The 10 Scariest Podcasts Out There

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Best Horror Podcasts Featured Horror Mystery and Lore Indie Horror Short Horror Stories

It seems that podcasts are a dime a dozen these days, but fortunately for horror fans, the quality quite closely matches the quantity. We have scoured the web to find you the scariest podcasts. Also, quite luckily for the fans of the horror genre, the popularity of podcast creation is still on the rise. Like audiobooks, horror podcasts have turned into a popular form of entertainment because it only requires that we listen. We can listen to music, an audiobook, and even a scary podcasts while we’re doing our daily routine–when we’re getting ready for work in the morning, while we’re working out, while we’re commuting to or from work, and when we’re taking a relaxing bath… With horror podcasts, we especially enjoy allowing these creepy stories into our brains during the relentlessly sleepless nights, when an audio-only creepfest entitles us to retreat to the safety of our comfiest blanket while the darkness envelopes us entirely. Check out the ten scariest podcasts below.


10. Ghosts in the Burbs

Ghosts in the Burbs is a podcast made by a children’s librarian, who interviews her neighbors in Wellsley, Massachusetts about stories that no one would ever want to tell children. While she doesn’t bring all the special effects of music, special editing, or anything extraordinary, it’s her content that drives the creepy content of her podcast–while the stories don’t need to be heard in any particular order, we still recommend that you start at the beginning so you can get the full experience that Liz brings us with her dark tales that lurk in the otherwise sunny Wellesley.


9. The NoSleep Podcast

If you follow the NoSleep subreddit, then you’re probably not a stranger to the NoSleep Podcast, but if you’ve never heard it before, then give it a listen–there are so many plausible horror short stories that are a variety of styles as well as perspectives, but the one thing that they all share is the quality of scares. You’ll be consistently spooked by the stories told by NoSleep and you can thank us later.


8. PseudoPod

It seems like PseudoPod is kind of a horror-household name, they have amazing narrators, read some of the best horror short stories, that have come from some of the best authors around. There is something for everyone with this insanely simple and blood-curdling story-telling experience, it stands to reason if you don’t like one you should try another one, you’ll find something that you’re bound to enjoy.


7. Knifepoint Horror

Where other podcasts have an amazing track, or melodious narrators with voices of angels, who can emote through their presence of voice alone, Knifepoint Horror seems to only use the strengths of the narrator voices as well as limited sound effects somehow makes it feel like you’re there in the room with the characters. It makes you feel as if you might be the one that will next fall victim to the horrors that the characters are made to face. We highly recommend this horror podcast if you want something that will make your skin crawl at its best points and intrigue you at its slowest parts.


At number 6 in our scary podcast recommendation list is a self-proclaimed modern take on the Twilight Zone, it doesn’t fail to deliver with its eclectic collection of author contributions as well as narrators along with stellar audio effects make this an immersive experience, but what really makes this podcast special is the agonizingly spooky and mysterious nature of these short stories. The variety available with The Other Stories is perhaps one of its most attractive qualities of this horror, sci-fi, and thriller fiction show–but there’s also the themes that they tackle with each chapter. We even came up with a list of our favorites, so take a look at this podcast, we guarantee you won’t regret it!


5. Limetown

This horror mystery podcast gives the feeling that there is something real going on, it has the depth of a real news story–kind of like a forensic crime documentary. There is something wonderful about the production value of this particular podcast, as it features a fictional host of the fictional American Public Radio who is trying to solve the mystery of several hundred people vanishing from a town in Tennessee a decade ago. The interesting thing about this particular ongoing story is that there are moments where, despite being reminded that it’s pure fiction, that you can’t really be sure of whether or not it’s real. What’s more, there are moments where you might entertain conspiratorial beliefs about it being an elaborate cover-up. Regardless, it smacks hard of the Orson Welles’ adaptation of the H.G. Wells classic War of the Worlds as a radio broadcast that convinced many people that the world was being invaded by creatures from another planet.


4. Video Palace

So if you were to stumble upon Video Palace without any previous knowledge of what they were about, you might think that the narrative was a true story–it starts when the narrator’s girlfriend wakes him up after he began sleep-talking in a non-existent language. They decide to do a full investigation into what could be causing this and what they end up finding is something of a mystery that needs to be solved. The thing that really makes this fictional podcast feel all-the-more real, is the real-life writers, bloggers, and filmmakers that have their own history in the horror genre.


3. Unwell

There’s something very unwell about Mount Absalom, Ohio–even if everything about it screams hospitality. When Lily Harper returns home to Mount Absalom to look after her mother, Dot, she encounters all of the things she hated about visiting her mother during the summers. This podcast is amazingly done, with impeccable audio and a quirky sense of humor that doesn’t overwhelm the darkness and malice that lays beneath the facade of niceties. If you want to disappear into a story, then this is an incredible one to immerse yourself in.


