The best (scary) books about haunted houses and ghosts

Who am I?

I grew up in a scary house. It wasn’t as fancy as Hill House, but I will believe until the day I die that it was haunted. Why you ask? How much time do you have? It began when I was about seven or so. I had a strange bout of sleepwalking that went on for a while. I saw things, I heard them and sometimes I could even smell them. I was raised in a traditional, Catholic family and things like this were not discussed or acceptable to believe in. Corvus Hall and the entire Irish Phantom Series are experimental and were inspired by personal experiences and a spooky trip to Ireland.


I wrote...

Corvus Hall

By Bibiana Krall,

Book cover of Corvus Hall

What is my book about?

After surviving an inexplicable supernatural event, a young woman from New Jersey is crippled by anxiety and terrible phobias. It isn’t until a few years later when her best friend Ashlinn is to be married at a lavish mansion in Ireland, that the mystery begins to unravel. Will Mary unlock the secrets of Corvus Hall before it’s too late?

Corvus Hall was written in homage to Daphne DuMaurier’s Rebecca with a modern and surprising twist. If you love authentic haunted houses and creepy, ghost stories, this one's definitely for you!

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Haunting of Hill House

Bibiana Krall Why did I love this book?

This is easily my favorite haunted house story. I discovered it when I was a teen and have read it religiously once a year ever since. The reason it stuck with me and made me such a super fan was the idea that not only are a group of misfits staying in a haunted house, but the house itself is sentient. It’s the most malevolent and unforgettable character in the story. Literally conjuring up different ways to torment everyone. It’s terrifying in the most delicious way. Shirley Jackson is a master of horror and psychological suspense. If I hadn’t already believed in ghosts before that book, I certainly would have afterward.

By Shirley Jackson,

Why should I read it?

29 authors picked The Haunting of Hill House as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Part of a new six-volume series of the best in classic horror, selected by Academy Award-winning director of The Shape of Water Guillermo del Toro

Filmmaker and longtime horror literature fan Guillermo del Toro serves as the curator for the Penguin Horror series, a new collection of classic tales and poems by masters of the genre. Included here are some of del Toro's favorites, from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Ray Russell's short story "Sardonicus," considered by Stephen King to be "perhaps the finest example of the modern Gothic ever written," to Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House and stories…


Book cover of The Woman in Black

Bibiana Krall Why did I love this book?

I’ve learned that the best ghost stories include a few basic elements. A remote and spooky location, a secret and often tragic event linking the present to the past. This particular story goes a bit deeper on the gothic scale as the mansion is surrounded at night by dark water, becoming an island as the ocean rises. Did I mention a village with freakish accidents involving many of the children? There are some points in this story that you have to set it down and take a deep breath, as the author understands our fears of the dark and also the loss of a loved one.

By Susan Hill,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked The Woman in Black as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

The classic ghost story from the author of The Mist in the Mirror: a chilling tale about a menacing spectre haunting a small English town.
 
Arthur Kipps is an up-and-coming London solicitor who is sent to Crythin Gifford—a faraway town in the windswept salt marshes beyond Nine Lives Causeway—to attend the funeral and settle the affairs of a client, Mrs. Alice Drablow of Eel Marsh House. Mrs. Drablow’s house stands at the end of the causeway, wreathed in fog and mystery, but Kipps is unaware of the tragic secrets that lie hidden behind its sheltered windows. The routine business trip…


Book cover of Mexican Gothic

Bibiana Krall Why did I love this book?

This book isn’t normally listed as a ghost story, but to me it certainly is. All of the dark elements I crave were present, plus an unusual setting and the 1950s era kept me guessing. It does go a bit more on the creepy, gore aspect that you don’t get in the first two recommendations, but the final scene in the tunnel and crypt. Oh my gosh! Nooo! It’s an intoxicating blend of gothic suspense, supernatural, and mystery.

