Modern Chills: 11 Contemporary Ghost Stories to Read Now

Do you believe in ghosts?

We’ve all been faced with this question at some time or another. Many are quick to say no, offended that they would even be asked such a ridiculous thing, while others wholeheartedly say yes, claiming they’ve seen a specter or two – or maybe even spoken with one. And then there are the people in the middle – the people who don’t know what to believe.

Wherever you fall on the spectrum, it’s worth diving into some of the great ghost stories out there. The naysayers, the believers, and the middlemen alike can all benefit from a trip to the supernatural side.

So give it a shot. Don’t be scared. The list of books below are a mix of fiction and nonfiction, and will surely make your skin crawl and your paranoia soar (in the best ways, of course). A word of advice: Don’t read these books before bed. Oh, and be sure to lock your doors and windows, and keep the light on. You never know what’s lurking in the shadows.

  • The cover of the book Meddling Kids

    Meddling Kids

    A Novel

    A fantastic blend of Scooby-doo and H.P. Lovecraft, Meddling Kids taps into our childhood memories and gives us what we’ve been waiting for: a grown-up detective club story with science, magic, and, of course, ghosts. In the summer of 1977, The Blyton Summer Detective Club solved their final mystery and unmasked the elusive Sleepy Lake monster. After that, the club disbanded, and they never saw each other again. So where are they now? Andy, the rugged tomboy, is a wanted criminal on the run. Kid genius Kerri is bartending in New York, has a serious drinking problem, and a cute pup. And Nate, the horror nerd, has spent the last thirteen years in and out of mental asylums. The only friend he still sees is Peter, the handsome jock who became a hot-shot movie star. There’s just a slight problem. You see, Peter’s been dead for years.

  • The cover of the book The Woman in Black

    The Woman in Black

    A Ghost Story

    Now a major motion picture starring Daniel Radcliffe, this classic ghost story thriller is sure to send chills down your spine. It follows Arthur Kipps, a thriving London solicitor, who is sent to a small town to attend the funeral and settle the affairs of a client, Mrs. Alice Drablow of Eel Marsh House. After his arrival, Arthur begins to witness mysterious sounds and images – a rocking chair in a deserted nursery, the eerie sound of a pony and trap, a child’s scream in the fog, and, of course, a woman dressed all in black. Nothing could have prepared Arthur for the horrors hidden within the house walls, and as long-buried secrets unfold, he realizes he may never be able to escape.

  • The cover of the book The Haunting of Hill House

    The Haunting of Hill House

    Shirley Jackson’s classic 1959 supernatural thriller largely influenced the horror genre, and is now being adapted as a Netflix series. It is the story of a paranormal research team that arrives at the notorious Hill House: Dr. Montague, a professor looking for solid evidence of a “haunting”; Theodora, his easygoing assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman who claims to be acquainted with ghosts, and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. Told from Eleanor’s point of view, the book follows her experiences with the supernatural. It’s not long before she discovers the House’s true intentions: to make one of them its own, forever.

  • The cover of the book The Graveyard Book

    The Graveyard Book

    Nobody Owens – Bod, for short – is your average boy, except for the fact that he was, you know, raised by ghosts. When Bod was just a toddler, his family was brutally murdered. And when he wandered into a graveyard that same night, the supernatural residents agreed to take him in as one their own. As Bod grows older, he becomes more and more curious about the secrets of the graveyard, and the world outside. But if Bod leaves the grounds, he’ll find himself in great danger – the man who killed his family has been dying to find him.

  • The cover of the book Monsters Among Us

    Monsters Among Us

    An Exploration of Otherworldly Bigfoots, Wolfmen, Portals, Phantoms, and OddPhenomena

    Ever seen something you can’t explain? Doubtful of the paranormal? If so, this meticulously researched book is just right for you. As an expert in strange creatures and folklore, Linda S. Godfrey has offered reporting on bigfoots, werewolves, strange energy forms, and other beings for years. Godfrey will capture the attention of even the most skeptical with her scientific approach to the supernatural. Within these pages, you will encounter testimonies of man-to-beast transformations, lizard people, a ghostly invader, wolfmen, and more. Prepare yourself to be shocked by Godfrey’s unbelievable findings in the world around us.

  • The cover of the book The Shining

    The Shining

    Jack Torrance, reformed alcoholic and struggling writer, is hoping that his new job as the off-season caretaker at the Overlook Hotel will be the fresh start he needs. When the harsh winter weather sets in, strange things start happening in the hotel, and Danny, Jack’s “gifted” son, is the first to realize what’s really going on around him. The hotel feeds on the evils committed on its grounds, and it wants Danny to join its crew of ghostly inhabitants. To do that, it needs to get to Jack first. As Jack is driven into madness, his wife and Danny become increasingly terrified of what he might do.

  • The cover of the book Spook


    From the author of Stiff, Mary Roach’s Spook is an oft-humorous scientific exploration as to whether there is a soul that survives death. “What happens when we die? Does the light just go out and that’s that – the million-year nap? Or will some part of my personality, my me-ness persist? What will that feel like? What will I do all day?” Roach brings in a team of scientists, schemers, engineers, and mediums on a soul-searching mission to find out what actually happens after we die.

  • The cover of the book Ghostland


    An American History in Haunted Places

    Colin Dickey embarks on a journey across the United States to shed light on certain parts of our nation’s history that have been repressed – the haunted parts. Dickey visits some of the most haunted places in America, including mansions, prisons, and even burial grounds, to evoke memories from the past our collective nation often sweeps beneath the carpet. Dickey’s curiosity knows no bounds, and in this book, he seeks to answer questions about the relationship between the living and the dead through truth and reasoning – questions that everyone else is too afraid to ask.

  • The cover of the book The Lovely Bones

    The Lovely Bones

    Alice Sebold’s Lovely Bones begins after the death of our narrator, fourteen-year-old Susie Salmon, who was brutally raped and murdered on December 6, 1973. We hear about the horrific crime in the first chapter – a monstrous event that, very unfortunately, is quite relevant today. For the remainder of the novel, Susie tries to adjust to heaven, and must watch life continue on earth without her. She watches her friends gossip about her disappearance, her killer try to cover his tracks, and her grief-stricken family unravel at the seams, and she can’t do anything about it.

  • The cover of the book Ghost Story

    Ghost Story

    In life, not every sin goes unpunished. Four men find themselves terrorized by terrible, realistic nightmares in Peter Straub’s classic bestseller. When horrible things start happening in the small town of Milburn, four members of the Chowder Society – a ghost-story-telling club – are convinced that an old mistake has come back to haunt them. You see, fifty years ago, they were involved in a terrible accident that resulted in the death of a young girl. Now, she’s back, and she wants revenge.

  • The cover of the book The Apparitionists

    The Apparitionists

    The existence of ghosts has always been a hotly debated topic, and it’s no wonder given the long history of hoaxes embedded in the world of the paranormal. In his new book, The Apparitionists, Peter Manseau brings to light the true story of huckster photographer William Mumler, whose post-Civil War claim that he could photograph your dead loved one alongside you caused quite the stir, quite the business, and then quite the trial.