2. The Magnus Archives

Another anthology podcast with a classical sense of tone, the cadence of the narration weighs heavily upon the mood that is delivered–there is something soothing, but utterly petrifying about the way the words are spoken. Something that we find wonderful about the Magnus Archives is the fearless nature in which it tackles each of the episodes–the eerie ability to pull you into a story–submerse yourself in the Archives.


1. Alice Isn’t Dead

There isn’t a way to describe this podcast without gushing like a complete geek–there is something in the production value of this podcast that truly pulls you into the story. We’re following a female truck driver as she searches for her previously thought-to-be dead wife through a desolate landscape of mystery, allure, and a darkness that is difficult to capture through words. With a stunningly capturing score, an entrancing voice actress who gives us a narrative that we don’t want to quit. Just take a listen and tell us you didn’t want to keep listening through to the end.

We hope that you enjoyed this discussion on horror podcasts–it’s an eclectic bunch of channels, but if you’re a horror junkie, you now have hours of content at your fingertips and all for the low-low price of your time and attention! The popular Lore Podcast did not make the cut here, as it isn’t fully horror-based, but we do have a list of some of the scariest Lore episodes you can check out. Let us know what you think about these podcasts and let us know if you feel we should include other horror channels in any future podcast discussions?

The 12 A.M. To Nowhere

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Featured Indie Horror Short Horror Stories

This must be the hundredth time I have woken up on this damn subway covered in blood and body parts. If I have to spit one more ear lobe out my mouth again, I swear I am going to shit a brick.

Nothing changes.

It is the same thing over and over. There’s the red head over there draped across the seat. One of her green eyes is dangling out of the socket and her legs are gnawed off at the knees. Then there’s the douche bag looking bro dude with black hair and a trimmed beard. Well, what’s left of him anyway. He is splattered all over the car. At my feet are the police officers. One has his chest ripped open. The other has her organs over her face, and still another is missing his head.

I examine the car and see broken windows. It had crashed at some point. I walk down the aisle and see the mangled remains of men, women, and children. A crash didn’t do this. There is no way a wreck can take someone’s intestines and wrap them around the holding bar like a coiled serpent.

“Hello!” I yell. I say the same words every time. “Anyone there? What the fuck happened?”

I look down at my hands and they are dripping crimson. My eyes scan my body again and I am naked. Goosebumps are all over my flesh and there is skin underneath my fingernails. I hold my hands up and stare at them.

“What the hell…” Something crunches under my feet. I stare down at it and see a severed jaw.

The sinews and ligaments are wiggling and dripping blood. Then I remember Ronnie. He got on the subway with me. We were going to the movies because they were having a horror triple feature.

“Ronnie!” I call. “Where are you, man?”

I step over more dead people and go into the next car. I see Ronnie. The expression on his face is sheer panic. His brown eyes are gazing into me and he is missing his ears. Blood trickles down his neck and for some reason, all I can focus on are the drops which are on a few strands of his neck hair. His fingers are missing from his hand. They had been shoved in his mouth and he resembles a bad Dick Tracy character.

I sob and tremble. “Ronnie! Oh, God! Ronnie!” I grab him and shake him. The fingers spill out of his mouth and topple onto the floor. “Shit,” I mumble and step back.

I remember now.

I know what’s coming.

I have the same memory lapse for a while then when I get to this point it all comes back to me.

I peek over my shoulder and remember Hannah. My beautiful, blonde angel who loved me like no other. She came with me because we both love horror movies. Too bad I couldn’t save her. She is sprawled out on a seat with her throat ripped to shreds. Her hip bones are missing too.

Who the hell can rip out hip bones?

You can The thought arose from the recesses of my mind. “Bull shit!” I yelled. “I did not!” I clasp my palms over my ears. “Shut the fuck up and get out of my fucking head!”

I spin in circles and scream. All I notice are the blood stains splattered on the car. I stop then grab Hannah and hold her in my arms.

“Who did this!” I yell. I fling my head back and cry. I pull a hand away from Hannah and wipe my eyes then blood mixed with tears stream down my cheek.

You did this, the voice in my head says again.

I throw Hannah’s corpse down in rage and glare up at the ceiling. I clench my fist and lift them towards the heavens. “I did not!”

Yes, you did.

“Bull shit! You liar!”

Then the events play through my mind. I killed all these people. I killed Ronnie. I killed Hannah. I killed those kids. The revelation is too much for me. My knees grow week and I fall to the ground. I can feel the warm blood on my naked butt. I pull my knees to my chin and bury my head into them. I weep and rock, smelling the copper scent of blood and organs.

I don’t know if this is hell.

I don’t know if this is reality gone mad.

I don’t know if this is quantum physics on hallucinogens.

All I know is I can sense the full moon even down in this subway and I am going to have my transformation.

And this shit is about to happen all lover again.

