My
Top Ten Ghost Stories  
This
time of year brings plenty of reminders of our mixed feelings about all things
paranormal and supernatural.  On the one
hand, we rationally scoff at such things as superstitious nonsense.  But we love to read and hear stories about
ghosties and ghoulies and things that go bump in the night.
My
top ten favorite ghost stories, drawing from both books and other media (in no
particular order):
1.
Ghostbusters
– movie – The first one, mostly.  Watching
this is a sort of annual event in my household and we know a lot of the
dialogue by heart. It’s just full of great lines:
“Ray,
when someone asks if you’re a god, you say – YES!”
“This
chick is toast.”
“Your
girlfriend’s a dog.”
“I’ve
been slimed!”
2.
Ammie,
Come Home
– book by Barbara Michaels. A scary ghost story mixed with an
interesting romance.  I’m told there was
an awful made-for-TV movie of it, but I’ve never seen it and don’t want to.
Some things about the story sound dated (it was written in the early 1970’s),
but the basic plot is fascinating and remains both terrifying and touching
after many re-readings. The violence isn’t graphic but it is disturbing.
3.
House
on Haunted Hill
by Shirley Jackson – Book and movies (The
Haunting
), though I like the book better.  Mostly pretty subtle, ultra-creepy, and definitely
one of the best haunted house stories ever written.
4.
Hell
House
by Richard Matheson – There were a  couple of movie versions, too, (The
Legend of Hell House
) but I prefer the books.  It’s violent and graphic, but the underlying
plot is fascinating.  This is the
second-best haunted house story ever.
5.
A
Christmas Carol,
book by Charles Dickens and assorted movies and
shows.  I know it seems a bit out of
place here, but it is most definitely a ghost story. While the book remains my
favorite, watching The Muppet’s Christmas Carol is also an annual Christmas Eve
event in the McCullough household.
6.
The
Turn of the Screw
, by Henry James. 
Is it a ghost story?  A portrait
of a disturbed person? Something else entirely? Your guess is as good as mine.
7.
Ghost
– the movie.  Okay, yeah,  I know it’s kind of schlocky.  But really, Patrick Swayze!  And the plot was kind of interesting and
Whoopi Goldberg chews scenery with the best of them.
8.
Sixth
Sense
– the movie with Bruce Willis. 
Come on, you know why.
9.
The
Blair Witch Project
– Holy cow, this movie was creepy.
10.
Ghost
Story
, book by Peter Straub – Beautifully written, very creepy story.
Horror with a bit of a literary bent.
And
now that you have my top ten, not including my own books, please let me add one
more – a fun short story that I wrote for Halloween a few years ago and
recently released as a stand-alone ebook – Unmasking. The blurb is below, but
I’ll bet you never had this much fun
at a Halloween party!  And for a bonus, I
have another Halloween story available.  Guardian
of the Grimoire
is a novella, and it’s more spooky and creepy than Unmasking,
but it’s certainly appropriate to Halloween.
Bio:
Karen
McCullough is a web designer by profession, and the author of a dozen published
novels and novellas in the mystery, romantic suspense, and fantasy genres as
well. She has won numerous awards, including an Eppie Award for fantasy, and
has also been a four-time Eppie finalist, and a finalist in the Prism, Dream
Realm, Rising Star, Lories, Scarlett Letter, and Vixen Awards contests. Her
short fiction has appeared in several anthologies and numerous small press
publications in the fantasy, science fiction, and romance genres. She has three
children, four grandchildren and lives in Greensboro, NC, with her husband of
many years.
Blurb: Guardian of the Grimoire
Magic, mystery
and romance combine in a gothic story that sees a peaceful, small-town library
turned into a supernatural battleground. In the library’s basement a dangerous
book lies hidden somewhere in stacks of old crates, and librarian Jess O’Rourke
is caught in the middle of a battle between a demon and the book’s mysterious
guardian for possession of it…
Longer
Blurb: Librarian Jess O’Rourke already has her hands full with her father’s
declining and health and the under-staffed, under-funded library she runs. A
new preacher in town waging war on her books is just an annoyance at first, but
an attractive mysterious stranger warns her that there’s more behind the
reverend’s campaign than she can guess. The new preacher is a human possessed
by a demon and he’s searching for an old grimoire that’s part of an
uncatalogued collection of books stored in the library’s basement.
Gabriel
Sutton has been the guardian of the book for a long time, a very long time, he
claims, since that has been his penance for crimes he committed as a soldier
during the Civil War. He convinces Jess that she needs to find the grimoire and
use it to return the demon to where he belongs.
Their
time gets short when the reverend realizes she’s searching for the book and
resorts to desperate measures to either retrieve or destroy it.
Buy Links for
Guardian of the Grimoire
:
Blurb: Unmasking
A
Short Halloween Ghost Story
Trace
Handley hates social events of any kind, but she has reluctantly agreed to go
to a Halloween party to deliver an important message. Before she can accomplish
the mission, though, she has to identify the intended recipient despite
costumes, her own shyness, and the dubious assistance of the source of the
instruction. The source is a ghost and he wants her to deliver his message to
the man accused of his murder.
Buy Links for Unmasking

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