Scaring with words to the world has been part of the literary words for years. The suspense and thrill they built get adrenaline rush and physical body sensation while reading immensely. They keep you frightened for years and that pit on your stomach is cannot be explained in words. All of us have encountered a scary incident in our lives, whether just after watching a scary movie or after reading a book the impact lasts for a longer period. Having a mood to feel the suspense, thrill, and the experience of feeling haunted, here are the best scariest books of all time, that make your surrounding horrifying yet keeps your engaged till the last page.
For nail-biting experience here is a list of scariest books of all time.
1. The House of the Seven Gables- A Haunted Mansion
Author: Nathaniel Hawthorne
Published In: 1851
A haunted brooding mansion in New England’s village cursed by a centuries-old that casts the shadow of ancestral sin to the family members. The house is based on the real colonial mansion in Salem, Massachusetts which haunted him throughout his life. The sin of one generation haunting other members is breathtaking.
The House of the Seven Gables plots on human guilt and modern mix of fantasy and atonement. The books explore the colors of the tale with suggestions of the supernatural and witchcraft. This book with great versatility makes a hit on the scariest books of all time.
2. House of Leaves – A Trip To Find a Closet
Author: Mark Z. Danielewski
Published In: 2000
A debut novel by Mark is a best seller and is an exceptional experience. The story revolves around the family that returns home from a trip to find a closet where there was none before. The house continues to grow upon itself, creating an endless series of hallways and rooms and a low, never-explained roar plays the soundtrack to the whole thing. The phenom strikes the family living inside insane and develops the thrill to the readers and will give the same experience to you. Nobody knew that the novel anticipated the small but devoted yet the terrifying story soon command over many minds. The story is a prime example of ergodic literature. Some pages contain only a few words or lines of text, designed in exceptional styles to mirror the events in the story, often creating both an agoraphobic and a claustrophobic effect. with an awarding winning approach House of leaves is a must-read for all the fans of scariest books.
3. The Haunting of Hill House – Ghost Stories
Author: Shirley Jackson
The perfect unnerving terror is profoundly regarded as one of the best belletristic ghost stories of the 20th century. The Haunting of Hill House is the story of four characters that stay at the ominous mansion to investigate the paranormal happenings going on inside. Their stay becomes spooky and terrifying phenomena. The spirits in the house eventually possess one of its visitors, a quiet, reserved woman named Eleanor. While reading this book keep your imagination on the peak as this gripping gothic novel will convince you that every creak of your stairs is a poltergeist coming to haunt you. This scariest book also a Netflix adaptation. Using complex relationships between the mysterious events in the house and the characters make this book scary and trembling the page one by one.
4. The Road – The Son and Father
Author: Cormac McCarthy
Published In: 2006
A post-apocalyptic novel a bleak and burned landscape. Taking you to an imaginative world and you’re alone in this desolate landscape with only your father, very little food and a pistol to protect you from headhunters that’s it, sounds scary, isn’t it? And then one by one losing everything. The story revolves around the son and father walking alone through the burned America. The book also has a film adaptation. The ultimate destructiveness, desperate determination, and the tenderness that keeps two people alive in the face of total devastation. The book is the oneness of its vision and courageous meditation on the worst and the best that you are capable of. With such an imaginative and scary approach, the book is counted under the scariest book of all time.
5. Interview with the Vampire – Life Story To a Reporter
Author: Anne Rice
The name itself explains its a gothic horror. The classic debut novel is the story of 200-year-old vampire Louis de Pointe du Lac and confesses his life story to a reporter. The journey through mortal and immortal life explaining in his own words. The story is mesmerising, shocking, and chillingly erotic. The novel is an illusionistic beauty and startling force. A story full of lush description centers on the themes of immortality, change, loss of love, sexuality, suspense, resolution and power. The unfortunate fact that Rice wrote the novel after the death of her young daughter, the inspiration for the child-vampire character Claudia.
