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13 Creepy Halloween Stories

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With Halloween fast approaching, a host of frightful creatures are rubbing their hands in anticipation of the grizzliest feast of the year. From powerful witches and immortal beauties to vengeful ghosts, they emerge from the fires of the underworld to torment their victims in the world of the living. For those fans of the supernatural, who would much rather keep their necks and hearts intact, we have narrowed down thirteen blood-curdling stories to fuel your ghastly nightmares long past midnight.

The Wolfman by Nicholas Pekearo

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When a faint howl turns into a menacing roar, make no mistake — a werewolf is on the prowl for his next prey! Following a scandalous episode in Vietnam, Marlowe Higgins is discharged from the Army to return to civilian life. However, his newly found freedom is short-lived, as he finds himself thrown behind bars time and time again. The curse of the full moon turns Marlowe into a ferocious beast driven by bloodlust and his desire to feed. After years of being on the road, the twist of fate brings the main character to a small town in Tennessee where he soon discovers a fiendish sadist who is responsible for a series of murders around the county. Will he turn a blind eye to the prowler or will he channel his inner wolf to fight the greater evil?

Cirque du Freak by Darren Shan

Image credit: Harper Collins

A head-spinning series, featuring circus freaks and vampires, is presented as a true story, which some young readers may find confusing. As you'd expect from any vampire series, there's violence, and some characters die, but things only get gory at the end of each book. The most notably violent moments are when limbs are bitten off and characters lose their stomachs to attacks. By the third instalment, a crazed creature is on the loose, killing indiscriminately.

The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe

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Told by an unnamed narrator, The Tell-Tale Heart represents a murderer's take on tragic events that led to a grisly crime. In his bid to demonstrate his sanity, the main character offers a short story as a proof. The narrator, whose visual hallucinations coupled with psychological disturbances take the better of him, becomes increasingly distressed by an old man’s cloudy “vulture-eye”. Having stalked his victim in his sleep for the entire week, the main character resorts to killing the unfortunate owner of an “evil eye”. The story explodes in a climax, when the sound of a pounding heart elicits the narrator’s confession.

Summer of Night by Dan Simmons

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It's the summer of 1960 and in the small town of Elm Haven, Illinois, five twelve-year-old boys are forging the powerful bonds that a lifetime of change will not break. From the depths of the Old Central School, a hulking fortress tinged with the mahogany scent of coffins, an invisible evil is rising. Determined to exorcize this ancient plague, Mike, Duane, Dale, Harlen, and Kevin must wage a war of blood against an arcane abomination who owns the night…

The Duchess at Prayer by Edith Wharton

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The devout catholic Duchess Violante, spends a long winter praying in solitude. When her prodigal husband pays her a sudden visit, The Duchess is horrified to learn about the plans to block an entrance to the crypt with a statue of her by Bernini. Unable to dissuade the Duke, she dies after a dreadful night. The hair-raising account of events in the chapel witnessed by the maid adds an eerie new dimension to the story.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

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Based on an unforgettable and chilling story, the book centres around a sixteen-year-old Jacob, who, following a family tragedy, discovers an orphanage on a deserted island. The home for children harbours peculiar secrets that have been buried for a good reason. The tale is enriched with a collection of vintage photographs bringing back the ghosts of the past, unnerving the readers. A puzzling mystery that begs to be solved!

The Bell Witch by Brent Monahan

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The only documented case in U.S. history, when a spirit actually caused a man's death, is deftly portrayed in this alarming tale of witchcraft. Known throughout Tennessee as "Old Kate," the Bell Witch took up residence with John Bell's family in 1818. The local schoolteacher, Richard Powell, witnessed the strange events and recorded them for his daughter. His astonishing manuscript fell into the hands of novelist Brent Monahan, who has prepared the book for publication. Members of the Bell family have previously provided information on this fascinating case, but this book recounts the tale with novelistic vigor and verve.

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Hackness

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Descended from an old line of witches, Diana comes across a bewitched manuscript in the course of her research. Sensing the significance of her discovery, a horde of daemons, witches and vampires gather in the library. Diana is drawn to a vampire geneticist without realising the ancient line she is about to cross.

The Ocean at The End of The Lane by Neil Gaiman

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This spellbinding tale comes from the bestselling author of Stardust and Coraline, both of which were made into major movies. The craftsman of alternative realities, Gaiman offers a glimpse into a parallel universe where ancient supernatural forces wreak havoc. The story follows a middle-aged man, whose unplanned visit to his hometown unleashes long-repressed memories of extraordinary events. At the tender age of seven, an unnamed protagonist becomes inextricable involved in the web of wickedness where he is forced to confront monsters, “hunger” birds and other evil spirits for his chance for survival. This beautifully written, poignant fable explores the wondrous dark world, childhood innocence and the power of human sacrifice leaving no heart untouched!

Spring Break by Barbara Steiner

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A much-anticipated parents-free vacation goes horribly wrong when five high school kids agree to rent a three-story house by the lake. Run by the stunningly handsome Val, the hotel draws its visitors in like a magnet, promising a dream holiday. However, very soon the spine-tingling feeling penetrates the walls of the house when the group of friends awaken its sinister past. As the hotel guests start disappearing one by one, the danger lurking in the shadows becomes a reality. In the best tradition of the horror genre, this intriguing mystery has the power to fuel your fears keeping you at the edge of your seat to the very end!

The Poor Clare by Elizabeth Gaskell

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Elizabeth Gaskell’s petrifying Gothic tale captures the different shades of the paranormal world. Told in flashbacks by a witness to the events, the story depicts a witch, who unwittingly puts a decades-old curse on her estranged family, conjuring an evil Doppelgänger, who will stop at nothing to get even with her sworn enemies. Realising the terrible consequences of her bitter actions, the mother seeks help from a mysterious sect.

The Delicate Storm by Giles Blunt

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Set in a sub-zero climate, this psychological thriller invites the reader to delve deep into the mind of a serial killer. When John Cardinal and Lisa Delorme are called to investigate a string of brutal murders, they soon discover that the raging ice storm might be the least of their worries. Their hunt for the perpetrator opens a Pandora’s box of wild secrets, covered up cases and political ambition that cast a different light on the inquest. But the closer they get to the killer, the further they are from the truth. Atmospheric and murky, this mind-twisting tale will pull you into a treacherous wilderness faster that your can say ”blizzard”.

The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde

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One of the most controversial works of its time, this tale of vanity ruffled some feathers in Victorian England. Many considered the novel, exploring selfishness and cruelty, to have a corrupting effect undermining the morals of society.

The life of Dorian Gray changes dramatically upon his arrival in London, where he is introduced to a superficial circle of friends, bringing the worst out of him. In his shallow obsession with youth and beauty, Gray commissions his portrait destined to preserve his looks. But how far will Dorian be willing to go to satisfy his ego?

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