The Beleaguered Buckner Building of Whittier, Alaska

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Featured Haunted Places Horror Mystery and Lore

The Buckner Building stands in Whittier, Alaska—the gateway to Prince William Sound—as a relic to a forgotten past. It is tucked away in the hidden port town of Whittier, a town that can only be accessed by boat, plane, or through a single train tunnel that moonlights as a passage way for big rigs, and automobiles. The bay area that surrounds Whittier is solely deep-water ports that stay ice-free year round and the railroad port is one of two, all-weather ports that supplied Anchorage with military necessities and during times of war was of key importance in order for it to stay functioning and safeguarded. The climate that the port operates under is one of nearly constant cloud coverage, which is beneficial in the respect that it protects the port and its facilities from air strikes. With all aspects of this port town taken into consideration, Whittier was possibly the most perfect place to have a military base of this caliber.

The Buckner Building in Whittier, Alaska
The Buckner Building in Whittier, Alaska Photography by Mary Farnstrom
The Buckner Building in Whittier, AK
The Buckner Building in Whittier, Alaska
Photography by Mary Farnstrom

The Construction and Function of the Buckner Building

Early in the course of World War II General Simon Buckner, the commander of the defensive forces of the state of Alaska was highly concerned that the state would be vulnerable to air attacks. Buckner also believed that the best type of facility would be one that autonomous, with its own power plant, sufficient storage space, and bomb-proof. The Cold War began two short years after the end of World War II and in 1953, six years into the second red scare, the construction of the Buckner Building was completed, and having been cast in place by reinforced concrete on a bedrock of slate and greywacke the building was on stable ground not susceptible to seismic shifting from earthquakes, or from thawing of any remaining permafrost.

The building was once listed as one of the largest in the state, it stands six stories tall, is approximately 500 feet long and between 50-150 feet wide (depending on which part of the floor plan it is)—all of this adds up to around 275,000 square feet of space. This massive concrete building was built in seven sections, each section having been separated by eight-inch gaps—as a means to have the structural flexibility to ride out large magnitude earthquakes and concussive forces.

In its heyday, The Buckner Building once housed the entire city of Whittier, Alaska—within its walls were also all of the relevant services were located. There was a small hospital, a 350 seat theater, four-lane bowling alley, six-cell jail, church, bakery, barbershop, library, radio station, rifle range, photography lab, commissary, officers’ lounge, as well as a mess hall, and innumerable sleeping quarters for military personnel and their families.

The Earthquake of 1964

In March of 1964, Alaska was hit by the most powerful earthquake in the history of North America (second most powerful throughout world history)—registering at a magnitude of 9.2 and lasting a full four minutes and thirty-eight seconds, the Great Alaskan earthquake caused multiple ground fissures along south central Alaska, but it also collapsed structures and caused multiple tsunamis—all of this resulted in an estimated 131 deaths. Whittier itself was not immune to the natural disaster, with thirteen people dead and damages to private and federally owned property that were over five million dollars. The Buckner building itself was also slightly damaged, although the structural integrity was not compromised due to the foundation upon the bedrock—the rest of the town received considerably more in damages due to the unconsolidated sediment that it rests on.

The Abandonment of the Base

The building was in operation until 1966, when the military finally pulled out of the Port of Whittier, the building was then transferred to the General Services Administration; after being vacated by the military, however, the ownership of the building changed hands several times. At one point Pete Zamarello, a man dubbed as the “Anchorage Strip Mall Czar”, obtained ownership of the Buckner Building with ideas of turning it into the state prison—but his deal with the state fell through and it was purchased by the citizens of the new City of Whittier in 1972. By the 1980s, the building had fallen into disrepair, windows and doors were missing, so the building began to decompose—being exposed to the elements allowed water to begin accumulating, and the building itself being in a constant state of freeze and thaw.

By 2014, nearly every inch of the building, inside and out, had been vandalized—the floors were covered in at least an inch of water, and was riddled with asbestos, mold, and mildew—suffice it to say it was no longer a safe environment for people to go exploring in. The problem was, was that there was hardly any regulation in place to keep people out of the building—so they began to crack down on trespassers on the property.

The city of Whittier came under the ownership of the Buckner Building in 2016 when the building officially went into foreclosure, it was at this point that a fence went up around the building to keep trespassers out. While the Whittier Department of Public Works and Public Utilities has done work on the property, and the city continues to express their desire to maintain it in order to preserve history, the Alaska Department of Environment Conservation has recommended demolition. While there have been many discussions to demolish the building, it has been ruled as being cost-prohibitive—this is due to the sheer amount of asbestos that is in the building and that the only land route in and out of Whittier. This route is through the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel, a two and a half mile railroad tunnel which allots thirty-minute windows for cars to travel through at certain times during the day—the only other option to remove debris would be on ships.

Having been abandoned for over forty years has taken its toll on the interior—where the ceilings are falling in, the light fixtures are and some parts of the exterior of the building which is tagged and degraded. The Buckner Building does still stand as of July 2020—it stands as a crumbling, darkened, cracked, and adulterated monument of an era of military and government ambition that has not since returned.

