Halloween Reads: Ghost stories

giphy3Because sometimes the dead just don’t stay dead.

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Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill

Jude is, an aging rock star who’s popularity within the occult scene is yet to fade even after his love of the music has. After the breakdown of his marriage and the ending of his band, Jude has become jaded with the industry that gave him his fame, but still likes to keep the odd groupie around and occasionally adds to his collection of macabre artifacts. His most recent acquisition being the suit of an old, deceased gentleman who’s spirit is said to haunt that of his stepdaughter and her child. Bad move.

It’s a rare book that can make me reserve it specifically for daytime reading, rather than spend all night reliving its imagery in my dreams, but Hill’s very graphic detailing of Jude’s poltergeist, and the horror he inflicts upon Jude and his girlfriend were just terrifying. And those squiggly ghost eyes! Just, no. Not only was the horror of the book well carried out but the story was actually interesting, I cared for the characters, and enjoyed seeing them change and evolve throughout the book.

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The Turn of the Screw

A governess is hired to look after a brother and sister and upon the arrival at their grand home, believes that she can see dead people and that the kids can too. It’s a pretty simple story, but interestingly offers up alternative ways of interpreting the events that take place, without explicitly saying which one is the correct reading. Either you can believe that the governess is simply mad and seeing things that aren’t there, or that the spirits of Miss Jessel, the previous governess and Peter Quint really are haunting herself and the children.

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The Woman In Black by Susan Hill

A young solicitor is hired to settle the estate of a recently deceased old lady who lived alone in the middle of some marshes that flood at various times of the day, completely cutting the house off from the village mainland and providing a perfectly isolated environment for a good haunting. Throughout the community there have been sightings of a ghoulish woman dressed all in black, her appearance an omen of a horror that nobody wishes to discuss. But when Arthur begins to see her too, rather than hiding and ignoring her like the fraidy cats in the village, he takes it upon himself to find out what it is that her restless spirit wants and what it is that stops her from moving on. Another regrettable decision on his part.

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