sure To Sleep With One Eye Open.

  8. That makes me so sad. Ruth Chew = witch-penning perfection.

    (On the other hand, I’m thrilled to think of Hailey experiencing Ruth Chew, finally, after all these years of knowing it was her density.

    Uh, destiny.)

  9. Without question, it is Bradbury’s short story “All Summer in a Day”. I think we read it in the 3rd grade. It isn’t your typical horror story, but it still breaks my heart when I read it and reminds me of the cruel beauty that is childhood. Even more topical in today’s world of bullying.

    You can read the 4 pg. story for free here:

    Tom G. recently posted The post where I add another 10 years to my time in Purgatory.

  10. I fell in love with Stephen King some time last year, after reading Christine. How scary is that? You buy a car, and suddenly it kills everyone. Yeah, not really my type of car.
    The Shining will always be a favorite of mine, and I am eternally jealous that you got to stay in that hotel!
    Scary books have got to be my favorite by far, better than funny ones, or love stories. I love that some authors have the ability to terrify people, just by their words. That is an amazing ability.

  11. OK- Horror is not my genre or choice as an adult*, but as a kid my favorite scary book was “The Doll House Murders” by Betty Ren Wright. I didn’t sleep for weeks, so, like a logical kid, I re-read it, like, 5 times.

    *because if I read it I end up in closets with butcher knives to ward of whatever is coming after me, but it turns out nothing is really after me and I’m the girl in the closet with the butcher knife explaining why she does not need to be institutionalized.

  12. As far as suspense scary goes-I think The Shining is probably the best of all time. I was once reading it on a bus, in broad daylight, surrounded by my friends, and I was still terrified.

    I’m currently re-reading The Stand, though, and that one is more of a mind-screw. Mainly because of how realistic a lot of it seems.

    meghann recently posted More Randomness.

  13. The Exorcist. Without a doubt the scariest book my mom should have never let me read. “let Jesus f*ck you” – really?? Still scares the heck out of me.

  14. King’s “Pet Sematary.” Scariest novel ever. Period.

    Brewgasm recently posted Beery update.

  15. My favorite scary story? It’s a no-brainer: Lovecraft’s “The Call of Cthulhu”.

    “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn”


    EdT. recently posted Spotted On Teh Twitterz- Sunday Edition.

  16. Bradbury’s “The Small Assassin” – holy shit that’s one evil baby. Chucky is a frickin’ muppet compared to him. Aaaaand now my peacefully sleeping toddler is going to be in my nightmares and I’ll be sleepwalking through the house going “hey baby… lookie, shiny, pretty scalpel!”

    Skip recently posted Gentle Parenting VS OCD Hysteria.

  17. oh wow, I keep searching for more Ruth Chew books and I can’t find them all…I loved her books…

  18. I absolutely love how Stephen King can scare me and allow me to scare myself but what started it all for me was Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn. I bought it at the book fair when i was in second grade and it was the first scary book I ever read and it’s still one of my favorites.

    Karen W recently posted Its not often you get to use the phrase overall jorts.

  19. There are waaaayyy too many for me to mention just one. When I was a kid (sick little mind that I had) I was into Clive Barker and some of the gory stuff but as I have matured (still sick in the head) i’m more of a psychological thriller kinda Dude.

    What a great idea though to spread the scary love on Halloween!


    Simple Dude recently posted This Crown Doesnt Come With A Throne.

  20. I grew up with Roald Dahl books. Not sure if they technically classify as “scary” books, but they always make me think of Halloween. For actually scary, I’m another Stephen King fan.

  21. Oh, yeah. Can’t forget Pet Sematary!
    I completely agree with Brewgasm. That book was one of my favorites, definitely one of the scariest things I’ve read.

  22. Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House is *by far* my favorite horror book. It is exceptional. “in the dark….at night….three miles from the nearest town…where no one can hear you……scream.”

    I actually got to take a Horror Literature class in college with a brilliant professor. Best. Class. Ever.

    Also, I’ve heard Glen Beck’s books are some scary ass shit.

    Kristen recently posted Steppin Out Saturday… Well- Friday Really.

  23. It’s hard to top The Shining. Silence of the Lambs scared me primarily because the serial killer targeted fat girls because the extra fabric gave him room to make darts in his ladydress, so, yeah, that keeps me up at night. Yardage. My kids loved Lemony Snicket, Edward Gore, the real Grimm, cookbooks encouraging the creation of ooky things and in general tales of tortured children. I’m not going to think too hard about that.

    Deb Rox recently posted Creative Alliance 10- Ojai There!.

  24. My youngest just turned 5. Her request of a book this year is: Dick and Jane and Vampires. I kid you not. I can’t buy her one right now so we went to the library where they thought I was a horrible mother instead of an AWESOME Mom whose preschooler can freaking READ. It’s hilarious and adorable. I highly suggest it.

    For MYSELF? Favorite spooky story was a short story from Stephen King’s Nightmares and Dreamscapes. It’s called “You know they got a hell of a band.” I don’t know why it makes me so happy to envision being trapped in a neverending rock concert with deceased musicians, but it does. I totally have to find that story again…

    tracey recently posted I am not a hostess.

  25. My Favorite scary book by far was Jerusalems Lot by Stephen King. That book taught me what REAL Vampires are about and not the sparkle-y dickish ones that run around splashing glitter make-up on their victims. It was quickly followed by The Shinning, and Pet Semetary.

    Tristachio recently posted I Dont Know What The Fudge I Am Doing Anymore.

  26. IT by Stephen King has and will always be my favorite scary novel. I don’t scare easily. But this book reminded on how scared I was as a child of even the silliest of things (who wasn’t afraid to go in their cellar?) Pennywise is the ideal Villain. He can be whatever scares you most. There is love between Pennywise and I.

    I love your bathtub picture (in fact I am jealous of it- I want to go to that hotel). I am slowly taking my children under my wing….we worked a haunted hayride this weekend. Watching my youngest decked out in blood playing dead…..such a proud mom moment for me.

  27. Haha! I have to agree with Elizabeth.

    Though “Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret”, freaked me out as well. (But only because of the whole “belted sanitary napkins” issue…)

    bschooled recently posted B’s Unique Hosiery Sculptures.

  28. I… Uh… Books don’t scare me. But they did when I was a kid. And this is going to sound ridiculously stupid, but the scariest books I’d ever read when I was a teen were the cheerleader series in the Fear Street novels by R.L. Stine.

    Fantabulously awesome haunted doll house.

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  29. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.

    The stories alone were frightening, but it was the illustrations scared the living daylights out of me. I almost want to google it, but…I think it will still scare the sh!t out of me.

  30. A story that left an impression on me in elementary school- so much so that I tracked it down as an adult and bought a copy used for nostalgic reasons- On All Hallow’s Eve by Grace Chetwin- I try to read it every year around Halloween 🙂

  31. Oh, I loved Dollhouse Murders too. I think I need to read that again. It’s been about 25 years.

    Karen W recently posted Its not often you get to use the phrase overall jorts.

  32. It’s not your traditional scary story, but the short story “The Babysitter” by Robert Coover remains in my mind as the scariest story I have ever read.

    Erin recently posted Orange You Glad.

  33. I don’t normally do “scary” because I like to sleep and my imagination goes into overdrive. However, I had to read Dracula in college and it’s probably quite tame to the likes of Stephen King but it scares the crap out of me.

    Helen recently posted Spike and Drusilla Take a Bath at Petco.

  34. My personal faves are always Poe. Specifically “Tell Tale Heart.” I just read it to my kids, and if I have done my job as a parent, they’re scarred forever.

  35. Killer photo!! Scary freaks the bejesus out of me. It makes my heart pump faster than a coked up gerbil running on a wheel. So as for a scary story – I’ve got nothing. Oh wait! I do have one. The Monster at the End of This Book, Starring Lovable Furry Old Grover by Jon Stone. That is as scary as I can get. One of my all time favorites as a kid.

    toywithme recently posted Win a LELO INA!.

  36. Gerald’s Game. I usually find myself laughing at (or I hope with) Stephen King and this was the only one that shook me.

  37. The scariest I ever read was the Exorcist, but I always love a good Stephen King scare-fest too!

  38. My son is a scaredy cat right now, and books that veer into spooky give him nightmares. And so I am biding my time until I can get him reading the really fun stuff. I mean he can’t even get through the 2nd Harry Potter book, the basilisk is just too… basilisky. I’m chalking it up to his very overactive imagination. I mean, I could make him read them, but then I’d be stuck w/ a kid in my bed for the next year and um, no. Besides, the whole point is it’s supposed to be fun for HIM, right?

    So we’re sticking with the books that turn to the silly and funny – like the Louis Sachar’s “Wayside School” books or “The Strange Case of Origami Yoda.” I love my son to pieces but if he reads another “Pokemon” book out loud to me, I’m going to put knitting needles through my ears.

    Varda (SquashedMom) recently posted Sometimes its the little things.

  39. First – you rock.

    Second – as a teen, I stayed up far too late one night reading Pet Semetary. You may remember the poor cat – ungainly, lumbering, foul-smelling creature back from the dead. At about 3 AM, my cat – overweight, ungainly, foul-smelling creature – jumped onto my chest. The book went way, the cat went the other. It’s a wonder I didn’t wake anyone with the shrieking.

    ChiaLynn recently posted Excerpts from a Thankfully Unfinished Epic- Part I.

  40. Cannot even count the number of times I read “The Witches’ Buttons” — loved that book (second only to “No Flying in the House.” I remember reading somewhere that there are a number of out of print books lately that have gone back into print based on the surge in requests for them through online vendors… hmmmmm…..

  41. my favorite all time favorite scary book is the stand by stephen king. not your typical screamer, but plenty scary enough when you think about it. you’re awesome, love the bathtub pic. very artsy, and much better than anything sears could have come up with.

  42. Pet Cemetary. I’ve never been able to look at my cats the same. Someday, they WILL kill me in my sleep.

    k8 recently posted Vibrant Vegetables and Sleeping Babies.

  43. Silence of the Lambs, I read it after I saw the movie and it scared me to death. And don’t make fun of me, but Dean Koontz’s Intensity. For some reason I had to put the book down while I was reading it b/c it scared the shit out of me (not literally thank God!)

  44. Um….nothing says scary better than Fucking Evil Clowns In Storm Drains……..Stephen King’s ‘IT’.

  45. Seriously, The Amityville Horror was the scariest book I’ve ever read. It is a thousand times more scary than the movie.

  46. I’m a big ol’ pussy when it comes to anything scary but Orwell’s 1984 scared the piss out of me. Literally. I had to read it sitting on the floor in the bathroom with the door closed and all the lights on.

    Lindsey recently posted 6 25 4.

  47. Without a doubt, for the last 25 years, my favorite book has been a tie between Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot and Stephen King’s The Stand. Stephen King was the voice of my youth and my adult years, like a member of my family, he helped to nurture my love of reading, picking up where Judy Blume left off. Winning would be awesome, but not as awesome as having the giveaway to begin with and helping to nurture someone’s love of books! Thanks and kudos 🙂

  48. Whenever I think of my absolute favorite reads while growing up I think of Stephen King’s Insomnia. I think I was in 7th grade when I read it. I dont remember all of the details in most of the books I’ve read but that book is still so crisp in my mind. I think it’s time to go read it again.

  49. And I forgot to mention that scary books are kept in the freezer overnight. It paralyzes the zombies in the book so that they can’t come to life and eat your brains while you sleep. This would never happen during the day. Only at night. So that’s why you put them in the freezer.

    You’re welcome.

    k8 recently posted Vibrant Vegetables and Sleeping Babies.

  50. The only book I’ve ever read that truly scared me was James Patterson’s Kiss The Girls and that one freaked me the fuck out. I live in the part of North Carolina that Patterson set the book in and he is scarily accurate in his description of the locations. In fact, I could take you to almost every single location he described in the book (except for the non-existent dorms he added to Duke). I worked as a nanny in a neighborhood that featured prominently in the book. And, the coup de grace was when I made the mistake of reading it at night while my husband was working. At the time we lived in a 750 sq ft apartment and that book scared me so badly that I was carrying my gun from room to room with me. Hell, I even had to check behind the shower curtain to make sure the bad guy wasn’t hiding there. I don’t know for certain that this is my favorite book but it is the one that made the biggest impression.

    Kristin recently posted These were a few of my favorite things.

  51. Stephen King’s It was the scariest book I’ve ever read… The only thing worse than a child eating clown who lives in the sewer would be a child eating clown who teams up with a ventriloquist dummy. I was thinking something like this:, but then I saw this image under it on Google:, and I may not be able to sleep for a week now. Thanks Winona Ryder.

  52. I”m such a wimp! Nancy Drew was all I was allowed to read, and her little suspenses were enough to keep me chewing my lips for days 🙂

  53. I worked at a camp for disabled kids, and so they needed one counselor to stay up at night to help any kids that might need us. It was my turn, and I stayed up all night reading Lord of the Flies. Freaked me the fuck out. There were children moaning. One of them had a seizure while I was on duty. And there were mice everywhere. Totally Lord of the Flies.

    Gen recently posted Dan Dan Bo Ban- Banana Fanana Fo Fan- Me My Mo Man Alligator!.

  54. The 1st time I remember being scared reading was reading Dead Zone by Stephen King. I also remember saying to myself…oh this is not so bad. So I decided to read IT. Then I stopped reading King because he scared me so much.

  55. While I hate horror movies, I used to love books in the genre. R.L. Stein, Stephen King, some others I can’t remember anymore…

    But my favorite, of all time, has to be Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery. By far the creepiest story I’ve ever read.

    I’m high on muscle relaxers, so my wit is broken. My earnest comment will have to suffice.

    aliasmisskat recently posted Can We Rest Now.

  56. Like you I started reading Stephen King very early (Thanks grandpa!) and Christine will always live in my head as the book that scared me the most. Love it.

  57. You know, I had no idea who Ruth Chew was until I clicked on the link and said “Oh! THAT Ruth Chew.” And yes, because I am a freak who still has every book she owned as a child, there are at least two Chew books sitting on my shelves right now (Witch’s Broom and Witch in the House) and probably a couple more, misfiled (oh, the horror!) over the years. Hidden Cave looks very familiar as does Wednesday Witch. So, thank you, La Bloggess, for sharing with us Ruth Chew: I’m both saddened by her death and surprised that she was still alive. Because everything from when you were 8 seems like a million years ago, no?

    As for horror books.. King definitely has the knack, but it’s pretty hard to top Poe. Homeboy had a seriously f-upped imagination (and I mean that in the nicest way).

    kaela recently posted Grape Jelly with Balsamic &amp Black Pepper.

  58. I can’t remember what made me take the leap into horror – but it was probably Edgar Allen Poe. I remember sitting in the school library figuring out what horror books I should check out next.

    Rather than walk down Scary Memory Lane though – I’ll tout my favorite Southern Gothic Horror writer: Cherie Priest. She’s got the ability to get in your psyche like Poe did. Amazing woman. 🙂

  59. My favorite was probably not the scariest, but I attribute my love to a fascination with boarding schools– Down a Dark Hall, Lois Duncan

  60. I liked the books Stephen King wrote under the name Richard Bachman. I guess they are more creepy than scary.

    Sherry recently posted Its fall- yall!.

  61. I just recently found Witch’s Broom in my parent’s attic. I never knew there was a whole bunch of these books. I feel so cheated. I also feel like my battered hard-back copy of Witch’s Broom is a treasure now! I loved Stephen King from an early age also.

    However-The Haunting of Hill House is probably my pick. Shirley Jackson is queen of creepy.

  62. 63
    angelina loretto

    When I was 12 I loooooooooooooved The Dollhouse Murders, by Betty Ren Wright. It scared the crap out of me. I had a very sheltered childhood 🙂

  63. The scariest thing I’ve read in a long time was the divorce decree I got in the mail that gave my wife 1/2 of my 401(k).

    I still shudder when I think of it.

    moooooog35 recently posted Pants on Fire - Bounce- BabyBOUNCE!.

  64. Does it have to be *scary* scary? I mean, I read Stephen King and all that, but although he’s definitely a suspense master, he’s very go-for-the-throat-y, and that’s just not the kind of delicious, creeping horror I like. The scariest King I ever read was a short story called “Survivor Type” (it’s in Skeleton Crew), but just because it was masterful doesn’t mean I liked it… (I should say, though, that I do like his vampire short stories; there are some in several of his collections.)

    I do love anything by Lovecraft or Bradbury, though, so I hope those count. Both of those are glorious, and Ray Bradbury is a Halloween tradition. In fact, over the last week, I have given away three copies of “The Halloween Tree” to people who had never read the novel (gasp! horrors!). I’m having to order another bunch from Amazon for other people now… and to make sure I still have one left for myself…

  65. The Tommyknockers. Because my brother’s name is Tommy. And he’s terrifying.

    Elly Lou recently posted Time Management is for the Unadventurous.

  66. Okay, so I just really need to say I would like to be your friend and live in a grown-up version of your awesome dollhouse. Like, gah – there’s a dragon and a secret room and an underground library? Whee!

    As for my favorite scary stories/books, growing up I loved John Bellairs (and the books that Brad Strickland either completed for him or just wrote in the style of). So creepy and awesome. Now, my favorite scary book is definitely Heart-Shaped Box, by Joe Hill (Stephen King’s son). He’s got a cool comic too, called Locke & Key.

  67. When I was a kid I too read Stephen King. I devoured his books, laughing off most of the ‘horror’ parts because they weren’t scary. Til Pet Sematary.

    I have vivid memories of lying awake in my room scared out of my mind thinking that a cat was going to crawl through the window of my room (main level bungalow) and come eat me. Two in the morning found me still awake, scared shitless, unable to put the book down.

    And we didn’t even own a cat. Or a dog. Or a goldfish.

    Even as an adult that book has stayed with me.

    it’s the reason why I DON’T own a cat. Still.

  68. The Shining. About 4 times I read until the bathtub scene when I would put the book away terrified. I finally figured out that I could just skip that part and keep reading. I know. Stupid. Anyway, after I read the whole book I went back and could read that scene. I still prefer showers even though Psycho tried to ruin that for me. What is it with horror writers/filmmakers? Don’t they want us to be clean?

  69. Without a doubt, I have to say that the scariest book I ever read was “It” by Stephen King. I am quite desensitized to all things horror and don’t find a lot scary but Pennywise still haunts me every so often. Probably because I read it as a child in the 6th Grade.

    melistress recently posted And in the news- People Are Assholes.

  70. The Haunting of Hill House. Shirley was the master. Though the Shining still makes me wince. My grandmother used to be a caretaker at summer businesses and I’d go stay with her during winter vacations. There is nothing more sad then a normally public building that is silent and empty.

    Lisa T. recently posted You know what Id like to have.

  71. I remember reading Dracula and wondering if the people who were “dancing around, naked to the waist” were naked on the top or bottom half. I’m still not sure.

    Favourite? “The Little Black Bag” by Cyril M. Kornbluth. I tried searching for it on Amazon to see if it’s still in print, but they wanted to sell me a handbag. Amazon are a bunch of douche canoes.

    Mr Farty recently posted I Have A Terrible Feeling Of Déjà Vu.

  72. I remember being about 12 or 13 andI had been reading a Stephen King book (don’t remember which one) that my brother gave me to read.After putting the lights out to go to sleep, I shouted on my dad cause I was petrified that there was a monster in the boiler cupboard that was slightly open. My dad took the book of me and banned me from reading horror again. I still don’t read horror.

    Although I once bought a very disturbing book for something to read about a man who ends up with dead babies feeding of him, I have no recollection of what it is called just that it was VERY VERY disturbing.

  73. I too was a rabid Poe fan, and still am–every once in a while one just has to read “The Cask of Amontillado.” I don’t know they don’t immediately come to mind as fitting the genre, but I always found both “The Picture of Dorian Gray” and “Heart of Darkness” horrifying in their way. In more recent years, “The Secret History” and “Devil in the White City” had me staying up late to read with the lights on, and staying up later not sleeping with the lights off.

  74. I have started many King books and the few that I have ended up hidden under a stack of pillows somewhere deep in an overstuff closet. Way tooo scary for this fraidy cat.

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  75. I read “IT” as an adult and had to sleep with the lights on. I still don’t like being anywhere near storm drains.

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  76. It’s all about The Shining for me. The books I find scariest always seem to be about buildings that are sort of malevolently alive, so The Shining is like my uber-terror book. Also? I’m deathly allergic to wasps, so there’s like X-TREEM BONUS TERRORZ in there just for me. Thanks, Stephen King.

    sarawr recently posted How does it feel when you’re out on your own.

  77. I LOVE Stephen King (as do, it appears, the majority of your readers). Because of The Stand and Children of The Corn I now get the shivers any time I pass a corn field. Also, the thought of small children staring at me scares the everlovingcrap out of me.

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  78. It’s already been mentioned on here a few times but as a kid my favorite scary Halloween read was always the “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” series. I was an obsessive reader and re-read them every year in elementary school and when I got to high school they weren’t in the library so my ritual ended.

    I saw one at a garage sale a while back and had to buy it if only for the nostalgic value. Now I’m tempted to find the other two…

    Does anyone else remember the story about a girl who has a spider lay eggs in her cheek? And it gets bigger and bigger and she thinks it’s just a pimple until one day she wakes up to baby spiders crawling all over her face?! I’m POSITIVE that was out of one of those books. Still think about it ever Halloween to this day! *shudder*

  79. I’m in love with Ray Bradbury. He’s got quite a few spooky books, the most well known probably being Something Wicked This Way Comes. My favourite by him, though, is From The Dust Returned, about a family of Halloween-like monsters and their adopted human son, Timothy. It’s so good!

  80. Penelope Truck is giving away books today on her blog too! (and lamenting the books she loved as a kid don’t appeal to her sons, so be happy you’ve a daughter to pass along to). Awesomesauce for the rss reader today.

    I am terrified of scary books. But it appears from the dollhouse that Narnia and Hogwarts counts as scary, so possibly I am not as wimpy as I thought. But probably I am.

    Brigid recently posted Most Gifts Are About Connection- Not Impact.

  81. The Dollhouse Murders! I’m so glad others loved the book as much as me. (And it would still scare the pants off of me at 31.) I’m sure I have it somewhere……

    I also loved “A Secret Window” and “Wait till Helen Comes” and some others that I can’t think of the titles…..

  82. When i was little, Goosebumps were all the rage. I loved those books, and I’m pretty sure I’ve read them all. My love of those turned into Stephen King and Anne Rice and later, books based on the reasons people are afraid like Culture of Fear. This probably wasn’t good for my generalized anxiety disorder, but I still love it. Because of these books, I found art and I don’t know what I’d do without that in my life.

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  83. The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson scared the daylights out of me. I refused to go into the basement for months after reading it. Hands down the scariest thing I have read.

  84. Pet Cemetary or Needful Things were the first two titles to come to mind.

    Danyelle recently posted Family Pictures.

  85. Aaaaahhh!!

    Your post reminded me of THE PUMPKIN SMASHER. A book I’ve been trying to find for YEARS AND YEARS, but for some reason couldn’t remember the name of (just the cover art) until I read your post. I just looked it up on Amazon. It’s THERE, but it’s like $53 or something (from sketchy “other sellers), so maybe some other time, but thanks for bringing the memories. I LOVED THIS BOOK when I was a kid.

