Books

Top Ten Spooky Short Stories

Jailene Adorno ‘16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

One of the best parts about Halloween is the spooky stories that are read and shared throughout the month of October. There are so many classics that readers of all ages have come to know and love. In the spirit of the Halloween season, here are ten classic spooky short stories:

  1. The Overcoat” by Nikolai Gogol
Photo Credit: Goodreads
Photo Credit: Goodreads

The story of a clerk, Akaky Akakievich, and his faithfulness to his favorite overcoat may not sound like the suspenseful story readers are hoping to dive into, but what about if ghosts were involved? Oh wait, they are! Soon enough Akaky gets a new overcoat only to have it stolen. While trying to find the overcoat, he becomes ill, dies, and becomes a ghost— haunting the people in his town and stealing overcoats.

  1. The Mortal Immortal” by Mary Shelley
Photo Credit: https://thecityfox.wordpress.com
Photo Credit: https://thecityfox.wordpress.com

Before Dorian Gray, there was Winzy. Winzy had no desire to stay young forever, but that’s exactly what ends up happening. When the alchemist that he works for instructs him to watch a potion overnight, but not to consume it for any reason, Winzy does so anyway. The consequences are that he becomes the “mortal immortal,” watching everyone that he knows and loves die before him.

  1. The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
Photo Credit: http://www.loyalbooks.com/
Photo Credit: http://www.loyalbooks.com/

Ready for more ghosts? Now you see them…and then they’re gone. Were they even there to begin with? This is what the new governess in James’ novella has to ask herself when she sees the figures of a man and woman around the estate. But then she notices the niece and nephew of the man who hired her speaking to the ghosts and trying to interact with them. Yet, every time she confronts them about it, they deny it. Are the ghosts somehow controlling the children?

  1. Death and the Woman” by Gertrude Atherton
Photo Credit: http://www.fictiondb.com/
Photo Credit: http://www.fictiondb.com/

After a woman’s husband dies, grief takes over and she allows the idea of death to consume her thoughts. The personification of death is what’s really interesting. As the wife grieves her husband’s death, his corpse is decomposing right beside her and she examines each and every part of him. She continues to wonder when exactly “death” will come, take her husband away, and then linger around for her.

  1. The Monkey Spoons” by Mary Elizabeth Counselman
Photo Credit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXPP76n0qFI
Photo Credit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXPP76n0qFI

What if you went into an antique shop and decided to purchase monkey spoons—which were commonly given out to the priests who conducted the last holy mass during funerals. After finding out what the monkey spoons are used for, a lot of people would probably decided not to buy them, but that’s not what the three young people did. As a result of this, soon after their names appear on the spoons as well as the dates for which they would die.

  1. The Fall of the House of Usher” by Edgar Allan Poe
Photo Credit: http://www.classicly.com/
Photo Credit: http://www.classicly.com/

When a man decides to pay an innocent visit to his old friend Roderick Usher, all hell breaks loose— literally. First, the friend notices that the house is unkempt and that the energy surrounding the house just isn’t right. He tries to ignore it until he realizes that Roderick himself seems to be unwell himself. As the story progresses, the friend finds out that Roderick had a twin sister who was very ill—only for her to die shortly after learning about her existence. The friend soon comes to find that it’s not just Roderick and his sister who are ill, but the whole house—which was haunted with all of the Ushers who had come before them.

  1. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
Photo Credit: http://www.sffaudio.com/
Photo Credit: http://www.sffaudio.com/

To be fair, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is technically a novella, but still it’s a classic spooky story as well. What happens when a doctor develops two completely different personalities—one good, one evil? A whole lot of trouble and confusion. Dr. Jekyll is known for being the good, respected doctor and friend that everyone in town knew. However, Mr. Hyde is Dr. Jekyll’s evil side, a man feared by many because of his appearance as well as the havoc he’s wrecked since he’s been around town.

  1. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” by Washington Irving
Photo Credit: https://www.willmoses.com
Photo Credit: https://www.willmoses.com

Where would we be if we hadn’t ever heard of the Headless Horseman and Ichabod Crane? Those two are like celebrities! Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” is a classic Halloween-time story that tells the legend of the famous Headless Horseman. All Ichabod Crane wanted to do was get home after a disappointing party, but instead he comes face to face—more like face to no face—with the Headless Horseman. Scared, Crane tries to ride away from the horseman only to have the horseman’s detached head thrown his way.

  1. The Call of Cthulhu” by H.P. Lovecraft
Photo Credit: http://www.classicly.com/
Photo Credit: http://www.classicly.com/

What would the average person do if they found a bunch of notes and paper about a mysterious sea creature among a family member’s belongings? What is there were more sightings and theories from other people and some cases in which people had been mysteriously attacked? The Cult of Cthulhu is real.

  1. The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe
Photo Credit: http://lionamazingking.hubpages.com/
Photo Credit: http://lionamazingking.hubpages.com/

As one of Poe’s most notable works, “The Tell-Tale Heart” shows how obsession and guilt can drive a person mad. What starts off as a story about a paranoid man spirals into this idea of him being obsessed with his neighbor’s eye. His obsession and paranoia takes over him so much that he plans to kill his neighbor. But once the deed is done and he rids of his body, he is left with this overbearing guilt as he starts to hear his dead neighbor’s heartbeat—the sound taunting his very sanity.

 

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