Tag: ghost stories

Ten Horror Books I Can’t Wait to Read

Ten Horror Books I Can’t Wait to Read

It’s Top Ten Tuesday time again! This week is a freebie, so I picked the horror novels that I can’t wait to read. To be honest, some of these have been on my TBR pile for quite awhile but I’m still excited to read them when I get around to it.

The House Across the Lake – Riley Sager

Armed with a pair of binoculars and several bottles of liquor, she passes the time watching Tom and Katherine Royce, the glamorous couple who live in the house across the lake. (from Goodreads)

I love Riley Sager books – they’re always a good time. The House Across the Lake sounds like the most horrible conclusion to the very human inclination to watch the neighbors. It would never normally go to such extremes – but if you’ve never gossiped about the comings and goings of Betty Sue from down the street, I don’t believe you.

Survive the Night – Riley Sager

Behind the wheel is Josh Baxter, a stranger Charlie met by the college ride share board, who also has a good reason for leaving university in the middle of term. – from Goodreads

Serial killer road trip anyone? Another Riley Sager to add to the list of books I definitely can’t wait to read. I’m not sure that a serial killer would sign up for a ride share to get out of town, but I’ll reserve judgement.

The Ghost Tree – Christina Henry

When people go missing in the sleepy town of Smith’s Hollow, the only clue to their fate comes when a teenager starts having terrifying visions. – from Goodreads

This sounds like a good paranormal romp – the main character’s father was found without his heart and then a couple of girls go missing a year later. She starts having visions of a monster, and according to a review, there are “witchy powers” involved along with a standard-issue creepy horror child. I’m already a fan.

These Fleeting Shadows – Kate Alice Marshall

Helen Vaughan doesn’t know why she and her mother left their ancestral home at Harrowstone Hall, called Harrow, or why they haven’t spoken to their extended family since. – from Goodreads

I’m a huge fan of “inheritance from estranged family”, atmospheric novels with a dose of haunted house vibes so this one seems like it must be right up my alley. Add the fact that the house has haunted the girl’s dreams for years and I’m hooked.

Just Like Home – Sarah Gailey

In spite of their long estrangement, in spite of the memories — she’s come back to the home of a serial killer. Back to face the love she had for her father and the bodies he buried there. – from Goodreads

Another estranged family, this time a reunion and not an inheritance, with the added quirk of a serial killer dad. She’s come back to see her mom, who’s dying, and to make some kind of peace with the past. A review used all the best words to describe it (eerie, bizarre, claustrophobic) and promised a big twist in the third act.

The Sanatorium – Sarah Pearce

Half hidden by forest and overshadowed by threatening peaks, Le Sommet has always been a sinister place. Long plagued by troubling rumors, the former abandoned sanatorium has since been renovated into a five-star minimalist hotel. – from Goodreads

I’m almost positive that I’ve put this book on several lists over the years, but have somehow never picked it up. Every time I read the description I’m reminded that I really am interested in it and can’t wait to read it, but then it slips off my radar again. One day, book, one day.

The Room in the Attic – Louise Douglas

A child who does not know her name… Two motherless boys banished to boarding school… Cries and calls from the past that can no longer be ignored… – from Goodreads

Two timelines mix in this one – a tragic story of a little girl staying in an asylum the first bit of the 1900s and then much later when that asylum had been turned into what sounds like a very depressing boarding school. A story full of ghosts, motherless children, and gothic atmosphere. I feel like it shouldn’t be missed.

Hide – Kiersten White

The challenge: spend a week hiding in an abandoned amusement park and don’t get caught.

The prize: enough money to change everything. – from Goodreads

Is there anything much creepier than an abandoned theme park? Is there any scarier game than hide and seek on a large scale? The answer to both is yes, but together, I think they could be an excellent set up for a particularly creepy story. Especially since one of the words used to describe it is “supernatural”.

The Big Dark Sky – Dean Koontz

A group of strangers bound by terrifying synchronicity becomes humankind’s hope of survival in an exhilarating, twist-filled novel by Dean Koontz. – from Goodreads

Dean Koontz is a masterful storyteller. I’ve read so many of his books, it’s a no brainer to read this one as well. It’s a fresh release, only a few months old, and I just found out about it as I was looking up books for this list. Shane is also a huge Dean Koontz fan, so it’s very probable this will end up in our library one way or another.

The Overnight Guest – Heather Gudenkauf

As the storm worsens, Wylie finds herself trapped inside the house, haunted by the secrets contained within its walls—haunted by secrets of her own. Then she discovers a small child in the snow just outside. – from Goodreads

Another creepy kid book! I think everyone who dreams of being a writer wants to retreat to an isolated farmhouse/seaside cottage in order to focus on writing, but this book might put you off on doing that – in winter, anyway.

There they are – 10 horror novels I can’t wait to read. I have no doubt that I’m going to enjoy each and every one of them. Luckily, I read horror all year long, so it won’t have to wait for a year to read these.


My Ghost Stories

My Ghost Stories

In honor of Halloween, I thought I’d tell you my own personal ghost stories. I don’t even know if I truly believe in ghosts, and I’m sure all of my stories can be explained in some rational way, but they’ve stuck with me as spooky goings-on in my past.