    A little later I was all into Christopher Pike. Oh, and Trixie Belden? Loved that bitch.

  86. Stephen King all the way. The Shining is a classic that just can’t be topped. Although, this book

    was my favorite as a child.

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  87. Gerald’s Game. I read it when I was a teen and wasn’t that impressed. I picked it up again last year (15 yrs later) and it scared me so much I gave it to the Goodwill!

  88. Yay, someone else mentioned Lois Duncan! Down a Dark Hall and Summer of Fear were two of my favorites.
    And I have to vote with the masses and say Stephen King, specifically The Shining, although The Stand still gives me the creeps.

  89. Becca V – I am totally with you. I read Intensity several years ago and had to walk away from it at times because it was just so freaking INTENSE!! Maybe it was just because that word was on the cover! I love all of Dean Koontz books, especially the Odd Thomas series, which isn’t really scary but is still very good!

  90. When I was in 7th grade I read Stephen King’s Cujo. In retrospect it really isn’t that scary of a book but at the time I was afraid of two things that really brought the horror of that book home for me: big dogs and being stuck in a car with my mom for any length of time. I still shudder when I think of that book.

  91. *Love this*. I looooooove Frankenstein. I think Mary Shelley is amazing and that book is awesome.

    I’m a total wimp when it comes to scary stuff, though. I fully believe in the Joey Tribiani (Friends) technique where you hide the scary book in the freezer so it can’t get you.

    I may or may not have had to do that with a certain Harry Potter book at one point. Like I said: wimp.

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  92. My favorite Halloween tale isn’t the scariest, perhaps, but it is the best– “A Night in the Lonesome October” by Roger Zelazny. It covers Cthulu to Dracula, Jack the Ripper to Sherlock Holmes, and blends horror and humor very well. I read it every October, one day at a time, because every chapter is a day in the month of October, leading up to Halloween. When I was younger, every October my dad would read one chapter a day aloud during the month of October (and only one chapter, no matter how much my sisters and I argued that October 12 with it’s whole one paragraph was just not fair.) With all three of us out on our own now, Dad took last year to record audio files reading each chapter (doing the fun voices and accents like he did when we were little) so this year, I get to listen to it again.

    It’s out of print now, so reading it involves the usual hunt through used book stores or exorbitant prices charged by Amazon Marketplace dealers, but if you happen to stumble across it in a used book store, it’s definitely worth the read, especially for die-hard fans of the horror genre, who should recognize most of Zelazny’s homages.

  93. When I was growing up it was “Scary Stories to Read in the Dark.” Those short stories, illustrated by gorey line drawings, kept me up many nights in a row.

    Now it’s a toss-up between “Pet Sematary” and “Red Dragon”.

  94. I never read scary books when I was little. My imagination always made me invent what happened next when I stopped reading, a lot of which was better (read “scarier”) than what happened in the book. So I got to them late. One of my favorites was The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray by Chris Wooding. It didn’t scare me, but it definitely made me wonder if there was something lurking in the dark.

  95. I LOVED Ruth Chew books when I was a kid! I must now seek out a collection to share with my niece.

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  96. Okay, maybe I’ll be the only one who read it this way, but The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly was my favourite scary read. Not because it was all that terror-inducing, but because it’s the kind of book I wish was around when I was younger; the kind of book that would have simultaneously scared me and pulled me deeper; the kind of book where you really go beyond sympathy for the main character. It definitely kept me up all night long – flipping pages, not flipping on lights. It scared my memories of being a little kid.

  97. I worked at a bookstore in college and I remember taking home this cover-stripped anthology of horror classics that became a favorite of min for years. I don’t know where that book ended up and I’m sure it’s out of print, but I’d like to try and track it down.

  98. I can’t specify a single scary book but I can give a few (in no particular order):

    Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
    The Stand by Stephen King
    Trinity’s Child by William Prochnau
    World War Z by Max Brooks
    Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Phillip K, Dick

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  99. The illustrations in Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark scared the crap out of me as a youth. As a teen I devoured the Christopher Pike novels, but mostly for the steamy bits. Now The Stand is one of my favorite books (although I agree with meghann – it’s more of a mind-screw).

    Also, note to self: Stay at the Stanley Hotel before you die. Or after. Whatever.

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  100. I think I scared myself silly when I was a kid, so all the scary books I can think of are YA or kids’ books.

    Two that stick out are “The Witches of Worm” (which has a creeeeeepy photo of the titular cat in the middle) and “Chain Letter” by Christopher Pike (which still gives me nightmares).

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  101. In elementary school, it was The Ghost of Opalina by Peggy Bacon. Great story. Later, it was It, by Stephen King. The gdamn clown!!!!!!!! I hate clowns and that book really preyed on that elemental fear. Terrible ending but right up until the last few pages, it scared the crap out of me. He has so many, though. Pet Semetary, Carrie and Jerusalem’s Lot were also very scary to the younger me. Clive Barker has some excellent moments also. The Books of Blood had some really creepy short stories. And Ghost Story by Peter Straub also scared the bejeezus out of me. I love horror books.

  102. 103
    Alana Shekelle

    Shirley Jackson’s “We Have Always Lived in the Castle” is one of the most unsettling things I’ve ever read. She was just amazing. I’ve never read anything written by her without coming away in slackjawed awe.
    Everyone who’s posted so far is right about Stephen King. He’s so consistantly engaging and scary. I had a Lit professor who liked to pooh-pooh “That King Man,” and if eye-daggers could kill, he’d be so very dead right now. I did take a hit on one of his tests by refusing to define popular fiction as works that are written primarily to make money. Gods, I hated that professor.
    Also, I’m not sure if it ‘counts’ as horror, but Koushun Takami’s “Battle Royale” is amazing.
    Oh, and Poppy Z. Brite. “Drawing Blood.” Love!

  103. Steven King’s “It.” Here’s why that book was horrific: that orgy scene between the kids.


    To this day, I’m scarred.

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  104. Goosebumps was a big one; it made me freak out when I would walk up the stairs late at night…I always felt like something was following me. Roald Dahl had a collection of scary stories that are truly creepy. Like spine tingles creepy. This may be lame, but when I was in fourth grade I read “Interview with a Vampire” by Anne Rice for the first time. That shit was scary. I don’t care whether the vampires were supposed to be sexy or not…that is not really 4th grade fair. I was a strange child.

  105. The first paperback I ever read was Stephen King’s “It” when I was, like, 8. That started an obsession with cheap horror novels and Stephen King, although not so much his more recent books because they’re just not as good.

    “The Shining” is probably one of my favorites. That place totally scares me. Also, “House of Leaves” by Mark Z. Danielewski; it’s not really SCARY but it creeped me the eff out. I’ve also started reading Clive Barker’s stories and whoa, they’re all sorts of messed up.

  106. It’s not a book I’ve read, but one my husband read. And it’s my favourite because he was reading it one time while I was driving us home from a camping trip. It was so disgusting and grotesque that my husband passed out. Yes, as he was reading. And I got pissed off at him because I thought he was just trying to ignore me as I talked to him about something that was actually really important to me. The bastard.

    Forget the book title, but it was Stephen King, and a movie was made out of it (where what’s his name gets hobbled in bed). Anyone? Anyone??

    Mary @ Holy Mackerel recently posted Im Cinderella.

  107. October Country by Ray Bradbury has some of THE creepiest stories in it, bar none (though i have to agree with Skip about The Small Assassin, as well – though that, along with The Veldt, was in The Illustrated Man). still, much as I love Illustrated Man, did anyone go around sucking the skeletons out of anyone else under the guise of being a doctor? no. October Country it is. i did a book report on that in the 8th grade. my teacher never quite looked the same way at me after that.

  108. I started on Stephen King books and then found Poe and have always had a soft spot for dark books. I did, most recently and may I say ashamedly, found Richard Matheson, the author of I Am Legend. I of course started to read that after the Will Smith movie came out to know where the movie went wrong. I was not disappointed. But back to the book, I loved it! I couldn’t stop reading it. If I read it alone (which I had to do with my hubby deployed and kiddos asleep) I got creeped out. I just LOVED it! I feel the same with Stephen King books. He inspired me to write my own for a time while I was in high school. I am sad to say I’ve never heard of Ruth Chew but I will find her works and get reading!

  109. When I was about 8 I read the short story “All Summer in a Day ,” by Ray Bradbury. where a little girl who lives on Venus is going through a nervous break down because of the lack of sun. When the sun comes does come out (for 2 hours once every 7 years) the kids lock her in a closet and she misses it. Living in southern Arizona this was horrifying. For years I thought it had to be part of a larger book so when I found it again as an adult and found out it wasn’t, I was disturbed all over again.

  110. oh, man….right now i’m reading The Strain by Guillermo Del Toron and Chuck Hogan. It’s the first book in a planned trilogy and the second book just recently came out. It is truly an antidote to all those girly feely feely vamps that have been on our radar lately. It’s great to read late at night. Crazy, creepy, vampires loose in New York City!

  111. Hmmmm The Omen. Maybe I’ll rent that for Sunday night.


  112. My favorite book is “The Shining” I was twelve and reading it several days before Halloween,I turned on the tv and it WAS ON, Jack Nicholson to this day scares the bejeebers out of me!He scares me most when he tries to do light comedy but, that’s another subject!

  113. 114

    Choose Your Own Adventure Books, because I knew I would totally fuck them up somehow and end up at the bottom of a ravine by my second choice.

  114. The Amityville Horror will always live on to be the scariest books I’ve read.
    Damn, now I’ve got to find a copy an read it again..

  115. The Stand. Loved it! Also, King’s recent, Under The Dome. Both very scary to me for the same reason: you could put the book down, look around, and be SURE the environment of the story was there, all around you, real as life and twice as huge! And how creepy is it to think of your whole town, with its exact boundries, being enclosed in an impenetrable dome?? Yike! (And for The Stand, of *course* I’d be one of the people who survived the super flu or whatever it was 😉 )

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  116. Ghost Story by Peter Straub. I don’t remember why it scared me, but I didn’t sleep easily for several days after (it was a one-night read. No, I didn’t skip any of it. I’ve never read anything by Stephen King that I found scary.

  117. I loved Ruth Chew. Second Hand Magic was my favorite.

    You know what book actually freaked me out? “The Egypt Game”. The part at the end when it gets all real and creepy? *shivers*

  118. as a kid, I read everything I could get my hands on by Christopher Pike, and RL Stine. And the chick (dude?) who wrote I Know What You Did Last Summer. I still love a good mystery, and I can’t find enough new authors to keep me satisfied. God there were so many great books as a kid. I remember going to the bookstore with any $ I had saved up. It was like the best thing that ever happened to me when I was little. We never got to go (lived in BFE Kansas) so when we did, I could spend hours in there.

    I read one Stephen King kid as a book, the one about werewolves, and it had PICTURES. Which gave me nightmares that still recur to this day. Eek. Very vivid. Mary, I think the book you are referring to might be Misery? I haven’t read it, but I love the crap out of that movie.

    And that brings me to True Blood. Which I am so hooked on. I am going to read the books now.

  119. I devoured everything by Christopher Pike, including all of his adult novels, when I was in elementary school. The Season of Passage was one of the eeriest books I’d ever read, and now that I’m thinking about it, I am gonna go find a copy on Amazon so I can read it as an adult! 🙂

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  120. Stephen King’s “The Stand” and “Tommyknockers” in a tie for me.

  121. I read Flowers In The Attic after being told by my mother that there was absolutely no way I was allowed to get it out from the library. It was quite good, as an 11 year old, though I haven’t read it since then.
    I have always been a bigger fan of scary short stories on the internet than those in actual books, I think the shortness allows them to be more scary, because there isn’t that feeling of “Oh no way this can be real, nobody experiences true terror and then writes 300 pages about it”, whereas the ones that masquerade themselves as true online are sometimes very convincing.

    I think it would be too difficult to name off the best scary books I have read, but really the ones I like the most are ones where it isn’t THE THINGS that are scary, but the way in which the people around the character react to them. Anything that deals with the worst parts of human nature, really, is more convincing to me than any “ghost story” could ever be.

    Also, that’s a kick ass doll house.

  122. The book that still freaks the ever-lovin’ sh!t out of me is SK’s “It”, but the reason why it freaks me out is mainly because of my older, a$$hole brother (love him to death, but Gawd he was an a$$ back then!) Anyway, I was about 11 when I began reading “It”, which means my bro was around 13 or 14. We went to visit my dad in another state and his housekeeper had made me this wind up musical clown that sat in a swing and rocked to some lullabye. A bit young for me, but hey, it was free, she was nice, whatever. In the middle of the night, my brother snuck into my room, carefully took the clown out of its swing and crawled to my bedside. Then he hunkered down on the floor and slooooowwwwwllllly scootched the clown up until it was nose to nose with my sleeping self. Then he started calling my name in a freaky a$$ed voice…. “Jenny….Jenny……. Pennywise wants to play with youuuuuuuuu…….” I woke up nose to nose with a frickin’ clown and my first thought was “HOLY FRACKIN’ SH!T, HE CAME OUT OF THE BOOK!!!!” Of course, I screamed, my brother started cackling with laughter, and my dad beat the sh!t out of both of us for waking him up. Yep, them’s good times in Redneckville.

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  123. Ooh ooh, me!! My first favorite scary story was Jane Eyre. I know, what? But hear me out. I read it in the 5th grade, and I was still fresh and impressionable enough to be terrified at who or what might be that horrifying thing in the attic! Was it a vampire? A ghost? Oh, (spoiler alert) it’s an INSANE WIFE KEPT LOCKED UP!! Terrifying!

    Many people don’t find the Brontes that scary anymore, but I think it’s because we, as a culture, are too jaded and overexposed. Only my 5th grader self could have appreciated that horror. My 30 year old self is now only terrified by Jane’s unfaltering submission to the variety of imperious bastards in that book. If Charlotte Bronte were alive today, I would take her to see the movie Secretary, and I would share my popcorn.

  124. Ender’s Game or 1984. I know they aren’t by any means the typical “OMG SO SCARY” books, but think about it. 1984 is about a world where there’s no freedom and no hope, and they let rodents eat you alive if you dare to have an original thought. And Ender’s Game is about making small children kill people during wartime.

    I think that’s pretty fucking scary, especially since I can definitely see either of those things happening in this world.

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  125. I have to say, I’m not sure I’ve ever been truly scared by a book (movies are an entirely different story!). But I am a loyal fan of Stephen King. The Shining is one of my favorites (besides On Writing, but that’s not a scary story…). And reading Carrie before I got my first period was pretty terrifying…”Plug it up! Plug it up!” *shudder*

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  126. I decided a few years ago that every Halloween I wanted to read a “scary” book. I read Dracula the first or second year and I was surprised how much it scared me! It is a creepy book. It is a horror classic for a good reason!

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  127. First of all I love Stephen King books. All of them, and the short stories, and the books written under pseudonyms. But I have to say one of the creepiest, scariest, most amazing books I’ve read is House of Leaves by Mark Z. Deanielewski. It is brilliant. I highly recommend it to you and anyone who loves scary reads.

  128. I have some old ass ghetto copy of “Irish Ghost Stories” that I have no idea where I got. I love it.

  129. omg remember Fear Street and Christopher Pike? That shit ruled my world. However it also convinced me to tell my 4th grade class that I was a secret witch. That was a difficult year.

  130. I used to read Stephen King when I was a kid, but I can’t really do scary anymore because I find myself waking up in the middle of the night and freaking myself right out. Note- after I finished Salem’s Lot, I made my little brothers (who are twins) sleep on either side of me. I figured whichever way the vampires were coming, they’d find a tasty little treat to distract them while I got away. The scariest thing I’ve read recently is Charlie Huston’s Joe Pitt series (very good vampire stuff). And the only Stephen King I can read these days is the Dark Tower series because it isn’t as scary as it is pure awesomeness that I must relive every few years.

    Also, I am not submitting myself for your drawing because, like I said, I’m a wuss, just felt compelled to add my two cents anyway.

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  131. Happy to see Gerald’s Game scared a few others. I read it on vacation with my first husband… the fall….at a lake in MN. Creepy! (My ex husband…..not the vacation.)

  132. I think my favourite horror story would have to be The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe. The manner in which Montressor treats Fortunato chills me to the bone. I can’t imagine trying to deal with someone who was being so upfrontedly kind but in actuality was leading you to your doom. And the way he kills Fortunato as well is something that continually terrifies me. To be chained to wall, and then locked away without air, left to suffocate and die all alone, where no one would hear you scream is something I find incredibly terrifying. So yeah. The Cask of Amontillado is definitely my favourite horror story, as it continually scares me, every time I read it.

  133. I’m not sure if I’m even allowed to participate since I’m not from the US but I really want to tell you the story, chance to win a book or not.

    My favorite scary book of all time is by R.L. Stine “Welcome to Dead House”. It’s not my favorite because I haven’t read better (almost all the scary and horror books I read, were better) or because I was scared. I wasn’t.
    I was in love. This book changed my life, changed everything I was and made me the person I am today.
    You see, to understand this, you need to know that I grew up HATING books. I just hated reading. I loved stories, I loved *writing* them but I hated reading. To this day I blame Astrid Lindgren for it and her stupid, boring, freaking happy-world. It was a book by her that I was taught reading with and it was utterly boring. Being forced to read this by my parents, I started to despise books. There was nothing to bring me into reading anything by free will.
    When I was ten my parents went on vacation with me. Before this, we went shopping and I visited a bookstore. Not being a book lover, I was pretty bored. Wandering around I somehow got to the section with the scary childrens books. The Goosebumps titles just captured my eyes. Something made me stop and look at them and be… fascinated.
    So I bought one, Welcome to Dead House, and read it in one rush.
    Afterwards I bought every scary book I could get my hands on, hell I started buying and reading all kinds of books like my life depended on it.
    That book made me a reader, a booklover, a book junkie, the girl with the book. I’m not happy without books. I buy so many that I often don’t have money at the end of the month for food.

    So, if you’re asking me for my favorite scary book, this is it. I love it with all my heart because it changed my life and I’m eternally greatful. Without it I’d never have read all the stories I love so much, that helped me to become the person I am.

    Who would have thought I’d get so cheesy over a bad scary children’s book? Oh well…

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  134. Poe’s The Cask of Amontadillo, or possibly The Tell-Tale Heart. That shit freaks me out more than monsters or weird psychic phenomena or even serial killers.

  135. I love Ruth Chew! And you are the first person I’ve run across that has heard of her, too. I have a copy of The Witch’s Buttons I can’t wait to read with my daughter and have been hoping to expand my collection. My elementary library had many of her books and I read them all. I credit her with my love of witch stories. I had not heard of her passing–so sad.

  136. I used to devour any book I could find about serial killers when I was a teenager. Just the thought that there were real people who were so mentally unbalanced and could wreck such carnage on another human just disturbed me but I could not stop reading about them!

    That dollhouse is a masterpiece!

  137. There was a book in the back of my fourth grade classroom called “The Green Ribbon.” Do you know it? I’m going to tell you about it either way. A young boy named Alfred met a young girl named Jenny who always wore a green ribbon around her neck, but refused to tell Alfred why. Years passed, and Jenny and Alfred fell in love and got married. On their wedding night, Alfred begged her to tell him why she always wore the green ribbon, but again she refused. More years passed, and Jenny became a very old woman. She beckoned Alfred to her deathbed and told him that she was ready to reveal her secret. She asked him to untie the green ribbon and with trembling fingers, he obeyed.

    And Jenny’s head fell off.


    Still not over it.

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  138. Holy shit, Mairead! I remember that book! It freaked me the hell out.

  139. You guys? Best comments ever.

  140. Also forgot to mention Richard Peck’s Blossom Culp books. (I think there were two). They weren’t traditional scary, but they had some mystical factors. Plus, I loved it that she wasn’t your standard book heroine. She was a definite misfit, and there wasn’t really a happily ever after but she didn’t seem to care.

  141. The Celery Stalks at Midnight: vampire bunnies and the goggies who loves them.
    Truly awesome mock-scary books for kids.

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  142. “It” is pretty much the scariest book ever. I slept with my television on up until my mid-twenties because of that damn book. I hate clowns. The only way that book could have been scarier was if it had included the other two things that scare the bejeesus out of me: mayonnaise and Robin Williams.

  143. I’ve pretty much always been a scaredy-cat. I loved reading goosebumps when I was little…haha that’s terrible. I’ve grown up a tiny bit so now I’m not so scared of scary stories. I love the scary book gift giving idea. I’m actually going to look for Mrs. Chew’s books now and a few of the others mentioned in the comments. :}

  144. I can’t stop commenting on everyone’s comments.

    @Mary: That sounds like Misery.

    @j: I read Flowers In The Attic when I was like 10-11. I have no idea where I got it. I probably just took it off the bookshelf in the kitchen. That was a messed up book. Stephen King seemed normal after that. Of course, when i was about 14 I had to read the rest of the books in the series.

    I don’t think I read any Ruth Chew and the more I read these comments, the more pissed off it’s making me that they are out of print. I’ll have to see if the library has them.

  145. DEFINITELY House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. That book sticks with me and I think every person I know now owns a copy because I gift it for any and all occasions. Not your traditional horror literature, but it makes you feel like you’re going completely crazy as the narrator descends into madness himself. Highly recommend it!

    I love the idea of a horror-book-giving tradition – I’m going to go pick up a few books and get it started amongst my friends and family!

  146. When I was a child Rold Dahls THE WITCHES scared the bejesus out of me. We read it in school and I cried.

    As an “adult” (and I use that term loosely) I’m obsessed with “The Fall of the House of Usher” in Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles. Most of the stories in there are great but that one is an orgy of Poe stories and I love it!

  147. I’d have to say The White Plague, by Frank Herbert, which was amazingly plausible and therefore infinitely frightening. Also I have shelves and shelves of King, i’ve read everything by him and am probably most freaked by the novella The Langoliers.

    The Shining is one of those rare movies that does justice to its book – so that was a big one, too.

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  148. Poe’s Cask of Amontillado was always a favorite. I also came across a book called Really, Really, Really, Really Weird Stories that was the most bizarre book I’ve ever read. They weren’t shitting, the short stories were progressively weirder and weirder and freaked my shit out. Seriously. Cannot find any other way to describe the book as Really, Really, Really, Really Weird. Really.

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  149. I’ve read a lot of scary books, but my favorite is probably It. The movie is f***ing terrifying, and I refuse to watch it again, but the book is fantastic — more for the intense friendship than the scares, though. I read it as a teen and I remember thinking that I wanted friends that close *so bad*.

    Oddly enough, though, when I asked myself what the scariest book I could think of, off the top of my head, was… The Yellow Wallpaper. Something about the idea of that poor trapped woman scrabbling around and around and around the room is just disturbing.

  150. Rosemary’s Baby. It might not have zombies or monsters or whatever, but the idea that people you think are normal could actually be in some freaky cult that is going to brainwash your husband and impregnate you with the devil’s baby totally weirds me out. I mean, what the hell? Most things don’t scare me, but this book totally messed with my mind. And made me afraid of my elderly neighbors.

  151. Scariest? Probably Pet Semetary. It was my first novel by Stephen King and I chose to read it late at night after my parents went to bed and let’s just say that I still get nervous about being stabbed in the ankles by somebody hiding under my bed late at night. Sometimes they hide in the shower too, though I have gotten to the point where I don’t need to keep the shower curtain open at all times. Or maybe I’m just telling myself that because I now have see-through shower doors.

