the horror genre and ghosts

the horror genre and ghosts

Reading for enjoyment can be a very pleasant way to spend some of your spare time.  I like to read (Lucy likes to shop).  Reading relaxes me. Exercise, a long walk, listening to good music, and the not too often drink of quality whiskey also are relaxing.  Reading, for many of us, is much better than watching television. (With reading, you do not have to suffer through the commercials.  As well, we recently heard on the radio that retirees who read are less prone to Alzheimer’s disease than those who just sit and watch television for too many hours each day.  Could be true.)

One genre that can be read purely for enjoyment is that of horror and ghosts.  (Folk tales from around the world, and short stories are also enjoyable to read.)  Current and recent horror writing can, at times, be geared to shocking the reader.  I prefer older horror and ghost short stories written in the late 1800s and the early 1900s.  The writing style then was different from today’s, but the stories have good plot development and can be rather engrossing – you won’t put the book down until you finish the story.

Permit me to share the “world’s shortest” ghost story (paraphrasing from memory from a book on ghosts on the rails/trains):

Sitting in the coach (of the train), suddenly my fellow passenger turned to me and asked “Do you believe in ghosts?”

Hesitating for a moment, I said “Well…”

“Neither do I” he replied, and then promptly disappeared.

A good source for these old stories by many different authors, both male and female, both American and British, is Dover Publications which specializes in reprinting old, quality writing in many different fields of interest.  Dover also publishes some collections of short stories and folk tales.

Here are some links to their website that has all of their many, diverse titles.  Below the more general links, we have provided some sample titles  with images.  (Most of the sample books we have read and enjoyed over the past several years.)

Warehouse sale on now – save up to 60 percent on various titles (all in paperback).

Dover thrift editions are a great source for many classics at very low prices.

A search on Dover for horror:

A search on Dover for ghosts:

A narrower search with less results:–keywords-ghosts/

Unforgettable Ghost Stories by Women Writers

For Robert Chambers’ The King in Yellow click this link:

For Gaslit Horror (refers to the time when street lamps were lit by gas, not electric):

For Gaslit Nightmares:



Tales from a Gas-Lit Graveyard

Kwaidan: Ghost Stories and Strange Tales of Old Japan

Some Chinese Ghosts

Ghost and Horror Stories of Ambrose Bierce

Dover also has collections of supernatural tales from Arthur Conan Doyle and Rudyard Kipling.

The Best Supernatural Tales of Arthur Conan Doyle

The Mark of the Beast

If reading is a favorite hobby of yours, I encourage you to visit the Dover website and do some “window” shopping to see what they offer.  You can find various books from Dover for sale on Amazon and on (power search by publisher and select Dover) as well.  But, the Dover website is the only place that you can find all the titles they publish.  They have seasonal sales once each calendar quarter where the cover prices are dropped on many titles from 20 to 50 percent.  (So bookmark their website and check back each month for a sale.)

For blog readers outside the USA, you can find various anthologies of ghost stories, and of folk tales and short stories in your local libraries and bookstores.  Used bookstores can be treasure troves of old and hard to find books worth buying and reading.  Also, operates in many countries around the world.

As Lao-tsu (or Lao-tse) said 25 centuries ago:  “It is better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness.”  We adapt this to today’s world:  It is better to do a single kind act than to bemoan the cruelty of the world.

Keep your brain strong and healthy by doing a little reading and some thinking.

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