SURVEY SAYS: What's Your Favorite Scary Book/Story?

October 27, 2011 ( - Monday, of course, is Halloween - and to help you get ready for the occasion, this week I asked readers to share their favorite scary book/story.


There were, as you might expect, some interesting suggestions; some of which might well be considered “scary” (depending on your perspective) – but you certainly wouldn’t find them in the “horror” section:

The Bible

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act

An Inconvenient Truth

In My Time by Dick Cheney

Going Rogue by Sarah Palin

PPACA. It ain’t a favorite but it’s very very scary.


We did also have a couple of "story" suggestions:

In the original "Meatballs" while sitting around a campfire the "Counselors in Training" told a story about a deranged escaped mental patient who had a hook for a foot.

The story of the Tailypo. My uncle told it to us when we were kids and did the best creepy voice for the Tailypo.

What was I scared of?  by Dr Seuss... a pair of pale green pants...with nobody inside them!


In a more “traditional” scary vein (pun acknowledged), we had a number that drew the nomination of a handful of readers:

Butcher Boy by Patrick McCabe

Dreamcatcher (Stephen King)

The Exorcist (I had to go outside in the sunlight to read it, noted one reader).

The Haunting of Hill House (Shirley Jackson).  (“I read this when I was a kid many long years ago and it still gives me the creeps even to think about it,” noted another).

In Cold Blood (Truman Capote)

Macario (B. Traven)


Something Wicked This Way Comes (Ray Bradbury)

The Stand (Stephen King)

Tell-Tale Heart (Edgar Allen Poe) 

In fact, a number of readers simply said “anything by Stephen King.”  And well they might, since he dominated the top-cited offerings in the survey, including all of the following:

The Shining



It (a reader explained, “It is one of the scariest books I've read--between the spider and the clown, it pushed all of my irrational fear buttons”).

And that, of course, brings us to the top 3:



#3 – ‘Salem’s Lot – by Stephen King (1975).

If you’ve only seen the movie, you’re missing out on a true horror classic.  This is your father’s “Twilight” – and it’s dark and creepy, the way vampire stories are “supposed” to be.



#2 – Pet Sematary - by Stephen King (1984).

It’s been years since I read this one – but it was clearly a favorite with readers.  I suppose there is something creepy about a burial ground that can bring things back to “life”… well, sort of…

…and that, of course, brings us to the top cited scary story…



#1 – Dracula – by Bram Stoker (1897)

If you’ve only seen the movies – you haven’t begun to appreciate the depth of the tale that Bram Stoker crafted, and how well he wove it together.

Thanks to everyone who participated in our bonus survey!  Now, let’s go read!