You know how fond I am of a good ghost story, don't you? As I work my way through my RIP books and select new stories to read each weekend as companions, I can never decide whether to stick to my tried and true favorites or hope that I will discover a new one to add to my list. Ghost stories are very hit or miss, aren't they? It's really hard to pull of a truly scary story, but I am most happy with a little suspense and lots of atmosphere, a good creepy feeling that comes with a story well done. I like the kind that leave a little to the imagination, that you can curl up on the sofa with and have a cup of hot something in one hand and (my own favorite treat) a few graham crackers in the other! So, here are my recommendations to you--ten stories (with the odd novella thrown in for good measure) and links back to my original posts so you can get a feel for what they are about (in no particular order):
1. The Turn of the Screw by Henry James -- a classic you may well have read and if not, it's online so give it a go! Definitely a story to think about and open to a variety of interpretations.
2. The Lady's Maid's Bell by Edith Wharton -- not sure if I will ever understand just what happened in this one, but that's part of the fun of it really.
3. The Signalman by Charles Dickens -- beware of those train tunnels! Deliciously creepy. Dickens's stories are always delicious, aren't they?
4. Oh, Whistle and I'll Come to You, Lad by M. R. James -- you have to have at least one story by M.R. James in your repertoire and this one is an absolute classic.
5. The Playground by Ray Bradbury -- oh, you can't beat Bradbury for a good and thoughtfully creepy story. Usually more than meets the eye with his work.
6. Don't Look Now by Daphne du Maurier -- she is such a wonderful short story writer, I like almost all the stories by her I've read (and I have read a fair few by her!). This is my favorite amongst the lot. The film adaptation is also excellent and actually pretty scary without an ounce of gore. Also noteworthy are her stories The Blue Lenses and The Birds (which is nothing like the Hitchcock film).
7. The Tower by Marghanita Laski -- just mentioned this one last Sunday. It's quite short but she manages to pack in the chills in a very few pages. Check out her The Victorian Chaise Longue novella, too!
8. Miriam by Truman Capote -- who would have thought Capote could pull of such an amazingly creepy story? He can!
9. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving -- another classic and understandably so. Have you read this one? You must!
10. The Woman in Black by Susan Hill -- you probably have read this one so know what I'm talking about.
11. Haunted and Where are You Going, Where Have You Been by Joyce Carol Oates -- there is no one quite like JCO. She is wonderful, though I have to be in the right mood for her. She knows just how to make you feel uncomfortable (in a good way, strangely). And the hairs rise on the back of your neck.
12. Harry by Rosemary Timperley -- this one reminds me of Capote's "Miriam". What is it about children in ghost stories? Small children should not freak me out, but put them in a story like this and . . .
13. Three Miles Up by Elizabeth Jane Howard -- my most recent find and a new favorite. A ghost story that's just a little bit different--one set on a riverboat traveling up a canal. Spooky!
Have you got a favorite ghost story? I am always up for a good one! I hope to find a few more treasures this RIP season to add to my list. I have read lots of good ghost stories and I even have a tag for them in case you want to mosey through my older posts. It's almost time for a new one, so must begin leafing through my books again in search of something that will draw me in.