    I love Northanger Abbey too – scary AND well-mannered.

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  152. 153

    Nothing used to scare me as a child, I loved the darkness of books like The Witches and The Chronicles of Narnia and such. THEN I read Night Shift by Stephen King – specifically Children of the Corn – and I stopped cold turkey. As an adult, however, American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis scared me so bad I had to remove it from my house…. and I didn’t even come close to finishing it. scary Scary SCARY.

    I love this idea, though. I am going to go pick up several copies of Clive Barker’s The Thief of Everything from used book stores and hand them out to the best dressed trick-or-treaters on Sunday.

  153. A scary book for me was Piers Anthony’s “Shade of the Tree” – I picked it up when I was a young adult (having read his light fantasy “Xanth” series)…. and haven’t been able to read it again as all I remember was how much it scared me. So I can’t even remember if it was a scary story for real or if it was my imagination 😀

    Crystal recently posted A Labor of Love.

  154. Gonna have to go with One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish. Fish are fucking scary. They flop around and they’re all slimy and stuff. Plus what’s with the fact that they just stare straight ahead and don’t sleep ever? Creeeeeepers!

  155. Ooh just thought of another one: The Storyteller – adaptations of the Jim Henson series. Oh my Dawkins, I read them as an adult and I can’t wait to freak the crap out of my kid when he’s old enough not to pee the bed. Serious shit: the boy who went out into the world to learn FEAR, people getting boiled alive, a hedgehog man, incestuous kings marrying their daughters, beating slaves with ‘the contradiction stick’ (we all need one of those, right?)… ahhh, good family fun.

    Skip recently posted Gentle Parenting VS OCD Hysteria.

  156. Oh, by far The Pendulum by Poe. He’s a genius!

  157. Oh sure, all you guys have your scary stories. Me? I am a full-fleged wimp. Not a chance!!!

    Laurie recently posted New Theme- Elegant Grunge.

  158. I had to sleep with the light on after finishing Gerald’s Game. The degloving… **SHUDDER**

  159. I was born and live in Florida, so it stands to reason my paternal grandmother lived in a condo. I thought all grandmothers lived in condos, or drank Old Milwaukee with a salted rim like my mother’s mother did.

    My father died when I was six, and with my mom having three kids, one a baby, needless to say books where where you’d find me.

    Staying at my paternal grandma’s condo for the weekend was like, the penultimate for me during that time; in-ground pool, unlocked rooftop access, shiffleboard for hours by myself, right on the Bay with a private dock, you name it. But in the evenings, after tv dinners and Cronkite on the floor console color tv, sometimes I’d get to wandering around the lobby playing Eloise the spy.

    (It didn’t hurt that the condo manager (who I never saw, btw) had an always locked office with the name “Mr. Bigg” on the door.)

    It was during an early evening ramble about the place that I found out THERE WAS A READING LIBRARY in the building. No shit… darkly paneled, dimly lit by reading lamps set next to deep dark leather club chairs and covered in wall-to-wall, to ceiling-to-floor, BOOKSHELVES. Oh what I’d give today to search out those decade’s of books on those shelves, donated by residents passing through on their way to the Eternal. Alas the building was slated for remodel before the recession, and like so much here, was abandoned and never finished; it still sits, massive and boarded and shuttered behind signs declaring “Coming Soon! One, two and three bedroom condo’s!”

    One night when I was but nine years old, and fairly recently into my forays within, I found “The Amityville Horror”. Though my mother did not believe in censoring my reading material, this I knew from tv program censorship -there was NO WAY I’d have been allowed to read this had she been there. BUT SHE WASN’T. I was all alone at my gramma’s, and she none the wiser.

    I started to read it there in the library but fairly quickly I looked up and found myself alone, at night, in that lovely dark, now VERY FUCKING CREEPY, library and went upstairs.

    Two hours later at bedtime, my nails chewed to the quick, eyes starting from my head, perched on the edge of an armchair, I was hooked. My grandmother looked over from her programs at me and said something like “Heaven’s, child, what are you reading!?”

    “Um, nothing gramma,” I mumbled, petrified to my very core by the shennanigans going on at the the DeFeo house, “I’m just at the exciting part.”

    Exciting all right. So then I was hooked on horror, all the way through my twenties and Ann Rice haha.

    Stephanie Myer who?

    Now in college,I read for pleasure less often, mostly David Sedaris or something easily put down or picked up. But I did read Under the Dome recently by King, and it took a weekend and then some of my life, but for that journey, time stood still and I wasn’t a mom, or a middle aged, or broke. I was just enthralled by the horror of it all 🙂

    Great to know you are mi compadre.

    Jessica recently posted Can I live in your garage.

  160. Ohhhh, great post! Anything to do with books and I’m in!

    The first scary book I read was when I was about 8 and it was one I got at a flea market! It was called “The Wicked, Wicked Ladies in the Haunted House” and I think part of the reason it scared the crap out of me was the cover had a bird on it…and I have a major bird phobia.

    I snuck “Carrie” by Stephen King out of my grandparent’s basement when I was 12 – I wasn’t normally allowed scary movies or books (or “Forever” by Judy Blume!) but my parents knew I took books from their library as well as any others – I think they just gave up! Anyway, I read “Carrie” and to this day I cannot watch that movie on TV and am terrified to read the book again.

    Scariest non-fiction – Hunting Humans by Elliott Leyton, read for a sociology class first year uni. All about serial killers. Not fun.

    I’ve just discovered your blog so I hope you have lots of cool topics like this! I loved reading other folks’ comments and I’ve even jotted some titles down in my notebook of books to look for at the library!

  161. The Amityville Horror gets me everytime….and yes, sadly, it’s not real. Oh well. Still scares the crap out of me!

    Sara recently posted YummmmmmTexas Caviar!.

  162. I love love love reading… So a scary story shouldn’t be hard to think of… Except for the fact that I don’t scare easily… Stephen King books are always nice and creepy…

    Kelly recently posted Blah.

  163. ……although since WordPress keeps naming my blog as their lastest theme, I might write them a SCARY letter! Laurie aka

    Laurie recently posted New Theme- Elegant Grunge.

  164. Hands down the scariest book I’ve read in a long time is Mo Hayder’s “Ritual”.

    There are so many things I find terrifying about it – mostly that it probably happens. It’s a dark unnerving story about ‘ritual’ mutilation and drugs and all sorts of darkness all wrapped up in a detective story?

    I know it seems like an odd combination but it works…

  165. “Say Cheese and Die” by RL Stine scared me so much that I fell in a pool while I was reading it. No kidding. I was also afraid of cameras for months after I read that.

    Esther recently posted Half as happy.

  166. I don’t read usually read scary books.

    I had nightmares after reading Coraline (which my five year old loves) and I read it at the tender age of 22.

    My imagination is too wild and vivid and full of thoughts of serial killers, demonic children crawling out of wells, freaky mothers with button eyes, and hook hands hanging off the side of cars.

    I think I’ll start with the Ruth Chew books. Maybe… I’ll overcome my fears. But I’m still scared.

  167. i read Salem’s lot when i was in the 6th grade and have been a follower of S. King ever since…he is such a capable author..some of his stories haunt me…Quitters Inc. anyone remember that one? where they cut off his wifes finger because he smokes a cigarette while stuck in a traffic jam? and they put his kids in those electrified boxes like lab animals?????? i dont know which collection of short stories that one was in, but there were several in that book, Grey Matter….eeek!
    that being said i have not, nor do i think i will ever read “it”. I have not nor will i ever think i could visit Maine. I too live in Texas and i think if i heard anyone speak the way King has phonetically written his creepy ass conversations over the years i would

  168. Not the scariest but the ones that will always stick with me are the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark books. I loved reading them as a grade school kid. They didn’t necessarily scare me as much as interest me. I’ll always remember the story about the girl who had a spider lay eggs in her cheek and then one day all the babies exploded out of her cheek. Loved it! It was also the first place I’d ever had read about a poltergeist! It was hard to scare me because I was watching Nightmare on Elm Street in kindergarten thanks to my brothers.

    gingela5 recently posted A Roadtrip.

  169. I’m not sure I have a favorite, but The Shining scared the crap out of me. When I was about 50 pages from the end — reading in the living room all alone — I had to go down and finish the book sitting in the corner of my husband’s workshop, where he was tinkering on something. Never had to resort to needing another human around for comfort before or since.

    Other faves: Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle, and of course her short story The Lottery. Salem’s Lot. The Stand.

    A trilogy you may want to introduce to Hailey: Witch Water, The Witch Returns, and The Witch Herself by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. I read them to my older son when he was about 8 and we both loved them. Creepy and scary, especially because they are set in a perfectly normal family and a perfectly normal small town (not in TX, tho).

    kmkat recently posted Stash of joy.

  170. Little Women…short people scare me.

    Love Stephen King’s books…probably the Shining. I love scary books. I want to be so f@#^ing scared that I an afraid to go to bed.

    Grace recently posted Step Dad.

  171. “The Pit and the Pendulum” is my all time favorite horror story. I effing love Poe.

    “The Turn of the Screw” rocks as well. I love the whole is there or isn’t there a ghost thing. I prefer scary that doesn’t come right out and tell you what the scary is.

    I used to be a huge King fan, and still am, but haven’t read anything by him in maybe 10 years…His earlier stuff is far better than the more recent stuff…

    Laura recently posted Reason 862 I love the Archeaogoddess.

  172. Crap. She wrote several other books about that witch and family and town, too; I got them mixed up. The trilogy is actually The Witch’s Sister, Witch Water, and The Witch Herself. Sheesh.

    kmkat recently posted Stash of joy.

  173. OMG. The scariest book I ever read for real, was AMERICAN PSYCHO, by Brett Easton Ellis. It seriously was the sickest book ever, and I literally had to take a break and hide it from myself because it freaked me out so much. There was definitely a reason this was not allowed on the shelves at bookstores. I remember that I had to hunt it down and finally found it in a little offbeat shop — they had to get it from the back stock room and it was wrapped in brown kraft paper – like porno magazines. Freaking sick. I still have nightmares about it. Also,love Stephen King and read everything he ‘s written, but in the The NIGHT SHIFT (a collection of short stories by Stephen King), there was this one story called NIGHT SURF, and it ruined me. Since I read that scray shit about 25 years ago, I have never been able to swim at night in water over my head. Skinnydipping at night?? OUT of the QUESTION.

  174. Seriously, I found “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy to be the scariest, most sustained nightmare scenario ever. Could not put it down. Amazing.

  175. The scariest book I ever read was Go Ask Alice when I was 12 or 13. It has stayed with me for 30 years – the image of Alice in the closet, scratching away the bugs from her arms. The thought of that still gives me the heebs.

  176. The Telltale Heart scares the bejeesus out of me.

    Kendahl recently posted MARGE! Its the Mormons again!.

  177. Oh man. I can’t lie, scary stories are usually too much for me and my wildly overactive imagination. I think the last time I read a properly scary book was fifth grade, and it was a book of ghost stories. One of which terrified me so much that I slept with a light on for the next month or two. It was something about a kid who moved into a house and the shadows killed him and his family…I don’t know. I don’t want to think about it. It was SCARRING.

    Because of that terrible experience I’ve avoided anything that can be remotely considered frightening. Buuut I did like Shutter Island, even though it isn’t actually a horror story or anything. Psychological thriller, sort of?

    Whatever. I’m a pansy.

  178. Oh, there are so many scary books out there! I love “The Turn of the Screw” by Henry James (the 1st “grown up” book I read and loved) and “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson. Of course, if gore is your thing, there’s always the works of Edward Lee. Pick any one and you will be creeped out of your mind!

    Graygrrrl recently posted Fright Fest- The Final Frontier.

  179. “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe” scared the crap out of me. Then again, I was a disturbed child! Wendy

    WriteWendy recently posted Rejection.

  180. Amityville Horror…to this day I can’t see two red lights together with out thinking of that stup pig named Jodi.
    Who names a pig Jodi.

    Did I make that part up?

  181. As ridiculous as the movie was, the stuff Stephen King put in my head while I was reading “It” kept my middle-school self from finishing it. To this day, I have not finished that book. It’s the only one of his that I haven’t.

    Michelle recently posted Thank You for Apologizing in Advance.

  182. Going Rogue by Sarah Palin. Utterly terrifying.

  183. My favorite Scary Book is probably Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk. While not neccesarily a classical horror story (there are no ghosts or goblins, the only monsters are human) It is very disturbing and more then a little scary. Accentuated by the fact that alot of it is disturbingly plausible.

  184. My parents are from Roswell, NM and whenever we visited for vacation, I had a couple of cousins who would insist on telling the story of La Llorona. That shit kept me up all night, scared that she was going to grab me through the window.

    That story still freaks me out…

  185. I meant to actually add in “The tell-tale Lilac Bush.” I’m from West Virginia and it is a terrifying story that launched a collection of ghost stories based in West Virginia. During Halloween, our teachers would crowd us into the ancient, creaking auditorium and read us stories from the collection with the lights out. For a girl who was scared of Scooby Doo, I’m surprised I wasn’t scarred for life. They’re actually my happiest memories of school.

  186. When I was a kid I read this book called “The Dark-Thirty: Southern Tales of the Supernatural” and it scared the bejeezus out of me. I have never forgotten one of the chapters, titled 11:59 about some sort of ghost train, with a conductor who is on some sort of crazy hell-ride trying to escape his own death. Yes, this is a children’s book – A Newberry Honor’s winner at that! Anyway, I’m amazed that the book stuck with me for this long but I loved it! Fun, southern, creep-tastick folklore at its best!


    DID I MENTION PLEASE?!?!??!?!?!?! DID I MENTION CAPS LOCK?!?!?!? DID I MENTION…”?!?!?!?!?!?!”

  188. Am I crazy or have I already seen this photo of you? Dear Lord, I hope that my one psychic power is seeing future photographs on blogs. Although next month is going to be great for Chuck and Coco.

    Marinka recently posted 13 Years of Happiness.

  189. Pet Cemetery totally freaked me out as a kid. As an adult, Turning Angel by Greg Isles was creepy and a total page turner.

    watercolor recently posted I win.

  190. Roald Dahl’s “adult” short stories. What’s left unsaid in the books, yet revealed by the reader’s imagination is, by far, the scariest thing.

  191. But if you’re not going to count my all caps comment as an entry, I will also be a Lit nerd and say for good spooky, I gotta go Poe and the Fall of the House of Usher or the Cask of Amontillado (NO WAY I spelled that properly) and oh, what’s the one about the cat buried in the wall? AND OH NATHANIEL HAWTHORN! The Birthmark, and the one about the woman who’s a poisonous plant lady.

  192. 193
    Sandra (a.k.a. Sandrandan)

    Reading King in third grade, eh? I read Carrie when it was first published – I was in high school at the time. Scared the bejesus out of me! My first scary books were the original Grimms tales, which I started reading in 2nd or 3rd grade. Those were really bloody. Then I read everything by Poe, then Dracula, Frankenstein, and The Picture of Dorian Gray. After Carrie, I read every King novel I could find, etc. etc. etc. Not to mention, my paramour for 7+ years was a published horror writer (Mark A Clements).

    So, my all time favorite? The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson.

    BTW – I’ve never heard of Ruth Chew, but I’m going to find some of her books now. Thanks!

  193. You won’t even notice my comment, since it’s buried so deep, but I just had to share, anyway.

    I was one of the weird kids who checked out all the “strange but true” books in the school library, and read them over and over. I never heard of Ruth Chew before, but I’m sure I’ll love her books, as soon as I find them.

    I remember when I first discovered Stephen King through The Dead Zone. Once I started reading, I couldn’t sleep until I finished it. It was amazing. When I nearly died 4 years ago (true story) I was reminded of this book, and felt compelled to read it again. Unfortunately, I don’t have Johnny’s “gift.” Fortunately, I also don’t have a brain tumor, so I guess I’m okay with that.

    Barbara recently posted Accidentally Wonderful.

  194. When I was a kid I loved the book “The Dollhouse Murders” by Betty Wren Wright. I was scared the whole way through, but after that book, all I could read were fantasy, science fiction or horror stories. If there was no magic in life, then what was the point? 🙂

  195. The Thief of Always by Clive Barker sent chills up my ninth grade spine. I even found a used copy of it back in May and I still haven’t been able to bring myself to read it.

    Since reading Clive Barker, though, I have gained a bigger appreciation for less scary, scary stuff; for example, the Tales from the Darkside television series…

  196. You hooked me – I never enter giveaways – ever. But it’s about books!! Scary books!

    I’d have to say that Salem’s Lot scared the crap out of me as a teenager – while babysitting. I quickly learned it’s not a good idea to babysit a child who walked in her sleep while reading a scary book about vampires….

    Gigi recently posted Boys are worthless when it comes to picking out a shoe.

  197. OMG Mairead! That story about the Green Ribbon? I had a record (yes record. Or vinyl, whatever!!!) that had the story on it. You think it’s scary if you read it? Try HEARING it in the creepiest voices you ever heard.

    “Take that ribbon off! I’m tired of looking at it.”
    “You’d be sorry if I did. So I won’t”

    After her head falls off:
    “I told you you’d be sorry . . . . . (fading away)”

    Jules recently posted Before and afters!.

  198. When I was little, the story of the Headless Horseman scared me more than anything ever could again. Dude on a horse, with a sword, chasing you through the night… and he’s got no head!! There was a dark, twisty little road that was a shortcut to my grandparents’ house that I was convinced was the actual Sleepy Hollow from the book. Couldn’t be told otherwise. As soon as I realized my father was turning the car down that road I was out of my seatbelt and in the front seat with my parents, trying to squeeze down under their legs in a ‘duck & cover’ position to protect my head. My mother says I almost caused them to drive off the road on more than one occasion by flinging myself over the front seat with such force.

    As I got a little older, a series of ‘Urban Legend’ books in the school library made me pratically weep with fear. The guy sitting in the dark, patting his dog’s heads as he listens to a radio report about an escaped psycho killer in the neighborhood… and then he hears his dog scratching at the front door and remembers that he forgot to let him back in for the night! The girl and her boyfriend who have to spend the night in an abandoned house because they think they see a large, dark form lurking in the tall weeds between them and their car. The girl clutches her boyfriend’s hand throughout the night to reassure herself that he’s by her side. She wakes up in the morning stll clutching his hand… just his hand! My god, these stories terrorized me!

    Favorite grown-up scary story would be “The Haunting of Hill House” just for the quiet, subtle imagery. When Nell is thinking about the housekeeper who spends her days working in a kitchen full of doors leading to numerous hallways and thinks to herself that she couldn’t work in there, never knowing what door might be swinging quietly open behind her… chilling!

    Sorry for the long-winded comment, but that question brought back a lot of good, spooky memories! 🙂

    Steven A. recently posted A Great Fall.

  199. There’s A Monster At The End Of This Book starring Grover.

    Scary stuff.

  200. Finding my Dad’s copy of “The Story of O” behind his bed when I was 12.

    Oh, what? You wanted a scary book, not a scary story ABOUT a book.

    Oh, sorry. That’s all I’ve got.

    Kernut the Blond recently posted I Break Out in Handcuffs When I Drink Alcohol.

  201. How sad that Ruth Chew books are out of print. Although I read a sick amount of Nancy Drew books in my youth, my uncle moved me on to 1984, Animal Farm, The Jungle (Upton Sinclair) got my 8th grade imagination whirling. I don’t think they are supposed to be horror, but I was horrified!

  202. stupig is a compound.

  203. World War Z. Also, Coraline. And Stephen King’s Bag of Bones. I think it got overlooked a little because it wasn’t his usual ‘thing’, but it scared the crap out of me.

    Keely recently posted Slow clap- Fedex Slow clap.

  204. This isn’t very literary of me, I suppose, but it’s the truth:
    Stephen King’s “It” created a crippling fear of clowns in me that has not abated to this DAY.

    Karen from Chookooloonks recently posted true.

  205. My favourite scary book is from my childhood it’s John Bellairs’ “The House with a Clock in it’s Walls” – I read it for the first time when I was in grade 2 and even now, 20 years later it still gives me the same chill down my spine and goosebumps

  206. Ok-I’m still thinking about this and had to go find the story. It’s a bit different than the green ribbon version (I just KNEW it was a black velvet ribbon)-I found the short story (poem?) here:

    Jules recently posted Before and afters!.

  207. 208
    Chris Bissette

    I’m going to vote for the Dave McKean illustrated version of Bradbury’s The Homecoming. It’s not scary, not really, but it’s one of my favourite stories to read at Halloween (or any time, really, but Halloween especially) and McKean’s illustrations are, as always, phenomenal. Absolutely one of my favourite books.

  208. When I was little I loved this book called Trick or Treat. I read it weekly, its falling apart but I still have it.
    Sadly, I just realized that while that is 95% of what I read when I was a kid now I rarely read fiction books, and when I do its usually something funny, not something scary. I am definitely going to have to go to the library this weekend and find something good.

  209. Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber. So, so good. I own 7 copies. It seems like something Jenny might read.

  210. I know it’s lame but Fahrenheit 451. books were the only things besides my horse that has kept me relatively stable while struggling with my bipolar and the death of most of my support system during my teenage years so the idea of a world without them is terrifying

  211. I read IT by Stephen King when I was 10 and it scared the pants off me. Then I read it again at 14 and wondered what I’d been worried about.

    Veronica recently posted Dear kids- Mummy loves you- have some of her issues.

  212. Hands down, the story that scared me the most as a kid was “The Tell Tale Heart” as many others have mentioned. But in my young adult life, what my American Lit professor used to call “the scariest hair in all American Literature”, is a short story called “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner. Go read it. Trust me. You won’t sleep tonight, I guarantee.

  213. 214

    Needful Things. (Stephen King, of course) Its the things people will do to each other for greed, jealousy, or fear that truly scare the shit out of me.

  214. Pet Cemetery by Stephen King. I literally peed my pants but it was worth it!

  215. The Scariest Book I ever read was Ferdinand The Bull. I was terrified for that poor animal, imagine, someone could have stabbed him. Ghosts, goblins and gremlins- no fear of any of those.

    Jack recently posted The Red Dress.

  216. ANYTHING Stephen King! I have been reading him since college ( a long, long, long time ago)…but the one that scared me silly was PET CEMETERY…I was reading in broad daylight when someone knocked on the door–I screamed and the book went flying! And the last line…”Darling it said.” was CREEPY!!!

    Pam recently posted Mellow Yellow Monday!.

  217. Scariest book: The Exorcist.

    Favorite scary book: The Fog by James Herbert. I read it simultaneously with my BFF when we were maybe 13. Herbert occasionally describes the insanity-making fog as a plasma, which made us insane with laughter. Imagine the perverse mileage you can get out of the word “plasma” as a 13 year-old.

    Janice recently posted Confessions of a Leftist Elitist- Part MCVIII.

  218. I have 2, both by Stephen King: The Tommyknockers and It

  219. When I was a kid, I loved James Howe’s books: Bunnicula, Howliday Inn, The Celery Stalks at Midnight and Nighty-Nightmare, especially. Now, Neil Gaiman’s output of The Sandman, Coraline, The Graveyard Book, etc., are pretty fulfilling in the nail-biting-causing, goosebump-creating part of my literary diet.

