Happy Halloween: 4 stories you wouldn’t expect to scare you senseless

1. “The Black Cat”  By Edgar Allen Poe

Cat lovers beware! This grisly tale by Edgar Allen Poe has all the

Halloween fixin’s from dismemberment, to arson, alcoholism and death by hanging.

Photo credit: Creative Commons
Photo credit: Creative Commons

The story is told in first person by the former owner of the cat from his cell in prison. Though the narrator may be unreliable, the story

still strikes a nerve with any animal lover.

I wouldn’t suggest reading this story around children due to the graphic themes and gory details. It was enough to upset me in high school, so be cautious who you share it with.

And don’t worry, the cat gets revenge.

Available here on Librivox, here on OpenLibrary, and here on Librophile.

2.  “A Rose for Emily” By William Faulkner  

This tale is takes place in Faulkner’s fictional southern county of Yoknapatawpha where an elderly lady has died. Citizens of the town

Photo credit: Creative Commons
Photo credit: Creative Commons

explore their memories of Ms. Emily Grierson and her increasingly strange behavior leading up to her death.

The story is extremely suspenseful, alternating between real time and flashback, keeping the reader completely on edge.

Just when you think you know what’s going to happen—the story flips on you.

A Rose for Emily” contains homosexuality, incest, rape, necrophilia and murder, so it’s definitely not meant to be taken lightly. But, it’s definitely worth the read for the structure and language of the story as well as the content.

Faulkner never ceases to impress.

Available here on OpenLibrary and here on Librophile.

3. “Other People” By Neil Gaiman

From the collection of short stories Fragile Things, this short tale by Gaiman will leave you shaken. Following the plight of a man being

Photo credit: Creative Commons
Photo credit: Creative Commons

tortured by an unknown assailant, the narrative leads the reader to question the strength of their morals when faced with selfish challenges.

Though the story is very short it’s definitely still worth a read and an annual re-read. Like Lord of the Flies, this short fiction challenges readers to consider what humanity is capable of when they’re left to their animal instincts.

Available as part of Fragile Things on OpenLibrary here, and here on Librophile.

4. “The Yellow Wallpaper” By Charlotte Perkins Gilman

This story isn’t as scary as some of the aforementioned one, but it still leaves the reader feeling a little unsettled.

Photo credit: Creative Commons
Photo credit: Creative Commons

A woman is locked in a room by her husband and begins to see apparitions and hallucinations of terrifying things she believes are real. The beings, shapes and specters all flow from the yellow wallpaper on the walls of the room.

A great story for literary analysis or a dramatic re-telling at midnight, “The Yellow Wallpaper” has great gothic themes of mental illness, restriction and imprisonment.

Available here on Librivox, here on OpenLibrary and here on Librophile.

So, whether you’re reading these stories for the first time or again for the 50th, put on your witching hat and gather ‘round the cauldron—it’s time for a spooky story.

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