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

Isah Brand

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The scariest short story I have read is "Harold" from Alvin Schwartz's Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. The scarecrow story really got me right at the part where Harold began to trot around on the roof, "like a horse on its hind legs." Just that imagery. Harold was first and "The Drum," (from that very same book) was second; you may remember it as the story where the mother constantly threatened to give her children away to a new mother with a glass eye and a wooden tail.
 

Extollager

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Welcome to Chrons, Isah!

That story you mention in your final words reminded me of. Victorian story called “The New Mother.” It was by a woman whose name escapes me at the moment. I haven’t read it in many years. ...looked it up — her name was Lucy Clifford.
 

Extollager

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“Scariest” of all? Not sure. “One Who Saw” by A.M. Burrage pretty well creeped me out.
 

kythe

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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.
I'll second this one. It actually gave me nightmares for a few days after reading it. I agree that the lack of a distinctive "villain" makes it scarier - you never know what exactly it was.
 

Guttersnipe

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Welcome to Chrons, Isah!

That story you mention in your final words reminded me of. Victorian story called “The New Mother.” It was by a woman whose name escapes me at the moment. I haven’t read it in many years. ...looked it up — her name was Lucy Clifford.
I read "The New Mother" in a Short and Shivery collection. I thought it was weird, but I don't think it scared me. It reminds me of my stepmother. Sometimes I wonder if that jerk is even human.
 

P.J. Greystoke

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Horror stories don't really scare me, although James Herbert's Rats, Lair and Domain did freak me out slightly that could be down to the age I read them . I'm not bothered by rodents but still feel nervous when I go into a tube station and keep a close eye out for rats.
I started reading horror with those Herbert books. Still love em.

The Colour out of Space by HP Lovecraft. Scary hints of radiation, but nothing is resolved or explained - which made it even spookier.
Can't beat a bit of HP Lovecraft.

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.
I ran a writers workshop once and the aim was to create a truly terrifying piece of prose. Turned out the biggest fear was loneliness and loss.

Salem’s Lot. I’ve read it multiple times and it never fails to give me bad dreams
Well yea, Stephen King. Though IT was my favourite book. Films can't compare.

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.
Love that book.
 

BigBadBob141

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Welcome Isah.
But be warned this is like the Hotel California.
You can check out any time you like but you can never leave.
(Cue the sinister laughter)!!!!!!!!!
 
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BigBadBob141

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Don't know about scary, there was a revolting one I read in one of the Pan Horror books about reincarnation, I think it was called something like The Man Who Hated Flies, this man has a pathological hatred of flies, when he dies his friend is going through his book collection, a large spider which was behind one of the books drops to the ground and the friend stamps on it with disgust only then to see his name spelled out in the spiders web, yuk, yuk, yuk!!!!!!!!!!
As you can tell I don't really like spiders so this one has stayed with me ever since I read it!
 

Don

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JimC

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There Shall Be No Darkness by James Blish.
Darker Than You Think by Jack Williamson.
 

Fogged_Creation

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The SCP universe.

While not exactly one story, it is more a series of horror entries in a world of science-fiction where the unexplainable are "Secured, Contained, and Protected" (Which is where the acronym SCP comes from).

Most of these entities are dangerous in their own rights, or they could be mysterious and not very well understood, where their focuses are to better understand and contain said unnatural entities, especially those that defy the natural laws of physics or that poses a threat to humanity.
The government tries to lock up these entities in the many different SCP facilities that exist, kept as a secret from the general public to avoid panic.
But if it's impossible /i.e/ too risky to re-locate said thing, they usually do mobile operations to make sure the entity doesn't go rampant or cause any dangers to nearby civilization.

A simple and general SCP article will have a few things to show: First you will see the general entry name of the SCP in numbers, such as SCP-173.
There's the object class that shows whether it has a safe/euclid/keter rating (Safe meaning it poses no immediate threat or that it is easily contained / Euclid meaning it's unpredictable and not very well understood and possibly dangerous / and Keter, which is basically something that poses a high threat to a multitude of lifeforms and-or hard to contain).
There are the special containment procedures, which explain the steps on how it is contained, how to contain/re-contain it, and how to avoid it from leaving containment and what to do when you come face to face with said entity.
There's the description, which gives details on the entity's appearance, what it does, where it came from, speculations on how it's anomalous properties work, and how to deal with its anomalous abilities.

So far, there is a series of over 5000 SCP entities that have been written as of now, and even more in the many different SCP tales that combine certain factors and create an interesting horror story, specifically the fear of the unknown, and our attempts to understand the why and how, and they are all reviewed by professional critics, and handpick any above-average SCP articles and has it become an official entity in the SCP universe.
It's pretty amazing if you think about it. The SCP community is very friendly too, just as long as you don't troll or cause drama, the rules that are generally required for a non-toxic environment.

The best of the best you'll find is probably the SCP-001 entries. There you will find only the best that makes great attempts into making an amazingly well done SCP in any aspect of its horror, science-fiction, and creativity.
Though there is some pretty freaky things you can find there and anywhere else for that matter, and that's what makes it a great series of horror stories in an alternate universe, and eventually, you might find something that is personally one of your worst fears, or perhaps you'll discover a new dread that will absolutely freak you out, and are glad that it's all fictional... Right?

But, as I've only read not even 1% of the SCP entries that exist, I've read a few really good ones, and if you ever want to sleep tonight, then I advise you to not read this SCP entry: S. D. Locke's Proposal - SCP Foundation

Other than that, hope that you are all having a good day, that is unless... when day breaks : )
 
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