A Look Inside the Abandoned Buckner Building

Is the Buckner Building Haunted?

While this enormous abandoned building in Whittier looks incredibly spooky against the typically overcast, grey dreary skies of this hidden port town, there are also rumors of the building being haunted. While this writer’s personal investigation didn’t result in the capture of any evidence of the paranormal, other people have reported encounters and experiences that they have been more than happy to share. The Buckner Building is closed to the public, so going into the building itself is a no-go unless you want to risk health complications (mercury, lead, and asbestos poisoning is possible), injury, death, or–most likely, a hefty fine from the local police. Locals of Whittier are pretty vigilant to keep people away from and out of the building, but it doesn’t mean people haven’t ventured in to get an up-close and personal experience inside of these reportedly haunted walls. There are believed to be multiple presences within the building, although there are no records to explain these hauntings.

Due to the dilapidation of the building, the first basement is only accessible through a hole in the wall now, where the second basement is now only accessible through a hole in the floor. These two rooms are said to house an entity of “pure evil,” and people are warned to stay away from the area completely, especially the stairwell that has red, detached wiring hanging from the ceiling. Far southwest stairwell, the second corridor on the second floor, the jail, and the third floor are all haunted by apparitions–in particular, an entity that is witnessed hanging from water pipes on the second floor, and a little girl who is seen wandering the third floor crying. Room three to the right of the mental ward of the hospital, within the corridor right before the jail is reported to be especially haunted, to the point that the entity within will only allow certain people to enter the room. If this entity does not accept the person trying to enter, the door will slam shut before they can enter and seems to be locked from the inside.

The Best Books About Hauntings

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Featured Horror Books NA Reviews

“The book is so much better than the movie.” It’s a phrase you hear often from the most advanced bookworms, especially horror enthusiasts who love to discover terrifying new worlds from the comfort of their own (occasionally haunted) homes. No jump scares. No monsters in SFX makeup. No image of scream king Patrick Wilson banishing a demon. Just you and the deadly silence, flipping through pages of the most hauntingly beautiful tales about ghosts, spirits, and life beyond the grave. The year 2020 has given us plenty of time to dive into the most dread-filled novels – ranging from dark fantasy and gothic horror to the post-apocalyptic. But you can’t go wrong with a classic ghost story – detailing the experiences of spirits who (knowingly or not) haunt the living world, and you’ll definitely find yourself looking over your shoulder with every creak or crack you hear while reading these haunted books

The Shining

Author: Steven King

Published: 1977

The Shining book cover

No list of best haunted books would be complete without The Shining  – an epic novel from the godfather of horror, Mr. Steven King. In fact, you could even argue that this was King’s breakthrough story. The Shining focuses on the life of Jack Torrance, a struggling writer and recovering alcoholic working as an off-season caretaker at a hotel in Colorado. His son Danny, who possesses psychic abilities referred to as “the shining,” begins to pick up on the hotel’s tragic past –  with haunting visions and terrifying threats coming his way. Danny and his mother, Wendy, soon find themselves in great danger when supernatural forces begin to take control of Jack – and a snowstorm traps them inside the hotel with their deranged loved one and evil forces. The Shining was made into a film in 1980 – earning its status as a horror classic and pop culture phenomenon. Here’s Johnny!

Within These Walls

Author: Ania Ahlborn

Published: 2015

Within These Walls book cover

Lucas Graham’s life is falling apart – his marriage crumbling while his formerly successful career as a true crime writer has come to a halt. What’s a man to do when he has nothing left? Tell the story of Jeffrey Halcomb, a convicted cult leader who has avoided media interviews for many years. Seeing his chance for redemption, Graham gives up his life in New York to move into Halcomb’s old home – until he discovers that the residence, and Halcomb’s history, is far more sinister than he could have imagined. Many haunted house tales begin with a more modern type of horror story – a person’s fall from grace. They move into a new house hoping for a fresh start and sense of purpose, just like Graham, only to discover that their demons (and other evil spirits) will always follow them. Within These Walls is a terrifying horror story that’s more relatable than most of us would believe. 

The Haunting of Hill House

Author: Shirley Jackson

Published: 1959

The Haunting of Hill House book cover

If you’ve watched the hit Netflix series based on this novel, you know that it’s not just ghosts that bring the terror, but complex relationships. But unlike the group of siblings you follow in the show, the book focuses on four strangers – brought to stay at Hill House for the summer under the guidance of Dr. John Montague, as he attempts to prove the existence of the supernatural. It’s safe to say that he succeeds, as the participants begin to notice strange noises, ghosts roaming the halls, blood written on walls and other paranormal occurrences that are terrifying in every decade. As much as you loved watching The Haunting of Hill House on Netflix, now may be the time to step away from the laptop and pick up the novel that started it all. Undoubtedly one of the best books about hauntings ever written.

