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9 Haunted House Books That Will Leave You Sleeping with One Eye Open

Sweet dreams.

It’s that time of year when you pack up the car and travel to a loved one’s house for a little holiday cheer. The mood is positively festive during the day. But when the Christmas lights dim and the sun goes down, an eerier mood sets in.

Creaky stairs, a rumble in the basement, the menacing tick-tick-ticking of the grandfather clock… a strange home in the dead of night is pure nightmare fuel—especially if that home is really haunted. These haunted house books, from fictional ghost stories to real-life accounts of resident apparitions, will leave you sleeping with one eye open this holiday season. Sweet dreams.

Buy This House Is Haunted at Amazon

This House Is Haunted

By Hans Holzer

The thought of sharing your domestic space with a restless spirit is terrifying; it's at the core of all our don't-go-in-the-basement fears and what keeps us up at night when we hear a strange sound down the hall. Yet according to famed paranormal investigator Hans Holzer, bunking up with the dead is also upsetting to the ghost. Holzer investigates more than eighty haunted houses from around the world in this paranormal tome, dissecting the history of each site and speculating on the reasons why the eternal residents refuse to leave.

This House Is Haunted

By Hans Holzer

Buy House of Bones at Amazon

House of Bones

By Dale Bailey

Pro Tip: If gang lords and crack dealers steer clear of the abandoned Dreamland high-rise, it’s probably for a good reason. Unfortunately, the strangers in this tale didn’t get the memo.

Built as affordable housing for those needing a second chance, Dreamland became the stuff of local legends when the walls started to bleed and inexplicable fatal accidents became the norm. Now, decades later and abandoned, five strangers put the terrifying legend of the Dreamland high-rise to the test by spending two full weeks living inside it. Nothing can prepare them for what awaits inside. Because in Dreamland, every nightmare comes true.

Related: 10 Horror Books Too Terrifying to Handle 

House of Bones

By Dale Bailey

Buy Nella Waits at Amazon

Nella Waits

By Marlys Millhiser

Marriage took Lynnette far, far away from the confines of her dull hometown. But when her husband dies, she returns to take care of her mother. She connects with Jay Van Fleet, who is also coping with a tragedy and has come back to claim his inheritance: his childhood home, haunted by the ghost of his mother Nella. Sadly, Nella is not at all happy that Jay and Lynnette are falling in love. As each day passes, the ghost feeds off the presence of her son, growing stronger and angrier by the day. And mommie dearest has her ghostly sights set on Lynnette …

Related: Harvest Home: Don't See, Don't Tell 

Nella Waits

By Marlys Millhiser

Buy Mad Madame LaLaurie at Amazon

Mad Madame LaLaurie

By Victoria Cosner Love and Lorelei Shannon

She's one of New Orleans’ most notorious fiends, and her real-life house of horrors in the French Quarter spawned a legend that continues to haunt the Big Easy to this day. But what truly happened in Delphine LaLaurie's home? Victoria Cosner Love and Lorelei Shannon separate fact from fiction as they investigate the ghastly legend of New Orleans' mad madame and her stately residence known today as one of America's most haunted homes.

Mad Madame LaLaurie

By Victoria Cosner Love and Lorelei Shannon

Buy Wylding Hall at Amazon

Wylding Hall

By Elizabeth Hand

A British band sets off to record their latest album in an ancient country house. Wylding Hall boasts fantastic acoustics, a gorgeous countryside, and the kind of deep dark secrets that keep property values low. Though they manage to create the album that cements their reputation, it comes at a cost: Julian Blake, the group’s lead singer, disappears within the mansion and is never heard from again. Years later, the surviving members and a documentary filmmaker return to tell what happened that summer. Will the truth be uncovered? Or will the house require a payment once again?

Wylding Hall

By Elizabeth Hand

Buy Charnel House at Amazon

Charnel House

By Graham Masterton

This award-winning haunted house tale by master of horror Graham Masterton delivers substantial chills on every page. Seymour Wallis is convinced his San Francisco house is breathing. John Hyatt at the San Francisco Department of Sanitation is willing to entertain his claim. Perhaps it's just a rat in the walls, he thinks. But when Hyatt steps inside, he realizes this is no ordinary infestation. An ancient evil lurks within—and it has no plans of moving on.

Charnel House

By Graham Masterton

Buy The Haunting of Hill House at Amazon

The Haunting of Hill House

By Shirley Jackson

If you’ve never read a Shirley Jackson tale, you’ve never been truly unnerved. Start with this classic thriller about four people seeking answers within one terrifying house. Though they may be prepared for a supernatural encounter or two, the four characters in this tale simply aren’t ready when the haunted house decides to make them a permanent fixture within its walls.

The Haunting of Hill House

By Shirley Jackson

Buy Apparitions and Haunted Houses at Amazon

Apparitions and Haunted Houses

By Ernest Bennett Sir

From the famed Society for Psychical Research in England comes this comprehensive collection of the most well attested cases of apparitions and haunted houses. A treasure trove for believers and skeptics alike, the book explores a wide variety of paranormal reports—from mysterious one-off sightings to in-depth accounts of best known hauntings in history. 

Apparitions and Haunted Houses

By Ernest Bennett Sir

Buy Hell House at Amazon

Hell House

By Richard Matheson

The titular abode in Matheson’s novel is not someplace a house hunter wants to be at night, or afternoon, or at any time.

Rolf Deutsch hasn’t much time left, which leads him to start contemplating life after death. It consumes him so much that he hires several people (including a physicist and a medium) to investigate Hell House, an old home that just might be the key to the other side. Now the question is “which side?” And will they survive the night after they open some of the many doors within?

Related: A Close Encounter with the Ghosts of the Villisca Murder House  

Hell House

By Richard Matheson

Featured photo: Clarisse Meyer / Unsplash 

Created on 16 Jan 2018

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