  220. I loved Ruth Chew as a kid, too, and recently found a beat up copy of “Magic in the Park” for my 9 year old daughter. She loved it. My scary authors are Shirley Jackson and Ray Bradbury, and zombie books (from “Pet Sematary” to “World War Z”).

    Sarah M recently posted Going to Cape Town.

  221. Oh, also, Animal Farm, 1984, and War of the Worlds? HORRIFYING. O_O
    Lord Voldemort? TERRIBLE.
    The Tell-Tale Heart and The Cremation of Sam McGee? POSSIBLE CAUSES OF HEART PALPITATIONS.
    Dude, I really can’t pick just one. Not fair.

  222. Red Rose by Stephen King was it for me.

  223. “There Will Come Soft Rains” by Ray Bradbury… sad and chilling all at the same time.

  224. “Psycho” by Robert Bloch, it still scares me to go to weird seedy motels… you never know what the hell you might find.

  225. One book that did scare me was Misery by Stephen King, as we know how Annie is so obbessive with Paul. The way King writes about her in the book…not only did the man get me angry at her (a sign that tells me that I like the book a lot) but she scared me everytime she suddenly get upset as I felt that she would hack off another part of Paul.

  226. The Masque of the Red Death and the Tell Tale Heart. I read them in 5th grade when one of the neighbors said I could read any of her books since she knew I loved to read. Scary stuff! She must have known she was giving me nightmares…

  227. Stephen King–IT. Freaky, freaky, freaky.

    Kelly H. recently posted Twenty easy steps to a crappy week.

  228. my imagination is not my friend, so i tend to avoid scary things. they’ll haunt me for years. (every time i drive in the dark, i half expect freddy’s claws to come up thru the seat. i’m pathetic.)

    but, i have to say that your house is the coolest thing i think i’ve ever seen. bravo!

    Ericka recently posted Petunia.

  229. Even though I know I am echoing everyone else’s comments, I loved Poe. I was exposed to him (um, not literally, because he’s dead. Also, not literally because I was a little girl and that would be awkward and wrong) when I was 9. The Cask of Amontillado scared the snot out of me. It took my breath away. It was the first book to “take me away” and I have not been able to put books, especially macabre ones, since.

  230. Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier creeps me way out.

  231. I still have flashbacks to Gerald’s Game. Stephen King says he wrote it, but some suspect his wife. If it was written by him, that man has crawled way way deep inside the feminine part of his brain.

    tanniah recently posted A Little Less Baby Each Day.

  232. There is a story in Stephen King’s Night Shift that scared the crap out of me. I read it again and again, it was called The Mangler.
    I think it scared me precisely because the lead in was so very much a matter of chance and that made it just terrifying.

    Tracy Lynn recently posted Enough Of Your Egghead Gibberish You Know Who You Are.

  233. The Stand scared the bejesus out of me. I was given a copy for Christmas a few years back and didn’t speak to my family for 2 days until it was done. The scene with Larry in the pitch black Lincoln Tunnel made me sleep with the lights on. At 21 years old.

  234. When I was a teenager it was Christopher Pike. Now it’s The Stand by Stephen King and Girlfriend in a Coma by Douglas Coupland.

    Swistle recently posted Appraisal.

  235. Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Those suckers were TERRIFYING. The Cask of Amontillado and The Raven by Poe, The Watcher by Dean Koontz, and Swan Song by Robert McCammon.
    When I was about six, I read a horror comic about this giant orange Sasquatch-like creature that lived in the closet of an old abandoned house. Whenever people stayed there, this creature would emerge and scare them to death. It scared me so much that I had to sleep with my closet door closed till after I graduated high school and left home.

  236. Almost all of the 70’s-early 80’s Stephen King, but The Shining is definitely my favorite. I remember reading it, all day every day, during Spring Break in junior high–my Mom ended up yelling at me for spending the whole week on the couch with my nose in “that damned book.”


    pam recently posted Please send good thoughts to Mustang Chloe.

  238. Ooh, I’m totally wrong. The book that scared the bejesus out of me was “Stranger With My Face” by Lois Duncan. Some girl astrally projects her soul out of her body and her long-lost twin, that she didn’t know existed, astrally projects and takes over her body and her life! I spent my teen years afraid that a particularly vivid dream might accidentally pull me out of my body…which then led to me reading Illusions by Richard Bach to know how to handle that crap if it in fact happens.
    Basically, all I remember is to keep track of the silver cord because its way important.

    tanniah recently posted A Little Less Baby Each Day.

  239. Bag of Bones w/o a doubt. When ever I read it, I have no doubt it could really happen.

  240. A true story called ‘Grave’s End’ about a haunted house. Scared the hell out of me. Good book. Also another true story called ‘Don’t Call Them Ghosts’ about a family who ‘adopts’ some children ghosts who live in their house..not scary, but creepy and sort of sad, but a good read as well.

  241. The last book that REALLY scared me was by Lois Duncan, “Down A Dark Hall.” I was probably about 8 or 9 years old. “The House that Jack Built” by Graham Masterson was a little creepy, though.

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  242. Honestly?? Nancy Drew and The Secret Staircase! Also, to all those that said Stephen King, I agree…I had to stop reading because of the nightmares. “It” was the worst.

  243. There are so many good scary books! I read about a 150 books a year. The one that scared me so much I had to sleep with the lights on was Hell House by Richard Matheson. I loved IT by Stephen King, So Cold The River by Michael Koryta and Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill. I could go on, but I won’t.

  244. 245
    luna lovegood

    i started reading steven king when i was in six grade and i fell in love. his stories never fail to terrify and thrill me.

  245. I love the idea of giving out books on Halloween. Unfortunately my tiny budget and the throngs of kidlings in my neighborhood make this un-do-able.

    My favorite scary book? That’s a tough one. I didn’t start reading scary things until I was an adult and a college friend handed me a worn copy of Steven King’s Needful Things… So, as a cop-out, I’m going to go with my first. Don’t we all always remember our first? And this one didn’t leave me wanting for more while he snored through the last half of Seinfeld.

    Sassy Pants recently posted TMI Tuesday.

  246. I’m going with ‘Incredible Tales’ by Saki. Many are disturbing, but “The Interlopers” scared the crap out of me as a kid.

  247. It by Steven King
    Holy Crap. Couldn’t sleep for like a year

  248. Pretty much every Stephen King book I’ve ever read scares the bejesus out of me. But “It” definitely takes the cake. I read it in high school and carries the 1000+ page book around until I finished it. Maybe that’s why I still check the closets at night for monsters?

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  249. The Stand, hands-down. Does that make it The Handstand?

  250. Grown Ups: Misery, The Shining
    Kids: Coraline, Lily’s Ghosts, Graveyard Book, anything by Mary Downing Hahn

    LibraryGirl62 recently posted LibraryGirl62.

  251. I hate horror now–but in high school I loved it. My scariest book was “The Other,” by Thomas Tryon. Also saw the movie, which also scared me. But I can’t do horror anymore, especially scary books. What I see in my head is way scarier than anything I can see onscreen.

  252. I just read Cronin’s The Passage and it’s, hands down, the scariest, thrilliest book i’ve ever read. It. Was. Awesome.

  253. I used to devour books on urban legends. One of my favourites, which I still tell to my little cousins, was called “The Liver,” in which a wife, desperate to feed and appease her abusive husband, is forced to steal a dead lady’s liver and cook it for him… the husband of course, dies a tragic death when he is haunted by the ghost. I think it was the combination of accidental revenge, food and cannibalism that made me like it so much.

    Others… Shirley Jackson’s short story the Lottery. 1984 freaked me right out. The Tell-Tale Heart never scared me exactly, but it is one of my favourites. … you know what? I haven’t read a horror story in a while.I’m borrowing your comments section to go get some books.

  254. ‘Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark’. The pictures still haunt me to this day. I remember reading it to my little sister, flipping the page, only to see a decrepit womans face with spiders erupting from it. Screaming, I threw that book across the room. Really, the scariest kids book ever.

  255. Love “The Graveyard Book” by Gaiman
    and “A Shadow in the Wind” or “The Angel’s Game” by Zafon

    i love halloween 🙂

  256. Favorite scary book….I think it would have to be collected short stories of Edger Allen Poe. Telltale heart in particular….it’s anxiety manifested in a spooky book!

  257. I started reading Stephen King at an early age, too. I love just about everything he’s written and I’ve read a fair amount of other scary authors, but I would have to pick The Shining as my favorite. I always have such a perfect picture in my mind when I read it.

    I LOVE the idea of giving a scary book for Halloween. Thanks for passing it along!

  258. Jenny, this is an amazing idea. We love collecting candy on Halloween, but after the actual day it goes into Lock, Shock, and Barrel’s bag to give Sandy Claws something to eat (aka, my cookie jar) and gets forgotten.

    I read Stonewords by Pam Conrad over and over, much like it sounds Hailey does with Coraline, and Bunnicula by James Howe was another favourite. Sadly I didn’t become much of a reader until later in life and I had all but forgotten about those books until you brought up Ruth Chew. Thanks for reminding me to pass it down, lady.

    Also, we went to the Ren Faire on Saturday, and there was a sign that said Hill Country, and I though of you, wondering if you had secretly moved to the Ren Faire and were keeping it from us. ….I actually don’t know where Hill County is, and I’m pretty sure that Plantersville is nowhere near it.

  259. Oh wow! “What the Witch Left” was one of my favorite books when I was younger. I think it might be at my parents house. I should definitely go find it…

    Heather recently posted Pumpkin Patch.

  260. Before I read the comments here, I was going to say that even “scary” books don’t usually scare me, but you guys have jogged my memory.

    I agree with all the Ray Bradbury comments — The Small Assassin was terrifying, and All Summer In A Day was heartbreaking. I’ve really liked a lot of the other books/stories mentioned here but didn’t really find them scary. Scariness is definitely in the eye of the beholder.

    I thought A Wrinkle In Time was very scary when I read it as a child (but not when I reread it a few years ago before giving it to my niece).

    I’m embarrassed to admit I was scared by this short story, but in my defense, I was about 12-13 at the time. The story was written in the form of a note saying that the copy of the book that you’re reading is special, because a) you have this note instead of the short story that appears in this space in every other copy of this book and b) the author has been watching to see who would pick up that copy, and now that you have, he’s followed you home and is going to kill you.

    I’m going crazy trying to remember the title of a Poe story that scared me for the wrong reasons. The story involves a cat, but it isn’t “The Black Cat”. It starts with a man dropping something small off the roof of a building; the object strikes and kills a kitten, and the rest of the story is about the mother cat’s revenge. You’re supposed to be scared for the man, but I was horrified about what happened to the kitten and pretty much identified with the cat.

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  261. I would never have survived high school without Steven King. And Phil Collins. Hard to believe I would put them in the same category….I remember being obsessed with the Salem Witch Trials in jr. high. I read everything our pathetic little library had on it – and I didn’t even turn out to be pagan. Buddhist, yes, Pagan, no.

  262. I’m not much of a scary-book person (although I read a LOT of Stephen King novels when I was in junior high – in retrospect, no wonder I didn’t have many friends), but I was just reminiscing the other day about reading Susan Cooper’s “The Dark Is Rising” series, which is horror-ish, right? Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” is another favorite from childhood.

    abi recently posted Stay happy- baby girl.

  263. 264

    I read a little Ruth Chew – I won “The Secret Tree-House” when I mastered my multiplication speed test in 3rd grade.

    “The Amityville Horror” and “Carrie” (both were my brother’s books) scared me, because I could believe they were true.
    I read “Rebecca” by Daphne du Maurier after seeing the Alfred Hitchcock movie. Perhaps more suspenseful than scary.

  264. Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. Still gives me the creeps.

  265. I also started with Christopher Pike books and his token adult novel “Season of Passage” is probably my favorite.

  266. Unquestionably one of the scariest books I’ve ever read was Roald Dahl’s collected short stories for adults. I had to get for of my copy after reading it; I couldn’t sleep in the same house. All I’m saying is, don’t be fooled by Matilda and give Hailey a copy of these. Brrrr.

  267. Dude. I can’t believe no one has mentioned House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. Scared the shit out of me. Every creaking noise my apartment makes freaks me out.

  268. 269
    Tainted Slayer

    Stephen King is the top of this list!!! Lisey’s Story scared the bejesus out of me… probably b/c I read it at 1am. And I agree with the 3rd commenter as well…. MORE Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark has haunted me since the day I read it back in elementary school. I STILL remember most of those stories… and they still scare me.

  269. As a child, the scariest book for me was NC Ghost Stories full of local lore that I completely believed. The Maco Light in particular because my great aunt had seen it. The pictures were what really creeped me out though.

    Oh just found a site with all the stories online. Pretty lame now, but very scary for a 5 year old.

    Scariest thing I’ve read lately are all these comments! Guys, I have to take the recycling out to the curb tonight. Stop giving me the willies. Damn!

  270. Helter Skelter. Read it in high school and I’m still scarred by it.

    And I totally agree with the reader who said “what to expect when you’re expecting”. I felt like I was in the middle of some sick joke like, “I know, she’s not messed up enough by the hormones that are currently shrivelling her brain, let’s really F her up… I know! there’s this book…”

    Jean recently posted Thankful Thursday.

  271. First, I vote w/ your daughter, the dollhouse is genius! Second, I loved that bathtub shot the first time you shared, so it is still ‘full of the awesome’ as they say on the web these days! & third, I think one (among the many many I have read, I am a horror junkie) of the scariest books I have ever read is ‘Salems Lot. I actually don’t re~read it anymore.Fourth, I love the idea of giving a scary book for Halloween!

    Boot~C recently posted Presenting The Ring.

  272. I think it’s the only one of Chew’s I ever read, but I LOVED “What The Witch Left.” I read it a million times and I think I still have a copy. I sure hope I do.

    Your dollhouse makes me squee endlessly in utter delight. I have a thing for dollhouses and the fantasy genre with a little dash of love for the macabre (though I can’t read or watch too much horror; I scare too easily) so that was just…incredible.

  273. My stepfather, who ended up committing suicide, put me onto Stephen King. Read most of his books by the seventh grade, so I graduated to films. Halloween, Friday 13th, April Fools Day, Exorcist, The Omen, Happy Birthday to Me, My Bloody Valentine …. all of the great 80’s schlock horrors. It was fucking awesome. My favourite was Hellraiser …. remember Pinhead? “And to think ….. I hesitated.”

    Then I grew up and became a junkie and created my *own* horror, so didn’t need to read/watch anymore. Now I am clean and have children and I’m a soccer mum. But underneath my middle-class exterior I’m still a hardcore motherfucker, much like my twelve-year old self.

    edenland recently posted Vlog- I wasnt joking about the performance art.

  274. RUTH CHEW – hot damn, I knew there was a reason I like you so much! I keep meaning to buy the books for my six year old daughter and had no idea they were out of print. How can that be? Am going to have to go dig in my parents’ attic now for my old copies.

  275. I still haven’t been able to watch The Shining all the way through, so maybe I scare easy…BUT, ‘Heart-Shaped Box’ by Joe Hill (yes, Stephen King’s son, and he’s so good without nepotism!) was scary and smart and scary. And scary. And I read it like 3 years ago and I’m still scared.
    Did I mention it was scary?

  276. I’m so sad to hear that Ruth Chew’s books are out of print! _What the Witch Left_ was my favorite book for a long time, and several of her other ones stuck with me as well. I had no idea she was still publishing books into the ’90s, though – I need to check them out ASAP.

  277. I love scary stories and Stephen King’s The Stand holds a special place in my twisted heart. My first boyfriend had just moved out of state and I figured it would help pass the time while keeping me sane (I was 15). However, as I started to read about the sickness, I started to get sick myself. When my fever peaked at 104, the doctor confirmed I was sick … with mono. I thought that was really funny at the time, like it was sort of a last kiss goodbye from the boyfriend. I loved the book, and went on to read many, many more from the King of Horror!

  278. Favorite scary book: The Heart of A Witch by Judith Hawkes. I read it when I was 19 or 20, and to this day I assume every small New England town is secretly being kept alive by a colony of benevolent witches. It was such a beautiful, haunting story, and I read it at the right time in my life for it to make the most impact on me.

    Michelle recently posted Starting to look like Fall!.

  279. I’ll pick two and both are Stephen King’s: The Stand and Salem’s Lot.

    P.S. – I didn’t comment on your Twitter Post, but I would really take that as a positive compliment.

  280. Coraline by Neil Gaiman… scariest book I’ve ever read, ever. Something about it got to me like no other horror book has done before, possibly childhood nightmares remembered? Anyway, I think it’s perfect.

  281. 282

    Oh! Stephen King’s son, Joe Hill, wrote Heart Shaped Box, and it was FANTASTIC!!
    I bought it, then passed it on, and they passed it on, and they passed it on, and it made it’s way across the US and Canada and is still being passed on today

  282. He’s been mentioned time and again but Stephen King was my first real foray into horror novels. prior to him it was all Babysitter’s Club and Sweet Valley High. And then came The Tommy Knocker’s. that book scared the bejebus outta my 12 yr old self and kicked Sweet Valley’s ass. I was hooked. since then I’ve tried to keep my prospects open and read pretty much everything that can catch my interest. I currently have about 50 books on my bucket list and its growing since reading this post. Happy Hallows readindeed.

  283. Sorry, horror’s not my cup of tea (or is that ‘cup of blood’?). I sit in the movie theatre with my eyes tight shut as soon as the scary music starts. The ‘horrorest’ book I can deal with is Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere.

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  284. I believe that I discovered Washington Irving when i was only ten years old. I fell in love with Sleepy Hollow and read it over and over again, along with Rip Van Winkle. I’m not sure what scared me more: the eerie feeling that crawls up my spine when the whispered light of the moon rises just right on a clear night sky (even to this day), or the fact that my mother was incapable of reading the material I had fell in love with during my late childhood.

    What I also found sentimental about these reads is that it built something much more than an impressive reading level, often misunderstood by my peers as a youth, but it gave me a hunger, not only to read, but to write, create works of art only visible in the human mind. This birthed love of literature inspired me to become a writer, at the age of 12, and paved the road for me to finish writing my first novel at the age of 18.

  285. I could never read anything that didn’t have horses in it. That’s why I’ll never be a success. Every book I write has horses in it.

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  286. “Pet Semetary” – Scariest book ever. I was afraid to turn the page!

  287. If you are always disappointed in the Sears Portrait Studio, then you are DEFINITELY in luck this year!

  288. Do the stories of Comanche Indian raids on the Texas Hill Country settlers count? Cause my dad used to read those to me as bedtime stories. Every time I’m near Fredericksburg, I’m not entirely sure that I won’t be kidnapped by Indians. I’m sure that’s terribly politically incorrect, but that was my childhood.

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  289. I traumatized myself as a young child by reading scary books and stories. There’s something about reading a book. It just becomes part of you. I’ve now graduated to true crime books. They contain some scary stuff.

  290. You are totally going to think I am a pussy or something… wait, not a pussy… a silly goose? A dorkess? Yes, a dorkess. maybe? No, THE Dorkess. That’s it!

    OK, anyway… the book that scared the begebus out of me when I was little was The Little Mermaid. Dude, I mean dudess, SERIOUSLY!!!!

    The thought of being all happy with a crazy ol’ sea god pop and then becoming human and getting legs and then putting bro’s before ho’s and getting all human stupid and then turning into sea foam creeped me the fudge-on-a-toast out!

  291. Mastering The Art of French Cooking by Julia Childs

    In it, that crazy b*tch encourages people to cook and eat bone marrow, y’all.

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  292. Oops. I mean, JULIA CHILD.

    Sally recently posted A Monday Morning Ego Boost.

  293. One was the Boogyman from King’s Nightshift. I read the entire book in one night. The cover had a diecut of a hand with eyes looking out from it. I remember vividly the fading light in my bedroom and feeling the eyeball cutouts under my fingertips as I held the book. Just knowing they were eyeballs was creepy enough.
    I am now 47. I also have a closet door that creeps open every frickin’ night. And as I walk by on my way to bed I have to close it every frickin’ night. I avoid looking into the darkness through the opening though. If I saw anything, say, shining in there, or if I heard WHISPERING I would lose it.
    Another science fiction story, I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream has stayed with me all of these years. Why did I read worse stuff when I was young than I do now?

  294. I LOVED Ruth Chew! Can we petition to get them printed again?

  295. I love me some scary books and zombie flicks, but The Witches, by Roald Dahl, scared the daylights out of me when I read it at age seven, and it still makes me vaguely uncomfortable. After I read it, I suspiciously checked women’s hands and feet for signs of witchiness for months and months.

  296. Gosh! Where to start? Probably the first scary story that terrified me was Salem’s Lot- totally got me hooked on King. I loved Pet Cemetery and slept with the lights on for weeks.

    I think the one that scared me the most was The Road by Cormac McCarthy- it’s written absolutely beautifully (like a work of art kind of beautiful) but left me in abject terror! I had a panic attack reading it and finally had to stop and put it down about half way through (right after they got out of the basement- for those of you who’ve read it!). I’ve never *not* finished a book because it was too scary and this was the closest I came. It ended up haunting me for weeks and I finally picked it up again and read it backwards. It was the only way I could get though it.

    For kids- my older son loved Lemony Snicket “A Series of Unfortunate Events”- also really well written and extremely clever. They are great books to read to your kids. My younger son is at the age where he can read on his own but still loves to have stories read to him- we’re going to dig out the Snickets!

  297. The Cask of Amontillado by Poe. Scary, fucked-up shit. And there is brick everywhere in Boston. **Shudder**

  298. The Time Machine by HG Wells has always scared me. For some reason I am really really afraid of morlocks.

  299. I think I started off with Christopher Pike, who had excellent material for the vamp lovers (how I loathe Twilight and all its fans). I sunk my teeth into Stephen King and found his endings always annoyed me (except for a very limited few) when I was in 6th and 7th grade, so I migrated to John Saul. His book, The Homing still has images that haunt me, but my ultimate favorites are The Black Cat by Poe, and above all else, my required reading every Halloween is Tam o’ Shanter, by Robert Burns.

  300. Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi, truth is scarier than fiction.

  301. 302

    My first introduction to the horror/suspense genre was a book by Stephen Laws called Ghost Train – the first time i experienced a book which incorporated real history, geography, and recent world news events with an imaginative and well written horror premise. Scared the piss out of a 14 year old with a vivid imagination!

  302. Salem’s Lot is so underappreciated. Think vampires are blah? These ones are old school and freakin’ scary! I’d also say true crime books are terrifying, like Zodiac or Helter Skelter. It’s like watching 20/20 or Dateline, but being able to stick it in the freezer (like Joey did on Friends).

    The Power of Three by Laura Lippman is also scary in a Dateline kind of way.

    And there was also this story I read when I was a kid about this man who marries this beautiful woman who never takes this ribbon around her neck off. They grow old together and she never takes the damn thing off, until one day, she asks HIM to do it and when he does, her head rolls off. WTF? That was a kid’s book in the ’90s!

  303. Anything by James Kunstler, but especially The Long Emergency. Now there’s some scary shit.

  304. “Salem’s Lot” by Stephen King scared the pants off of me. I think it has to be one of the most frightening vampire novels ever written. I’ll add it “The Graveyard Book” by Neil Gaiman – it’s so charming and atmospheric. I loved every word.

