From the master of the morbid imagination, this gem of a story blurs the edges between horror and ghost paperless fiction. A murderer's guilty conscience gets the better of him, driving him to confess his crime. The unnamed narrator murders an old man with a "vulture eye". He plans carefully and hides the body by dismembering it, but his guilt will not let him rest. Is he imagining the beating of the heart beneath the floorboards or is there something there? Gripping and horrifying, the perfect mix of horror and Gothic, the forerunner of the psychological ghost stories that were to come into vogue. This perfectly balanced, beautifully judged story both preys on both the anxiety provoked by the new technology of railways and deeply held beliefs that a ghost can be an alarum for events to follow. Three times, the ringing of a spectral bell is followed by the appearance of a ghost, harbinger of a dreadful accident. Creepy, clever, and has you looking over your own shoulder.
But what makes a ghost story? Though purists might quibble, i'd say there are three distinct types of ghost story as opposed to tales of horror, which have a different dynamic and purpose, or novels that have ghosts in them, such as Marquez's One hundred years of Solitude or Ben Okri's. "The traditional ghost story is often inspired by folklore and a sense of decaying history, and is similar in tone to the gothic novels that came before. In the psychological ghost story, the emphasis is on the mental state of the victim rather than the actions the existence, even of the ghost or poltergeist. These stories implicitly, sometimes explicitly, question the reliability and sanity of the heroine or hero, and often reference social or political issues of the day. Finally, there's the antiquarian ghost story which is associated with a certain sort of Edwardian Englishness. Like their traditional counterparts, they draw on old mythologies and folklore, but are rooted in realism and the sense of the ordinary disrupted or made extraordinary. I see the influence of all three traditions in my own books though The winter Ghosts is my first pure ghost story but in the end, as with the choices that follow, what matters is that each has what the great Edith Wharton called 'the.
Ghost Stories, spooky and Scary Stories : The moonlit
But traveling in close quarters with a nebulous supernatural monster who haunts the upper berth of a ship and is possibly chowing down on passengers? Well, that's a classic ghost story, my friend — one that has been delighting readers by illuminating one of the more arcane dangers of travel since 1894. "the black cat" by edgar allan poe. Of course, what would any round up of the most macabre American literature be without the p-man? In this story, the presence of an actual ghost is debatable — the narrator could just as easily be haunted by his own guilt about the man he's become, instead of the actual ghost of a dead black cat. Honestly, i'm not even sure which option is preferable.
Images: Allison Gore/Bustle, giphy (10). Kate mosse is the bestselling author of five novels, two books of non-fiction, short stories and a play, syrinx, which won a broadcasting Press guild award in 2009. The first novel in her Languedoc Trilogy, labyrinth, won Richard judy's Best read award in 2006 and topped the bestseller lists for six months; the second, sepulchre, was also an international bestseller; and the third, citadel, will be published simple in 2011. Her current novel, The winter Ghosts, is published in paperback this week. Buy the winter Ghosts from the guardian bookshop "Spirits and apparitions, headless monks and white ladies, the traditional ghost story still exerts a hold on our imaginations. Their habitat is ancient woods, ruined abbeys, isolated old houses and crumbling monasteries.
Stranger Things Happen, using the dream logic of childhood to create a downright blood-curdling take on the "spooky old mansion" trope. Who's in the woods? What's in that hat? And that babysitter — man, what is it with all of these babysitters, am I right? Also, i believe link is one of our greatest living fiction writers, so if you're a fan of smart, freaky tales with a supernatural twist, you may want to go out and buy all of her books immediately and kind of make a whole weekend. "the damned thing" by ambrose bierce.
Coming back from a hunting trip claiming that your friend was mauled to death by an invisible assassin —an invisible assassin who maybe kinda sorta was a spectral beast from the world beyond human imagining —is a dilly of a pickle. Just ask protagonist William Harker, who has just as much luck as you'd imagine convincing the local lawmen that his friend was a victim of a being that inhabits an invisible parallel world within our own realm. This classic, elegant tale has also served as a basis for a the slightly less elegant, but still very fun, 2007 episode of, masters of Horror, "The damn Thing directed by tobe hooper,. Texas Chainsaw Massacre fame. "bewitched" by edith wharton, wharton didn't just write sharp examinations of the strange inner workings of upper crust society during the gilded age. Sometimes she also wrote ghost stories that were sharp examinations of the strange inner workings of small town America, during an era when you could still conceivably call the town deacon to report the fact that your husband was having an affair with a ghost. "the upper berth". Even in the best of circumstances, traveling is a pain in the ass; and traveling in close quarters with a stranger is a nightmare.
Cinematography: david Lowery and
Maybe it's a little scary when one poops on your hair, but that's about." But stay with me on this one. This story, which was published in 1938, uses a supernatural evernote framework to examine the horrific lasting legacy of slavery in America, and no less a ghoul master than Stephen King called it "one of the finest horror stories of our century." And if that's not. And if that's not enough to sell you on it — fine, there are zombies. There, are you happy now? "the specialist's hat" by kelly link. Of course, not all of our greatest American ghost short stories were written between 50 and 200 years ago. This World Fantasy Award-winning tale, from Link's 2001 short story collection.
Also, any inspiration that this story may have provided for. The happening is purely coincidental and should not be held against Algernon Blackwood. "the legend of sleepy hollow" by washington irving. Is this a ghost story? Or is this a "guy gets murdered by the local thuggish douchebag for not kowtowing to the town's established social dynamics" story? The ambiguity present in this tale about the power of small town legends (as well as the power of small town social hierarchies) has kept it business fresh for nearly 200 years — and through countless film and tv adaptations — since it was first published. "pigeons from hell" by robert. I know, i know — you read that title, and you're all "Pigeons?
what would become horror fiction's "final girl." But beware — this babysitter is way more confused, horny, and morally ambiguous than Jamie lee curtis. "The turn of the Screw" has been made into a number of films, including a 2009 bbc adaptation, as well as 1961's. The Innocents — a restrained, tasteful, black and white horror movie that scared me so badly i literally had to leave my dvd copy at a bus stop after watching. In fact, even the gif above from the film is kinda freaking me out. And truly, can you imagine any greater recommendation of a film for this, the spookening season? "the willows" by algernon blackwood, who's afraid of some plants? You, after you read this eerie tale of two men on an ill-fated canoe trip down the danube, where the willows are not quite what they seem. Lovecraft claimed that it was one of the greatest supernatural tales in English language literature, and that guy did tend to pay close attention to this sort of thing, so you know that it's gotta be good.
They've produced some of the finest and most celebrated ghost stories ever written in English, and now, due to the magic of the Internet, they are all right at your twist fingertips. So get cozy, and settle in for a scarifying evening with these nine tales of terror. Wait, did you hear that? What was that noise?! Oh, it was probably just your cat. You don't have a cat! " the turn of the screw " by henry james.
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A really good ghost story is hard to find. Though the ghost is a subtler literary tool than the vampire, the werewolf, or (god help us) the zombie, it's still easy to blow it when writing shakespeare a tale of the undead —making an actually scary ghost story the most precious of literary commodities. In fact, no less a ghostly literature expert than roald Dahl himself once said, good ghost stories, like good childrens books, are damnably difficult to write. But anyone who spent her childhood blowing her allowance on books with spooky victorian ladies on the cover could have told you that. Most ghost story writers tend to skew too gory (or too gorey or get silly, or go for the eternally frustrating it was just a big misunderstanding! Because writing a chilling, compelling ghost story is a task practically as difficult actually raising the dead. But the authors below have each performed just such a borderline mystical feat.