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Rich Cash
Enlisted in 1971 - Retired in 1996
12:10 AM on 10/28/2012
The scariest book I've ever read was William Peter Blattey's "The Exorcist". I read it during my first enlistment when I considered myself a fire-breathing war-fighter. After the first few chapters, I turned on all the lights in my room, opened all the doors and windows and scanned the room after every other sentence.
Others in my list include (in no particular order)
"The Fall of the House of Usher"
"Salem's Lot"
"Dracula"
"It"
"Ghost Story"
"The Stand"
"Swan Song"
"They Thirst"
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PumpkinGirl
Karma WILL get you, make no mistake about it!
08:07 AM on 10/28/2012
Ooo - excellent list!! I'd forgotten the book of The Exorcist - you're right - VERY scary!!!!
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ReadHead322
I was born in a crossfire hurricane
02:23 PM on 10/29/2012
What a good list! F & F
10:00 PM on 10/27/2012
In no particular order except for the last two which take people where they shouldn't necessarily be going:

Ghost Story - Straub
It - King
'Salem's Lot - King
Koko - Straub
Floating Dragon - Straub
Cabal - Clive Barker
Weaveworld - Clive Barker
Amityville Horror - Anson

The Exorcist - Blatty - I read The Exorcist when I was 12. My mother came into the room and saw what I was reading. All she said to me was "You be careful reading that." That book has, I don't know. Something. It leaves a stain, it really does.

Possessed - Thomas Allen's account of Frs. Bowdern and Halloran's exorcism on which Blatty based his book. It has a significant portion of the Roman Ritual in it and reading that alone made my hair stand on end. The book mysteriously disappeared.
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Nolana
I think: therefore, I'm dangerous.
09:36 PM on 10/27/2012
I read Shirley Jackson's "The Haunting of Hill House" on a bright, sunny May afternoon, and still felt queasy with fear. The scene where the main character is listening to the noises battering her bedroom door, while she's clutching her roommate's hand - and then realizes that her roommate is askeep and she doesn't know whose - or what's - hand she's been squeezing.... oh my god.

A few years ago I was reading a Barbara Michaels ghost story, "Ammie, Come Home" - not a classic of the genre, more of a potboiler, but a decent, creepy story nonetheless - on a hot, thunderstormy summer night. All the windows were open, and the thunder was fading, and rain was dripping from the trees, and just as I got to the scariest part of the story, two animals began fighting right outside the window, growling, snarling, screaming. I yelped the threw the book in the air, and just about fell out of my chair. When I felt I dared move, I shut all the windows and hid under the bedcovers!
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PumpkinGirl
Karma WILL get you, make no mistake about it!
08:08 AM on 10/28/2012
OMG - Ammie, Come Home - one of the BEST!! did you ever see the movie?? It was good, too. I had to lol at your description of your adventure reading it!!!
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Nolana
I think: therefore, I'm dangerous.
08:37 AM on 10/28/2012
I have never seen the movie, but I would like to. I agree, "Ammie Come Home" is B. Michaels best ghost story, followed (imo) by "House of Many Shadows".