Hell House

Author: Richard Matheson

Published: 1971

Hell House book cover

Most horror fans have a fairly high tolerance for the gruesome, strange, and disturbing… but Hell House takes it to the next level. You’ll definitely feel a little uncomfortable while reading this 1970’s novel, yet also find yourself unable to put it down. Pretty standard for the horror genre. The story involves a dying millionaire, William Reinhardt Deutsch, who hires a psychiatrist and two psychics to investigate the existence of the afterlife. Seems simple, right? Not quite.They only have one week to do it, and are required to enter the most haunted house in the world – with a disturbing history of blasphemy, perversion, and murder. Most who enter the Belasco House don’t make it out, and the researchers must solve the puzzle of the afterlife without turning on each other or losing their sanity in the process. Hell House is basically the 1970’s, more terrifying version of a modern escape room – and you’ll be thrown right into it with this terrifying haunted house novel. 

The Woman in Black

Author: Susan Hill

Published: 1983

The Woman in Black book cover

Children play a large role in the horror genre – whether they’re the ones falling victim to spiritual trauma, or just the ones doing the killing. This novel tells the story of a grudge-holding spirit named Jennet Drablow, also known as The Woman in Black. After young lawyer Arthur Kipps is summoned to the English town of Crythin Gifford to settle the estate of Alice Drablow (Jenett’s sister) after her death, he discovers that the townspeople are reluctant to talk much about the woman or her family history… besides the fact that The Woman in Black is frequently sighted before the untimely death of a child. As it turns out, it’s for good reason – as the circumstances behind these experiences are more terrifying (and heartbreaking) than anybody could imagine. The Woman in Black was also made into a 2012 film starring Daniel Radcliffe, but you should definitely read the book first for extra spook factor.

The Restless 

Author: Chanel Harry

Published: 2017

The Restless Book Cover

If we learned anything from American Horror Story: Murder House, it’s that moving into a mansion is not enough to save your failing marriage. No matter how gorgeous the house is – and especially not when it’s crawling with ghosts. Published in 2017, The Restless follows Stephen and Marlo Coleman as the couple and their twin daughters move into an old house inherited through a family trust. The catch? Marlo’s elderly aunt Anabelle still lives there, and needs daily care – and things begin to take a turn as the woman speaks of a family curse and visions of her deceased daughter walking the halls. While the family initially believes that Anabelle is simply old and possibly senile, things escate as they begin to experience paranormal occurences, and are forced to uncover the family secret that Anabelle has been hiding for years. 

The Amityville Horror

Author: Jay Anson

Published: 1977

The Amityville Horror book cover

The story of the Amityville house has become legendary in horror and popular culture – with a series of books and films detailing these horrific hauntings. But this 1977 classic is the book that started it all. It tells the story of what happened after Ronald DeFeo Jr. murdered his entire family at Amityville in 1974, when the Lutz family moved into the house and vacated the premises after less than a month – apparently due to being terrorized by evil spirits and paranormal phenomena. The “based on a true story” claim has been met with controversy over the decades since The Amityville Horror was released, but it’s a must-have read for any horror enthusiast – and will definitely put you in the mood to book a flight to New York and see the real-life haunted house for yourself. 

The Good House

Author: Tananarive Due

Published: 2006

The Good House book cover

Like many haunted tales, The Good House begins with the tragic loss of a child. Angela Toussaint lost everything after her son committed suicide – her law practice, her family, and her sense of purpose. She decides to do the unthinkable, and journey back to her grandmother Marie’s house where her son took his own life. While she visits the home looking for answers, she uncovers a family curse that puts herself, and countless others, in a terrifying position. This novel is a gorgeous mix of supernatural, mystery, and magic – featuring everything from ancient Voodoo rituals and terrifying spirits to the real-life horror of losing the things (or people) we love the most. 

The Graveyard Apartment

Author: Mariko Koike

Published: 2016

The Graveyard Apartment book cover

The only thing more scary than a haunted house? An entire haunted apartment building. Seriously, you’d think that people would realize that a super gorgeous, underpriced home is definitely haunted – but that wouldn’t make for a good ghost story. The Graveyard Apartment centers on the Kano family as they move into a brand new, luxurious apartment in Tokyo. The downside is that it’s surrounded by a creepy graveyard, and the family begins to realize that their beautiful new place is also home to tons of paranormal activity. Since we all know that Japanese horror movies are some of the best in the genre, just wait until you read this J-horror book that will make you very wary before moving into your next apartment.

The House Next Door 

Author: Anne Rivers Siddon

Published: 1978

The House Next Door book cover

Dive into this haunted house story with a unique perspective. You see, it’s not just those living in the house who are terrorized by spirits and bad vibes, it’s also the poor neighbors watching their sanity and home value decrease. The House Next Door is told from the perspective of a Colquitt “Col” Kennedy, a middle-aged woman who watches the contemporary home next door continuously lose owners to murder, madness, and scandal. As she discovers the power of the house, she needs to decide if she should warn others of its danger, or keep her reputation and safety intact by staying quiet. 