  305. I’d have to go with Stephen King’s “Salem’s Lot”. I got the willies whenever I went down wooden staircases into basements, or looked at steak knives for YEARS.
    “The Shining” would be a close second…I slept with the lights on for days after I read “The Shining” all the way through in one night.
    I was going to say you weren’t weird, but maybe we both are really screwed up. I joined the Parapsychological Association when I was 10, just to get their reading list. My favorite book for years was “Poltergeists: the Hauntings and the Haunted” – real ghost stories like the Bell Witch.
    I didn’t want to be anything normal when I was a kid – I wanted to be either the witch, Angelique, on “Dark Shadows”, Cat Woman (Julie Newmar) or Emma Peel (Diana Rigg on “The Avengers”). I think we could have totally hung out – if I weren’t way older than you.
    And I’m babbling…again.

  306. Someone said it, but I agree. Poe’s Tell-Tale Heart creeps me out. But in a good way. Kinda.

    Also, anything Gaiman because that man is twisted. Especially his so-called “kids” books. Wolves in the Wall? Nightmares for weeks. Sick and twisted, man. Sick and twisted. LOVE IT!

    Nikki recently posted And Now For a Short Break!.

  307. Caitlin R. Kiernan’s novel Threshold. I’d read the usual, Lovecraft, King, Barker, etc., but that was the first CRK novel I ever read, and it spooked me something silly, which had never happened before. And seriously — any author who can make freaking trilobytes scary deserves my respect. Much like her description of the basement in The Red Tree gave me claustrophobic nightmares that still flare up now and then.

    miakoda recently posted Notes from the dissertation cave.

  308. Awesome! I’d LOVE a pic like this of myself! I’m a huge Stephen King fan. I read The Stand three times. I’ve been putting scary bits on my blog all month. Halloween rocks.

    Colleeng recently posted Colleenie Ghoulie 4.

  309. My all time scary book isn’t really a scary book so much as it is a f*#ked up book with a lot of violence and random shit. Most people have never heard of the book or the author but he has such a way of capturing you with his twisted mind. My all time favorite scary book is Bentley Little’s Dominion. Its filled with Greek mythology, violence, sex, wine, and twisted humor. Warning it is only recommended for the demented as well as anything else he’s written. But I cherish each and every short story or book of his I own. It was such a comfort to me the day my brother handed me his copy of the book knowing we could actually bond about how we’re both so freaking strange. I dare you to make it through the first 5 pages of the book without having to set it down purely out of wtf did I really just read that correctly. Yes you did, its that wrongly awesome.

  310. Almost forgot: All you who are looking for Ruth Chew titles and other out-of-print books, meet my favorite used book network:

    miakoda recently posted Notes from the dissertation cave.

  311. Damn, we are soul sisters. It’s all about the King, Poe and Bradbury. In junior high I wrote the last paragraph of The Mask of the Red Death in calligraphy, burned the edges and pinned it to my wall. Stephen King is a father figure to me. (LOVE him. and his EW column.) And Bradbury, oh Bradbury. The Illustrated Man was my favorite. I’ve never heard of Ruth Chew. I will have to look her up.

  312. The Green Ribbon. I first read this when I was in Kindergarten. I was at an advanced reading level, and this is written at a second grade reading level.

    The story scarred me. For life.

    22 years later and I still cannot read a scary book or watch a scary movie without a constant feeling of anxiety about what will happen next. I never expected Jenny’s fucking head to fall off. I imagined a scar on her neck. Or birthmark. I HAD NIGHTMARES ABOUT THIS STORY!

    It is especially creepy when told by this guy:

  313. I gave my niece a copy of Cherise the Niece and My brother threw a FIT!!!!! It’s about a little girl that “possibly” kills her parents then systematically “probably” kills each one of her aunts as she is sent to live with them. I “personally” thought it was funny in a look-that-lady-died-when-she-was-stabbed-by-the-Christmas-tree-star kind of way. I tried again with the other niece when I gave her a copy of Twilight because it is (pretty much) uber clean. Bigger fit. Next time I am just going to give them each a deer rifle. (Baby brother is an avid hunter and takes them hunting every year.) Apparently killing in books is BAD but killing in real life is pretty okay.

  314. By far the scariest book I have ever read is “Monsters You’ve Never Heard Of” that I picked up when I was twelve or so. The story of a monkey woman that digs her nails into someone’s back to suck the life out of them kept me away from dark bedrooms for weeks and has stuck with me for over a decade!

  315. How do you pick just ONE scary book? Seems like an exercise in futility. How about authors? Definitely pleural. I absolutely adore Stephen King, and Poe, John Saul, Anne Rice’s vampire books, and Thomas Harris. I know there are more, but I’m tired and a bit brain fried. I can’t wait until my munchkins are old enough to consent to being read a “chapter book.” You are so lucky to have a daughter that old who will read and enjoy those books with you.

    Amanda recently posted Tonight.

  316. 317

    firstly i love the idea of giving book. I am buy a book for everyone in my family at Christmas. I usually by my brother a book for his birthday as well (the books I buy him are usually the only books her reads. he’s a video game person)
    But on to the question if they still have those little cards that they keep in books at the library then my name would be all over this series at my elementary school. Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and Scary Stories 3 More Tales to Chill Your Bones. I was and still am a petulant child. If I am forced to do something I feel it is a chore and instantly resist it. That is until I happened upon Schwartz’s books. At the time they scarred the hell out of me. The illustrations are what did it. I remember reading as much as my 7 and 8 year old self could before the sun went down. I checked them out of the library over and over. I could quote the stories and poems word for word. For once reading wasn’t something to dread as it felt in class it was thrilling. It has lead to me having 6 bookshelves full of books.
    I am so fond of the books that I sought them out last year again and bought them. While the chills that I felt all those years ago are gone. I still remember reading them cover to cover over and over again. In fact I think I will pull them off the shelf and read them through again tonight.

  317. …And I couldn’t remember the name of my favourite childhood collection of short stories, but Comics Alliance apparently reads my mind:

    Alvin Schwartz’s “Scary Stories to tell in the Dark,” illustrated by Stephen Gammell is where I heard the story of The Liver. I need to buy and reread this book now.

  318. I read “Amityville Horror” as an 11 year old at my family’s isolated summer cabin deep in the woods of Northern Michigan. Terrifying.

  319. Rebecca by du Maurier. Delightfully creepy and so well-written.

  320. scary books were the hallmark of my childhood. From the age of 8 when i discovered Goosebumps i proceeded to read any potentially scary story i could get my hands on. I think i began to scare my mother with my preoccupation with the horror genre. By the time I was 13 I was reading Poe and loving every minute of it. I have to say though the only story to actually give me nightmares was Stephen Kings It. Combine a lifelong aversion of clowns, pennywise, and a fever and you get me awake at 2am freaking out because I’m afraid of the psychotic clowns in my dreams. Now I fear clowns in all their forms and have to resist the urge to throw things at them. Thank you Stephen King for contributing to my Coulrophobia, it couldn’t be something smooth and cool like a fear of ninjas….no…it had to be clowns.

  321. I remember learning about character development and style reading Stephen King, especially his short stories and shorter novels. The Running Man was scary stuff. Earlier than that was The Witch of Blackbird Pond (by Elizabeth George Spear), and I recall a little chapter book about some kids–the hero was a girl–who discovered an old house full of magic and a bad guy. I wish I could remember more, maybe one of the kids was living there, but I think an adult who understood that witches were real enlisted their help in fighting some evil power.

  322. The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub….

  323. Well, I’ll pretty much read anything and everything under the sun – my room is covered in random piles of books – but scary stories are my favourite. I absolutely loved Interview With The Vampire, and to this day I have nightmares about a Clockwork Orange. All time best? Definitely Coraline. I read it when I was six or seven, and the rest of my childhood was scarred by the button-eyes.

  324. My favorite scary stories when I was a kid were the ones written by John Bellairs – someone tell me you remember them: The House with a Clock in its Walls; or The Curse of the Blue Figurine; The Treasure of Alpheus Winterborne; or The Letter, The Witch and The Ring? Those were the best books of my childhood, and definitely shaped my taste for horror media.

  325. Hi,

    for me ‘Coraline’ is quite a scary book, possibly because of all that sewing buttons onto your eyes…
    There are various other scary books, but I was most scared by the ‘Ringwraiths’ in ‘Lord of the Rings’ – which for me are described in a way that really makes me shudder.


  326. 327
    Larry Farkash

    Poe’s The Mask of the Red Death. I love it and shudder at the end each time I read it.

  327. I started reading Stephen King when I was maybe 8. At 14 Pet Semetary came out and I read it in about 2 days. Didn’t sleep well for weeks after and started eyeing our neighbor’s farm suspiciously, as it seemed perfect for an old Indian burial ground…

  328. “The Exorcist” by William Peter Blatty.
    Most awesome and scary story ever lol!

  329. I loved Stephen King’s “1408”. Even though it’s so short, the feel of it is so ridiculously scary. That talking phone bit still makes me retch with fear just thinking about it. I think the scariest part about it is that the “monster” isn’t something you can easily define – to me, it’s scarier when the evil thing doesn’t have a real reason. Like, when you find out that “oh, this ghost was supposed to get married but her lover was killed so she shot herself and now she haunts people”, well that’s great and all, but I find it lessens the scare factor. As soon as you put a label on it, you shove it in this neat little box of why and how, it’s not as scary. I loved in “1408” that there wasn’t a reason, it was just… “This place is evil”. That’s it. You don’t know why it’s after you and that makes it so much scarier.

  330. M.R. James’ short stories have some of the most spine tingling moments of terrifying brilliance ever, I re-read my collection every Christmas. That’s the best thing about this time of year, all of the darkness making you think what might be lurking in it!

  331. The sheer amount of comments you get is daunting. But still I decided to tell you I just stumbled upon your blog via The Feminist Breeder and I already adore you. For realz ^_^ Also, I love it when you share links and send me on an INTERESTING journey down the rabbit hole.

    Scariest book was The Shining at 14. I had to read it in the mornings so I didn’t dream about it at night ;c)

    GP recently posted The Positive House Review.

  332. AMAZING dollhouse. You are so creative and talented. You inspire me.
    I was also reading Stephen King at an early age – I was 7 or 8 – and he is the one and only author whose books I purchase before reading them. My absolute favorite book is “IT” (of course, with a few exceptions, they are all wonderful). I was wondering if you had a favorite King story? What is your absolute favorite book?
    love your posts. thank you.

  333. The bible. And I am not kidding.

  334. STEPHEN KING! so, I’ve decided that he’s not really a horror writer per say…I mean…yes, he writes about clowns in the sewers, and buried space ships that make you smart, and children ALWAYS die in his books. but he’s a GD GOOD writer too. like, I’d read his writing if it weren’t twisted and misshapen (maybe…I did enjoy ‘on writing’ ) have you read the dark tower series? *dies* amazing, breathtaking, not scary. Um, but my *other* favourite of his was scary to me…’cause I had to close my eyes when it came to the medical descriptions…The Stand. I want to cuddle with it. What a good, I mean scary, book! (and your doll house! AMAZING!)

    Becca recently posted ahhh- yea.

  335. In the Lake of the Woods.

    Adrienne recently posted Foot Fetish.

  336. 337
    Pam up north

    For Dave #117-Ghost story did it for me too and here’s why. There’s a scene where some guy is alone in a morgue, standing among sheet-covered corpses, one of which is a baby. The The guy looks away, looks back, and the sheet covering the baby has been moved so that you can now see the top of the baby’s head…to this day that image creeps me out in ways I don’t like to admit. Also, I had to stop reading Stephen King because I knew I’d need therapy if I read “IT”

  337. I read Peter Straub’s “Ghost Story” when I was around 11-12. (Thanks, Daddy, for letting me hook it out of your bathroom reading material!) I don’t know if it was my age, or my particular susceptibility to ghost stories (we lived, at the time, in a truly, frighteningly haunted house) but that book? Terrified me. I don’t think I slept for a couple of days, and I know I didn’t sleep without a light on in the room for years. I still have the paperback.,.the covers are off and it’s held together with rubber bands!

    Pet Sematary (Stephen King) also scared me to bits & pieces. I started reading King when I was like 10-11 (thanks again, Daddy!) with Carrie…but Gage getting knocked out of his sneakers by an Orinco truck? Still sticks with me…as does the grating voice of the protagonist’s wife, “Hello, Darling” at the end. *shudder* (Zombies scare the pee out of me. Sometimes literally!)

  338. How neat!
    I think I started scary-story reading with Fear Street (R.L. Stein) and Christopher Peck. Oh! And Those “Scary Stories I, II, III” books. I loved those in early elementary school.
    I could only read Stephen King books when my mom wasn’t around though, because even having the books in the house scared her.

    Anne recently posted One Step Forward- Two Steps Back.

  339. I LOVE this post and the comments. Because dollhouses are just the best thing ever. Yours is fabulous, please post more pictures! I am getting my first dollhouse at forty-something and sculpting fairies and creatures for the conservatory…which will not be that conservative when I’m finished with it. I wish I could see the Dragon picture, but for some reason, I didn’t see it. 🙁

    Anyway, the comments about “Are You There God” and “Flowers in the Attic” are spot on…they were scare-tastic. I was a big Bradbury fan due to the use of symbolism and foreshadowing in books such as Farenheit 451. Loved Preston’s Hot Zone which freaked me out but now I am afraid of monkey biscuits.

    I remember reading a series of books about a young orphan girl and VooDoo in New Orleans but for the life of me, can’t remember the titles. Can anyone help? They were creepy and great and I am old.

    Lookie Lou, Web TV for Pet Lovers recently posted What Pets Teach Us About Halloween.

  340. Misery. I was in 8th grade when I read it and we lived on a secluded farm. Every time I heard a noise or thought I saw something out of the corner of my eye I was sure it was Annie Wilkes coming to get me. TERRIFYING.

    Leslie recently posted Last of the 30 Days of Truth.

  341. “It”

    After watching “Killer Clowns from Outer Space”, this book put me in permanent fear of clowns. And sewers. And leafs. And air.

    Don’t judge me ,clowns be scary yo.

    Drizztdj recently posted Champions on Paper.

  342. Your childhood reminds me so much of my own… at least in the way in which you progressed through books. I started with my father’s John Saul books at an early age, moved on to V.C. Andrews, Dean Koontz, and Mary Higgins Clark, and finally got stuck on Stephen King.

    So of course, my favorite book is It (and good to see I’m not the only one!). I bought a paperback copy from the supermarket to read on a cruise I went on with my family when I was 13. I have since re-read it so many times that whole sections of the book have fallen out.

    In college, I discovered Barbara Kingsolver, and moved away from the horror genre. I miss it, but I haven’t been able to find anyone I enjoy as much as King.

    Steph Auteri recently posted Has the Editing Process Crushed Your Soul.

  343. OMG!!!! I LOVE RUTH CHEW!! I have been on an endless search at the half price bookstores in my area to find her books too! I loved all the adventures that she made possible!

  344. I, like you apparently, started reading Stephen King early. Grade school early. Early enough that I was *fairly convinced* that diabolical clowns lived in my sewer. I stayed up late one night to read It, only to hear something whacking my closet door. From the INSIDE. Sure, it turned out to be our obese house cat, but it was a near thing. I was SURE it was an evil clown. And she *always* meowed. Except for that time. But favorite scary book? Stephen King’s Desperation or possibly Salem’s Lot. I REFUSE to sleep with either book anywhere near me, to this day, you know, in case something better left inside gets OUT. Happy Hallow-read! 🙂

    Sam recently posted Shes a Merry Widow is she!.

  345. I’m not much for horror… I read V.C. Andrews and Mary Higgins Clark growing up but Stephen King absolutely terrified me and forced me to sleep with the lights on. But I absolutely love The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova and basically any sci-fi… that counts as scary right?

  346. […] When I wrote this I hadn't yet read this post from The Bloggess that ends exactly the same way. But there it is, and here's a link to Neil Gaiman's Halloween Scary […]

  347. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson!!!!!!! It’s the creepy sort of scary.

    Ellen Yates recently posted Mashas Illustrated Sweaters.

  348. Well, as an adult, I LOVE true crime novels. I’m fascinated by the minds of serial killers. I also like forensics, so I’d recommend Dead Men Do Tell Tales.

    As a kid, the Amityville Horror scared me to DEATH. Seriously. I kept having to put it down to keep from hyperventilating. Honestly, I’m not even sure if I ever finished it.

    Movie wise, the Exocist and Rosemary’s Baby can still scare me.

  349. Scary books + my overactive imagination = bad recipe.

    Jax recently posted A Few of My Favourite Things.

  350. Mine is for sure going to be Stephen King’s It…. Or Pet Cemetery….. Pennywise may take the over the possessed toddler though….

    Tara recently posted Randomness On Hump Day.

  351. Perfume by Süskind was absolutely terrifying. His prose is perfect.

  352. The Dollhouse Murders was my favorite..I went throughn multiple copies of that book,which concerned my mother to no end. I need to find one of my old, beaten up copies and give it a read again!!

    Angelina recently posted Fill in the blank here.

  353. “It” made me REALLY hate clowns. “Cujo” made me afraid of St. Bernards, and “Thinner” made me fear gypsy curses (and they are REAL, people). But my scariest is “Red Dragon”. Oh holy shit, Red Dragon made me stop putting my address on the film processing envelopes and constantly screen my yard for poisoned food for my dog. And I purposely became unattractive to dissuade serial killers. Yes, I grew the gobbler under my chin and gained the weight and got dark circles under my eyes because of YOU, THomas Harris.

    Julie the wife recently posted Communication Breakdown.

  354. I’m kind of a whimp with really scary stuff, but I did enjoy “Thinner” by Stephen King. Some of the smutty “romance” books I have read are really scary…’cause no one REALLY acts like that and it scares me that young girls may expect that in their love lives!

  355. Kubricks’ The Shining. I watch it every Halloween and every time it still freaks me out…

    Eric recently posted Re-cap.

  356. I used to love R.L. Stine when I was younger, and the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series. Now my favorite horror author is probably John Saul.

  357. I am a huge fan of horror stories, especially ghost stories. My favorite ghost story is Stephen King’s Bag of Bones. It is the only story I have ever read that made me gasp out loud. I also shook with fear almost the whole time it took to read it. Every time I re-read it it scares me just as much as the first time.
    (P.S. I am a new reader to your blog, and I am addicted to the archives. Hours of productivity cheerfully gone!)

  358. The Shining – still gives me nightmares and I’ve read it a couple of times. Last time I read it (last winter) I was in my creepy basement reading, got scared, went running up the stairs, tripped and almost killed myself. Now that is a good scary book.
    I also love Poe – I began reading him when I was about 9 – my family was on camping vacation (yeah, that’s how we did vacations – tents and station wagons with the huge bubble on top of it for our gear). We went to a little book store and I found a collection of Poe stories. My parents tried to talk me out of it – because I was 9 – but I wouldn’t relent. They bought me the Poe collection and a dictionary (they were both teachers and refused to just give us a definition – we had to look it up). It took me forever to read some of the stories with that darned dictionary but I did it and I WAS HOOKED.

  359. I cut my teeth on Nancy Drew books – probably around 8 years old. They scared the crap out of me (as did Scooby Doo Cartoons back then). Mom had the entire collected works of King at the time but wouldn’t let me read them until I turned 13. On my 13th birthday I picked up The Stand and haven’t been the same since. I now own the entire collected works of King as well. I’m not sure that I can pick one of his books that scares me the most. They all make me need to leap into the bed (even at the age of 35) so that something doesn’t reach out from underneath and grab my ankle.

  360. I knew we were secret sisters. I was about the same age when I started reading Stephen King. Some people think that fucked me up, but I think it made me a delight to be around. Agree or I’ll eat your soul.

    In any case, I’m not sure I could pick one favorite scary book, as that is my favorite genre. I love anything by Stephen King and I guess my favorite is The Shining, although I usually say it’s The Dark Half, because I prefer to be a little bit more obscure. I also love Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill. Good genes, you know.

    Jessi recently posted Grace with Kids.

  361. Pet Sematary

  362. Why do I have to pick? They all ROCK.

  363. My favorite scary book growing up was, In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories by Alvin Schwartz.
    This book has the story of a girl who always wore a green ribbon around her neck. One day she took off the green ribbon and her HEAD FELL OFF!

  364. What a great tradition! I personally love Stephen King, which I realize is a cliche but, dude, he has a friggin’ Chekhovian eye for detail. After I read “The Shining,” I had to sleep in my mother’s bed for a week. I was eighteen at the time.

    In terms of just keeping me awake at night, I’d also have to give a hat-tip to the fine works of Ray Bradbury, whose “The Illustrated Man” collection still gives me the shivers.

    That Kind Of Girl recently posted because everyone secretly likes it when bloggers go through break-ups.

  365. 366
    Heather Greywolf

    Jenny, I LOVE YOU!!!!!! I read the book “The Witch’s Buttons” as a child, and could never recall who the author was (let alone the book’s title) as an adult. I didn’t even recognize Ruth Chew’s name until I looked over her books, and saw the cover of that one. I am SO thrilled, because I’ve wanted to find this book for my kids for years!!! You ROCK out loud!! I’m so excited to know that there are more books by the same author!

    As far as scary books go … “Salem’s Lot” scared the bejeesus out of me as a 12 year-old (when I first read it), but “It” probably takes the cake as one of the scariest books of all time. However, the bathtub scene in “The Shining” kept me awake for weeks after I first read it, so yeah … lots of wild (if slightly envious) applause from me to you for that awesome photo you took in said tub. Awesome special effects with the blood too.

    And yes … my six-year-old is also looking for “Dick and Jane and Vampires”, and we also got treated (by the bookstore clerks, no less!!) like we were somewhat deranged for asking for that particular title!!

    (Seriously … it’s not a fake book!

  366. 367
    Heather Greywolf

    Oh, and Jenny?? That dollhouse is freaking amazing. I want one now in the worst way. You are so freakishly talented that there ought to be laws.

  367. When I was younger I loved reading the Fear Street books as well as the Goosebumps books. My all-time favorite book was Ghost in the Big Brass Bed. It didn’t really scare me so much but I loved it anyway and read it tons of times. Who doesn’t like a mystery involving a ghost? And war pictures that come to life?

    P.S. Now you’ve got me wanting to buy all my childhood books for my kid.

    Tiffany recently posted Trick Photography Is EASY.

  368. You were tackling Bradbury in 7th grade?!?! I remember reading Fahrenheit 451 in high school and it’s fair to say that……I didn’t get it and thought it was stupid because I didn’t get it. I learned to appreciate him more AFTER college though.

    Hell in 7th grade, I was still reading R.L. Stine’s “Goosebumps” books. Now that I know that there were people out there who actively and independently pursued Bradbury in 7th grade, I kind of feel like a dumb ass (_l_). Thanks a lot for the self-esteem booster, Blogess! Jk, jk, jk.

    Rico Swaff recently posted God Bless the Day After Devil’s Night 2007.

  369. This may help, I went to and they have a lot of Ruth Chew’s books there if you’re missing some for your collection.

  370. Jeez…. spelling typo. I meant, “BLOGGESS.” Derp-dee-durr. Digging myself deeper in this dumbass hole I already began digging. Does that make me a dumb asshole?

    Rico Swaff recently posted God Bless the Day After Devil’s Night 2007.