Once I stopped shivering after being scared, I had to laugh. It was so gothic!
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Michelle Zumbrum
Crazy book loving cat lady Liberal (And proud of i
10:58 PM on 10/28/2012
OMGosh, I was almost afraid to get out of bed to turn out the lights during that part of "The Haunting of Hill House"... I always recommend that book for those looking for a good scare!1
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ctc1066
09:14 PM on 10/27/2012
The American Horror genre and the many fine authors we have are so poorly recognized. I generally find the character development, plot lines and imagery to be far superior to most of the classics they are intent on boring kids to death with in school.
NoBlame
Micro-biology for better leavening!
08:56 PM on 10/27/2012
"Communion" still has me scared, and I really don't believe in aliens!
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Will Buckner
Beware those in whom the urge to punish is strong
07:44 PM on 10/27/2012
house of leaves will always be one of my favorite books
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05:31 PM on 10/27/2012
I love the majority of Stephen King's and Dean Koontz's books. I can't wait to see TNT's adaptation of Dean Koontz's Frankenstein series. Scary stories have always held a special place in my heart as I am a writer myself.
Check out a few of my books at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B009MS919M . They're fairly cheap. One is only a dollar, two of them are horrors and I also included a short story in "The White Cockatoo." I would be ever so thankful. And Happy Scares and Frightening Halloween.
03:59 PM on 10/27/2012
The Stand is the scariest book I've read. The Amityville Horror gave me nightmares. That stupid book scared me silly, but I read it over and over again. I read Salem's Lot when I was a kid - and it scared me a little but as a teenager re-read it and scared me silly. Love Dean Koontz books too! Odd Thomas is one of my favs. Fun list :)
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PumpkinGirl
Karma WILL get you, make no mistake about it!
08:16 AM on 10/28/2012
The Stand & 'salem's Lot were the best of the best for me!
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collectsrocks
It's good to be good & nice to be nice
01:40 PM on 10/27/2012
I think I've read King's "IT" about 6 times. Never old nor less frightening. I plan to re- read "IT" by flashlight & candlelight if Sandy hits here in NY knocking the lights out. I'm currently re-reading King's book of short stories, "Just After Sunset," for the 4th time with 10 pages to go. When "IT" was on the best seller list my boyfriend's mother was reading it when a freak ice storm hit NY. No power for 8 days. Her husband & 2 sons were out of town on a business trip. Couldn't make it home. Home alone, with her 2 cats next to her, she read "IT" by the light of the fireplace & candlight. Still reading "IT" the temps warmed up & she began hearing many loud odd cracking sounds, huge thuds & scratching noises, freaking her out. Put book down; no noise. Start reading; weird sounds. Days later she discovered ice covered branches on the 100 ft pine trees behind her yard had been breaking off causing the odd noises, plus the racoons she'd usually feed had been scratching her sliding door wanting food. Afterward she refused to read anything by King ever again & gave the book away.
01:36 PM on 10/27/2012
I have to agree with Something Wicked This Way Comes. I would add Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House. The atmospheric ones that provide dark suspense are the best.
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Ed R
Thank God I'm an atheist.
07:24 PM on 10/27/2012
I agree with both of you on Something Wicked This Way Comes.
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Elecktra001
PC assassin
08:50 PM on 10/27/2012
"The Haunting" is one of my all time favs.
11:14 AM on 10/27/2012
>The Dark Half< by Stephen King seriously scared me and, occasionally, creeped me out. I was 14 when I first read it. I also liked "Psycho". Although overshadowed by the Hitchcock film, Bloch's original >Psycho< ranks among the best horror stories I've ever read.
A couple of months ago I laid my hands on Tami Hoag's Dark Paradise. I expected an extremely suspenseful, creepy story, but somehow I ended up laughing at nearly every page.
04:44 PM on 10/26/2012
Would have loved to see a Local Author on the list. Rudolfo Anaya's Bless me ultima. I think its because of the NM folklore that this book actually scared the heck out of me. and still does they just made a motion picture out of it too.
04:16 PM on 10/26/2012
The Other by Thomas Tyrone(sp) Try to put it down.
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pakaal
Pigs, in cages, on antibiotics
06:03 PM on 10/26/2012
Nasty movie too, but yeah, great book. Pitchforks! Ugh! Barrels! UGH!!
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04:11 PM on 10/26/2012
I found Thomas Harris' Red Dragon much more frightening than Silence of the Lambs. And what about The Exorcist? Still the scariest book I ever read.
06:28 PM on 10/26/2012
I was sitting, three in the morning, reading a book about medieval magic, witches and their familiars, - black cats. I felt a presence and raised my eyes from the book. There was the neighbor's black cat sitting erect staring at me, no more than four feet away. It had never been in that room before. That was my scariest moment reading a book about, well you know, weird stuff.
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Kevin1961
04:09 PM on 10/26/2012
I read a few of these, and for sure, very creepy. But they left lots of books off the list. Peter Straub's Ghost Story, is one of the creepiest books ever.
05:39 AM on 10/27/2012
I agree--lots were left off. I could have listed twenty, but they wanted seven. Heck, I didn't even list my own book, The Shadow Man, which I think is pretty darn scary in its own right!
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c-tom
Badges we don't need no stinking badges
02:54 PM on 10/27/2012
This is maybe the best list of books HP has done. King has written something like a million books and you picked the 2 scariest ones. There wasn't a dud in the bunch. Based on the old saw 'write about what you know' I'll be reading The Shadow Man.