The Best Cosmic Horror Books

Categories
Best Horror Books Best Of Featured Horror Books Horror Mystery and Lore

One thing that is evident when you look for and inevitably read books, is that are a lot of authors that have been influenced by H.P. Lovecraft. Some take influence by crediting his creations, some crediting his name–others his style, short story form that truly resonate within the genre. Others still have found their own path within the genre, by taking the essence of cosmic horror and making it their own. Finding something genuinely original can oft be an exercise in futility, due to the very nature of this sort of horror, but when that originality is found it is truly like discovering gold. Here are Puzzle Box Horror’s best of cosmic horror book recommendations.

The best of Old-school Cosmic Horror books

What sets old-school cosmic horror apart from the newer literature within the genre, is pretty much what sets old classic literature apart from newer literature in any genre–language, surrounding culture, and societal advantage. It goes deeper than that of course, but what is important when getting acquainted with any form of literature is understanding the time within which it was created.

The Willows (1907)

The Willows book cover (1907) by Algernon Blackwood

While not exactly a book, The Willows by Algernon Blackwood, is technically the first cosmic horror novella that began to establish the cosmic horror genre. It was originally published among a series of other stories in 1907, as a part of his collection The Listener and Other Stories. It’s a great example of early modern horror and despite not receiving the credit it was due, was very much connected within the literary tradition of “weird fiction,” a genre later realized as cosmic horror.

The Willows is a story that invites fear of the unknown, there is a sense of agitation, fear, exhaustion, and eternal trepidation that does not leave the characters or the readers, because there is never a relief from the situation at hand. Available on Amazon here.

And, apart quite from the elements, the willows connected themselves subtly with my malaise, attacking the mind insidiously somehow by reason of their vast numbers, and contriving in some way or other to represent to the imagination a new and mighty power, a power, moreover, not altogether friendly to us.

Excerpt from The Willows by Algernon Blackwood

Listen to Algernon Blackwood’s The Willows below through HorrorBabble.

The Man Who Found Out (1912)

Another shorter existential horror story, Algernon Blackwood’s The Man Who Found Out really just begs the question about personal religious beliefs–what is the ultimate question and answer when it comes to a higher power, particularly that of “God?” Do we really know anything with any certainty? Or is belief and faith what matters most when seeking a higher truth? These unanswered questions are what make this one of the best cosmic horror books out there. Available on Amazon here.

LibriVox has given us Blackwood’s The Man Who Found Out through audiobook and it’s worth checking out.

The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories (1927)

The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories book cover (1927)

It seems that the most successful additions to the cosmic horror genre are generally shorter stories; short stories are benefitted in this particular genre due to the fact that they limit the amount of information that can be conveyed within the confines of the short story’s maximum of ten thousand words.

All of the stories that appear within this particular anthology are by H.P. Lovecraft and are, of course, part of the public domain, so we have included a list of the stories with external links to the stories themselves. Those interested in reading some of the most well-known cosmic horror pieces can find them below. The entire anthology is available on Amazon here.

What Stories Appear Within This Anthology?

Shadows of Carcosa (2014)

Shadows of Carcosa book cover (2014)

Yeah, we know that this book came out in 2014–but that doesn’t discount the fact that it is actually full of old-school cosmic horror, because it’s actually an anthology from some of the best horror writers that literary culture has ever had to offer. These stories span almost an entire century, which illustrates how many authors can be credited for their contributions to cosmic or existential horror.

Luckily for readers who haven’t been well-enough introduced to cosmic horror by now, all of these stories are also within the public domain; we hope that these stories from Shadows of Carcosa (2014) give readers a full picture of what cosmic horror is truly about. The collection is available on Amazon here.

What Stories Appear Within This Anthology?

The best of Modern Cosmic Horror Books

Songs of a Dead Dreamer and Grimscribe (1985)

Songs of a Dead Dreamer and Grimscribe book cover (1985)

Thomas Ligotti’s debut short horror story collection Songs of a Dead Dreamer and Grimscribe possibly made his career–he’s often spoken of in the same manner as authors such as Poe and Lovecraft, and has been referred to as “horror incarnate.” Ligotti never seems to have to try to make his stories work, they take on settings that immediately put the reader into a mood where horror is inescapable without being presumptuous or predictable.

Ligotti’s style is singular and everything he has put into this particular anthology is wholly worth the time to read. Available on Amazon here.

What Stories Appear Within This Anthology?

