Supernatural and paranormal themes have dictated over half of the novels in libraries and book stores, and this trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. While a lot of supernatural books also tend to dabble in romance, there are a lot of ghost-loving enthusiasts who would appreciate a more shudder-worthy approach to their literature.
With that in mind, we present seven supernatural books that definitely go bump in the night!
1. The Dark – An Epitome of the Haunted House
This 1980 novel by James Herbert is not afraid to be violent. Herbert’s protagonist is Chris Bishop, a paranormal investigator sent to scope out an abandoned suburban house that locals are claiming to be haunted.
As Bishop’s investigation unravels, he discovers that the house’s source of paranormal activity stems from an insidious cult leader who wishes to spread the evil over entire towns.
As the darkness builds, and leaks out of the confines of the house, townsfolk grow mad and start to turn on one another. Herbert’s seventh novel is the perfect combination of supernatural elements, with the perfect dash of horror to make it a truly nail-biting read.
2. The Hungry Moon – Where History Meets Horror
Horror extraordinaire Ramsey Campbell, has won three Bram Stoker Awards and two International Horror Guild awards, and his 1987 novel is part of the reason why.
Right-wing evangelist Godwin Mann is horrified to find that the townspeople of Moonwell, England are loyal to their Druid roots. When Mann discovers that the ancient being the Druids worshipped is said to be in a nearby pit, he sets out to destroy it.
Instead, the powerful being possesses Mann, and returns to the village, determined to isolate the town and completely take it over. Campbell’s intricate style and character-driven story makes The Hungry Moon feel like a horror classic, one that has rightfully earned its place beside Dracula and Frankenstein. This is one of those supernatural books you should not miss!
3. The Bleeding Season – Innocence Ruined by Terror
Greg Gifune’s 2007 novel was published a day before Halloween, and with good reason! This grisly story follows five young boys who live simple, innocent lives until one of them – Tommy – is killed.
After the boys grow up, another member of their pack, Bernard, commits suicide. Not long after Bernard’s sudden death, mutilated bodies begin surfacing all around town. The remaining friends, Alan, Rick, and Donald must come to grips and uncover the terrifying truth: that Bernard was likely a serial killer, in touch with an unspeakable evil they couldn’t have possibly imagined.
What sets Gifune’s novel apart from the rest is his almost philosophical approach to evil – that it is a state of mind, far more than any external entity we face in the dark.
4. The Shadow at the Bottom of the World – An Existential Nightmare
Published in 2005, Thomas Ligotti has successfully delivered one of the best supernatural books of short stories written in this century. His collection of tales provide the perfect mixture of supernatural horror and dark magical realism that will have his readers shivering and questioning what horrors might unfold from seemingly every day events.
Marked as a true original in terms of style, any fan of H.P. Lovecraft’s tales is bound to love Ligotti’s macabre point of view. One Goodreads fan of Ligotti stated that ‘The Shadow at the Bottom of the World’ was “highly recommended for those who like their horror bleak, uncompromising, and existential.” We couldn’t have phrased it better ourselves!
5. House – When a Trip Turns Deadly
House is the love child of acclaimed authors, Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker. Published in 2006, the story is of two couples who meet at a secluded bed and breakfast, owned by backwoods people who are creepy and unsettling.
Things get infinitely worse when the two couples realize they are not trapped in the house, but subjected to a strange and deadly game – one they must each play if they wish to ever be free. A serial killer has determined that one of the household must die, and it’s up to everyone else to decide who is sacrificed.
This teeth-clenching novel will have you writhing uncomfortably as the plot slowly builds and thickens. If you like your supernatural novels with a psychological twist, House is definitely for you.
6. Carrie – A Terrifying Story of Revenge
Many people have seen the 1976 and 2013 film adaptations of Stephen King’s fourth novel, but most have neglected to read the book itself. Set in 1979, the story is of the now legendary Carrie White, a timid girl who is perpetually bullied both at school and by her intensely devout mother.
But when Carrie’s hormones change to the start of her first period, she discovers she has dormant telekinetic powers. Powers which she ultimately uses to exact revenge on anyone and everyone who has ever mistreated her in the past.
Carrie delivers the perfect mix of supernatural elements and horror-centric scenes that will stay with you long after you have finished reading the book.
7. Interview with the Vampire – Supernatural Book You Shouldn’t Overlook
Many people these days are obsessed with teenage vampires who sparkle in the sun, but for those who are looking for the more sophisticated side of vampires, look no further than Anne Rice’s 1976 novel, which helped put vampires back on the mainstream map.
Interview, which is the first book in Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, follows Louis, a nobleman who is ready to give up on life until he meets an aristocratic vampire named Lestat. As Louis grows acclimated to his vampire senses, the unlikely duo begin to struggle for power and authority over each other, leading to an intense game of cat and mouse.
For those of you who enjoy the classical prose of Dracula and Frankenstein, Rice’s beautiful prose and knack for historical story-telling makes Vampire Chronicles some of the most iconic supernatural novels ever written.
A Feast for All Senses
These terror-packed supernatural books have enthralled horror fans for years, and will continue to do so throughout the years. Too often, horror fans thirst for books that blend elements of the macabre with elements of the supernatural, and only find angst-riddled paranormal romance paperbacks in their recommended reading lists.
For those of you who are in search of the next Edward and Bella, be forewarned … this collection of seven books are for true horror fans, who cherish every grisly detail, every bloody encounter, and are secretly rooting for the monsters and the villains from the very first page of each novel.