What's the Scariest Story You've Ever Read?

Guttersnipe

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For me, it's always been "The Whole Town is Sleeping" by Ray Bradbury. It's about a skeptical woman who walks home alone at night while a killer is on the prowl. It managed to make me paranoid about going around at night. Gore tends to disgust me rather than scare me.
 

BAYLOR

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Down There by Ramsey Campbell Sometimes going to the basement floor in the elevator can be really bad idea.
Shattered Like a Glass Goblin By Harlan Ellison a group of friend go into a creepy house and literally lose their humility in way I didn't;t expect.
The Sombrus Tower by Tanith Lee A doomed knight on a very nasty ill-fated quest,
 

Foxbat

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I found Hellstrom's Hive the most unsettling if not the most scary story I've read.
 

Randy M.

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Gore tends to disgust me rather than scare me.
Agreed. Which is probably why at novel length, The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson still leaves me uneasy. No gore, just a mind in disarray and coming apart.

A few short stories have jolted me. When I was younger, I was captivated and disturbed by "The Colour Out of Space" (H.P. Lovecraft) and "The Fall of the House of Usher" (Poe), and I second "The Horla," which was something of a revelation in its slow reveal. But I'm not sure any story has ever disturbed me more than "The Frolic" by Thomas Ligotti. I first read it shortly after the birth of my daughter, and I haven't ever reread it. I should, I suppose, and I probably will, but only now after my daughter's grown and out on her own.

Randy M.
 

Rodders

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James Herbert. There’s a name I haven’t heard in a long time. A staple for me growing up.
 

hitmouse

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Dreams in the Witch House by HP Lovecraft. Scared the pants off me in my teens.
 

TheDustyZebra

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Stephen King's Pet Sematary is right up there for me.

There's also a book called The Seventh Child in my collection, which I can barely recall any of anymore, but I do remember that it's something I haven't been able to read since having children. I'm that way with a lot of horror, though. I used to eat it up, but I lost my taste for it when I had kids.
 

Astro Pen

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Whitley Strieber's Communion. Scared the sheet out of me.
Nowadays the "Greys" have become an inflatable caricature but 35 years ago they were scary stuff.

Much the same way us old timers remember our first encounter with the William Hartnell monochrome Daleks, back in 1963. (The following episode often viewed from behind the sofa.)

ps, Here is their first appearance. Be afraid, be very afraid.!
 
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etaylor

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This may seem odd but...we inhabit a world built on science and explanation, so the supernatural just isn't convincing enough for me to be "scary".

What I find more frightening than anything are things like Investigation Discovery shows. That human beings are capable of inflicting such cruelty and harm on others who they should be closest to - friends, family, loved ones - that is terrifying.
 

Extollager

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It seems to me that Lafcadio Hearn’s “Mujina” made me uncomfortable when I first read it around age 14.
 

BigBadBob141

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I remember being creeped out by Stephen King's "The Shining" but I was a hell of a lot younger then!
REF: Astro Pen.
It's strange to relate but when the Daleks first came on I was already so frightened I was hiding in the front room, much to the scorn of my older brother, but the door was open and I could hear what was going on, what my ten year old self was imaging was far more horrific then what was actually happening on the screen!!!
 
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Brian G Turner

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The Colour out of Space by HP Lovecraft. Scary hints of radiation, but nothing is resolved or explained - which made it even spookier.
 
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