  371. Scariest book ever? The story of the Devil himself. “Cheney: The Untold Story of America’s Most Powerful and Controversial Vice President”

    Yeah, he’s had a lot of heart attacks, but remember: We can’t kill him unless we destroy all the horcruxes.

  372. I like this concept, too. 🙂

    I think my favorite horror story is Stephen King’s “Misery.”

    Shelly recently posted NaNo 2010.

  373. 374
    Alison (w/ one 'L')

    I grew up reading Goosebumps and Christopher Pike books….and I’d have to say that Goosebumps: The Haunted Mask scared me the most…I read it when I was 10 yrs old and for the next few Halloweens after that I refused to try on costumes that involved wearing a mask 🙂

  374. too much in love with old SK to pick one. DT is my fave, but it’s not so much ‘scary’… hmmm.. I guess the Shining… with honorable mention to Christine.. I still don’t like walking between the front bumpers of cars in a parking lot.

    But bless you, now, FINALLY, I know who wrote that book! I remember the two girls who found a drawer full if magical items… the ‘What the Witch left’. I wish I’d know back then to look for more by the same author.

    I highly recommend the Diane Duane series… ‘So.. you want to be a wizard. ‘ plus! still in print..!

  375. The Bell Witch: An American Haunting by Brent Monahan. I was scared to go to sleep for a week straight.

  376. Holy canoli, I left my comment(s) before I had read any of the others. I didn’t realize that there were so many other people in the same RL Stine boat as me. “Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb” had me shaking in my little Reebok pumps.

    Rico Swaff recently posted God Bless the Day After Devil’s Night 2007.

  377. I loved the Goosebumps, Fear Street, and Scary Stories for Sleepovers series as a kid.

  378. Is it weird that this is one of the most exciting giveaways ever? And I’m totally giving away a scary book for Halloween, assuming I can drag myself to the bookstore between then and now.

    I think the all time scariest for me is still It. It doesn’t scare me anymore, but I still remember being scared when I read it as a kid so there’s an undercurrent of terror when I reread it. Also when I was a kid, I read a book called the Dollhouse Murders that was terrifying. Man, the books they market to kids.

    Btw, if you haven’t read him yet, check out Joe Hill. He’s Stephen King’s son and he’s quite good. He writes the way King used to write before he got hit by a van.

  379. My favorite scary book is House of Leaves by Mark Z Danielewski. It was given to me as a gift from my oldest brother with a cryptic warning scrawled on the inside cover. . . “don’t read in the dark”.

    This book made me reach into the deepest realms of my own imagination. Doors I’d never opened were suddenly letting the most evil, twisted thoughts creep out. Each page messed with my mind a little bit more and left me questioning reality everytime I placed it down and settled into my blankets, ready for sleep to come. I could just never will myself to turn off the light after reading a few chapters of this book, and thus, sleep did not come easy.

    Witches, vampires, and werewolves are all creepy. But the evil already lurking inside of you that yearns to be set free….that is just simply terrifying.

  380. i was 12 and it was stephen king’s pet semetary. i had read a number of his books by then but this one just did me in. i wanted to keep reading and could hardly put it down but then i wanted to stop because it was so scary!

    i started to read it again many, many years later but stopped when i realized it wasn’t nearly as scary as i once thought and didn’t want to ruin the memories of fear that i had.

  381. I’m very sad to hear about Ruth Chew- I grew up on her books and Carbonel and the 13th is Magic and Edward Eager- always thinking Magic would be around a corner or through a wardrobe.
    Scary or disgusting scary? When I was little, I was scared when I read Dracula that I learned to cross myself- and I am Jewish. I’ll be minding my children’s reading material a bit better than my mother did mine!

    G recently posted Pancakes.

  382. Because of The Shining, I can never look at a bathtub the same way again. I am 30 years old, and I still won’t pee in a toilet next to a bathtub with the curtain drawn. But Richard Matheson… what an amazing writer! Lines and images from his work resonate with you long after you’ve turned the last page. It doesn’t matter how many reworks of “I Am Legend” they make, nothing reaches into your chest and grabs at your soul the way the short story does. Ok, maybe he’s not “hide under your blanket” scary, but he’s the best of Stephen King in “Green Mile,” with 50% more creativity, and a sophistocated writing style. Which is saying a lot. Because I heart King, too.

    Hannahbanana recently posted Ive mad a startling discovery!!.

  383. Scary books don’t scare me much anymore as an adult, with the exception of The Ghost Writer by John Harwood. It’s got short spooky stories interspersed throughout the book and they really gave me the chills, despite being next to my husband the whole time I was reading it.

    As a child/young adult I LOVED scary books, The Dollhouse Murders was a favorite, but the one that really scared me was “A Deadly Game of Magic” by Joan Lowery Nixon. Just something about being stuck in a house in a storm with no electricity with who knows what in the back room and a black room full of magician props – including a guillotine…. yah, freaked me out.

    An recently posted Sign-off Week from Hell.

  384. when i was about five or so, i started reading the alfred hitchcock books and magazines — and there were tons of those horror stories for tots at my local library, and i was reading EC comics tales from the crypts and haunted tales and strange tales and twilight zone magazine and i found H.P. lovecraft in middle school — and my parents were very annoyed because i would have nightmares all the time but i could not stop reading the horror stories — and sure, i was reading the oz books and narnia and prydain and i was reading tolkein and — i had to have stories — not just liked them, but had to have them —

    then i ran into a copy of Terrors — charles l. grant editor — published by Playboy press — and it had a story by dennis etchison — and there, in my friend Tammy’s basement, i read the book cover to cover and had an epiphany — i wasn’t just a casual reader, i was in love with the horror anthology. i was in love with things that scared me more than my own life did —

    terrors led to whispers led to shadows led to oxrun station led to stephen king’s carrie who flexed and ramsey campbell’s doll who ate people and joe r. lansdale’s night they missed the picture show (oh his drive-ins, his drive-ins) — sandman and cerebus, horror comes in many forms, and i found in these two that the horror of what we do to each other is deeper and more scarring than the horror of darkness and unknown —

    and from all the horror i found courage, and from the courage i grew strong enough to forgive people, sometimes even myself, because we all have a hard enough time in life, in our hearts, in our minds, that the last thing we need to do is make things harder on each other.

  385. Without a doubt, Salem’s Lot by Stephen King. I couldn’t look out a window at night for weeks…

    I’m just about to start The Taking by Dean Koontz, which is also supposed to be good, so I’ll be in the right spirit for Halloween.


  386. I know Stephen King is probably a comment cliche by now, but Christine is truly my hands-down favorite scary novel. Loved the book, loved the movie.

    jennielynn recently posted Jennifer- Your Husband Has Been In An Accident.

  387. For me it’s always been about Stephen King’s short stories. My favorite by far is the Long Walk followed by the Body.

  388. American Psycho was crazy scary. AND Jaws and Cujo!! EEEEEK

  389. Oh man. I’m not sure I can pick one! I’m a huge fan of horror! I think I have to go w/ something by Stephen King – like you, I started reading him in elementary school – thank goodness for librarians willing to let me check out anything I wanted!

    But WHAT by him?? Hmmm. I think it has to be either _It_ , or, less obviously terrifying, _Bag of Bones_.

  390. The Bunnicula books were my favorites when I was really young. Moved on to Stephen King pretty early, and I devoured them. I loved The Stand the most. So scary. Still can’t go through tunnels in my car without freaking out a little.

  391. Anything by Stephen King. Yikes!

  392. Holy fucking shit. Are you kidding me? I fucking love books. And now here….one of my favorite places on the interwebz is bribing me with free books. Free shit, that is books. Awesome. And, Neil Gaiman is the shit.
    I love his Sandman series but American Gods takes it hands down.
    However, some Golden Bug by Poe and a nice snifter of brandy. Me encanta.
    Unfortunately, as a bibliophile this is hard to narrow down to a few books. Hell, Stephen King’s Dark Tower (Aka Gunslinger) series was fucking epic. Argggh, you are killing me.

    mepsipax recently posted Fatty McPhatass.

  393. Favorite? Now that’s a tough one. I’m glad you said scary and not just horror though, because I read Jaws when I was 8 or 9 (what it had a big ass shark and a naked woman on the cover quit looking at me, judge my parents!) and it scared the crap out of me.

    For classics I’d say Tell Tale Heart and most read author, Stephen King!

    Neeroc recently posted Goodbye Sasha-bear.

  394. I have to say The Shining. Just absolutely LOVE it!

    Britta recently posted Asher- how to call a duck.

  395. The scariest book I ever read was Stephen King’s IT – I STILL HATE CLOWNS!

  396. For some reason, Stephen King’s short story, The Langoliers, really freaked me out!

    Zaida recently posted Sinfully Simple Alfredo Sauce.

  397. Lois Duncan is responsible for at least half of my phobias. I completely devoured her books as a preteen and haven’t been the same since. Misery didn’t even scare me as much as those books. I recently found my copies in my parents garage and tried to re-read them. I couldn’t do it!! Too scary! I also loved Scary Stories to tell in the Dark.

    As an adult, my favorite scary books are The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman and the Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy by Tim Burton. I think I’ve given away at least 3 copies of each to various friends and family

    Thanks for turning me on to Gaimans journal. Love it!!

  398. Ok, it’s not a book… but the movie “The Devil’s Backbone” is a *gorgeous* ghost story! I highly recommend it. When I was a kid, my favorite “scary” book was the Black Stallion one with the ghost horse in the canyon who’s hooves made sparks when he ran.

    Sharon Rose recently posted SuperHamm &amp Headbutts.

  399. I hadn’t yet ‘met’ your doll house!
    It’s amazing!!

    I was also a big reader, but never that much a fan of the horror genre. I was always waaaayyyy to scared for that. When I saw a scary movie or rea, it kept me up for months. Literally

  400. I’m scary book deficient! I have, however, listed to Lisey’s Sotry by Stephen King on tape and let me say, I haven’t be able to handle a manual can opener without making the sign of the cross the holding my boob!

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  401. OMG Samantha (184)! I was just going to list the same book. Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk was highly disturbiing and tremendously creepy.

  402. I cut my horror teeth on Stephen King. Christine was the first of his that I read and to this day I can’t walk in front of cars without thinking they’ll start up OR eat a fast food hamburger while on the road. The car might make me choke. The only King book I haven’t read is It because I’m already terrified of clowns.

  403. I read Cujo as a kid and it scared the living crap out of me. I literally did not sleep for three days…

    and I love Stephen King’s books, that one went too far.

    Plus when I was even younger, Where the Wild Things Are gave me nightmares of trolls. Plus on TV, Fraggle Rock always creeped me out a little…

    Brahm (alfred lives here) recently posted Mel Gibson is kryptonite and other things I learned this week.

  404. OhGoodLordPeterStraub’s Julia. I get shivers thinking about it. I think I was far too young when I read it but … oh, my.

  405. I also read R.L Stein and Christopher Pike as a young ‘un, eventually graduating to Stephen King. After I devoured everything he had written I found myself kinda lost. Once you’ve developed a taste for horror/thrillers it’s pretty hard to read a cheesy romance. It’s hard to pick a fav, but Dreamcatcher, Tommyknockers, and The Stand are all up there on the list.

    Amber recently posted Domestic disturbance.

  406. I used to really love scary books when I was young, But as I’ve gotten older I seem to internalize that stuff and it pops up in my dreams.I fear by the time I’m outta here all I’ll be reading or watching Sesame Street. That sucks.

    Bodaciousboomer recently posted What are you afraid of.

  407. Sadly, I missed Ruth Chew in my childhood. Beautiful dollhouse, BTW.

    Since everyone’s already listed a bunch of awesomeness – I figured I’d list some not so well known great reads (I haven’t read through all 400+, so forgive me if someone’s mentioned them):

    Ramsey Campbell – Obsession (makes you think)
    Anne Rivers Siddons – The House Next Door (just horrifies you)
    Ruby Jean Jensen – Wait and See (pulpy/cheese, but fun)
    Dean Koontz – Tick Tock (the only screwball comedy formatted horror/thriller I know of)
    Laura Lippman – Every Secret Thing (realistic everyday horror)
    John Hart – The Last Child (realistic with a twist)
    Sharyn McCrumb – She Walks These Hills (contemporary Appalachian ghost story)
    Majgulll Axelsson – April Witch (simply beautiful)

  408. I haven’t read a scary book in a long time (somehow I have gotten wussier as I have gotten older) but Stephen King’s short story collections really scared the bejesus out of me as a child… Night Shift, I think was the first one? There may have been others… But GIANT rats! Limb-eating machines! People getting buried up to their necks on a beach as the tide comes in (adulterers – ack!)! BUUUUGGGGS!!!! Gah. Still gives me chills!

  409. Oh and Marcusss – Chuck Palahniuk’s “Lullaby” is one of my favorites!

  410. As I scroll through these comments… my Amazon wish list keeps growing and growing!

  411. My favorite scary books when I was a kid were all the books of scary and terrifying folklore that they hid in the mythology section of the adult part of the library. I read hundreds of accounts of how witches were supposed to operate, or how the devil could come find you, or stories of werewolves among the villages of Europe.

    The librarian thought that my choices were inappropriate and she called my mom, thinking that my mom would be horrified. Instead my mom told her to let me check out anything I wanted.

    Those supposed True Accounts of terrifying events influenced me for the rest of my life, and have always been more scary than the “made up” horror stories I’ve read.

  412. That’s got to be a toss-up between the classics:

    At the Mountains of Madness – Lovecraft

    The Haunting of Hill House- Jackson

    I just go straight to the source.

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  413. I am a huge King fan, and my fave scary book of his is Gerald’s Game, because dammit all if I am not the person with the terrible luck that shit would happen to.

  414. Stephen King and Richard Bachman 😉 was my BFF for a long time…When gals were playing barbie’s at each other’s slumber parties I was knee deep in The Stand. I owe my love of reading to him, without a doubt. I really enjoyed the dual books he published; “The Regulators” and “Desperation”.
    Even though it was a stretch away from his usual writing “Hearts In Atlantis” made me enjoy him in a whole different way.
    However, a new fear was felt after I read “Happens Everyday” which is a true story written by Isabel Gillies on the demise of what she thought was a perfect marriage.

    SumSum recently posted Too lazy to drink....

  415. my mind just reels with all my faves over the years but i would have to say all time favorite “Halloween” story is the Halloween Tree (Bradbury). i try to rent it yearly.

  416. 417
    Nancy in MN

    As a teen I couldn’t get enough of Steven King – my favorite is still IT – wow that book scared the pants off me 🙂

  417. Hannahbanana – Thank you! I’m ashamed I never knew to read Richard Matheson’s work – but I recognize so much of it from the adaptations to tv and film!

  418. Daniel – Speaking of mythology, Ingri and Edgar Parin D’Aulaire’s Book of Greek Myths was one I checked out of the school library often as a child. I wanted to get one for my son for when he’s older, but I think it’s out of print.

  419. 420
    Anita Turner

    Most of the Stephen King books, but I thought the scariest is The Shining. Thanks!

  420. Hola Jenny. You rock!

    I remember reading the Doll House Murders. And then my mother got me the movie to see. Yeah that was scary. Dolls that move. Yeah I was freaked out so there was no way I would ever see a Chucky movie.
    1984 was bizarre and errie.
    This might be weird but after reading Go Ask Alice I could not sleep. I remember the book being in my room and everytime I fell asleep … the book “being in my room” just bothered me. I had to get up and take the book out of the room to another part of the house. Never touched the book since.

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  421. BTW, the pedestal I hold you up on (yes, that’s totally healthy-for both of us) just got about 10 miles higher. Neil Gaiman mentioned you on his most recent journal post. How frakking awesome is that!!! That would make my year!!!

  422. when i had the chickenpox people brought me stuff from the library so a) i could contaminate the items and spread my pox, and b) to keep busy (but mostly a), and my favorite thing was a book on cassette tape of vincent price narrating ‘a graveyard of ghost tales.’ it was wonderful. the copy i made broke and it’s out of print now, but i will always remember those stories. they all took place in the early to mid 1900s, mostly in the south for some reason. one was about a woman who had her leg amputated after an accident and replaced with a gold leg, shortly afterward dies, and some guy decides to dig up her leg and get money for it and she haunts the fuck out of him and then drags him into the ground. that lady was totally badass.

    holly recently posted my resume. someone please give me a job..

  423. I am a wimp. I don’t really read scary books. Even just reading the Goosebumps books will make me not want to use the bathroom at night. So why am I here? I actually have no idea. Oh, yes, reading is cool. You are cool!

    subWOW recently posted I am so happy youre alive.

  424. The “Witch Saga” by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor scared the crap out of me as a little person, but in a good way. I’m tempted to read them all again. And then give them away. 🙂

  425. Tamsin by Peter S. Beagle. I also thought Carrie was really frightening. The final scene in the book is so much scarier than in the movie. And The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon because it was such a real possibility. King, at his best, is a master.

  426. Oh wow, anything by Stephen King. My favorite was The Stand, but I love them all. I just rented The Shining (original version) so I can watch it with my son. He’s gonna love it.

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  427. It absolutely has to be I.T by Stephen King. I read that bad boy, all 1000 odd pages of it, age 13 while I had the flu. It was the most horrific flu of my life, I kept dreaming I was being stalked by clowns and kids with one arm, and even though I knew I’d live to regret it (and oh, I did) I had to finish that book. By the time I was better I had a permanent fear of storm drains, and an undying love for Stephen King. Scariest. Shit. EVER.

  428. OMG! That pic is awesome. I love Photoshop. The ideas are endless. Loved the post also by the way 😉

  429. It has to be “The Call of Cthulu” by HP Lovecraft.

  430. when i was little i loved “Scary stories to tell in the dark”. Now that I’m older I love dark books, especially anything patricia cornwell.

    dani recently posted BarCamp 2010.

  431. 432
    Jason Yeakley

    Something Wicked This Way Comes, Ray Bradbury.

    Read it in Jr. High and loved it!

  432. As a kid, Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes scared the everloving shit out of me. The movie didn’t help matters, either. I read The Shining in my teens and it remains the scariest book I’ve read. Both movie versions of those two novels have held a lifelong fascination for me as well, but the books are where it began.

  433. Anything by Poe, hands down. I teach high school English, so not much really scares me anymore. But every Halloween, I pull out my insanely creepy stuffed Raven, turn off the classroom lights and scare the poop outa those cynical monkeys.It’s probably the only time of the year I can get away with it (without getting fired) and for that reason, I adore Halloween. If possible, I love it even more now that I can call it All Hallow’s Read!! I will be gifting some of my Poe anthologies and King novels on my shelves to my kids who are desperately in need of a good scare.

  434. ‘Ring’ by Koji Suzuki. It’s so scary I couldn’t finish it. I had to keep it in a biscuit tin, under a table, outside my room at University. And don’t even get me started on the films. I’m telling you, that chick crawling through the TV has traumatised me for about 7 years.

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  435. Bentley Little’s The University is definitely up there with my guilty pleasure favs.

  436. I was an avid reader as a child. I could tell you some stories, girl!

    I’m trying to think of one particular scary book, but the only thing that comes to mind is the scary part in To Kill a Mockingbird when the kids were walking home…

    And to think they didn’t even screw it up in the movie.

    tokenblogger recently posted I hate it when.

  437. as a kid, i really loved R.L. Stine’s style in writing his scary stories, it will keep you holding the book and the end, most of the time, is unpredictable, and that’s when you feel terrified. i learned to save money*somehow* to buy his books and got inspired to write some spooky stuff as well. i just realized, his books are also the root cause of my super-imaginative-paranoid-mind that in everything i do, everywhere i go, whenever, there is something evil.

    nightmare hour – all-time favorite when i was a kid. the pages are already worn out.

  438. The Twilight Saga scares the crap out of me …and I’ve never even read it.

  439. P.S. Where can I see bigger and better images of those rooms in that awesome doll house???

    tokenblogger recently posted I hate it when.

  440. The Stand. Anything by Stephen King, really. I think I remember his books being so scary because I read them as a kid. I should do a re-read as an adult and see what I think. I remember being both amused and repulsed by his books. That’s fun. Now I’m going to have to go through your comments to this entry to find books I’ve missed! Also fun!

  441. I Am Legend!! Oh my goodness I had nightmares for WEEKS! *shiver*

  442. When I was eleven(1976), my Mom was pregnant with my youngest sister. She CLAIMS that she told me all about the baby process then (I am sure that I blocked it out), and she gave me the Officially-Approved-by-the-Roman-Catholic-Church book for those of us with “questions” about courtship, where babies come from (God! Of Course!), and how one should avoid all deviance so-that-he/she-doesn’t-burn-in-hell-forever, as well as how to steer clear of any possible sign of homosexuality. It was called “The Facts of Life and Love for Teens”, and may explain a few things about my (ahem!) “personal life”.
    I still have that revered book of guidance; but I’ll be damned if it isn’t scarier than any Patricia Cornwell book or any beauty by Stephen King that I’ve read as an adult.

  443. Stephen King’s short story “1408” seriously scared the crap right out of me. I loved it, but it has that psychological scary build-up that makes you want to never pick it up again, but then you think: “if I don’t finish it, my own imagination is going to make it so much worse.” This is a lie. The story is flat-out terrifying and nothing is worse/better than reading it. I absolutely love it but feel great trepidation every time I go to pick it up again.

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  444. Stephanie (310)

    Have you read Bentley Little’s “The Store”? Takes Wal-Mart to a whole new level.

  445. “It” by Stephen King was just about the scariest book I think I’ve read…maybe it was the time in life that I read it…early High School after we moved from New England to Florida and I knew no one…maybe that was it…but I remember just being terrified that “IT” was coming after me!!

    Jen recently posted Meatless Monday Basic Tomato Sauce.

  446. I was 20 years old when I read Stephen King’s “It”, and it completely traumatized me, yet I was compelled to read it all the way through. I would read a few chapters every evening after dinner, then go to sleep several hours later with the closet door open and the light on. Once I was done I packed the book away for the move and have never read it again. I get chills just thinking about it.

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  447. Thanks to all these comments, I have a long list of books to read!!!

    My favorite Poe story is “The Masque of the Red Death”. Great reminder that you aren’t always in control! I have a special place in my heart for “The Tell-Tale Heart” because I taught it to 8th graders for 6 years. LOVED seeing them discover the awesomeness of Poe!

    The Dollhouse Murders and Wait Till Helen Comes freaked me out when I was young. In fact, I still remember what I wrote in (pink) diaryabout Wait Till Helen Comes — “I got a new book book named Wait Till Helen Comes. It is soooo good and soooo scary!” (And yes, it was written in pink with hearts as the dots over the i’s!) John Bellair’s The House with a Clock in Its Walls scared the bejeeus out of me. It’s the book that I made me leave the light on at night!

  448. “Haunted” by Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club author)

    Chuck is by far my favorite author. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE read this book.

    It’s a work of god damn art. It will make you cringe harder than that one time you found your mom’s dildo. fhgffgjcghchjcghjhfgfghxgvhjf that last part was written from experience. *cringe*

    Seriously, it’s great. And I KNOW it will shock you, Jen-hen. No, that sounds stupid. Jen-Ben! Ah…that sounds like a jlo and affleck. Fuck, get a new name, Jennifer-Splentifur.


    Grant Spanier recently posted Welcome.

