October has arrived! The month of scary movies, fun costumes, and great candy! While you are planning whatever ghoulish outfit you will don on October 31st, you may want some spooky reading.
I don’t know about you, but I have never been much on ghost stories. I tend not to find them all that scary and dismiss them as not true. Instead, I find true stories to be the terrifying ones.
So here are my picks for the creepiest books I have ever read. They are both true stories.
(Warning, if you are easily spooked, these may not be the books for you.)
Cue the eerie music…
The Devil in the White City: A Saga of Magic and Murder at the Fair that Changed America
by Erik Larson
In 1893, architect Daniel H. Burnham planned and constructed the elaborate site for the Chicago World’s Fair, know as the “White City”. Simultaneously a mass murderer lurked in the shadows, building a structure of his own. Designed for the darkest of intents, H.H. Holmes designed a built a hotel for the purpose of housing people traveling to Chicago to visit the World’s Fair. The hotel, a maze of rooms and hidden passages, was also complete with it’s own crematorium and gas chamber. Holmes, masquerading as a charming doctor, lured victims to his hotel and many were never seen again.
It’s hard to believe a story like this is actually true, but it is, and it will make the hair on the back of your neck stand up. It is also an interesting book for history lovers, as it is a great insight into the production of the Chicago World’s Fair.
Side note: If you are looking for the short version, listen to episode 8 of the podcast Lore. It is all about H.H. Holmes.
In Cold Blood
by Truman Capote
On November 15, 1959, in Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were murdered in their home, shot with a shotgun at point blank range. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were hardly any clues.
Truman Capote reconstructs the murders, and then follows the investigation that ultimately led to the capture of suspects Perry Smith and Dick Hickock. Both killers were tried and sentenced to death. Capote takes us through to the very end, even interviewing both killers while they were on Death Row.
This is a bone-chilling story of senseless violence and sorrow. It considered a literary milestone for Capote, not just because it is totally captivating, but because Capote essentially introduced a new genre of literature to the world, the nonfiction novel.
Read both of these books with the lights on!
Thanks for reading!