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"Scariest Ghost Story?" Topic

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Action Log

22 Mar 2019 5:08 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Removed from Horror boardRemoved from TMP Poll Suggestions boardCrossposted to Horror Media board

Areas of Interest

Science Fiction

1,218 hits since 13 Sep 2016
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Personal logo Flashman14 Supporting Member of TMP13 Sep 2016 3:31 a.m. PST

Title, author, and link if possible?

nnascati Supporting Member of TMP13 Sep 2016 4:39 a.m. PST

The Haunting, 1963 -

if you want a book -
Ghost Story by Peter Straub

Norman D Landings13 Sep 2016 6:05 a.m. PST

Full length: "The Haunting of Hill House". (Shirley Jackson)
without exception, THE masterclass in keeping things ambiguous. It's never possible to pin down exactly how much is real (and if so, to what extent caused by human, rather than supernatural, agency) and how much is in the imagination of the victims. And yet… the story is equally effective regardless of what interpretation the reader chooses to apply.

Short: "O Whistle and I'll come to You, My Lad." (M.R. James)
Classic stuff: go poking around in ancient ruins. Find mysterious artifact. Use said artifact and see what happens.
Bonus points for taking the 'bedsheet ghost' cliche and making it genuinely threatening.

Creepypasta: Ted the Caver.
(LOLWUT? Oh yeah, I'm totally down with teh internetz.)
Completely engrossing, 'slow burn' set up. one of the very few times when the 'Journal Entry' format actually works. Background level of claustrophobia which keeps the tension high even when nothing's happening, and a really well-staged pay-off.


Pictors Studio13 Sep 2016 7:13 a.m. PST

Turn of the Screw by Henry James.

You can even listen to it on Librivox read by the incomparable Nikolle Doolin.


boy wundyr x13 Sep 2016 8:24 a.m. PST

"Had to put the book down and go for a walk" creepy – "They" by Kipling

"Even a walk didn't help" creepy – "Pigeons From Hell" by Robert E. Howard

War Panda13 Sep 2016 9:42 a.m. PST

You want a real one: link

Exorcism of Anneliese Michel: Paperback Nov 1 2005
by Felicitas D. Goodman

Norman D Landings13 Sep 2016 11:14 a.m. PST

Very good stuff there, Wundyr!
The Kipling one slightly undercooked, the REH overcooked (in his own inimitable style!) but both genuine classics, and both new to me.
Thanks for that!

Extrabio1947 Supporting Member of TMP13 Sep 2016 11:44 a.m. PST

Ghost story…not demonic and such then…hmmmm….

The Haunting of Hill House followed by The Legend of Hell House and Ghost Story by Jackson, Matheson, and Straub respectively.

For a supposedly true story, "Night Stalks the Mansion" by Harold Cameron.

For a good read along the lines of "IT" but IMHO much better, try "Summer of Night" by Dan Simmons.

boy wundyr x13 Sep 2016 11:48 a.m. PST

Glad to share them Norman. The climax of "They" was one of those rare reading moments where I just didn't see that coming and then he just hits you with it so so subtly.

Which reminds me, there's a ghostly short story by Lord Dunsany that isn't so much scary as clever, but I can't find it's title off-hand with a Google search it involves a fox hunt gone weird. It's in the 1990s The Hashish Man collection, I'll try to remember to look it up.

Edit – Ok, did a better Google search, it's "Thirteen At Table":

Kropotkin303 Supporting Member of TMP13 Sep 2016 1:21 p.m. PST

M.R James is all good in an antiquarian sense. No blood and guts but plenty of psychic fear.

Norman D Landings13 Sep 2016 2:05 p.m. PST

That's one obnoxious protagonist.
Stranger smashed through yer fence, insists on staying overnight, and (spoiler avoidance) 'gives offence' at dinner… but it's somehow okay because he's a gentleman?
He's lucky to find himself in a ghost story which is essentially a (very enjoyable) comedy of manners, rather than something like "The Satanic Pit of Face-Eating Terror".

Legion 413 Sep 2016 3:24 p.m. PST

Just watch the Travel Channel's "Ghost Adventures" and "The Dead Files". Or Sy-Fy's "Paranormal Witness". Even if none of it is true [I really don't know either way ?] … There can be some real creepy Bleeped text on those shows ! huh? I know they are not books … but you might get a pretty good scare out of some of them ! "Reality" Shows or not ! You've been Warned ! huh?

djbthesecond13 Sep 2016 6:06 p.m. PST

No mention of William Hope Hodgson? – I thought The House on the Borderland was fantastic.

snurl113 Sep 2016 11:38 p.m. PST

Rats in the Walls by HP Lovecraft. Especially if you don't like mice.

Cyrus the Great14 Sep 2016 8:59 a.m. PST

I'd like to suggest Algernon Blackwood if you like ghost stories.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP14 Sep 2016 9:43 a.m. PST

Just the thought of this has terrified me for sixteen years now …

Hafen von Schlockenberg16 Sep 2016 8:33 a.m. PST

Guy de Maupassant wrote some memorable ones,"The Horla" among them. Wonder if there were any films made of them?

Which raises a question: what really good (i.e.,really scary)stories were also made into really good (i.e.,scary) films? Off the top of my head,I'd nominate Turn of the Screw,Casting the Runes,and Haunting of Hill House.

Lovecraft hasn't fared too well. Maybe he's just unfilmable. I'd love to see a well done adaptation of "The Haunter of the Dark".

Edit: Hmm,seems there's a Russian one from last year,though info is illusive. Maybe not in English yet. Anyone know anything?


I see it's on youtube,with subtitles. Only watched a few minutes,as I have to use data which I can't afford. Looks to be a Blairsville Witch clone,but might be good. That's what I thought Trollhunter was going to be,but I was wrong there. If anyone's watched,what did you think?

Hafen von Schlockenberg16 Sep 2016 10:08 a.m. PST

"Blairsville"? My Autocorrect Bug got me that time.

Wasn't there a Monkees song,"Last Broom to Blairsville",or something?

Norman D Landings16 Sep 2016 4:25 p.m. PST

Over the years, the BBC have done some very good adaptations of classic ghost stories at Christmas.
Well worth hunting out.

If we're diverting into TV, here's a 1970's classic from the writer of "Quatermass":

YouTube link

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