Books that Scared you?

Dave Vicks

Well-Known Member
Sep 19, 2020
AT THE Mountains Of Madness LOVECRAFT.

RETROGRADE ! Peter Cawdron

The Car Dennis Shryack
I think it was Aunt someone and the Screaming Skulls...

Oh, the particular story was a variation on a spiders in a cactus myth where two cats died because they ate some spider eggs.
The Long Tomorrow by Leigh Brackett

When I was in 1st grade they told us to hide under our desks every now and then. I never understood why. I don't recall any attempt by the nuns to provide an explanation. I just thought it was funny.

I started reading SF in 4th grade. Eventually I stumbled across books about nuclear war and what the effects and aftermath would be. TLT may not have been the first one but it is the one I remember best. That was scary.
Last edited:
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
"At the Mountains of Madness" by Lovecraft
"The Girl with the Hungry Eyes" by Fritz Lieber
"The Frolic" by Thomas Ligotti
"The Horla" by Guy de Mauppassant
"Seaton's Aunt" by Walter de la Mare
"Silent Snow, Secret Snow" by Conrad Aiken

All of these, at one point or two, caused a shiver.
The Speckled Band, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Even just the abridged Illustrated Classics version for children made me extremely nervous about sleeping in my bed underneath the air vent! We didn't have a bell pull underneath it, of course (and, annoying though I must have been at age seven, I didn't exactly have anyone who wanted to murder me) but that didn't make it any less terrifying. Still one of the Sherlock Holmes stories I remember the most vividly.
I haven't read many horror novels, but there are some parts in King's It that I find truly frightening, including one where a genuinely evil person is killed by It in the form of flying leeches. Ugh.
Rats by James Herbert. I remember going to the loo in the middle of the night and thinking that giant rats were coming up the stairs. Lair didn’t help, so really freaked when my cats brought a large rat in one day.
I think Stephen King scared me the most. IT and Salem's Lot are the two that spring to mind. Needful things, perhaps after I look back and see how prescient it was with (my) our attachment to "stuff".

The Rats trilogy by James Herbert was also pretty frightening. Don't they say that you're never more than a few feet from a rat at any point?
Last edited:
I was reading House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski. It isn't actively a scary book but there was a moment (admittedly around 2AM so I was pretty sleepless) where the text in the book seemed to a little too closely pre-empt what was going through my mind. I felt like it had gained a little too much control over me. Of course, that may just be the sign of a clever and perceptive writer (or my state of mind at the time) but it unsettled me and I had to put the book aside.
I thought Peter Straub’s Magic Terror would be frightening. It was incredibly dull.