Halloween is right around the corner, and here at eNotes we are huge fans of the spookiest time of year! We’ve been reading some of the most haunting stories in the public domain in preparation for this month, and we’d like to share some of our favorites with you. Let’s take a look at part two of this ongoing series. Here are five more of our favorite spooky stories to get ready for the Halloween season!
1. The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
A woman suffering from postpartum depression is prescribed a “rest cure.” Unable to read, write, work, entertain herself, or spend time with her newborn child, she begins to fall apart. We read her secret diary, written in a stream-of-consciousness narrative style, and watch as she slowly descends into insanity.
Although it’s far from the typical Halloween ghost story, “The Yellow Wallpaper” is a chilling narrative based on the author’s own experiences that will make you question the reality of even the mundane things around you.
Our spookiness rating: 8/10
2. The Mortal Immortal by Mary Shelley
In a modern retelling of the Greek myth of Tithonus, “The Mortal Immortal” traces the story of Winzy, a young man who drinks an elixir of immortality. At first, Winzy is in a state of pure bliss. However, when everyone he loves begins to die, he descends into a hell of tedium, isolation, and psychological torture.
For those looking for some real scares this Halloween, forget the monsters and enter instead into this labyrinth of existential terror.
Our spookiness rating: 7/10
3. The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe
Told from the first-hand account of a man who claims he is not mad, “The Tell-Tale Heart” is ripe with dark deeds, fearful superstitions, and cold-blooded murder. Readers interested in a thorough and powerful spooking will enjoy watching the narrator’s mental condition deteriorate to the point where he finally admits to a terrible crime—and begins to tear up the floorboards.
Our spookiness rating: 9.5/10
4. The Striding Place by Gertrude Atherton
At the height of bird-hunting season in Yorkshire, England, a young aristocrat on vacation named Wyatt Gifford wanders alone into the woods one night. His best friend Weigall soon goes searching for him in the woods and arrives at a stretch of the River Wharfe known as “The Strid.” Though the river there is only the width of a single stride, the water is rapid and rocky, having taken the lives of many travellers. When Weigall sees the hand of one such victim reach up out of the rapids, he wonders whether the soul truly leaves the body after death.
If you’ve got 10 minutes to spare and are looking for a spook and a philosophical discussion on souls this Halloween, then this is the one to pick up.
Our spookiness rating: 5.5/10
5. The Monkey’s Paw by W. W. Jacobs
On a dark and stormy night, the White family receives a visit from Sergeant-Major Morris, a British soldier recently returned from India. Morris piques Mr. White’s curiosity when he shows off a magical, wish-granting monkey’s paw, a souvenir from his travels. Morris casts the paw into the fire in disgust, warning the Whites not to tamper with it. When Mr. White retrieves the paw and decides to tempt fate, he gets more than he wishes for.
With its suspenseful mood and twist of black magic, “The Monkey’s Paw” is the perfect story to spook you on a dark October night.
Our spookiness rating: 10/10
Have you read any of these texts? Which is your favorite? Give us your recommendations in the comments and stay tuned for next week’s spooky story suggestions!