Spooky Stories I Like
by Jeff Baker
I’ve done this before and (hopefully) I won’t be repeating myself from earlier years. This is a list of a few scary (okay mildly spooky) short-stories for Halloween.
“The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe.
Have to start with Poe. This is really a crime story but it certainly is frightening and a damn good read. Not all stories written almost two hundred years ago can make that claim. I’m trying to limit myself to one story by an author, but I might have included “The Masque of the Red Death” as well. Oh, I have a spoiler at the end of this article about this story.
“The Haunter of the Dark” by H. P. Lovecraft.
One of Lovecraft’s last stories and the first one I think I read. Spooky atmosphere, and a nice wink at the young author we meet in the next story on the list.
“Floral Tribute” by Robert Bloch.
Here I’ll say I could (and do!) recommend any story by Bloch, but this one was read to my class by a substitute teacher when I was in fifth grade and made a huge impression on me. It may be a variation on his first published story “Lillies,” and may have inspired a story on TV.’s “Are You Afraid of the Dark?”
“John Charrington’s Wedding” by E. Nesbit.
Edith Nesbit is well-known for her kids books but she wrote some seriously good frighteners. This one ties with “Man-Sized in Marble” as a genuine, nightmare-inducing classic.
“Vampire” by Richard Christian Matheson.
The successful screenwriter has penned a lot of short-short stories, including this one with every line of the story being one word long. Besides, it was liked by his father, Richard Matheson. I can’t top that!
“Old Clothes” by Ramsey Campbell.
Another master whose short works I recommend, I first read this story in Campbell’s collection “Waking Nightmares.”
“Footsteps Invisible” by Robert Arthur.
I’ve gushed before about my affection for pulp writer Arthur and his sometimes scary, sometimes funny stories. This is one of the best.
And I’ll list a novel I have mentioned here before, Roger Zelazny’s “A Night In the Lonesome October,” which has one chapter for every day in the month. Not too late to start reading this! The title, of course, is from Poe. Happy reading!
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