I’m not sure why autumn is the perfect season for Halloween; I really can’t imagine the ghosts and goblins that take over at this time of the year trying to haunt us in spring or summer. Maybe we are drawn to the sense that things in nature are beginning to die, but are not yet dormant. Regardless, it’s definitely an excellent time of year to read a good ghost story (and even though I don’t believe in ghosts, I still love to be spooked).
Grab one of these titles as you settle down on a crisp, fall night. They all have houses that are being “visited” by spirits —- or do they? Muwahahahaha…
As usual, annotations are courtesy of NoveList Plus, and those with an * are recommended by yours truly.
The Birthing House by Christopher Ransom
- Much to his wife’s dismay, Conrad Harrison buys a large, old house in Wisconsin. After a few paranormal incidences in the new house, Conrad’s wife returns to her life in California. His neighbor, Nadia claims to have been victimized by the eerie house and Conrad discovers a body hidden within his home’s wall, they begin a terrifying investigation into the house’s history.
The Good House by Tananarive Due
- Working to rebuild her law practice after her son commits suicide, Angela Toussaint journeys to the family home where the suicide took place, hoping for answers, and discovers an evil force that is driving locals to acts of violence.
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
- An anthropologist conducts an unusual research project in a reputedly haunted house.
Homebody by Orson Scott Card
- After losing his daughter in a car wreck, Don Lark buries himself in the work of restoring a magnificent, long-neglected Southern mansion, but when he unearths an old tunnel in the cellar, he stirs up the demons of the house’s tragic past.
The House Next Door by Anne Rivers Siddons
- The house next door to the Kennedys appears to be haunted by a mysterious, all-pervasive evil, and the couple watches in horror as a succession of owners becomes engulfed by the same sinister force, until the Kennedys set out to destroy the house themselves.
The House of Lost Souls by Francis Cottam*
- In an effort to save his student sister from the madness that is threatening the lives of guests at derelict Fischer House, Nick Mason teams up with Paul Seaton, a troubled man who escaped the house a decade earlier, and learns of an unspeakable crime that occurred at the house in the 1920s.
In the Dark of the Night by John Saul
- The Brewster family’s idyllic summer vacation at Phantom Lake turns to horror when their teenage son and his friends stumble upon a mysterious secret room in their rental home, a room that has a strange influence over the boys.
The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters*
- After being summoned to treat a patient at dilapidated Hundreds Hall, Dr. Faraday finds himself becoming entangled in the lives of the owners, the Ayres family, and the supernatural presences in the house.
Lost Boy, Lost Girl by Peter Straub
- The suicide of a woman and the disappearance of her teenage son, Mark, draws the boy’s uncle, Timothy Underhill, back to his hometown of Millhaven, where his investigation uncovers a neighborhood haunted by a serial killer.
Nazareth Hill by Ramsey Campbell
- A worried father and his sassy, rebellious teenage daughter find themselves trapped within an apartment house where the voices and spirits of wrongly persecuted witches lie in torment.
The Seance by John Harwood*
- Growing up with a distant father and a mother in perpetual mourning for a lost child, Constance Langton takes her mother to a seance hoping to help her find peace, only to be left alone to deal with a legacy of a decaying mansion in rural England.
Second Glance by Jodi Picoult
- A man’s attempt to sell a piece of land and the resulting Abenaki tribe’s protest that it is a sacred burial ground spurs an investigation by ghost hunter Ross Wakeman, who discovers a long-hidden murder haunting a small Vermont town.
The Shining by Stephen King*
- Jack Torrance sees his stint as winter caretaker of a Colorado hotel as a way back from failure, his wife sees it as a chance to preserve their family, and their five-year-old son sees the evil waiting just for them.
Turn of the Screw by Henry James
- The story unfolds with the arrival of a new governess at a remote country estate. She has been hired by the uncle of two young orphans to take complete charge of the children’s lives and upbringing. Her first peaceful weeks are disturbed by the apparition of the ghosts of two evil servants who once served in the house.
A Winter Haunting by Dan Simmons
- Returning to the small Illinois town of his childhood to pick up the pieces of his shattered life, Dale Stewart leases an empty farmhouse of a long-dead friend, who had been murdered in the summer of 1960, and finds that the house is haunted.
The Woman in Black by Susan Hill
- A classic ghost story set in a small English community follows the experiences of an up-and-coming solicitor who while endeavoring to settle a deceased client’s affairs is haunted by bizarre phenomena before he is approached by a ghostly figure. (Movie comes out Feb 2012.)