Bookstr Team Recommends Their Most Hair-raising Ghost Stories

The Bookstr Team weighs in on the stories that still creep into their minds and give them nightmares. Check out our reads!

Fantasy Horror Just For Fun Pop Culture Recommendations
Three book covers for three different horror novels. Uzumaki, The Haunting of Hill House, and Seeking Spirits. They are set against red, watery background, creating an atmosphere of suspense.

These stories have turned the blood to ice in our veins, caused our heart rates to rise, and sent our necks, arms, and leg hair standing on end. They’re the stories that kept us up at night and somehow still do, even after we’ve long read the last word and closed the book. They stay with us, lurk in the back of our minds, waiting for us to remember the scare they’d given us days, months, even years ago. We asked our Bookstr team what their most hair-raising ghost story recommendations are, and the list is in! Check out our choices.

A Creepy Babysitters Club

Haunted Babysitters: True Ghost Stories by Allen Zullo

If you want a chilling book that will keep you up all night and truly raise the hairs on your neck, then this book is it. It’s a collection of true ghost stories told by young teens who have watched over their neighbors’ children and their own siblings. Younger me read this and was scared to death; old me still thinks of these stories today! They are seriously some of the most terrifying stories I have ever read. One such story was of a young girl who kept witnessing the death echo of two runaway slaves down in the basement of the home where she was babysitting. It wasn’t even her house, but the twist is out of this world crazier than the haunting!

A baby's crib with a skull on it is being rocked by a girl with an orange sweater and jeans. There's a teddy bear leaning against the crib, and an ominous white light emitting from inside the crib. The title is in jagged orange lettering. The author's name is at the bottom in white lettering.

Another one of the hauntings that have stayed with me was one where a young babysitter was caring for her neighbor’s child. She felt someone snuggle next to her on the couch, and when the sitter rolled over, let’s just say it wasn’t a child wrapped under her arm and sleeping beside her! Talk about hair-raising — I haven’t been able to release the visual of the ghostly child from my memory. I honestly dare horror fans to pick this book up and give it a read. It’s an old book, but it definitely holds up.

Quiarah B, Editorial

A Less Welcoming and More Frightening Haunted House

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

By far, one of the spookiest books I’ve ever read is Shirley Jackson’s classic novel, The Haunting of Hill House. It tells the story of John Montague, Eleanor Vance, Theodora, and Luke Sanderson, who all come to stay at the Hill House mansion for a summer. Luke, the heir to Hill House, has agreed to host the three guests at his isolated estate. As a supernatural investigator, Montague is hoping to find evidence to support the existence of the paranormal at Hill House, and he has invited Eleanor and Theodora to join him due to their past supernatural experiences. As their stay at Hill House wears on, the group begins to experience increasingly strange and alarming occurrences. But Eleanor develops a connection with the house that makes her want to stay despite the danger. The setting of Hill House becomes its own character in this book, which amplifies the terror of the classic haunted house story.

A grayish cover with a large house on top and half of a woman's face on the bottom. The windows of the house give the impression that they are the woman's eyes. The title and author's name are at the top in white lettering. The cover looks more eerie and gives off a gloomy emotion.

Mike Flanagan’s 2018 adaptation of The Haunting of Hill House into a limited series is also nothing short of hair-raising. While the plot of the show is a major departure from the events of the book, it still maintains the scare factor with haunting visuals, terrifying lore, and one of the most effective jump scares I’ve seen to date. If you love a good ghost story, both the book and the show will be right up your alley.

Lauren Nee, Editorial

A Prayer to Help You Sleep Again at Night

Crazy: A Prayer for the Dead by Stephen LaChance

This book literally had me up all night and afraid of the dark. It was a one-sitting read, as I knew if I put it down, I would never pick it back up. While it was terrifying, I had to finish it. I needed to know what happened to each person involved. The terror and emotional turmoil had my chest constricted in fear, my arms coated in goosebumps, and my mind racing to solve the unsolvable.

The cover has an array of dark green, blue, and red colors. They are dulled. There's a woman's face that looks distorted with her hand covered in red indicating blood. There is also blood around her mouth. The title is in grayish-white lettering at the bottom. The author's name is at the top in grayish-white lettering.

LaChance’s novel is a mix of truth and fiction of a real haunted location, the Tri-County Truck Stop, located on Route 66 in Missouri. Based on the paranormal occurrences and his investigation in 2006, LaChance tries to piece together the backstory of those haunting the truck stop. True evil might not be the devils of myth but the humans of reality and the remains of their terrible actions.

Kristi Eskew, Editorial

A Dark and Otherworldly Children’s Story

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman’s book honestly sent chills down my spine when I read it. I was gripped by the story and Coraline as a character. While I was completely scared, I wanted to see what happened.

There's a little girl holding a candle in her hands. She's wearing a beige shirt. She looks to be made of clay. The title is above her head in red lettering. The author's name is above the title in brown lettering.

The movie also scared me so much as a child. I still have a mild fear of dolls to this day because of the movie. Nevertheless, both the book and the movie are actually one of my most favorite shows and books ever. I definitely recommend both if you want a good scare this spooky season!

Alison M, Graphics

Seek and You Shall Find Them

Seeking Spirits by Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson with Michael Jan Friedman

Two men stand off to the right side of the cover. There's a house in the background that looks as if no lights are shining in any of the windows. A ghostly figure stands behind the guys but in front of the house. The title is in large black lettering above the two men's heads. The authors' names are below the two men in medium lettering.

This book is a collection of stories from The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS) in the United States. These are all true stories involving real people and their families. It details some of their most bizarre and abnormal cases as well as personal experiences that will make your skin crawl. Some will surprise you and leave you intrigued. Others will hit you deeply and emotionally in a truly horrific way. One case that I read made me close the book and take some deep breaths because what I read was horrifying, awful, and sad at the same time.

Christina H, Graphics

An Unnerving Mindbender

Uzumaki by Ito Junji

A Japanese manga about a town that slowly starts to change. This was my personal introduction to horror graphic novels, and it was haunting. Ito Junji is a master at creating creepy and disturbing images; pile on a mysterious story and engaging characters, and you have the horrific masterpiece of Uzumaki.

A black cover with black and white girls and boys and swirls above their heads. They look frightened. Across the middle of the cover is the title in large gray lettering. The author's name is in smaller white lettering below the title.

This story stuck with me out of all the other scary things I have read because of what haunts the town. It isn’t a person or a thing, or a creature. It’s a pattern. A swirl, nothing more, nothing less. How can a pattern as basic as a swirl torment a town? In creepier ways than you could ever imagine.

Brandon Smith, Editorial

Interested in more of our Bookstr team picks? Click here.