Songs of a Dead Dreamer
  • Dreams for Sleepwalkers
    • The Frolic
    • Les Fleurs
    • Alice’s Last Adventure
    • Dream of a Manikin
    • The Nyctalops Trilogy:
      • The Chymist
      • Drink to Me Only with Labyrinthine Eyes
      • Eye of the Lynx
    • Notes on the Writing of Horror: A Story
  • Dreams for Insomniacs
    • The Christmas Eves for Aunt Elise
    • The Lost Art of Twilight
    • The Troubles of Dr. Thoss
    • Masquerade of a Dead Sword: A Tragedie
    • Dr. Voke and Mr. Veech
    • Professor Nobody’s Little Lectures on Supernatural Horror
  • Dreams for the Dead
    • Dr. Locrian’s Asylum
    • The Sect of the Idiot
    • The Greater Festival of Masks
    • The Music of the Moon
    • The Journal of J.P. Drapeau
    • Vastarien
Grimscribe
  • The Voice of the Damned
    • The Last Feast of Harlequin
    • The Spectacles in the Drawer
    • Flowers of the Abyss
    • Nethescurial
  • The Voice of the Demon
    • The Night School
    • The Glamour
  • The Voice of the Child
    • The Library of Byzantium
    • Miss Plarr
  • The Voice of Our Name
    • The Shadow at the Bottom of the World
The Imago Sequence and Other Stories book cover(2007)

Laird Barron’s first short story collection The Imago Sequence and Other Stories set a precedent for the rest of his career; what could be expected from him in his other works really was set up with this collection. The fact that it received the Shirley Jackson Award for best collection was not even the most wondrous part of this particular body of work–Barron has an ability to create an image within the reader’s mind that is unlike any other author. He has been compared to the likes of Stephen King, but with the advantage of making his details count for more than just words towards an ultimate goal. Available on Amazon here.

What Stories Appear Within This Anthology?

  • Old Virginia (2003)
  • Shiva, Open Your Eye (2001)
  • Procession of the Black Sloth (2007)
  • Bulldozer (2004)
  • Proboscis (2005)
  • Hallucigenia (2006)
  • Parallax (2005)
  • The Royal Zoo Is Closed (2006)
  • The Imago Sequence (2005)

White is For Witching (2009)

White is For Witching book cover (2005)

Helen Oyeyemi’s White is For Witching reads almost like a journal, which has always given the reader less of a feeling that they’re getting the full picture. Why look at the forest when you can see the trees more clearly? In truth, focusing on the details from a personal perspective often leaves much more to the imagination and that is a huge part of weird fiction and cosmic horror.

When you don’t know what is going on outside of the perspective of the narrator, it leaves you with a sense of emptiness–what is happening beyond their ideal truth? Available on Amazon here.

Cthulhu’s Reign (2010)

Cthulhu's Reign book cover(2010)

Another anthology designed to pay tribute to the father of cosmic horror, this collection of short stories gives a more complete image of what would happen once the old ones have taken over the world as we know it–when humans are no longer the dominant force on the Earth and when we can no longer rely on what we have become accustomed to.

What kind of horror would we endure when the old ones take over the world? What would we be able to expect from an uncaring force of nature and could we really hate the force that overwhelms society as we know it when it is not maliciously ending our world, or would it simply be something that we fear beyond anything else? Available on Amazon here.

What Stories Appear Within This Anthology?

  • The Walker in the Cemetery (2010) by Ian Watson
  • Sanctuary (2010) by Don Webb
  • Her Acres of Pastoral Playground (2010) by Mike Allen
  • Spherical Trigonometry (2010) by Ken Asamatsu
  • What Brings the Void (2010) by Will Murray
  • The New Pauline Corpus (2010) by Matt Cardin
  • Ghost Dancing (2010) by Darrell Schweitzer
  • This is How the World Ends (2010) by John R. Fultz
  • The Shallows (2010) by John Langan
  • Such Bright and Risen Madness in Our Names (2010) by Joseph E. Lake, Jr.
  • The Seals of New R’lyeh (2010) by Gregory Frost
  • The Holocaust of Ecstasy (2010) by Brian Stableford
  • Vastation (2010) by Laird Barron
  • Nothing Personal (2010) by Richard A. Lupoff
  • Remnants (2010) by Fred Chappell

The Croning (2012)

The Croning book cover(2012)

The Croning can be considered, without a doubt, the debut cosmic horror novel by Laird Barron–unlike his collection of short stories, The Imago Sequence and Other Stories, this is a full-length novel within the genre of cosmic horror.

We see cults, dark magic, and a plethora of other themes that are common fixtures of the genre and we can’t look away–we highly recommend this particular literary spectacle, it’s a novel that without which, this list would be incomplete. Available on Amazon here.

Dreams From the Witch House book cover(2016)

Dreams From the Witch House (2016)

This particular anthology, Dreams From the Witch House: Female Voices of Lovecraftian Horror, while honoring the origins of the genre is something different and singular. This anthology of short stories contains, as can be derived from the title, stories of cosmic horror that were written by female authors in the genre. Available on Amazon here.