  449. I’ve never had a book scare me, but I’ve read several that have left me with that “nauseated uncomfortable” feeling. A few movies and video games have scared me, but never a book, sadly. My favorite creepy book from my childhood was “Outside Over There” by Maurice Sendak. I was fascinated by Stephen King as a young teen, and I was desperate for his books to scare me, but they never did. The one book that I read and had to put down several times due to extreme discomfort was “Haunted” by Chuck Palahniuk. I have tried to reread it several times, and I simply can’t. It makes my innards roil.

    I am going to track down “Kiss the Girls” now. I live somewhat nearish to Duke in NC and I’m curious.

  450. Wow…am not willing to sift through the 400+ comments to see if this has been mentioned yet, but Ruth Chew books are available on Just FYI.

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  451. I typically avoid scary. I’m a total pussy.

    BUT — I did read Stephen King’s Gerald’s Game and because of it, my husband has to miss out on doing bondage.

    I think it was worth being so scared, though.

    Oh – wait… I read The Exorcist while I was pregnant with my oldest. While other pregnant women worry about 10 fingers, 10 toes, and however many chromosomes, I was worried about the possibility of having a child with a demon-possessed soul.

    (Ends up I worried needlessly – that didn’t happen until I had my 4th child.)

    JustLinda recently posted Yankee Clipper.

  452. EdT stole mine. Follow up: Anything written by Clive Barker or Brian Lumley, ever. Poppy Z. Brite was pretty damn rad, too, but not as scary, so much as HOLYEFFINGHOMOEROTICNOTTHATTHERE’SANYTHINGWRONGWITHTHAT(ASLONGASYOU’REPREPAREDFORBREAKSTOCOOLOFF)

    Zoeyjane recently posted Day 15 Astute.

  453. For me it was The Shining by Stephen King. I was visiting my grandparents in Florida, reading it during the sunniest day and freaked out beyond belief during the moving sculptures scene.

    For my sister, Stephen King kicked our mental asses. She was reading It and was scared to the point of nightlights at the age of 15. So of course, being the lovely sister I am I spent 30 minutes sneaking down the hallway and into her room to reach up from the bottom of her bed to grab her foot and have her scream bloody murder.
    It. Was. Awesome.

  454. Okay, first of all, that dollhouse is AMAZING. I have my old, 3-story dollhouse that was recently rescued from my grandparents garage, and have had no idea what to do with it. I was planning on restoring it (it’s probably 80 years old, and huge, but falling apart) but never have any motivation. I feel inspired to come up with some kind of house theme and make it amazing.

    Secondly, is the bed in the dollhouse (with the purple duvet) modeled after the bed in Deathbed: The Bed that Eats? Because if it isn’t, it should be. And if it is, you’re my new personal hero.

    Finally, my favorite horror story of all time isn’t a book. It’s a film. It’s called May. It’s probably my favorite because instead of shocking you and making you jump, it leaves you with the most odd, eerie feeling. I’ve never seen any horror film quite like it. The acting is wonderful, the soundtrack is awesome (who doesn’t love The Breeders?), and the whole thing is beautifully done. I don’t even care if I win anything, as long as you at least attempt to watch this film at some point before you die. It’s something every horror guru ought to see.

  455. We read “Runaway Mummy” today. That was pretty terrifying.

    Katie recently posted Oh my gosh Its a double LEGO rainbow.

  456. 458
    Laura Massudi

    I posted this one the mommy blog too so I hope it’s ok if I post it here also. My favorite Halloween story is The Legend of Sleepyhollow / The Headless Horseman. I have been in love with it since I can remember.

  457. God, I’m such a huge horror fan. Dracula was what got me into writing, but I think Stephen King is who made me branch out and experiment with horror myself. I am such a King fan that I have to physically try not to make a huge fool of myself – it doesn’t work. I could go on for hours about how much I love this man >.<
    Is it bad that my favorite horror story is an entire series, and not even classified as horror by most people? Most of King's books don't frighten me; I read them because they make me smile with their characters and creativity. But the Dark Tower – that series scared me on several levels, and none of them because of a monster. I finished the series a month ago, and it still gives me nightmares. Perhaps its because I'm eighteen and full of melodrama. But I hope not. I never want to grow old enough to stop being fascinated by these stories or King.

  458. R.L. Stein. Omg choose your own adventure! But ‘Scary stories to tell in the dark’ creeped me out. I remember one tale about a ghost wolf eating people… gave me nightmares for weeks! Also read IT when i was in fourth grade. Didnt understand some of the sex references, but killer clowns resonated with me!

  459. Oh, oh, oh – I forgot one: “In a Perfect World” by Laura Kasischke. It’s not scary per se, because the world plague is just a plot device… it’s just a hauntingly beautiful story about motherhood.

  460. I love reading, and my all-time favourite horror story has to be Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher”. I first read it when I was 8, probably. Not strictly speaking scary, really, but it really gets under your skin. Haunting may be the proper word to use. Also, the accompanying illustrations by the fabulous Harry Clarke may have had something to do with it.

  461. Carrie by Stephen King. Classic!

    Paula recently posted quotHow does your radio know we're on a highwayquot.

  462. You need to visit my friend Ladybug’s website: and e-mail her. She’s got some AMAZING halloween things these days. And tell her that The BabyBug sent you (because that’s me, she’s my adopted mama and I love her).

    You should meet me at her studio some time… we could have some serious fun in there!

    Eustice The Sheep recently posted Elephant Parade.

  463. Throw me into the Stephen King pot along with all of the others. Everything he writes gives me goosebumps and has me sleeping with the lights on. I was reading “It” with a flashlight under my covers with wide eyes and the quaking at the thought of “It” finding it’s way into my home. I swear that my bladder suffered near explosion during those nights because I was too terrified to run to the bathroom in the dark. Sure I had a flashlight but it in no way put off enough light to save me from “It”.

  464. HeatherY 443

    I am so excited someone else in the world knows and appreciates Bentley Little!!!! All I keep seeing is Stephen King and Poe over and over again. Oh I’m so happy I could pee. Yes I have read it. I love love love The Collection. My brother got my interest hooked in Bentley Little a few years ago when he made me read Life with Father. That story still gives me nightmares and I can never hear the word recycling without cringing and dying a little inside. Oh that one still sticks with me. I’m also excited to find out there are other crazy people out there that love the bloggess and bentley little!!! Sorry Jenny, your fan base is loony.

  465. When I was in elementary school, there was a book called “Wait Til Helen Comes” about a horrible ghost child that tried to kill children in a basement. It was my favorite book ever. I remember the description “curly black hair” and that someone’s fingers were knotted in it. I always secretly look for that book in every book store. I kind of want to read it again.

    megansquared recently posted When I grow up to be even more awesome than I am now this is what it will look like.

  466. Thought I haven’t read them in quite some time (WHY THE HELL NOT, SELF!!?), I was a massive fan of terrifying myself all throughout childhood reading just about every book in the Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine. Never wanted a hamster because of him – among many other things. Thanks, Stine.

  467. um.. this will just probably sound scary.. but I have never read Stephen king.. Though I would love to read The Shining and Carrie!!
    btw, love the photo!!

  468. I love, love, LOVE Stephen King books, and my favorite one of all time is and always will be The Shining. I have a mild (read: major) obsession with it, and I’ve read it more times that I can count. I also love watching the movie, just so I can laugh at Shelley Duval while she halfheartedly swings a knife at Jack Nicholson and makes funny faces. God, I love that movie.

  469. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Anne Rice’s “The Witching Hour”. It is too awesome for words. It has New Orleans, old haunted houses, voodoo, mental illness, witches, sex…I could go on and on about this book. Way better than any of her vampire books, in my opinion.

    A side note: I couldn’t quit thinking about that dollhouse yesterday after seeing it! The details are incredible…it really is just amazing.



    a collection of revamped fairy tales told in exquisite descriptive which was horrifying and erotic at the same time. this collection of works inspired the almost completely unknown horror film “the company of wolves” which, for me, was the most influential horror film i ever saw. i watched it as a child and it left me with a lifelong penchant for horror and red lipstick. if you can’t find the book, at least watch the movie.

  471. If I was to win…Do I REALLY have to go buy a scary book? Because I tried reading a Stephen King once (AS AN ADULT) and couldn’t make it past Chapter 7. I can’t even watch scary movies. I’ve never been able to watch Kathy Bates in anything normal again. I’m a puppies and rainbows kind of girl.

    MinivanSoapbox recently posted My New Disease.

  472. @megansquared – I have Wait Til Helen Comes! It was part of my nightmare-inducing collection I had as a kid that I recently rediscovered in my parents garage. Its so scary and is definitely responsible for me sleeping in my parents room.

  473. I’m a huge Stephen King fan. Bag of Bones and Lisey’s Story top my list. Love the idea of a loved one contacting you after they’ve passed to help you right wrongs. The world that King came up with for the dead husband in Lisey’s Story blows my damn mind. Drawing parallels between the Long Boy and the stack of magazines and books that line the wall of the husband’s office. Just insane and masterful.

    The book that really opened my world though was Devil on My Back by Monica Hughes.

    Growing up in rural Tennessee this book opened up whole new worlds of imagination for me. So pick me for happy happy fun book time!

  474. I had this severe fear of apocalyptic scenarios and also rotting dead people when I was a child so “The Stand” was it for me. I still have plans for what to do should I end up among the survivors.
    “Lord of the Flies” gave me talking-pigs-head-on-a-stick nightmares when we read it in high school. And we read this really weird short story about an abandoned boy who lived in a trash can at McDonald’s, which I have hence never been able to use without checking first. Oh and this might be lame but when I read “Jurassic Park” as a teenager it had me checking hallways and turning lights on for weeks.

    Christina recently posted What's In The Pantry.

  475. Oh man, my favorite scary book series is Clive Barker’s ‘Books of Blood’! I remember reading them for the first time & feeling shivers…

  476. Definitely “THE SHINING” by Stephen King

  477. Ok, so I was addicted to horror as a teenager, and read everything I could (King, Koontz, Stine, Poe, …). However, one of the most horrifying books I read as a teen was V.C. Andrews “Flowers in the Attic.” I mean, that was one seriously disturbing book. I still shudder when I think about it. Yuck.

    Sarah E. Olson recently posted The Universe is Out to Get Me.

  478. The entire Odd Thomas series by Dean Koontz creeped me out.

  479. 481

    How is it that in all of the Stephen King comments, no one has mentioned the scariest story ever: “The Boogeyman.” I still can’t sleep with the closet door open, and I’m 38! Also, “The Tommyknockers” played nicely into my fear of losing my teeth. I also agree with Allison (#325) that the Bellairs books ROCKED — especially with the Edward Gorey drawings. But my earliest scary bok has to be The Hobbit, which I read after watching the horrible cartoon, and it was mmuch, much scarier. The scene where Bilbo was trying to pick pockets for the first time gave me nightmares and I had to quit reading it.

  480. I read Dracula and Salem’s Lot at around the same time (5th grade?) and was sure there were vampires in my closet that would come out while I was asleep and get me. My mom had taken the door off the closet and I knew that meant the vamps could get out *now*. I had to have a sheet covering every part of my body except my head, because an exposed limb or throat was just what a thirsty bloodsucker was looking for. [35 years later I still don’t like to sleep with my ankles or neck exposed. And I have a waterbed, so nothing can grab me from under it when I’m getting in or out of bed. Better safe than sorry, right?] I loved both books, but Salem’s Lot scared me worse because it was set in modern times, so it was more “plausible”.

    Oh, and I slept on the top bunk, so the vamps would get my little sister in the bottom bunk first and be sated before they noticed me sleeping in the top bunk.

    After Salem’s Lot, the next book to scare the crap out of me (not literally) was The Shining. For many of the same reasons as previous commenters. And, yes, it had many of the same results with me, too.

    I also read The Green Ribbon somewhere in my early-ish years and was completely unprepared for the head-falling-off thing. Still creeps me out, to tell the truth.

    Then Ghost Story freaked me out.

    Then The Stand made me think of horror on a whole new scale: global, post-apocalyptic, plausible. I think that book is sheer genius. [Note to self: find a copy of that book and reread it soonest.]

    The scary book that held me in its thrall the most tightly was Intensity (Dean Koontz), as much for its pace as for the story elements. So taut and fraught and un-put-down-able. [We are allowed to make up words, aren’t we?] I raced through the book, as there’s no other way to read it.

    I love all of the early King, felt a little let down by most of his 1990s stuff, then grew to appreciate him again with Cell and Duma Key. Can’t wait to read Under the Dome. (It’s on the “to be read” shelf, promise.) Must get a copy of The Heart-Shaped Box, too, and House of Leaves, after reading the comments before me.

    So far, however, my fav comment is #371 [yes, I read them all, just like a good blogreader is supposed to], which reads:

    ‘Scariest book ever? The story of the Devil himself. “Cheney: The Untold Story of America’s Most Powerful and Controversial Vice President” Yeah, he’s had a lot of heart attacks, but remember: We can’t kill him unless we destroy all the horcruxes.’

    Glad to know I’m not the only one who bought/wanted/believed the “Cheney is Voldemort” bumpersticker that was available during the 2008 elections! (possibly still available on

    toni in florida recently posted Wanna see what I did.

  481. FYI, ref my belief that a flimsy bedlinen could protect me from vampires: King himself said in an interview (or possibly in his book On Writing) that he also believes in the magic sheet and doesn’t like (or was it that he isn’t able) to sleep with exposed limbs. Guess that’s just one more reason I love him!

    toni in florida recently posted Wanna see what I did.

  482. “A Wrinkle in Time” always scared the crap out of me. My kid too. I know, it’s not a traditional scary book but it’s so full of suspense and the unknown and lets just say as a kid I was afraid of my own shadow. Also, I’d have to say it was one of the first great science fiction books for kids.

  483. I loved Tales of Terror by ida Chittum when I was small. I still love it. And any other tale about the Ozarks.

    meridith recently posted Bowled Over By Events.

  484. I found “Witches of Worm,” by Zilpha Keatley Snyder to be terrifying. She wrote (writes?) mostly for young adults. As an adult, I’ve tried to find some of her adult fiction but all of her books are becoming more difficult to find. I still remember fragments of those books that terrify me. And Stephen King’s, “It,” pretty much ruined clowns for me. These days I’m always surprised how scary Cormic McCarthy books are but they are less horror stories and more horifying stories.

  485. yay! I’m not alone! – The White Plague as well and everything Christopher Pike ever wrote.

  486. 488
    Nicole Lamarche

    I’m going to answer this one (even though I’m from Canada and people from Canada NEVER seem to win stuff like this because you KNOW it will cost more to ship our prizes…that’s what I think, anyway). The scariest story I ever heard (it was a short story in a book of scary stories for KIDS…I shit you not) was about the kid who had to drive to the grocery store to buy his mom some liver, but then he accidently runs over a man in his car and kills him, and THEN naturally thinks (as all lazy teenagers would) “Huh…what the hell…instead of driving all the way to the grocery store, I might as well cut the liver out of this dead man and bring it to my mom.” So the kid does this and buries the man in the forest (sans liver). That night the mother cooks up the liver and the entire family eats it!!! OF COURSE the ghost of this dead man is seriously pissed…so he comes after the kid in the middle of the night, moaning…”I…want…my…LIVER…”.
    That and the tall naked girl/boy at the end of the Sleepaway Camp 3, who is screaming on the beach…which isn’t a book, but deserved to be mentioned as one of the most traumatizing images I HAVE EVER SEEN…

  487. I cannot watch horror films – I think having seen two really scary films as a small child put paid to that. But I LOVE scary books – for some reason my imagination doesn’t get too carried away, just carried away enough. I don’t think I could get in that bathtub though. That scene in The Shining was one of the scariest for me and it was years before I was comfortable in a bathroom with the shower curtain drawn. Even these many years later, every now and again, a fully drawn shower curtain will make my heart beat faster. So The Shining has to top my list as the all time scariest book I have ever read. Peter Straub writes good scary stories and there’s a short story writer named Pinckney Benedict that has some good creepy things. His new collection, Miracle Boy and Other Stories, has an especially creepy one about a dog taking over his owner’s body. And it isn’t a happy dog. And although she’s a mystery writier, not horror, I find PD James’ stories as compelling as any good horror read.

    Thanks for continually good entries. I’m a new reader and have a blast every time I check in. A friend who works at the Library of Congress turned me on to your blog and I”m forever grateful. And hey – you get read at the Library of Congress!

  488. Definitely has to be Cujo by King, reading it at 13 all night long has left a permanent scar!

  489. I love anything by Caitlin Kiernan. She’s like the female reincarnation of HP Lovecraft and every book of hers I’ve read has been amazing. “Silk,” “Threshold,” and “Low Red Moon” are my faves.

  490. Thanks for this great list! I’ve now added a BUNCH of books to my must-read list on Goodreads!

    I cut my fangs on Stephen King. I read “The Shining” to my cousins one year at the family camping trip. My uncle finally had to take it away because his kids ended up in their camper every night because they were scared. All the kids slept in a separate tent. I, of course, slept like a rock.

    One short story of King’s did keep me out of the lake one camping trip…”The Raft” was seriously creepy.

    I’ll read anything, but refuse to watch scary movies. I guess I can turn my imagination down way low.

    Mamasoo recently posted Surrogate Friendships.

  491. Not exactly “scary” but definitely macabre – I LOVED “Stiff: The Secret Life of Cadavers” and it seriously changed my plans for my body after death. I’m also a Stephen King fan from childhood, I think It or Needful Things were my favorites.

    Heather recently posted Sugar amp Spice...DESSERT Preview.

  492. Everything terrifies me; I can’t watch horror movies, and the scariest thing I can read is Goosebumps. That said, I do have fond memories of reading (and being terrified by) the entire Goosebumps series in elementary school, so that’ll be my answer!

  493. I am not a big reader but if I do read….I only read horror. I remember reading Amityville Horror twice in Jr.High..I have never been so happy to live in FL where we do not have basements. Of course, I have read King, Koonze, and Poe, Bradbury. But most recently it has been Bentley Little (adult reading). He is truely sick and disturbed…and I love it. I will sit down and read his stuff for hours….The House is great, the Store, the Collection, the Policy, The Association are all really creapy. Thanks for the post, I am also keeping notes on what to read…when I get the time.

  494. I think my favourite scary book would have to be ‘The Girls He Adored’ by Jonathan Nasaw. Very disturbing and definitely made me feel uneasy, but more importantly it was well written and I’m definitely glad I gave the book a chance.

  495. I have a twin sister and when we were about 13 I read a book called The Other. Scard the crap out of me. I also love, love, love The Stand by S. King. I’ve been trying to get my 14 year old son to read The Talisman but he just isnt that interested and my 11 year old daughter cant even watch “scary” commercials so I’m outta luck for right now. They do both love reading though so it’s all good 🙂

  496. The first scary book I remember reading was Suffer the Children, by John Saul it was freaky, I still don’t like caves. I read tons of Saul books after that but they all end the same way so I moved on to the master, King. The all time scariest for me is Salems Lot. I am still afraid of vampires to this day. I’m not kidding.

  497. Salem’s Lot was the first horror book I had ever read. I saw the movie first and that scared the crap out of me… I slept in my Alice in Wonderland sleeping bag on the floor of my mom and dad’s bedroom for a week, terrified of falling asleep in case a vampire tried to corrupt me. I think in the spirit of All Hallows Eve I will re read it and scare myself all over again. Better make sure to dig out my sleeping bag.

  498. It’s hard to pick a favorite, because like you, I started reading scary books at a young age. I think I read Stephen King’s It when I was about 9 years old, and to be honest it never really scared me. Since then I have read everything he has ever written. When I was younger I would have said R.L. Stine’s Fear Street novels, because they were always good for a quick shiver. Why they are scarier than Stephen King, I’ll never know, probably because they don’t really carry much of a message.
    I think I have to pick Thinner, because there was a group of campers that always camped near the lake I grew up near that always reminded me of the Gypsy’s. And Gypsy’s are scary.

  499. I think my -favorite- would be the collection of Grimm’s fairytales… I’m a fairytale freak as it is, but without all the Disney-esque (don’t get me wrong, I love Disney, but in different ways) pomp and pizzazz, there’s a wonderfully dark air to most fairytales. I also had an old leather bound book as a kid that was a collection of foreign fairytales. It was a hand me down from a grandparent’s friend, and so worn I couldnt’ tell you the title or the compiler’s name, but it smelled deliciously of damp, musty old basement, and the pages were soft, like cloth. I brought that book everywhere with me from 2nd to 6th grade when it finally started falling apart. My mom made me throw it away in middle school 🙁

    I think, honestly, the one that crept in under my skin was The Regulators by Stephen-King-Pretending-To-Be-Richard-Bachman. Its not really a scary book, but its so surreal. I drank that book in in an hour the first time I read it and immediately read it over again, and now talking about it, I kind of want to read it -again-.

  500. Since you mentioned children’s books, As a kid I was TERRIFIED of anything scary (seriously… I slept on my grandparents floor everynight until I was 10 becasue I was convinced I was going to be abducted in my sleep) but I LOVED R.L. Stine Goosebumps books and FearStreet Novels. The sagas still make me smile when I read them.

  501. Stephen King’s it is by far the scariest book – It ruined clowns for me forever!

  502. I loved the what to expect when you are expecting comment – that is awesome!

    OK, besides your blog… I’m not great with scary books because you have to put them down and go to sleep in the middle – when the killer is still OUT THERE! But I’ve enjoyed some of the darker turns that Jennifer Crusie has taken recently. (I’m guessing that so doesn’t count.)

    Alright – who can help but love some Edgar Allan Poe? And though not totally scary, Robert Service’s “The Cremation of Sam McGee” seems Halloween appropriate (or any cold winter night with a afire in the fireplace appropriate. That’s how I remember it read as a kid!)

    My Baby Sweetness recently posted Alcoholism is a lifelong disease so I don't see why I need to fix it this week..

  503. definitely Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn. i read it back when i was in middle school and have tried to read it every few years or so. love it!

  504. not something you’d find in the horror section, but I vividly remember jumping high from fear while reading “Mio, My Son” as a small girl…

  505. When I was a kid I really loved the Fear Street Series by R.L. Stein. I think I was supposed to be reading Goodbumps but I bypassed that series cuz I thought it was lame!

    Rinnie Kirk recently posted Lack of routine=Lack of discipline.....and other excuses why I don't exercise and eat right regularly.

  506. Hard to decide which is scarier “The Shining” or “The Stand”. I guess Shining wins since hearing a shower curtain pulled across the rod still terrifies me.

  507. It, by Stephen King. I think I first read it when I was about 12… I remember being the last one awake, turning off the downstairs lights, and HAULING ASS up the stairs so scary clowns wouldn’t get me.

  508. Pick a single favorite horror story?! Is that possible? For some reason, I’ve been thinking a lot about Nevada Barr’s 13 1/2 the past few days. So I’ll pick that. I’ll just add The Stand by Stephen King and The Hideaway by Dean Koontz.

    xo Susie

  509. I’m another Stephen King fan. I think his scariest (to me) are ‘Salem’s Lot, It, The Shining and Pet Sematary. But the horror book I read that stayed with me and still creeps me out when I have to walk down the long dark hall to go to the bathroom in the dark is The Amityville Horror. I was 12 when it came out and I read it. Scared the bejeesus out of me.

  510. Suffer the children by John Saul…. the creepy little girl playing with a dead cat still creeps me out. I guess she’d probably like your mittens made from dead kittens idea.