The Mysterious Radio

I’ll start with the least spooky. The one most easily disproved.

From the age of 6, I grew up in an old house on a lovely little street in a small town. It had been built sometime in early 1900s and was rumored to have been a boarding house for women/war brides during WWII (I think I have that right – but who knows), but otherwise was a single family home.

Late at night, if I happened to wake up, I could hear a radio softly playing in another part of the house. It wasn’t clear, and it wasn’t always music, but sometimes people speaking. When I’d get up to investigate, it would stop and everyone would be asleep.

I can hear you saying “Sarah, that was clearly someone listening to a radio or tv, you gullible dunce.” and I have no argument there. I do know my mom also heard the radio, so it had to have been one of my brothers if it wasn’t a ghost.

The Box Incident

For some reason, I had decided to paint my room bubble gum pink when we moved in (thanks, 6 year old me) and thus it had to be repainted at some point. When the time came, when I was still a pre-teen, I carefully put all of my stuff under the drop cloths in the center of the room. I had a box that my grandfather had made (he was still alive, btw) that I put all my precious tidbits in and I slid that box under my bed under the drop cloth in the middle of the room. And promptly went out to play – I didn’t have to paint because have you met me? I’d have been a disaster.

As I walked around the house to the backyard to climb a tree or slither into the club house that was really just the space in between some bushes, I saw several of my precious tidbits scattered around the side yard. Weird. I gathered them up and took them back inside to put back into the box.

It proceeded to happen several more times. Sometimes showing up crusted in dirt/mud as if they had been outside for a long period of time. I remember putting stuff on top of the box, being fussed at because I kept going in and out of the house/room being painted, and getting increasingly freaked out.

Eventually everything stayed put where I wanted it to be and I resumed my outdoor adventures. But it was super weird.

The Knocking

The first, and only, truly scary unexplainable/ghostly encounter of my early life also occurred in that house. I don’t remember why, but I was sleeping in a different bedroom. It was my oldest brother’s, and I remember I wanted it to be my room, so maybe this was after he had left for college and I had just moved in. I had to have been 12ish when this happened.

I was on the top bunk reading after I was supposed to be asleep. Not an uncommon occurrence. But suddenly there was knocking coming from the wall shared with the kitchen. Someone had to have been leaning over the stove or counters and knocking on the wall, but the sound moved from place to place and some of those places were behind appliances.

Then the knocking started moving to under the floor, on the ceiling, and the outer walls. There was no way someone could have been knocking on those outer walls without a ladder – they would have had to been levitating 10ish feet off the ground. There was also no way someone could move from place to place so quickly, and also be in the attic or the basement so fast.

It was terrifying.

I remember fleeing the room like something was on fire, and for about a month or so I fell asleep in my parents bed and then they’d transfer me to bed afterwards.

Eventually, I got over it and spent several years in that room, until the sunroom became an option and I moved in there. I never heard more than a knock or two at a time again.

Who Opened the Door?

Moving right along to when I was in college and living in a house that had housed a single family for something like 60 years before we bought it, I had a single ghostly encounter. This is the only one that I actually still think about and wonder what happened. The knocking could have been a very vivid dream, the other 2 could be pinned on my brothers, but this one I don’t understand.

I was living with my brother (not the same one whose room I stole) while I went to college and he went to law school. One day I pull up to the house and his truck wasn’t in the driveway. I got out of the car, got my keys out, and go to unlock the door. I glance up, there’s a shadow of a person in the little window in the kitchen door, the door unlocks by itself, the knob turns, and it opens a bit. I push the door open, and there’s no one there. I call out and search the house, and my brother is nowhere to be found. I go outside to see if his truck is on the other side of the house or in the backyard – maybe he’s hiding in the house somewhere, and if I see his truck I’ll know that’s the case. Nothing.

I wasn’t scared, more just confused. I said something like “Thanks for opening the door, my hands were full.” and obviously got no response.

I lived in that house for 5ish years and that’s the only thing that happened beyond easily explained things like the feeling of being watched, small sounds in places there shouldn’t be sounds, etc. The house had a very homey vibe and wasn’t scary in the least, just old.

It was probably Shane…

When we moved into our current apartment, Shane and I were unpacking boxes in the living room when I felt something bounce off my lower back/hip area. My back was to Shane and so I asked what he threw at me, because I couldn’t see anything on the carpet around me. He swore he didn’t throw anything, and it was all in my head. Now, he does sometimes do stuff like that – say he didn’t do something when he did, but he always fesses up. Not this time.

I like to think it was a way of the apartment welcoming us. They’re relatively new, so I don’t think anyone has died in here.

So that’s them – the 5 ghostly encounters I’ve had over my life. That I remember, anyway. On days I do believe in ghosts, I’m not really scared of them. On days I don’t believe in ghosts, I’m also not really scared of them. Only one was truly scary – the knocking – and I always assumed, even as a child, it was a sort of reprimand for reading when I was supposed to be sleeping and not an evil presence. At that point, a few generations of children had grown up there, so it made/makes sense that a mom ghost was not having my late-night shenanigans.

I would love to hear your ghost stories – I think they’re fascinating.