7 Bone-Chilling Books To Cure Your Post Halloween Depression Syndrome

bone chilling books

1. Penpal by Dathan Auerbach

Settle in and bundle up while reading this one this fall or winter. You will devour it in one, maybe two seatings. I finished it in two nights, the day after the first all I could do was think about it, it followed me throughout the day. I stayed up until past witching hour the next night to finish it.

This is a self-published debut novel based on a series of short creepypasta stories originally posted by the author on Reddit. It follows an unnamed protagonist trying to make sense of his murky childhood, during which he was the focus of an obsessed stalker. Throughout recollection and investigation he tries to make sense of seemingly unrelated strange and terrifying occurrences he experienced and bore witness to as a child, which ultimately have shaped his life.

This book will leave you wondering just how far into the woods you’d go. It will leave you with a deep unsettling feeling, with dread, and with so much terror you might choose to leave a lamp on throughout the night. Unexpectedly, you will also be submerged in nostalgia and reminisce on your own childhood. Just how much of it do you remember?

If you’re someone who ever feels like they’ve been followed, like they’ve been watched, like there was a person or a thing out there you knew wanted to hurt you, this book is definitely for you. And if you’re not, you may just start to wonder.

2. The October Country by Ray Bradbury

Look no further to cure those Thanksgiving and Christmas, and those longings for your most beloved October.

“The October Country … that country where it is always turning late in the year. That country where the hills are fog and the rivers are mist; where noons go quickly, dusks and twilight linger, and midnights stay. That country composed in the main of cellars, sub-cellars, coal bins, closets, attics and pantries faced away from the sun. That country whose people are autumn people, thinking only autumn thoughts. Whose people passing at night on the empty walks sound like rain.” 

The master of the macabre presents you with some of his best stories in this classic collection, 19 to be exact. He brilliantly delves into the dark and the occult with his descriptive genuine and poetic prose touch. You will find yourself not only turning up the heat from the cold tingling running down your spine when reading these tales, but also pausing throughout to savor the beauty and creativity in which Bradbury tells these stories.

3. Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill

It’s no surprise this one won awards like the Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel (2007), Locus Award for Best First Novel (2008), and the ITW Thriller Award for Best First Novel (2008). Joe Hill just happens to be the son of the king of horror himself, Stephen King.

The novel centers around aging rock star Judas Coyne who has an affinity for the occult and macabre. The musician has a morbid collection of items from serial killers, crimes and murders, and occult items and weapons. Some of his collection includes Aleister Crowley’s chessboard from childhood, drawings made by John Wayne Gacy, and even a snuff film. His latest purchase is a ghost of an old sweet man, Craddock McDermott. Yes, a ghost, who comes by way of an old suit contained in a heart-shaped box. The spirit turns out to be far from benign and sets out to torment and terrorize Coyne’s sanity, hell bent on revenge for a daughter he wronged.

This story of revenge beyond the grave has a “bump in the night” kind of feel to it. It is a delightfully gruesome book sure to keep you up at night.

4. Naomi’s Room by Jonathan Aycliffe

I guarantee you that once you pick up this masterpiece and turn even the first few pages, you will find it a difficult task to put it down. I do not say this lightly, but this story will make you feel things. I went into it knowing that the 4-year-old daughter was going to die, as this is a ghost story, but I was not prepared for the sorrow and grief I felt when her father learned of her murder, nor was I prepared for the eerie atmosphere the book presented itself with and the fear and distress I later felt while going deeper.

Naomi is kidnapped and later found mutilated and murdered. Her parents begin to experience paranormal activity. They are being haunted by not only Naomi, but by other ghosts too, by something else. You’ll read this book and wonder, what if ghosts could kill?

“ ‘Daddy.’ Her voice, behind me, at the door. ‘Daddy.’I will not turn, I will not look at her.‘Daddy, why won’t you look at me? I want to see you, Daddy.’It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? All I have to do is turn round. Whatever she is, she is still my daughter. Isn’t she? Yes. But what will I see if I do turn, what will be standing at the door? ‘I’ve come back, Daddy. I was cold.’ ”

It’s a hellish tale of both past and present. Her father embarks on a journey to discover what happened to his little girl and to shed light on the otherworldly disturbances. The revelations you will uncover in this story are so shocking and appalling that they will make you want to soon forget what you just read.

5. The Complete Tales & Poems of Edgar Allen Poe

Seriously, do I need to say more?

6. The Best of H.P. Lovecraft: Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre

You can’t call yourself a horror fan if you haven’t read this classic, or any of Lovecraft’s work. If you haven’t, go do it, now. Father of “cosmic horror”, the short stories he weaves are somewhat hybrids of science fiction and horror.

7. Carrion Comfort by Dan Simmons

This novel won the Bram Stoker Award (1989), The Locus Poll Award for Best Horror Novel (1990), and The World Fantasy Award for Best Novel (1990). Stephen King called it “one of the three greatest novels of the 20th century.”

While briskly paced, it spans 884 pages, and the story itself is told across different decades and different locations. It opens up in 1942 Chelmno Camp in Poland and travels to the 1980 USA, with many other locales throughout.

It is basically a frightening tale of mind control and of the extents of human power and corruption with characters that redefine sadism. A secret faction whose members possess the psychic ability to not only control and read others’ minds, but to be able to physically and mentally control them, even from a distance, are behind many monumental gruesome and blood-shedding events. I can’t say much, without giving too much away.

This book stands out in that it is able to manage maintaining tense suspense and horror all throughout its course. It is a fascinating read, even touching up on events such as John Lennon and JFK’s assassinations. It has some of the most disturbing scenes in a horror novel without relying on gore to deliver. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Houston-based writer and artist.

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