  511. Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hawn

  512. The Sleepless by Graham Masterson. He’s awesome and just that little bit more twisted than most 🙂

  513. I just remembered one (from the tons of mostly forgettable pulpy ones I use to love): The Unborn by David Shobin. It’s about a pregnant woman who volunteers for some medical monitoring experiment – but the baby is able to access all the medical information from this super computer – and uses it to develop fast and take over the mother’s actions for it’s best interests.

    Why basically knowing the entire contents of WebMD before being born would make you evil, I’m not sure though. That thing they might mention in “What to Expect…” (I can’t remember, I hate that book), about how gettin’ busy can start labor? Yeah, the baby made the mom do it.

  514. My favorite scary book is Audrey Rose. I sometimes forget about it but this post reminded me and now I must go read it again. Also, the movie was pretty freaky.

    Dani recently posted October Roared in Like a Lion and Then Bit Me in the Ass. And It is Cold..

  515. Reading Steven King’s the Shining in fifth grade scared the shit out of me! It also created a true horror lover out of me 🙂 Couldn’t get me away from horror books after that.

    But the scariest thing for me was the Halloween movies. When I was 4/5 my uncle (who was 23 and young and stupid) let my older brother and I stay up realllyyy late one night and watch them. After the movies ended he left the room turned out the lights and came back in wearing a mask and pretending to be Michael Myers. I think I peed my pants. I didn’t sleep for weeks and I’m pretty sure my stepmother gave my uncle hell for that one.To this day I cannot be in a basement or laundry room without every light on and I still check every corner and over my shoulder. In my parents basement the pull light was in the middle of the room away from the stairs. I ALWAYS ran like a bat out of hell once that light was off. Michael Myers terrifies the crap out of me.

  516. Rachel somewhere in the comments above talked about a short story about a girl living on another planet and how their sun was dying and she was depressed? I totally read that and it scared me too. Wtf? NO sun?

  517. I love Ruth Chew books. I read them all when I was little and also scoured to find them all to pass to my kid one day. I wanted to be cool and tell you some obscure book that scared me and was also literary and fancy, but really, i read “It” as an adult and at night, I would have to put the book under my bed when I slept so I would not see the cover at any point in the night. It was terrifying.

    The Exorcist was so scary, i could not finish it. That has its own category all together.

  518. So very thrilled to read you are a Ruth Chew fan. I loved her so much and was thrilled when my daughter reached the age she could read Magic in the Park and The Witches’ Buttons! I had to buy them used on Amazon – it’s very sad they’re no longer in print, kids would totally love them today too! I have also stayed in the Stanley Hotel several years ago – but I thought it was where they made the remake of the Shining, wasn’t the first one made at Mt. Hood Lodge? I’m confused now.

    When I was 10 my mom let me read “The Other” by Thomas Tryon. I remain freaked out by it 33 years later, LOL. She also let me read ‘Salem’s Lot. What was she thinking? Later I stole all her books about Ted Bundy. Unhealthy interest in serial killers seems to run in the family. My daughter (13) is always trying to get me to let her watch “Criminal Minds” on tv. Um, NO.

    We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson – truly creepy and her writing is so so completely exquisite.

    Thank you again for posting this!!!

  519. Stephen King–“Pet Cemetery” (read and re-read that one and it still scares the bejesus out of me!)

    Closely followed by “The Amityville Horror” the BOOK omg was SO FREAKING scary I read it when I was maybe 14 years old??? And can STILL remember it!

    ..A bunch of old-school John Saul..I think someone else mentioned his book, Suffer the Children? Freaking terrifying. Sometimes I wonder what was wrong with my Mom, letting me read King when I was like..9 years old. Inspired a love of scary stories that get inside your head and creep you out long after the book is finished that I still haven’t been able to shake. And it’s something movies just can’t replace.

    Book loves!!! <3

  520. If Democrats Had Any Brains, They’d Be Republicans : Ann Coulter

    Terrifying. No, I didn’t read it, but she’s pretty much the scariest thing I can think of. Her, and zombies…but mostly her.

  521. There are so many great suggestions in these comments that I’m creating a new list of must reads! My new favorite scary book is The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. I loved it and, like you, can’t wait until my six-year-old daughter is old enough to read it.

  522. Poe’s Tell Tale Heart. Love, love, love it!

  523. Huh, so I noticed the post on Good Mom/Bad Mom first and now I realize that I probably should have posted my drugged-out reading of 1984 here instead and my other favourite, a creepy/funny Irish fairy tale/saga about how on Samain (All Hallow’s Eve!) a hero is forced by a corpse who’s come to life (a zombie, I guess!) to carry him around on his back while he kills everyone.

    OK, so maybe that story’s not child-appropriate, either? I guess I just have whacked-out taste. But, seriously, Old Irish zombies killing people and forcing humans to act as horsies and carry them around on Hallowe’en? Dead. Awesome. Can be found among many other fantabulous tales in “Early Irish Myths and Sagas.”

    Hello, my name is Deborah, and I’m a nerd.

  524. Here I am among 500 or so other commenters. Way to make me feel special Jenny. No no, don’t mind me over here in the corner murmuring weakly, “I loved Ruth Chew too.”

  525. Morbid Curiosity Cures The Blues by Loren Rhoads

    Scary because these stories are true.

  526. Woman in black by Susan Hill.

    almost crapped me pants!

  527. Velvet: It’s okay, I’ll huddle with you and murmur the same thing. In fact, I’ve got piles of classics in my office right here beside me, right now, because I wanted to take pictures to show my not-500 commenters the books I cut my teeth on. So can you see? I’m holding up three of Chew’s books, this very minute, one of them being Witch’s Broom, which I particularly remember. And even though they’re hard to find, I refuse the buy the ones that don’t feature the covers I remember. I’m a sentimentalist.

    I’ve been doing a series of Halloween posts, classics I love, and there are so many books I can think of. I love Poe’s Tell-Tale Heart and the Pit and the Pendulum, but also Kostova’s The Historian, Alfred Hitchcock Presents anthologies (I grew up on those and The Three Investigators), and, oh, let’s pick one more…hmmm. Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. This time of year is my favourite.

  528. Oh, when I was 16 I read “Salem’s Lot” and it held me in stark terror for weeks.

    This was also the same time frame when my parents went on an overnight trip and left me in charge of my 2 younger sisters for the first time. Deviants that they were (are), they knew of my fear.

    At dinner that night, we were sitting at the kitchen table. My chair was next to the 2nd story window – I sat with my back to the window itself.

    There we were, eating some unholy concoction that I had cooked up, when my youngest sister screamed in terror and pointed to the window.

    (remember, we were on the 2nd floor. there are no trees next to this part of the house)

    Ergo, I knew in my very soul that there was a vampire behind me, beckoning to get in.

    I raced out from my chair, swooping my sisters in my arms and trying to hasten them to safety, which was of course impossible because they were completely limp with helpless laughter at my expense.

  529. @Mairead – OMG!!!!!!!!! I REMEMBER THAT STORY. Great. Nightmares now. Thanks.

    Hannahbanana recently posted I've mad a startling discovery.

  530. 532

    That’s a great idea, I love it.

    I love Stephen King’s work (my favourite being “Eyes of the Dragon”) and have read a fair few others – Edgar Allen Poe, the Hannibal series, and a bunch of others that I’ve forgotten or barely make it into the horror genre (like the Goosebumps books).

    The scariest book I’ve ever read was Richard Laymon’s “The Cellar”. Or maybe I mean traumatising. I was barely eleven.

    Scratch that, it’s a tie between “Animal Farm” and “Lord of the Flies”.

    I’ve bought six books in the last week, but none of them are horror novels, I think. “Nineteen Eighty Four” is more a depressing dystopia than a horror. And I guess “Picnic At Hanging Rock” is like a mystery that nobody gets to solve.

    I want to keep going on about all the books I’ve read, like somebody four times my age might, but I should go do something like sleep.

    Enjoy your horror readings, lovelies.

  531. I have to add my vote for “House of Leaves” as most terrifying book. I read it in 3 days and was paranoid for a month. Did you know Danielewski is the brother of singer/songwriter Poe? And that her album “Haunted” is based on/inspired by his book?

  532. This isn’t scary, probably, by some people’s definitions, but it kept me on the edge of my seat; it was suspenseful and scary to me! The Hunger Games.

  533. I loved “It”, I think the first time I read it I was 11 or 12 and I finished it in a few days. I have always loved scary stuff and I passed that on to my little brother with Downs syndrome. I cant read very well so I read scary stories too him and he loves them just as much as me.

  534. Lord of the Flies is one of my favorite books of all times, but I’d never have thought to put it in with “scary”. Interesting…

  535. @HeatherY – Matheson used to write episodes of the old Twilight Zone show, so it’s that kind of scary. Not GORE, but like, “OMFGTHATCOULDHAPPENTOMEANDINEEDTOBUILDABUNKERSOMEWHEREINWYOMINGRIGHTTHEFUCKNOW!!!!!!!!!!!!” kind of scary. Yeah. Check him out.

    Hannahbanana recently posted I've mad a startling discovery.

  536. …I’d let some of Stephen King’s creations exist in the real world. They’d come in handy in a smite-by-proxy program I’d be testing out. I wouldn’t use it on ordinary people (so don’t worry), only on the exceptionally vile.

    For instance, the next time Ann Coulter hailed a cab -Christine would pull up. After she got in she’d notice a clown hat on the driver. That’s right; IT. That’ll teach her to attack the 9-11 widows by saying they enjoyed their husband’s deaths. (In case you didn’t know, Coulter really said that. Ugh)

    Scott Peterson (who killed his pregnant wife but got convicted on his ex-girlfriend’s testimony) would probably like a new woman in his life. I’d send Carrie to his cell.

    Who else? Michael Vick, dog torturer/killer. Is out of prison and enjoying new fame and wealth in the NFL. He probably needs a new pet. I’d send him Cujo.

    Any diety can dispense justice, but how many would do it with a poetic flair? Hope you satire-loving Bloggess readers enjoyed this. If you did and want more, or have some ideas on what you’d do -if YOU were God- just drop by.

    If I Were God... recently posted Send me your prayers but make em good.

  537. This has been thoroughly entertaining! My eyes teared up (just a little bit) when I read the other comments about The Legend of Sleepy Hollow being the book that kicked off a love of reading mysteries/horror. My eight-year-old’s copy is on our kitchen table, lovingly bookmarked, as we speak! To my chagrin, he hasn’t yet embraced the whole “reading for fun” concept yet…but my fingers are crossed that perhaps this will be the “jumping off” book! (Plus, if this is successful, I now have a wonderful selection of books to keep feeding him…thanks to all!)

    I’m going to jump on the Stephen King bandwagon. His ability to capture the 80’s pop culture, and simultaneously scare the boulder-sized shoulder pads right out of your Member’s Only jacket…brilliant. Can’t really select a single “scariest” book (even if an unread “IT” still claims space in my garage) – but his earlier work was my personal favorite. I’ve jotted down some of the other recommendations – going to check them out.

    Thanks for the great trip down memory lane…and for your great blog. Reading this has been much more fun than cleaning urine out of my bathtub (I have little boys…ahem…yep.)…

  538. When I was 5 my uncle was staying with us and he was always doing things to scare my brother and I. Once he came home with a pretty authentic looking werewolf mask and promptly scared us to death. Then he built a miniature guillotine that would cut off your finger and one night came up to my brother and I telling us he had an accident with it, he had a box in his hand and took the lid off to show us his bloody finger. It took a minute for my him and my parents to calm me down and convince me it was just a trick with cotton and ketchup.

    Now that I think about it perhaps it’s because of him that I’ve never been fond of horror books or movies. Thanks Uncle. And thanks Jenny, I think, for prompting this bit of self-analysis into my traumatized childhood.

  539. This comments section is a treasure-trove!

    I LOVE the ghost stories of M. R. James. The one where there’s an extra bed in the hotel room…and something sitting up in it—yrrrrrggxxch! Also, I’m a huge fan of Robert Aickman: Without Mr Aickman, we never would have had Kelly Link.

  540. I’m gonna have to go with The Shining. I read that book in college. I would read until I felt a creepy need to look over my shoulder to make sure no one was behind me, then I’d put it down for a while until I couldn’t bear not knowing what was happening next, pick it up until I was creeped out again…you get the idea.

    Another good one is Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House.

    --Vee recently posted Number 12- and where Ive been.

  541. I thought I was the only one in the world who remembered and loved Ruth Chew! I have a big collection of her books sitting on my shelf — just re-read WHAT THE WITCH LEFT a few weeks ago. BAKED BEANS FOR BREAKFAST! MAGIC IN THE PARK! Loved them.

  542. “Turn of the Screw” – Henry James

  543. Roald Dahl’s The Witches terrified me when I was in mid-elementary school, to the point where I had to put it down for a few months.

  544. I love love love Stephen King for horror. LOVE!

    Suniverse recently posted Scary Movies- Scary Realities.

  545. As much as I love to read I’m a bit on the fence with this one as I’d rather receive crappy candy than a crappy book. I believe the latter would be harder to trade with my younger sisters.

  546. I’m going to have to go with Poe – his short stories still make me shudder.

    In more recent memory, Ahab’s Wife by Sena Jeter Naslund has haunted my dreams for 5 or so years now. The middle part with the cannibalism – terrifying.

    Knighton recently posted I Miss My Grandmother.

  547. ‘Salem’s Lot by Stephen King. No pretty, sparkly vampires for me, thank you very much. The first time I read it, I had to put the book in the freezer when I was ready for bed because having the book on the bedside table was Just Too Close.

  548. I remember being so into the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series by Alvin Schwartz.

    We used to have those book days where vendors would come to the school and host a book sale. I’ve always been an avid reader and those book sales were my favorite time of year (merh merh)! (I still get that same feeling every time I step into a book store). In any event, I remember being so excited that they had the box set one year that I actually begged my mom for money (which I NEVER did) just to get that series. It makes me want to dig them out of storage and read them all over again. They’d probably still scare the bejeezus out of me!

  549. My favorite scary book is “Night Shift” by Stephen King. Just love his short stories.

  550. without a doubt, the scariest book i’ve ever read is this book of allegedly true ghost stories from houses in and around my hometown. i read it when i was in the fourth grade, so naturally i was terrified, and because my parents wouldn’t allow me to read it, i had to read it in secret… at night… in my closet that scared me.

    i read it so much, it fell apart

    jessicajamey recently posted Things Like This Could Only Happen To Me.

  551. Without a doubt “Intensity” by Dean Koontz! This book had me checking under my bed with a kitchen knife.

    Daniella Benavides recently posted Make visible what- without you- might perhaps never have been seen.

  552. The Stand I read it once a year. Or if that doesn’t count as horror. Cell also Stephen King.

  553. VC Andrews! That’s the author I was looking for. Thanks for jarring my feeble memory.

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  554. Are you there god it’s me, Margaret – Judy Blume

    I was 9 ….. I still have nightmares.

    melinda recently posted Chicken Little.

  555. The Shining, baby … and not just because your picture in the bathtub makes me super happy. Topiary STILL scare me.


  556. Your haunted dollhouse is incredible! I want to poke around in there and have a fortune reading. Awesome!

    patty purviss recently posted Brain Forest.

  557. How great would it be if we could get the comments to “666” before halloween. Am I the only with goals, here people?! MAKE IT HAPPEN!!!

    Hannahbanana recently posted Ive mad a startling discovery!!.

  558. @Melinda
    God’s probably still there, just busy, you know? Things don’t just go *bump in the night* by themselves! And who do you think has to review all those weekend pass requests from the devils and demons? It’s a big weekend for Big G. And considering those weekend passes, I wouldn’t be so quick to draw His attention right now. Maybe lay low until dawn on the 1st, things will get back to normal (as opposed to paranormal) by then.

    If I Were God... recently posted You can even pray for great SEX -if you come correct.

  559. It has to be James Herbert’s ‘Shrine’, or the Stephen King/Peter Straub collaboration ‘Black house’ . I’ve read both numerous times and they never get old for me especially the former. P.S loving the blog, you just keep getting better, if I’m ever pee’d off all I gotta do is read one of your posts (old or new) and it’ll make me smile (or wet myself laughing!)

  560. Well if you ever get all the way down to comment #560, my favorite scary book is the Exorcist.

    Jill recently posted Be Sure to Mark Your Successes With Anxiety.

  561. I am soooo late on posting. That’s what I get for being sick. How DARE I!! “It” by Sephen King was by far, the best scary ass book! However, I would have to say my honorable mention would have to go to Mr. Murder by Dean Koontz, which inspired his two children’s books: Santa’s Twin and Robot Santa. Both books are a bit on the creepy side themselves in wonderful Koontz fashion. Not recommended for kids who can not read themselves, as just the covers alone are nightmare inspiring. ;0)

    On a further note, I loved Coraline and it does not suprise me in the least that it was penned by Neil Gaiman. Love it! I loved Sandman! Death was my favorite in the family. ;0)

    Tracey recently posted Ramblings of a Mad Woman.

  562. I’m a Stephen King fan myself, but many people have already mentioned him from what I see. Has anyone mentioned Joe Hill’s books yet? In particular “Heart Shaped Box” was an excellent read in my opinion! I couldn’t put the book down once I’d started it…

  563. I LOVED Ruth Chew when I was growing up. I read “The Witch at the Window” so many times! I wish I still had my copy. Thanks for bringing back the great memories!

  564. Happy Halloween!

    I’ve read so many Stephen King books. His books scare me. In a good way.

    Neil Gaiman is an amazing storyteller. And I love his idea.

    Maybe if you photoshop your Sears Portrait Studio pictures with more blood you’d be happier with them.

    Theresa Milstein recently posted HALLOWEEN HAUNTING.

  565. I loved Fear Street books. I really can’t pinpoint just one. I think the first one I read was called “The Accident” by Diane Hoh. It was about a murdered girl stealing another teen slife. Or something like that. Come to think of it, that might be a Lifetime plot. Ah, well, at any rate my Fear Street books are boxed up and ready for my daughter to read.

  566. @Hannahbanana (557) – I vote for us to collectively agree to stop at 665… because, HELLO? PERPETUAL SUSPENSE!!!

  567. I’m in. But unfortunately I don’t have a favorite fiction. What I do love is buying all of those regional books about local hauntings. I eat them up. My favorite is Nantucket Hauntings.

    chickensconsigliere recently posted Dont Be a Mikey.

  568. My favorite books as a child were the Clue series. No one seems to remember them (or the movie, WHICH WAS THE BEST THING EVER) but they were my favorite mostly because you could try and solve the crimes yourself.

  569. 571

    I always loved “Wait Till Helen Comes” by Mary Downing Hahn. I read it as a youngster and it thrilled me! It’s a wonderful ghost story. It took me a while, but I was finally able to track it down again as an adult and I still loved it. 🙂 Definitely add it to Hailey’s list when she’s nine or ten, maybe. Or sooner. 🙂

  570. Your dollhouse is AMAZING. OMG AMAZING.

    My first scary book was “Behind the Attic Wall.” Knee-high dolls that move and talk to you that are hidden away in your aunt/grandma’s creepy old house. Even if they were not evil doll, they were still scary as fuck.

    This whole list of comments has given me a to-read-and-reread list for the next year!

  571. I’m glad I’m not the only one who ready Steven King in grade school 🙂 And I’m so glad you reminded me of Ruth Chew! I had What the Witch Left and the one with the flying bath mat when I was little and LOVED them! Another not really scary series of books, but kind of odd and funny are the Sideways Stories from Wayside school. Your daughter’s at about the right age for them. Happy Halloween!

  572. i know this is weird, but “dead man walking” always kind of freaked me out. i dunno… maybe i was in prison in a past life and retained the fear or something. or maybe it’s the nuns that scare me. whatev.

  573. Turn of the Screw
    hands down..
    i know that seems lame, but come on…THAT BITCH WAS CRAZY!

  574. 576

    Carrie, hands down. I was jumping up and absolutely rooting for her during her rampage. I love revenge stories.

    Also, I’m not sure if anyone mentioned this, but when I was younger, I absolutely ADORED the Bailey School Kids books, like Cyclops doesn’t rollerskate and Vampires don’t wear polka dots. So fun, and I loved all of the mythical creatures! It inspired my love of greek and roman mythology.

  575. Stephen King now, Bailey School Kids 10 years ago

  576. The Dead Zone – still gives me the all-overs.

    Rikki recently posted Chickens- Jelly- and Facebook.

  577. As a kid– Three Dreams and a Nightmare, hands down. I’m a wimp and easily freaked out (think Allie of Hyperbole and a Half) but there’s a subtle creep factor to that collection of short stories that I love.

    As a grown-up– Well, every Halloween I try to read a scary themed book. I have an anthology of classic vampire stories that never fails to thrill– my favorite is Fritz Lieber’s the Girl with the Hungry Eyes.

  578. i still love “scary stories to tell in the dark.” my girls have just discovered it & giggle at the scary bits. reminds me of when i used to do the same. and now i get to go look for some chew books.

  579. Only ONE??? No fair!!

    Faves: Stephen King (NOBODY does atmosphere better), Ray Bradbury (Something Wicked This Way Comes – shivery good), Bram Stoker, Neil Gaiman

    Current fave: World War Z, by Max Brooks. Two words: Zombie Apocalypse. This one scared the hoo-wallee out of me. I had to read it 4 times.

  580. Best comments ever. Now I have a huge list of books I need to buy myself. You guys rock and we have our winners: Rae, Ed T. and Brewgasm. Look for an email about your gift certificates, y’all.
    Also, Hailey chose the winning numbers so if you didn’t get picked you should complain to her.

  581. @HeatherY – 665 WOULD have been a cliff-hanger… but we only made it to something stupid like, 523. People just don’t care about the important things anymore, man. You know, The Greatest Generation made pantyhose out of teabags or something… THEY could have made it to 665. That’s it…. I’m gonna go have a twinkie.

    Hannahbanana recently posted Ive mad a startling discovery!!.

  582. We just checked Wednesday Witch out of the library last week and my 7 and 8 year old girls loved it. I couldn’t remember the author at first so I was trying to describe the book to the children’s librarian (which I’d last read when I was 8) and I’m pretty sure she thought I was thought I was high. “See, it’s about this witch, and I think maybe she rides a vacuum cleaner, or she HAS a vacuum cleaner, or maybe I dreamed that part, but I KNOW somebody has magic scissors and you could, like, snip people shorter? Or something?”

    Thank goodness for google.

    (So -my point basically is – gone but not forgotten.) RIP Ruth Chew.

    And you know what other old written in the fifties books about magic are awesome for kids? Edward Eager – Half Magic, Magic by the Lake, Seven Day Magic. Funny, smart, imaginative. If your daughter hasn’t read them yet, go get them. Made of awesome.

    TheOneTrueSue recently posted Sarcasm- THE LANGUAGE OF THE DEVIL.

  583. This has nothing to do with your giveaway, but I did a search on ebay for Ruth Chew books. There are a few results. In case you see any you don’t have.

    I used to read a lot of Christopher Pike. Probably from 10 or so onward.

    Also, this show was my shit when I was a kid/teen.

  584. 586
    Not Penny's Boat

    I had forgotten all about Ruth Chew!!! I ADORED her as a kid. She must be a gateway drug to Stephen King, because I moved on to him pretty quickly…

  585. Jesus Camp. Scariest. Thing. Ever.