Spooky books that scared you the most


I used to read a lot of spooky stories as a kid; you name it, Lovecraft, Poe, Matheson, King… Lots of frightening stuff. However, these two largely unknown CYOA-style books were, hands down, the ones that scared me the most. To tell the truth, they’re fairly average in retrospective and in no way comparable to the standards set by Edward Packard, but the writing was surprisingly moody and the inside drawings terrifying as hell.

In one particular dream sequence in Space Age Terrors!, you’re kidnapped by an evil, distorted version of Goofy who locks you inside a rocket and launches you into space. Yeah, it sounds rather silly when I put it like that, but it was downright chilling in the book.

Such great memories! So which books scared you the most in your childhood?


I read so much as a child but also watched a ton of horror movies and did my (and probably your) fair share of table top RPGing. With those kind of experiences it took a bunch to really frighten me.

I was a giant Lovecraft fan, and of course Poe. They were my first real horror stories. I suffered a decent amount of night terrors due to stories like The Colour From Outer Space.

Much later in life I came across House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielowski and there was something utterly unsettling about the book. The typography led to frantic heart rates and the content of the story caused a strong desire to measure and re-measure areas of my house.

I wasn’t a King fan until my 30s, when I read pretty much every book he made with the exception (oddly enough) of the Dark Tower series.

It was actually the stories of his Son, Joe Hill that really caused the skin crawlies. Heart Shaped Box and NOS4A2 are fantastic!


I didn’t get scared much of books in my childhood, but that could also be due to my strict christian upbringing which wouldn’t allow any books containing “occult” things (like bugs bunny). I remember reading some “horror books” at a friends house but wasn’t impressed at all. I didn’t discover literary horror untill much older.

KurtRussel has posted some very good examples. House of Leaves was a nutter!

I found a washed out paperback of Naked Lunch back before I knew anything. Now it reads like a comedy, but back then it was confusing, gross and scary as hell!


I was about 14 when the first of Clive Barker’s Books of Blood came out. A friend at school bought it and loaned it to me. Midnight Meat Train creeped me out since I had ridden the subway several times at that point which made the subterranean scenes more visceral in my mind.

Arguably the book that scared me the most, though, wasn’t even a “horror” book per se. It was Richard Preston’s The Hot Zone, which I made the mistake of purchasing from an airport book store during a business trip and then read on the plane. Messed me up for a good week or two.


Really nice hearing all this, folks. Thanks for sharing :slight_smile:


Heres a couple just for you, Master Cordes…I love Lovecraft as well, and collect old Weird Fiction. One of the best collections I have come across is:

Sleep No More by L.T.C. Rolt. (The story ‘Bosworth Summit Pound’ is probably the best spooky story I have ever read. It stayed in my head for months. Another story in this collection, ‘The Garside Fell Disaster’, was just as fantastic and also one of the best spooky tales I’ve ever read.)

Here is a great site for collecting Weird Fiction tales…this section is of out of print books, but I have found every on on ebay or amazon. The Ash-Tree press books themselves carry a heavy price and are for serious collectors with deep pockets, but you can find the exact same collections by other publishers far cheaper.