6. The October Country – Collection of Nineteen Macabre
Author: Ray Bradbury
Published In: 1955
The October Country is a collection of nineteen macabre from the master of science fiction and fantasy. The edition features Ray Bradbury’s own netherworld of the soul, inhabited by the horrors and demons that prowl within each soul. Stories involve a felonious newborn out to kill its mother, a creepy cemetery that makes displays of bodies when they can’t pay to be buried there, and a man is convinced that his own skeleton is out to destroy him. Very rare writers make such great use of exclamation marks. The story is scary and destructive, you really need to have a strong heart and stronger imagination while reading the book. This science fiction is one of the scariest books all time.
7. Suffer the Children – Young Child Murder
Author: John Saul
Again a debut and instant bestseller on the list. Suffer the Children is the story of a tragic murder of a young child, after which the guilty culprit hurls into the sea. The story gets its twist when one hundred years later, the murders return to Port Arbello. The children begin to disappear, one by one, and as the culprit is hunted down. By seeing all the townies begin to realize that an evil history is repeating itself. With cast involving children, makes the novel very scary and thinking of ruining the childhood can get you a breathtaking experience. The book is worthy enough to be on the list of scariest books of all time.
8. The Exorcist – Possessed
Author: William Peter Blatty
Published In: 1971
Remember the petrifying William Friedkin’s adaptation of The Exorcist but the source material is the ocean of it. Its the inspiration from the real events, Blatty’s story of satanic possession and conjuring cuts. The story begins when 12-year-old girl Regan MacNeil starts to behave irrationally. Her mother soon realises that she has been possessed by evil spirits and turns to the church for help. Treating by the priest and the procedure of curing her is unforgettable and you cannot come out of the impression of the story soon. Having a great impact on your mind the book mends its way in the list of the scariest book of all time.
9. Perfume – Sense of Smell
Author: Patrick Suskind
Published In: 1985
A literary historical fantasy novel explores the sense of smell and its relationships. An acclaimed bestseller and international sensation this book is worth your time. The plot revolves around the Jean-Baptiste Grenouille is born with an extraordinary and absolute sense of smell in slums of eighteenth-century France. With time he grows, he is obsessed with capturing the smells of each object countering each day. Till the time comes, when on one fine day he catches a hint of a scent that drives him crazy and on an ever-more-terrifying quest to create the “ultimate perfume”—the scent of a beautiful young virgin. Brianlty narrative story Perfum has a haunting and powerful impact. A tale of murder and sensual depravity is definitely one of the scariest books of all time.
10. Hell House – Supernatural Horror
Author: Richard Matheson
Published In: 1971
The novel combines supernatural horror with mystery, an unnerving tale that recommends things like ‘the people with nervous deposition should not read this’. A suspense thriller, Hell House is based on a house that corrupts and destroys all that enter in it and is simply marvelous and stimulating. Four people tried getting rid of this house and its evil potency with violent consequences. Stephen King himself declared Hell House to be the scariest haunted house novel ever written. With such great authority recognition, this book is the scariest on the list.
11. The Silence Of The Lamb – Modern Fiction
Author: Thomas Harris
Published In: 1988
Get ready to meet the ultimate villain of modern fiction, Jonathan Demme’s Oscar-winning adaptation was scary right but the source is beyond your imagination. Sociopath Dr Hannibal Lecter is terrifying, torturous, playful and gripping mind games with FBI trainee Clarice Starling are a master class in suspense and drama. The five-million-copy bestseller scared the world with its approach. The Silence of the Lambs, a young FBI trainee, an evil genius locked away for supernatural crimes. The deadly search for a serial killer into the darkest chambers of a psychopath’s mind makes the story mind bubbling.
12. American Psycho – A Story of Psychopath
Author: Bret Easton Ellis
Published In: 1991
The story is told by Patrick Bateman intelligent, charming, sophisticated is a psychopath his madness, his graphic retelling of the gory murders he seems to revel in and his glorification of vapid consumerist culture all go side by side. The character is hideously disturbing, yet Ellis’ book is very, very funny, packed with 80s music implications and hilarious streams of mindfulness.
American Psycho is a bleak, black, bitter comedy of a relatable world. Great connectivity with the reader yet making an adrenaline rush to the whole body this is one of the scariest books of all time.
13. The Hunger – Encounter of The True Story
Author: Alma Katsu
Here is an encounter of the true story The Donner Party, The Hunger is a deeply disturbing, hard to put down exploration of human nature and the horrifying consequences forcing people to pushed to their breaking point. The series of misfortunes is explained with the wagon train being plagued.
