“Listen to them, the children of the night. What music they make!”
Dracula (Bram Stoker)
Continuing the Halloween Madness, we’d like to bring your attention to an ancient medium that was used throughout the centuries to convey stories, history and feeling – Books. I know, books are so ancient that you may find them rotting away in your grandma’s living room library or the attic of some frat house, but to be fair, books are what started it all. We wouldn’t have anything if it weren’t for books, so we should try to step away from the computer or mobile phone every now and then and get in touch with the ancient human traditions of reading from a piece of paper. Or, if you don’t have the time for entire books, we’ve also prepared a few Creepypastas to get your quick chills for the day.
For those of you who are not aware, Creepypastas are short horror stories written by amateur or aspiring writers, but some of those stories have caused me months worth of therapy and sleeping pills.
So if you’re up to some old fashioned chills, here’s a list of 8 Horror books and Creepypastas to get some shocks. As Negan (The Walking Dead) says, put on your shitting pants, because it’s about to get real!:
- H.P. Lovecraft – The Complete Fiction – Believe me, Kinksters, there is a legit reason why Lovecraft is considered one of the masters of horror and has inspired legends such as Stephen King. Responsible for an entire genre of Horror (the Cosmic Horror genre), Lovecraft weaves terror and hopelessness like nobody else. From ancient sleeping empires beneath the ocean, to terrifying creatures hiding in the void of night, this absolute genius managed to turn his own phobias and fear of change into some of the most memorable horror stories to date, inspiring modern artists to this day.
We’ve included The Complete Fiction as a recommendation because anything you read from it will have a lasting effect.
2. Mark Z. Danielewski – House of Leaves – To say that House of Leaves is one of the most frightening books ever written will be an understatement. From a regular horror premise (a house is revealed to be slightly larger on the inside than is physically possible) Danielewski spins out a stunning tale involving multiple unreliable narrators, mysteries, and looping moments that drag the reader into the story and then make them doubt their own perception of that story. It’s a trick no one else has managed to such dramatic effect, making this novel more of a participatory experience than any other work of literature—which, considering the dark madness at its core, isn’t necessarily a pleasant experience.
3. Shirley Jackson – The Haunting of Hill House – Horror cliches are many, and if you think of the number one cliche, it’s haunted houses. An idea that is so often used and overused, that it starts to feel like a parody of itself. Shirley Jackson, however, was no ordinary writer, and she takes the concept of the haunted house and weaves it into perfection like a sorceress. The Haunting of Hill House is simply the best haunted house story ever written. The scares come not just from the malevolent actions of a house that seems sentient and angry, but from the claustrophobia we experience from the novel’s unreliable narrator, Eleanor, whose descent into madness is slow and excruciating and only begins after we’ve been lulled into a false sense of security by the seeming relatability of her early persona.
4. Stephen King – Pet Sematary – Several of King’s books could be on this list, but he frequently blunts the terror of his stories with the richness and humanity of his characterizations and the sprawl of his narratives. Not a lot of authors are gifted in the way King is, weaving words and narrative in such a seamless and perfect way, that he is able to turn even the most mundane and plain situations and environments into something deep, mysterious and excitingly terrifying. Pet Sematary manages to be his scariest novel by its simple, devastating concept: a magical cemetery where buried things come back to a sort-of life—but aren’t quite what they once were. From that simple idea King ramps up to a climax that gets under your skin in a fundamental way most horror stories fail to.
All of these can be read in Creepypasta’s official website and links to the stories will be provided.
5. The Slender Man – Before this pale, faceless ghoul had his own movie and video game series, he haunted the forums of the internet with his finely pressed suit and unnaturally long limbs. The Slender Man’s story is not a narrative one, but a pseudo-historical look at this monster’s history with humanity that is tied into several other creepypastas.
Typically, the Slender Man preys on children and those who become obsessed with his existence, though no one knows exactly what happens to the bodies since no one has ever escaped from an encounter with him. Suggested stories featuring the Slender Man include The Tall Man and the Marble Hornets videos.
6. The Russian Sleep Experiment – A staple in the genre and arguably one of best creepypastas, the title of this story itself carries with it a sense of dread and horror. Shortly after World War II, five political prisoners are subjected to an experiment in which they have to remain awake for 30 days in a tank filled with an experimental gas. As with most science-gone-wrong stories, the test subjects begin to lose their minds among a number of other gruesome symptoms. The horror does not end when the experimenters try to save their subjects — far from it.
Just know that this story may not be appropriate if you are squeamish or dislike gore, as the narrative goes into graphic detail about the physical state of the patients. Thankfully there are no pictures, or this would be the ultimate nightmare fuel.
7. The Strangers – The Strangers is an incredibly thought provoking and intriguing story. While not necessarily the most frightening creepypasta on the wiki, it is certainly a very enjoyable read. The Strangers is easily one of the most enjoyable pastas that I have ever read. The story focuses on Andrew Erics, a man who begins to have strange experiences while riding the New York subway to work everyday. Things go downhill quickly, forcing Andrew to embark on a strange adventure.
8. Anansi’s Goatman Story – Something about Anansi’s Goatman Story has stuck with me since I first read it, and occasionally it just pops into my head unbidden whenever I hear an odd noise outside on a quiet night. The Goatman creepypasta plays on our very human fear of things that almost seem human but aren’t quite. Bonus points if you read it on a camping trip in front of the fire. A story that was originally told on 4chan’s paranormal board, it’s hard to preview here – so you’ll just have to go read the whole story in its full glory.