“It’s behind you!”
There’s something about a good ghost story that really gets the old heart beating. I think the fact we secretly want ghosts to exist has a great deal to do with this. Whether or not you concur, one thing we can all agree on is that there is, has, and I’m sure will continue to be some great ghost stories out there.
As usual with my lists these are all books that I own, so I apologise if some of your favourites aren’t included. My choices encompass everything from the classics to the more modern interpretation of the theme. I hope you enjoy.
The Woman In White
If you’re going to do a job, you might as well do it right. This story is synonymous with the genre, the age of the tale doing nothing to diminish its fear factor. (Enhancing it if anything.)
The Hungry Ghosts
Both brutal and haunting, this book will leave a lasting impression.
The Small Hand
I love Susan Hill’s books. She is one of only a few authors renowned for different genres. If you read this short story, you will soon see why.
The Lovely Bones
If a chilling death can be written up in a beautiful fashion, then this does.
Ghosts By Gaslight
I almost put this in yesterday’s list as it is a Steampunk compilation. However, the essence of the stories are ghosts, and they are good stories at that.
The Canterville Ghost
Another classic that interweaves a ghost story with romance. Wilde is always superb and this is no less than any of his other works.
I loved this book as it’s a true chiller. One of those you just suddenly get and think, ‘Geez!’ Plus, I like Japanese stuff.
The Woman In Black
One of few the books I’ve read that inspired me to immediately start writing something because of it. One day, I’ll finish the many thousands of pages I have already written of ‘A Shadow Over Darkmoor’ and I shall thank Susan Hill when I do. (My favourite on this list.)
The Turn Of The Screw
If there’s a ghost list, then this has to be on it. Another story that only grows creepier as it ages. I reckon this story is so scary that although there are several movie versions, they will never capture the chilling essence of it. And it’s short, too. No excuses not to read it.
Poe, the master of the macabre, puts his own flourish on the ghost genre with this tale of a dead wife. This story used to be very well read but seems to be less so these days. Don’t be put off by the old style narrative, it’s very good.
I hope you all enjoyed this dissection of the spooky side of life, or is it death? If you even read one of these and enjoy it, then my compilation has been well worth my time.
Thanks for reading
Richard M. Ankers, author of The Eternals Trilogy