Depleted rations, bitter quarrels, and the mysterious death of a little boy have driven the pioneers making people go demented. The helplessness showed in the novel make you captivating.
14. Rebecca – Widower
Author: Daphne Du Maurier
Published In: 1938
Rebecca a gothic novel, a bestseller and never ran out of print. The scariest features of Rebecca are those things that are unspoken including the lack of a name for the narrator to the mystery behind the titular character’s gloomy death. The heroine is swept off her feet by the dynamic widower Maxim de Winter and his sudden proposal of marriage at Monte Carlo. Orphaned and working as a lady’s maid, she can barely believe her luck. The story starts when they arrive at its massive country estate that she realizes how large a shadow his late wife will cast over their lives. The story strikes the question of supposedly perfect marriage keeps on haunting the reader to the bitter end. Making you think about terrifying married life this book is one of the scariest and must-read book.
15. The Trial – Kafka’s Mesmeric Novel
Author: Franz Kafka
Published In: 1925
Feeling of being unfortunate and having no power or control over your fate and wellness quite a disturbing thing to experience. Resonated with chilling truth for generations of readers Kafka’s mesmeric novel. A terrifying tale of Josef K., a reputable bank officer suddenly and inexplicably arrested and has no way information to come out of it. The Trial is an existential classic tale that strikes at the soul of human helplessness.
16. World War Z – Zombie War
Author: Max Brooks
An oral history of the Zombie War is an apocalyptic horror novel. The Zombie War eradicating humanity. The novel is the collection of individual accounts. Following the devastating global conflict against the zombie plague. Max Brooks as the nameless UN agent who travels the world meeting foremost experiences through interviews with survivors. Apart from horrifying zombie encounters, another essence involves the chilling look at the social, political and environmental breakdown. All the situation occurs during the fictional Zombie War. The book seizes with haunting immediacy the human dimension of this epochal event and is one of the scariest books to read.
17. The Woman in Black – Terrifying of All
Author: Susan Hill
A traditional gothic novel concerns a mysterious spectre that haunts the English town. The story begins at the town of Crythin Grifford stands a bleak, isolated house called the Eel Marsh House. When junior solicitor Arthur Kipps is summoned to Crythin Grifford to settle the affairs of an elderly widow who lived in the house. A series of mysterious surrounding and musical rocking chair in a deserted nursery, the eerie sound of a pony and trap, a child’s scream in the fog, each spot is scary the scariest part is the ghostly woman dressed all in black. Many times adopted into the stage play is terrifying of all.
18. Slade House – Haunted House
Author: David Mitchell
First originated as a Twitter story and then expanded into a full novel is a haunted house story that explores the mysterious and severe Slade House. Five people enter Slade House for a brief inspection and vanish without a trace from the outside world. Traversing five decades, from 1970s last days to the present the plot contains leaping genres, and barreling toward an astounding conclusion. An intricately woven novel gives you reality check warping new vision of the haunted house story. Old and new signature blend of mystery, realism, and the supernatural is one of the most thriving books.
19. Station Eleven – Flu Pandemic
Author: Emily St. John Mandel
Published In: 2014
The novel takes place in great lakes and the story revolves around fifteen years after a fiction flu pandemic vanished 99 percent world’s population. Kirsten with Traveling Symphony is an actress that moves with her small troupe over the bitter landscape performing scattered communities of survivors. They arrive at the location of St. Deborah by the Water, and they encounter a violent prophet who kills the person who leaves. The suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel plots the strange twists of fate connecting five people the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor’s first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress trying to save themselves. This suspenseful story brings physical sensation in the body and worthy enough to be counted under the list of scariest books of all time.
Above featured gothic novels are great to experience the thrill and suspense for all readers. They not only provide a good storyline that is beyond your imagination but also provides a different perspective to look at normal things. Using horrifying characters, the crooked scary tales is a take on the classic stories that keep you engaged and builds up a pressure to know more.
The books mentioned above are some of the best books of the genre and are handpicked from the copious books. Do let us know in the comment section how you liked this article and if you have any queries or suggestions, you can ask them by commenting below.