9 Books to Terrify You this Halloween

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In honor of the impending Halloween holiday, I’ve comprised a list of 9 books that truly terrified me. Enjoy!

The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson – The most famous haunted house case may or may not be true, but it will still keep you hiding under the covers. I read this in the 7th grade and hid the book because it scared me so much. The next day, it was laying on my bed. My mom had cleaned my room, but I was still freaked out.

Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix – In an attempt to catch a vandal, a group of employees camp out in a furniture store overnight. What they find is much more menacing. Be prepared for fright-induced insomnia.

The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson – This novel about a murderous sheriff will have you questioning what kind of sickness lies within everyone you know.

My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf – A graphic novel about Jeffery Dahmer’s adolescence written by his high school friend. Dahmer’s transition from disturbed teen to serial killer is unnerving, as is the look into his depressing homelife.

Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin – The horror classic about a woman impregnated with the Antichrist will make your blood curdle.

The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris – If you can read this book without getting scared, then you are not human.

The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule & Unholy Messenger by Stephen Singular – Yes, more true crime. Reality is more horrifying than fiction. These books are about Ted Bundy and BTK – two of the most gruesome serial killers ever. After reading these, I was constantly checking the locks on my door and windows.

The Telltale Lilac Bush by Ruth Ann Musick – This is a compilation of West Virginia ghost stories. Required reading for any kid who grew up in the state (like me). I recommend starting with “The Little Rag Doll” or “Big John’s Ghost”.

So what is the most terrifying book you’ve ever read?

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My Favorite West Virginia Books

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As a native West Virginian, I get very excited to read books about or set in my home state. Here are my favorites:

Crum by Lee Maynard – Set in a small town on the West Virginia/Kentucky border, Crum is a harshly realistic and humorous Appalachian coming-of-age story. The novel recounts a nameless narrator’s experiences during his last year living in Crum. Lee Maynard’s colorful writing and unforgettable characters will haunt you for days. Though controversial, this cult classic is a must-read!

The Stories of Breece D’J Pancake – Breece D’J Pankcake was a talented, young writer whose promising career was cut short by suicide.  Pancake was a native of South Charleston and attended West Virginia University. This collection of short stories describes life in rural Appalachia. Pancake’s stark and honest prose sticks with you long after you’ve finished reading.

Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor – Boy meets dog, boy saves dog. This heart-warming tale is perfect for reluctant readers or any animal-lover.

Obsidian by Jennifer Armentrout – This book is Twilight-esque, but with aliens instead of vampires. Seneca Rocks is important to the plot and happens to be one of my favorite places in West Virginia (it is truly gorgeous, visit if you get the chance). I also love that Armentrout incorporates the legend of Princess Snowbird in Obsidian.

West Virginia UFOs: Close Encounters in the Mountain State by Bob Teets –  Another book featuring aliens… Do we see a pattern here? Whether you want to believe or not, this book is certainly entertaining.

The Telltale Lilac Bush & Coffin Hollow by Ruth Ann Musick – Ruth Ann Musick was a bad-ass folklorist who collected ghost stories from all over the state of West Virginia. Those tales are showcased in The Telltale Lilac Bush and Coffin Hollow. Any child who grew up in the Mountain State has fond memories of reading Musick’s books over and over again.