What Stories Appear Within This Anthology?

  • Shadows of the Evening (1998) by Joyce Carol Oates
  • The Genesis Mausoleum (2015) by Colleen Douglas
  • The Woman in the Hill (2015) by Tamsyn Muir
  • The Face of Jarry (2015) by Cat Hellisen
  • Our Lady of Arsia Mons (2012) by Caitlín R. Kiernan
  • The Body Electric (2015) by Lucy Brady
  • The Child and the Night Gaunts (2015) by Marly Youmans
  • All Our Salt-Bottled Hearts (2015) by Sonya Taaffe
  • Every Hole in the Earth We Will Claim As Our Own (2015) by Gemma Files
  • But Only Because I Love You (2015) by Molly Tanzer
  • Cthulhu’s Mother (2015) by Kelda Crich
  • All Gods Great and Small (2015) by Karen Heuler
  • Dearest Daddy (2015) by Lois H. Gresh
  • Eye of the Beholder (2015) by Nancy Kilpatrick
  • Down at the Bottom of Everything (2015) by E.R. Knightsbridge
  • Spore (2015) by Amanda Downum
  • Pippa’s Crayons (2015) by Christine Morgan
  • The Wreck of the Charles Dexter Ward (2012) by Elizabeth Bear & Sarah Monette
  • From the Cold Dark Sea (2015) by Storm Constantine
  • Mnemeros (2015) by R.A. Kaelin

The Ballad of Black Tom (2016)

The Ballad of Black Tom Book cover (2016)

Victor LaValle grew up reading the horror stories that came from the life of H.P. Lovecraft, but it wasn’t until much later in his life that LaValle realized the excessive amounts of racism and agoraphobia that was present in Lovecraft’s body of work. As an African-American man, he used this eye-opening moment in his life to respond in kind, from one writer to another, by reinventing Lovecraft’s short story The Horror at Red Hook from the perspective of a black man.

LaValle’s re-imagining of this story was invigorating, riveting, and a triumph of creative responses to unacceptable biases–he succeeded in showing that Lovecraft’s work would have been even better had it not been rife with bigotry and bias for those who were not like Lovecraft. Available on Amazon here.

It’s important to understand that while we here at Puzzle Box Horror greatly appreciate the body of work that Lovecraft added to the horror genre, we recognize his biases and do not endorse them or agree with them. We were more than ecstatic when we found that there were actually literary responses to these particular issues and hope that such responses continue to appear within the literary community. Read the original story, by Lovecraft, that this novella was based off of, The Horror of Red Hook, then read Victor LaValle’s The Ballad of Black Tom.

Lovecraft Country book cover(2016)

Lovecraft Country (2016)

Following The Ballad of Black Tom, the novel Lovecraft Country also addresses the topic of racism within the context of Lovecraftian horror–this particular book has been adapted to screen recently and will soon be seen on HBO as a series–we certainly hope it will be as good as it looks, because the prospect of this one making it to infamy on screen makes us incredibly excited. The novel is available on Amazon here.

From executive producer Jordan Peele, we believe that this production will be worth every minute of time it takes to watch!

The Fisherman (2016)

The Fisherman book cover (2016)

Another from our list of best cosmic horror boos is The Fisherman. Described as a captivating read from beginning to end, John Langan’s The Fisherman gives us a dark, mysterious, fictional assertion of horror and cosmic fantasy. It follows the story of two widowers through their quiet and powerful story of loss and grief, by acknowledging the melancholy situation and the fact that things are never the same after the loss of a loved one. A definite addition to any cosmic horror novel list and one of the best out there. Available on Amazon here.

It would be a lie to say the time passes quickly. It never does, when you want it to.

What the Hell Did I Just Read (2017)

What the Hell Did I Just Read? book cover (2017)

The third installment in the trilogy that started with John Dies at the End (2007), was followed with This Book is Full of Spiders (2012) and finally What the Hell Did I Just Read (2017). This book is largely hinged upon the narrative–we live in a world where we largely base our opinions on the story that the narrator presents, but what happens when the narrator isn’t exactly the most trustworthy of sources? Does it change how we view the story? Do we realize before it’s too late that our entire perception has been incorrect? Available on Amazon here.

The true weird tale has something more than a secret murder, bloody bones, or a sheeted form clanking chains. An atmosphere of breathless and unexplainable dread of outer, unknown forces must be present; a hint of that most terrible conception of the human brain—a malign and particular suspension or defeat of those fixed laws of Nature which are our only safeguard against the assaults of chaos and the daemons of unplumbed space.

H. P. Lovecraft

We’re curious to know what you thought about these best of cosmic horror books, novellas, and anthologies. Have you read anything that’s not listed here that fits the cosmic horror genre? We’re interested in reading it too, so leave us a comment and let us know!

Don’t feel like reading about cosmic horror? No problem, check out our list of recommended cosmic horror movies too.