"Where there is no imagination, there is no horror."
—Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Inside the imagination, the unknown has much greater potential to frighten, and you can imagine your own scariest version.
Nothing is more apt for getting chills in the brain than a good campfire story. The storyteller uses only his or her voice to put images in the imagination of the listener. The environment of a simple fire in the dark helps to set the mood. As far as scares go, scary books and scary movies have a hard time competing with a good storyteller. But audiobooks can come close.
The benefit of an audiobook is that a really good performance by the reader can re-create the storyteller/listener world of imagination. For Halloween, these titles are great for a listen in the dark, at home, alone.
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (available instantly on Hoopla): The story of the school headmaster's ride home through the woods near a churchyard weary of being followed by a specter on a horse is spooky enough in print but the audio version serves the atmosphere and tension better.
Paul Tremblay's Head Full of Ghosts (available instantly on Hoopla) is the story of possession of a young girl, and the reality TV show that's built around her. The story is so good that Stephen King promoted it multiple times on Twitter.
The Terror by Dan Simmons is another title will soon be made into a show on AMC, so read it before the hype. This book takes a historical event—the mysterious disappearance of Sir John Franklin's entire expedition to navigate the Northwest Passage in 1848—and adds a monstrous twist. The performance by Simon Vance is excellent.
A Winter Haunting is another title by Simmons, but it's fiction rather than historical fiction. It's about a man who returns to the farm where he grew up only to be immediately pestered by remnants of his haunted past.
The Lottery, and Other Stories: Shirley Jackson is a master of horror fiction known for The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle. This is a collection of short stories for the times when you can't listen to a whole book and just want a quick fright.
Looking for more? Use Hoopla to browse recommended titles for Halloween that you can listen to instantly.