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

Toby Frost

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Campbell's stories can be very sinister. There's one called "The Companion" that I remember being really unsettling. I liked his novel The Doll Who Ate His Mother very much: it combines drab real-world horror and a suggestion of occult magic very well.
 

BAYLOR

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Two that definitely stuck with me, although they're more shocking than scary, are:
Shirley Jackson - The Lottery (and quite a few other Shirley Jackson stories tbh)
Joyce Carol Oates - The Doll-Master.

Quite good .:cool:

You might want to check out In A Lonely Place by Karl Edward Wagner Anthology of his best horror stories .
The Complete Tales of Jules De Grandin by Seabury Quin
The Nightmare and Other Tales of Dark Fantasy by Francis Stevens
The Return of the Sorcerer : The Best of Clark Ashton Smith
 

SciFyBry

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"The Dark" by the late Forrest Carr.
He really takes you into a bad reality with this story. Great Sci Fi Horror; psychological terror to the max.
 

Yozh

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The one that really stuck with me from childhood is "The boy who drew cats." It's a Japanese fairy tale, I read a version in Cricket magazine.This is still my go-to scary story for campfires etc. Here's a link to A Version by Lafcadio Hearn
 

KiraAnn

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Like some previous posters, I have not been frightened by anything written since adulthood, but some movies and tv shows have scared me. And it's not gore that does it.

As a child, i think the scariest story was The Tell-tale Heart. And second was A Cask of Amontillado.
 

Cosmic

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I found Fulcrum by Jason Patterson the other day in a Facebook group and it’s one of the scariest things I’ve ever read in my whole life. I don’t even want to be home alone since I started it.
 

Guttersnipe

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"Mr. Lupescu" by Anthony Boucher has an ending that really freaks me out, even though it's minimally described. It's one of those "nothing is scarier than something" situations.

"Suffer the Little Children" by Stephen King I thought was pretty scary, and it included two subjects I often obsess over: scary children and possible psychosis.
 

Davelectro

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I never get literally scared by anything I read and the only movie that ever frightened me was The Exorcist, which an older sibling snuck me in to see when I was 6 (this, needless to say, messed me up pretty good when I was a kid lol). I was led into it by being told it was a comedy, that this girl's head spins all the way around and it was really funny and stuff! Definitely NOT one of the funnier pranks I've had played on me.

Anyways, for some reason that I can't quite put my finger on, The Great God Pan by *Machen has atmosphere that just drips with 'evil' and a sense of extremely intense foreboding for me. That feeling is about as 'scared' as I've felt from reading a story.

*Not to be confused with the story of the same name by M John Harrison, which I really enjoyed!
 

Yozh

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Like some previous posters, I have not been frightened by anything written since adulthood, but some movies and tv shows have scared me. And it's not gore that does it.

As a child, i think the scariest story was The Tell-tale Heart. And second was A Cask of Amontillado.
Maybe what makes them so memorably scary is the the fact that both are first-person accounts that are told from POV of the killer ?
 

Davelectro

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I found KIN, by Kealan Patrick Burke, quite unsettling.
I haven't read that yet, must check it out.

I've been reading Burke's 'Ravenous Ghosts' (a short story collection) and I must say I'm very impressed. He is what I would consider a 'newer' writer, but then again I'm an old fart.

I really like him along with these newer writers like Caitlin R. Kiernan, Mark Samuels, Glen Hirshberg, Johnathan Carroll & others. They are all wonderful writers & story-tellers.
 

CrazyKB

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I haven't read that yet, must check it out.

I've been reading Burke's 'Ravenous Ghosts' (a short story collection) and I must say I'm very impressed. He is what I would consider a 'newer' writer, but then again I'm an old fart.

I really like him along with these newer writers like Caitlin R. Kiernan, Mark Samuels, Glen Hirshberg, Johnathan Carroll & others. They are all wonderful writers & story-tellers.
Although, I found the book (KIN) to be somewhat derivative, he nonetheless made the material engaging. However, if I remember correctly, the book is out of print, or at least it was when I purchased it, which is odd considering it's a fairly new novel. I found mine on Amazon. If you're interested in that type of horror, check out The Overnight Guest by Heather Gudenkauf, it came out less than a year ago and although I knew where the story was going (unsure if that was intentional) it was good read.
 

Davelectro

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Although, I found the book (KIN) to be somewhat derivative, he nonetheless made the material engaging. However, if I remember correctly, the book is out of print, or at least it was when I purchased it, which is odd considering it's a fairly new novel. I found mine on Amazon. If you're interested in that type of horror, check out The Overnight Guest by Heather Gudenkauf, it came out less than a year ago and although I knew where the story was going (unsure if that was intentional) it was good read.
Thank you for the suggestions!

'KIN' & 'Overnight' are going to have to go on the wait list as I am only reading short stories/novellas, etc., at the moment. I am in the process of building/replacing my collections and anthologies, by both single authors & multiple.

I'm almost done with anthologies by multiple authors and have been concentrating on single author collections lately. There are so many writers that I want to check out, both new and old - there just aren't enough hours in the day!
 

Davelectro

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Some other stories with very ominous atmosphere imo, would be:

The Rats in the Walls - H P Lovecraft
The Yellow Wallpaper - Charlotte Perkins Gilman
The Hospice - Robert Aickman
The Beckoning Fair One - Oliver Onions
Nethescurial - Thomas Ligotti
Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? - Joyce Carol Oates
The Fall of the House of Usher - Edgar Allan Poe
The Summer People - Shirley Jackson
The New Mother - Lucy Clifford
Oh, Whistle, and I'll Come to You, My Lad - M R James
Sticks - Karl Edward Wagner

There are more, so many more.
 

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