By Silvia Moreno-Garcia,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked Mexican Gothic as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The award-winning author of Gods of Jade and Shadow (one of the 100 best fantasy novels of all time, TIME magazine) returns with a mesmerising feminist Gothic fantasy, in which a glamorous young socialite discovers the haunting secrets of a beautiful old mansion in 1950s Mexico.

He is trying to poison me. You must come for me, Noemi. You have to save me.

When glamorous socialite Noemi Taboada receives a frantic letter from her newlywed cousin begging to be rescued from a mysterious doom, it's clear something is desperately amiss. Catalina has always had a flair for the dramatic, but…


Book cover of The Shining

Bibiana Krall Why did I love this book?

This story is unsettling in a million different ways. You wonder almost immediately, is Jack losing his mind? Is there something dark and nefarious pushing him and creating hallucinations that frustrate and torment him? Are the ghosts truly angry or are they simply playing the creepiest form of hide-and-seek with the humans? So many scenes in this story make you wonder if the things people say in anger could possibly manifest and chase after you the way they actually do in this one. What makes this super scary is it shows what can happen when you allow yourself to listen to the voices in the void.

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

18 authors picked The Shining as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Before Doctor Sleep, there was The Shining, a classic of modern American horror from the undisputed master, Stephen King.

Jack Torrance’s new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he’ll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote . . . and more sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around…


Book cover of Wylding Hall

Bibiana Krall Why did I love this book?

This is another story with a group of misfits, in this case it’s a band who are in desperate need of a hit and they hole up in a haunted mansion in the British countryside to record a new album. They are indulging in drinks and other mind-altering things to tap into their creativity. One night one of them disappears and poof. Let the infighting begin. There is a common belief that ghosts and spiritual entities can sense turmoil and feed off of it. I think that’s true. In this story that is certainly the case and how the breakdown happens is realistic enough to make you reconsider who you might take with you on a trip like this.

By Elizabeth Hand,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Wylding Hall as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

After the tragic and mysterious death of one of their founding members, the young musicians in a British acid-folk band hole up at Wylding Hall, an ancient country house with its own dark secrets. There they record the classic album that will make their reputation but at a terrifying cost, when Julian Blake, their lead singer, disappears within the mansion and is never seen again. Now, years later, each of the surviving musicians, their friends and lovers (including a psychic, a photographer, and the band s manager) meets with a young documentary filmmaker to tell his or her own version…


You might also like...

These Tangled Threads: A Novel of Biltmore

By Sarah Loudin Thomas,

Book cover of These Tangled Threads: A Novel of Biltmore

Sarah Loudin Thomas Author Of These Tangled Threads: A Novel of Biltmore

New book alert!

Who am I?

Author Appalachian West virginian Dog lover Hiker

Sarah's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Seven years ago, a hidden betrayal scattered three friends living in the shadow of Biltmore Estate. Now, when Biltmore Industries master weaver Lorna Blankenship is commissioned to create an original design for Cornelia Vanderbilt's 1924 wedding, she panics knowing she doesn't have the creativity needed. But there's an elusive artisan in the Blue Ridge Mountains who could save her--if only she can find her.

To track the mysterious weaver down, Lorna must seek out the relationships she abandoned in shame. As she pulls at each tangled thread from her old life, Lorna is forced to confront the wounds of long ago. She'll have to risk the job that shapes her identity as well as the hope of friendship--and love--restored.

These Tangled Threads: A Novel of Biltmore

By Sarah Loudin Thomas,

What is this book about?

Seven years ago, a hidden betrayal scattered three young friends living in the shadow of Biltmore Estate. Now, when Biltmore Industries master weaver Lorna Blankenship is commissioned to create an original design for Cornelia Vanderbilt's 1924 wedding, she panics knowing she doesn't have the creativity needed. But there's an elusive artisan in the Blue Ridge Mountains who could save her--if only she can find her.

To track the mysterious weaver down, Lorna sees no other way but to seek out the relationships she abandoned in shame. As she pulls at each tangled thread from her old life, Lorna is forced…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in haunted houses, English country house, and ghost story?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about haunted houses, English country house, and ghost story.

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