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8 Ghastly Short Fiction Anthologies and Collections Filled with Ghost Stories

Short fiction to haunt you.

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  • Photo Credit: Featured photo: DDP / Unsplash

Everyone loves a good ghost story—believers and skeptics alike. Maybe you have a family member with a tale of being visited by a spirit in the middle of the night or perhaps you've sat around a fire sharing old stories meant to deter naughty children from misbehaving. 

Ghost stories are a tried and true staple of horror fiction. Countless authors have penned disturbing accounts of malicious spirits or sorrowful ghosts with unfinished business.

And the truth is, we hope they never stop weaving these wonderfully creepy yarns, because nothing can put a chill down your spine like a well-told ghost story.

Please enjoy these frightening settings and garish ghouls conjured by some of the most beloved authors in the horror genre. Here are eight short fiction books filled with ghosts to satisfy your curiosity about the mysterious world beyond the veil. 


Echoes: The Saga Anthology of Ghost Stories

By Edited by Ellen Datlow

A collection of 29 ghost stories from New York Times-bestselling authors Joyce Carol Oates, Alice Hoffman, Seanan McGuire, and Paul Tremblay to name but a few of the notable authors included. From traditional terrifying tales to heartwrenching modern horror stories that play on our present-day anxieties, every kind of horror lover can find a story they’ll enjoy in this chilling anthology.

Selected Ghost Stories from Kwaidan

Selected Ghost Stories from Kwaidan

By Lafcadio Hearn

Irish-Greek author Lafcadio Hearn brings us his own take on traditional stories from Japanese folklore. Seventeen stories are included and range from tales about a blind performer playing for paranormal patrons, a nurse who makes a grand sacrifice for her young charge and a band of rokurokubi—apparitions whose necks are known to stretch unnaturally or whose heads detach entirely—scheme to kill a dignified samurai. 

Dark Encounters

Dark Encounters

By William Croft Dickinson

A librarian watches over an ancient book locked away in a safe after two men died by strangulation after trying to read It, a medieval punishment forces nuns who broke their promises to be buried alive and a professor who upon uncovering his ancestors’ roots is plagued by an ancient curse. All can be found in this collection first published in 1963, set in Scotland and based off of real events, people and haunted objects. The inclusion of authentic history makes these ghost stories all the more terrifying! 

Tales for Twilight

Tales for Twilight

By Alistair W.J. Kerr

This collection includes stories from writers like James Hogg, who wrote in the early 18th century, to present-day authors like James Robertson, proving that throughout the decades, authors have known how to weave a spooky ghost story. There are exorcisms, heartrending demises and countryside haunts that highlight some of the best Scottish ghost tales ever written.  

Haunted Legends

Haunted Legends

By Ellen Datlow, Nick Mamatas

Every country has its own stories of unexplained paranormal phenomena; frights they grew up hearing and still feared as adults. Whether they are merely make-believe or true occurrences, these stories have ingrained themselves in our brains, forcing them to be continuously retold. In this collection, disturbing tales are shared by a few beloved horror and dark fantasy authors. You’ll learn about Vietnam’s fox spirits, Rhode Island’s vampires and a haunted amusement park in the Pacific Northwest. Enjoy traversing the globe and discovering what nightmares await in various cultures.


The Complete Supernatural Stories

By M. R. James

This selection of more than 30 ghost stories from Montague Rhodes James, an English author who wrote in the mid-1800s, is said to have inspired H. P. Lovecraft and was described by author Michael Sadleir as “the best ghost-story writer England has ever produced.” His stories redefined the genre by deserting gothic horror clichés and opting for more modern settings. Readers will take pleasure in this eerie storytelling experience.

Ghostly Tales

Ghostly Tales

By M. R. James, Elizabeth Gaskell, Charles Dickens, Robert Louis Stevenson, Amelia B. Edwards, Arthur Conan Doyle and F. Marion Crawford

Beautifully illustrated, eerie artwork complements each haunting Victorian ghost story in this collection from masterful authors like M.R. James, Elizabeth Gaskell, Charles Dickens and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Stories about graveyard phantoms, haunted whaling ships and shrieking human skulls await readers who will feel transported to the Victorian age.


Ghost Stories: Classic Tales of Horror and Suspense

By Edited by Leslie S. Klinger and Lisa Morton

Sometimes beloved, well-known authors' works are overshadowed by their other popular titles. In Ghost Stories: Classic Tales of Horror and Suspense, Leslie S. Klinger and Lisa Morton ensure that brilliantly chilling, underappreciated ghost tales are highlighted. They provide historical context and examine the impact ghosts have had on literature for over 200 years. Offerings from Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry James, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps and Edith Wharton are waiting to be rediscovered!

Featured photo: DDP / Unsplash