Top five horror tales to read this Halloween

“Hex” by Thomas Olde Heuvelt, which was published in 2013, tells the story of the town Black Spring, N.Y. that is cursed by a witch in the 21st century. Photo by H.Zunic/Setonian.

Tis the season to be spooky! With All Hallows Eve fast approaching, it is time to get into the spooky mood with a few horror stories to read.

“Hex” by Thomas Olde Heuvelt
Set in the picturesque town of Black Spring, N.Y., the cursed residents face the daily horrors of the 17th century witch who still stalks the town even in the 21st century. The townspeople fear the day the witch is able to break free of her binds and tear open her mouth and eyes, as there is no telling what horrors she may bring. Do not have any optimism should you choose to read this. Heuvelt masterfully showcases horrors that human beings are capable of, both in the past and in the present.

“The Haunting of Hill House” by Shirley Jackson
Originally published in 1959, Jackson’s “The Haunting of Hill House” has been terrifying readers for nearly 60 years. Following four characters as they partake in an experiment involving the paranormal, the story takes place at the titular home where these four discover things may in fact go bump in the night.

This may seem to be just another haunted house tale, and a slow one at that, but Jackson’s writing leaves readers guessing if everything is paranormal or if it could be the characters’ imaginations. With that, you constantly have to read on and learn what is true or false in this twisty, turny tale.

“‘Salem’s Lot” by Stephen King
After the arrivals of three new residents, the small, New England town of Jerusalem’s Lot becomes the epicenter for the forces of darkness. It is up to our anti-hero, Ben Mears, and a small, odd group of allies to contain this darkness.

“‘Salem’s Lot” is the master of horror’s second novel, and while you can’t go wrong with a classic King work, I feel that “‘Salem’s Lot” often gets overlooked because of other pieces of his work like “IT,” “Carrie” and “The Shining.” With “‘Salem’s Lot,” tension builds on each page, leading you toward the terror which is part three. Unlike many modern vampire stories, the vampires of this novel are not your friends; they are meant to haunt you.

“‘Salem’s Lot” by Stephen King was published in 1975. The story follows Ben Mears, who discovers residents of his town are becoming vampires. Photo by H.Zunic/Setonian.

“A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner
More so a horror story about the passage of time, “A Rose for Emily” is an odd little piece following Miss Emily Grierson in different parts of her life that asks readers to question her mental stability. Along with that question, there is also the strange disappearance of Homer Barron to contend with, a case that remains unsolved for decades. The final implications of the story leave readers shocked, and slightly disturbed.

The final reveal is what cements this story with a spot on this list. This is not a horror story in the traditional sense of supernatural beings or psychotic killers, but instead, the horror revolves around the passage of time and what that means for Miss Emily Grierson’s secrets as the years pass. I first read this short story in high school, and it has haunted me ever since, as this piece could actually happen, which terrifies me the most.

“The Last Days of Jack Sparks” by Jason Arnopp
Jack Sparks, a famed yet controversial author, mysteriously dies while writing his newest book “Jack Sparks on the Supernatural.” Starting with an exorcism he witnesses, which Jack mocks on Twitter, this dark humorous book reveals the final days of Jack’s life as he goes on a quest to find the truth on the paranormal.

If you enjoy dark humor this may just be the book for you. Jack’s sarcastic, rude and often unreliable nature make for a type of protagonist not often seen in horror novels. He does not believe in the paranormal and instead of fighting against forces of darkness the entire time, he instead tries to debunk everything happening around him, leaving readers both laughing and yelling at him the longer the book goes on.

For one final bonus horror story to read this Halloween, Seton Hill’s own master of horror, English professor Michael Arnzen, gives his recommendation.

“Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley
In this famous tale, young Victor Frankenstein becomes obsessed with the idea of bringing the dead back to life after his mother dies. Only once he succeeds, he believes he has created a monster. But the novel begs: who is truly man and who is truly monster?

“I like its dark exploration of all things life and death,” Arnzen said. “And ever since I read Frankenstein in a Gettysburg graveyard one fall afternoon, it has put me in the spooky spirit of Halloween.”

Published By: Stephen Dumnich

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