Today marks Friday the 13th, so if you see a black cat approaching you, slowly walk the other way. Friday the 13th has long been associated with a string of bad luck, superstitions, and eerie occurrences. For seemingly forever this day has struck fear in people around the world, as its history in Norse Mythology and Christianity has perpetuated an associated between the number 13 and some seriously bad vibes.
For those of you who wish to stay indoors today in order to avoid walking under ladders and such, why not take a moment to dive into a wonderfully terrifying book. In celebration of Friday the 13th, here are 13 books all about superstitions, eerie occurrences, bad luck, paralyzing fear, and all hell breaking loose!
1. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
This classic novel about scientist Victor Frankenstein creating a monster from man is all about the fear of what man is, and who man can become. The novel features many instances of bad luck, from the protagonist himself whose creation backfires tremendously, to a monster whose desire to be seen leads to further rejection, to the innocent bystanders who were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Considering Frakenstein’s monster itself is a classic characterization of Halloween, Frankenstein is the epitome of the associations of Friday the 13th.
2. The Shining by Stephen King
Given that Stephen King himself suffers from Triskaidekahobia, the fear of the number 13, The Shining is an obvious choice for this list. Telling the tale of writer Jack Torrance whose hotel stay goes awry, The Shining is all about psychological fear and doubt, supernatural possession, and eerie encounters.
3. Helter Skelter: The True Story of The Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi, Curt Gentry
Charles Manson is one of the most familiar serial killers in history. This cult leader led some of the most shocking and gruesome murders in America, but it’s not just the blood spilled that makes this cult leader frightening. Manson and his cult were known to invade the homes of victims and rearrange furniture in order to make the home owners feel violated and fearful. Helter Skelter dives into the eerie and evil tactics of the Manson clan.
4. The Turn of The Screw by Henry James
A staple of the gothic genre, The Turn of The Screw explores the human subconscious and our reactions and justifications to the eerie and unexplainable events that occur around us. When a governess notices eerie and supernatural occurrences around her, her struggle to protect the children she cares for pushes her towards madness. The novella asks us whether she is mad or if supernatural beings really do exist.
5. Carrie by Stephen King
Carrie is simultaneously a familiar yet, in my opinion, underrated work of Stephen King. Carrie deals with the clash of the supernatural versus realty, and the impact of superstitions on our sanity and fate.
6. The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson
A popular horror novel, The Amityville Horror explores the psychological fear of the Lutz family who endures horrifying paranormal occurrences while living in a possessed home. For any reader who has heard a weird sound or two coming from the basement or attic of their house, The Amityville Horror is sure to make their skin crawl.
7. Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
Something Wicked This Way Comes is so haunting that it has been said to have been a source of inspiration for horror films and books, including those written by Stephen King. The novel features a blend of fantasy and horror elements, and tells the story of two young teens whose encounter with a traveling carnival leads to psychological torture and doubt.
8. It by Stephen King
If you haven’t read It then you’ve most likely have heard about it as the terrifying tale has petrified so many children that it has gained notoriety amongst generations. King’s iconic horror novel tells the tale of a group of young friends who become psychologically terrorized by a shape-shifting monster. The monster feeds off of the individualized fears and hidden demons of each child, prompting widespread fear and, even worse, fear of fear.
9. The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Gilman’s short story is about a young mother who descends into madness shortly after giving birth. As the ill woman is isolated in an old nursery, she soon comes to a realization that the yellow wallpaper covering the room conceals behind it a woman. The story explores sanity, and the psychological effects of oppression and isolation.
10. Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin
If you’ve read (or seen) Rosemary’s baby, then it may have made you hesitant to have children and it definitely made you wary of your neighbors. After moving in to an eerie apartment building in which some questionable neighbors live in, a young couple decides to have a baby. However as the pregnancy progresses, the couple realizes that their next door neighbors are members of a satanic cult who intend on harming their child. This chilling story about satanism, supernaturalism, and fear erupts in a devastating ending that’ll shock you.
11. House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
This debut novel explores the experiences of a young family who move in to a new home and are bewildered to discover that their house is bigger on the inside than it appears outwardly. Their bizarre experience becomes all the more eerie when their children suddenly take on the voices of supernatural, and terrifying, creatures. This disturbing explores supernaturalism and psychological fear yet it dressed up with a sense of realism that is bound to make you uncomfortable and wary.
12. The Changeling by Victor Lavalle
The Changeling offers a blend of a Brothers Grimm style fairy tale mixed with a parents worse nightmare. A young man haunted by unsettling dreams as a child finds his childhood fears return when his wife descends into a dark state after giving birth to their child. After she commits a horrifyingly violent act, she disappears, leaving her husband behind to find a way out of his traumatized and fearful state to find her. The story explores recurrent fears, the link between psychological fear and violence, and the impact of secrets.
13. Mapping the Interior by Stephen Graham Jones
This creepy novella explores superstition and the doubts of the human psyche after a young Native American teenager, alone one night, sees a figure resembling his deceased father step through a doorway. When he follows the figure, he encounters hidden depths of his home and begins to blur the boundaries between what is real and what isn’t. This psychologically torturing novella can easily make readers begin to question their own definitions of what is there and what is not.
Have you finished any of these reads? Let us know your thoughts on them!
Featured images courtesy of DeviantArt/Mario, Amazon