The Beetle A Mystery by Richard Marsh

Perhaps we should call this feature ‘Scary Tales from Another Era?’ We have delved deep into our vault (well, it’s actually an Internet database but vault sounds far scarier) and dusted off a selection of stories designed to chill the reader to the bone.

They were all published before 1960 and these books - some of them forgotten, many out-of-print - illustrate how authors and publishers tried to scare people in the days before JFK, The Beatles and everything else that came with the Swinging Sixties. You will find ghosts, monsters, witches, the undead, general strange happenings and a diverse range of supernatural elements in this selection.  Some stories might not have aged as well as others – are tales of giant beetles and huge spiders really horrifying for a modern reader?
We have steered clear of the biggest names of horror from this pre-1960 era but there are plenty of authors that you will recognise like Dennis Wheatley, the Inkling Charles Williams, Conan the Barbarian creator Robert E Howard and the prolific Psycho author Robert Bloch.

Multiple titles from Arkham House in Sauk City, Wisconsin, a specialist publishing house that offers weird fiction, are included. Arkham House, named after Lovecraft’s fictional city, has been a horror institution since 1939.

Enter the Vault

Kwaidan by Lafcadio Hearn

Lafcadio Hearn

The Curse of Doone by Sydney Horler

The Curse of Doone
Sydney Horler

The Feasting Dead by John Metcalfe

The Feasting Dead
John Metcalfe

The Witching Night by C.S. Cody

The Witching Night
C.S. Cody

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

The Haunting of Hill House
Shirley Jackson

The Sign of the Spider by Bertram Mitford

The Sign of the Spider
Bertram Mitford

The Cadaver of Gideon Wyck by Alexander Laing

The Cadaver of Gideon Wyck
Alexander Laing

All Hallows Eve by Charles Williams

All Hallows Eve
Charles Williams

Skull-Face and Others by Robert E. Howard

Skull-Face and Others
Robert E. Howard

To the Devil - A Daughter by Dennis Wheatley

To The Devil - A Daughter
Dennis Wheatley

The Opener of the Way by Robert Bloch

The Opener of the Way
Robert Bloch

The Doll and One Other by Algernon Blackwood

The Doll and One Other
Algernon Blackwood

Speak of the Devil by Sterling North & C. B. Boutell

Speak of the Devil
Sterling North & C. B. Boutell

The Cat and the Canary by John Willard

The Cat and the Canary
John Willard

The King in Yellow by Robert W. Chambers

The King in Yellow
Robert W. Chambers

The Black Fox by Gerald Heard

The Black Fox
Gerald Heard

The Ghost Hunters by Gordon Meyrick

The Ghost Hunters
Gordon Meyrick

More to Discover

The Most Devilish Books - Journey into Satanic literature The Bleakest Books - Top 10 depressing reads Retro Pulp Monsters