10 Best Historical Ghost Stories

What better way to get in the Halloween mood than by reading some spooky ghost stories? A good ghost story sends chills up your spine, thrills you, and makes it hard to sleep at night! One thing that makes a good ghost story great is if it has some roots in real history.

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Historical ghost stories are even eerier because they seem like they can happen (or even may have really happened) in the real world.

If you’re looking for some great historical ghost stories, check out this list. Here are the top 10 historical ghost stories that are perfect for your Halloween reading:

1) The Woman in Black by Susan Hill

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This novella was published in 1983 and is an eerie gothic tale of horror and fear. A strange ghost haunts a small English town, appearing just before children die. This tale tells not just of fear and loss, but also human cruelty.

It has been made into two movies (in 1989 and again in 2012). It is one of those stories that will touch you and make your October just a little bit eerier.

2) The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

The Little Stranger” is one of the most recent ghost stories on this list and was published in 2009. This gothic novel is set in 1940s England. It tells the story of a county doctor who befriends a well-off family that is now in decline.

It has echoes of some of the great horror writers, including Edgar Allan Poe and Henry James. This is more restrained than many other ghost stories, but it still manages to convey a sense of dread and terror.

3) Ghost on Black Mountain by Ann Hite

This is the unsettling tale of five women who are involved in the strange story of a murder in rural North Carolina during the Great Depression. It spans several generations and conveys the haunting beauty of the rural Appalachian landscape.

This novel is full of southern folklore and a uniquely creepy atmosphere. This a great ghost story for your Halloween reading. Collect this book from here.

4) An Inquiry Into Love and Death by Simone St. James

In 1920s England, the niece of a famous ghost hunter finds herself now responsible for what he left behind, ending up getting drawn into the strange circumstances that led to her uncle’s death. A handsome Scotland Yard inspector arrives, as well, deepening the mystery and throwing off sparks with our heroine.

The atmosphere of the era is captured perfectly and the novel’s mystery makes for a page-turning read. It’s also an enjoyable romance, making it one of those rare books that hits many notes very, very well. Click here to buy this book..

5) Dark Matter by Michelle Paver

This book is set during the January of 1937, as war comes to London and the world. Jack is a young man who is desperately ready to make a change in his life and joins an arctic expedition. As they reach their camp, Jack’s fellow adventurers are forced to leave by circumstances, one by one, as the long polar winter night loses in.

While it seems he is all alone, it turns out that he is not. This story captures the dread of the times and the place in a perfect way. While there are plenty of truly visceral scenes, they are written so that your imagination provides the real horror, making this a great Halloween ghost story.

6) In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters

This historical fiction novel is set in 1918. The Spanish Flu is ripping through America and World War One continues to rage. Teenage Mary has never believed in ghosts but is forced to rethink what she thought she knew as her first love returns to her as a ghost. Besides its chilling story, this novel also features archival early-twentieth-century photographs.

The writing is excellent and can make your blood run cold during some passages. The author takes excellent advantage of the popular spiritualism of the era, including séances and other such attempts to reach out to the paranormal. This is a perfect ghost story to up the spooky feel of your October.

7) The Haunting of Maddy Clare by Simone St. James

This story tells the story of Sarah Piper, who lives a lonely and poor life until she meets Alistair Gellis, who has been sent to investigate the ghost of a girl who committed suicide.

Since the dead girl hated men, it is up to Sarah to confront her, no easy task. This novel contains both romance and horror, making it both a spooky and delightful read for October nights. Buy it here.

8) The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox

Set during America’s Gilded Age and the Industrial Revolution, this story tells the tale of three sisters and the dark history of their country home. The novel is spooky without being too much, with nice sweet little romance thrown into the mix.

Lydia, the main character and one of the sisters, is an incredibly likable character who must learn to use powers she never knew she had. The family ties between the characters are intense and a major focus of the novel.  The mysteries of the novel reels you in and will keep you turning the pages all night long.

9) This House is Haunted by John Boyne

In 1867, Eliza Caine becomes the governess for the two children who live at Gaudlin Hall in Norfolk. The night she arrives, someone (or something) pushes her into the path of an oncoming train, but she is saved thanks to the presence of a passing doctor.

When she gets to her place of employment, she finds that the children are the only people there, with no sign of adults anywhere. Something terrible seems to stalk Gaudlin Hall, tied to long-buried secrets. If you want a ‘creepy children’ fix, this is the ghost story for you! Buy it now.

10) The Ghost and Mrs. Muir by R.A. Dick

Mrs. Muir now carries the debt left to her after her husband’s death and must support her children on her own, so she moves to a cheap cottage in the seaside village of Whitecliff. Many people have warned her that her new home is haunted and she soon learns that those tales are true.

She eventually forms a special bond with the ghost of a sea captain that haunts her home and he helps her through many challenges. This is a beautiful and romantic tale, with intense touches of sorrow as only a great ghost story has. Why don’t you start reading this book here?

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