True Life Tales from the Dark

Sometimes true life is scarier than fiction. Check out some of these titles this Halloween instead of the usual ghost stories.

GhostlandGhostland: An American History in Haunted Places

Colin Dickey is on the trail of America’s ghosts. Crammed into old houses and hotels, abandoned prisons and empty hospitals, the spirits that linger continue to capture our collective imagination, but why? His own fascination piqued by a house hunt in Los Angeles that revealed derelict foreclosures and “zombie homes,” Dickey embarks on a journey across the continental United States to decode and unpack the American history repressed in our most famous haunted places. Some have established reputations as “the most haunted mansion in America,” or “the most haunted prison”; others, like the haunted Indian burial grounds in West Virginia, evoke memories from the past our collective nation tries to forget.

 

GhostsA Natural History of Ghosts : 500 Years of Searching for Proof by Roger Clarke

Taking us through the key hauntings that have obsessed the world, from the true events that inspired Henry James’s classic The Turn of the Screw right up to the present day, Roger Clarke unfolds a story of class conflict, charlatans, and true believers. The cast list includes royalty and prime ministers, Samuel Johnson, John Wesley, Harry Houdini, and Adolf Hitler. The chapters cover everything from religious beliefs to modern developments in neuroscience, the medicine of ghosts, and the technology of ghosthunting. There are haunted WWI submarines, houses so blighted by phantoms they are demolished, a seventeenth-century Ghost Hunter General, and the emergence of the Victorian flash mob, where hundreds would stand outside rumored sites all night waiting to catch sight of a dead face at a window.

Written as grippingly as the best ghost fiction, A Natural History of Ghosts takes us on an unforgettable hunt through the most haunted places of the last five hundred years and our longing to believe.

In cold bloodIn Cold Blood : A True Account of a Multiple Murder and Its Consequences by Truman Capote

On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues.

As Truman Capote reconstructs the murder and the investigation that led to the capture, trial, and execution of the killers, he generates both mesmerizing suspense and astonishing empathy. In Cold Blood is a work that transcends its moment, yielding poignant insights into the nature of American violence.

 

Monster of Florence by Douglas PrestonMonster of Florence

In 2000, Douglas Preston fulfilled a dream to move his family to Italy. Then he discovered that the olive grove in front of their 14th century farmhouse had been the scene of the most infamous double-murders in Italian history, committed by a serial killer known as the Monster of Florence. Preston, intrigued, meets Italian investigative journalist Mario Spezi to learn more.

This is the true story of their search for–and identification of–the man they believe committed the crimes, and their chilling interview with him. And then, in a strange twist of fate, Preston and Spezi themselves become targets of the police investigation. Preston has his phone tapped, is interrogated, and told to leave the country. Spezi fares worse: he is thrown into Italy’s grim Capanne prison, accused of being the Monster of Florence himself. Like one of Preston’s thrillers, The Monster Of Florence, tells a remarkable and harrowing story involving murder, mutilation, and suicide-and at the center of it, Preston and Spezi, caught in a bizarre prosecutorial vendetta.

Stranger beside meThe Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule

Ted Bundy was handsome, charming, a brilliant law student, and on the verge of a dazzling career. On January 24, 1989, he was executed for the murders of three young women, having confessed to taking the lives of at least thirty-five more.This is the story of one of the most fascinating killers in American history–of his magnetic power, his bleak compulsion, his double life, his string of helpless victims. It is also the story of Ann Rule, a writer working on the biggest story of her life, tracking down a brutal mass murderer. Little did she realize that the “Ted” the police were seeking was the same Ted who worked with her at a Seattle crisis clinic, a man who had become her close friend and confidant. As she began to put the evidence together, a terrifying picture emerged of the man she thought she knew.Thirty-five years after it was first published, The Stranger Beside Me remains a gripping, explosive true-crime classic.

Lady and Her MonstersThe Lady and her Monsters: a Tale of Dissections, Real-Life Dr. Frankensteins, and the Creation of Mary Shelley’s Masterpiece by Roseanne Montillo

The Lady and Her Monsters by Roseanne Motillo brings to life the fascinating times, startling science, and real-life horrors behind Mary Shelley’s gothic masterpiece, Frankenstein.

Montillo recounts how–at the intersection of the Romantic Age and the Industrial Revolution–Shelley’s Victor Frankenstein was inspired by actual scientists of the period: curious and daring iconoclasts who were obsessed with the inner workings of the human body and how it might be reanimated after death.

With true-life tales of grave robbers, ghoulish experiments, and the ultimate in macabre research–human reanimation–The Lady and Her Monsters is a brilliant exploration of the creation of Frankenstein, Mary Shelley’s horror classic.

RabidRabid : A Cultural History of the World’s Most Diabolical Virus by Bill Wasik and Monica Murphy

The most fatal virus known to science, rabies-a disease that spreads avidly from animals to humans-kills nearly one hundred percent of its victims once the infection takes root in the brain. In this critically acclaimed exploration, journalist Bill Wasik and veterinarian Monica Murphy chart four thousand years of the history, science, and cultural mythology of rabies. From Greek myths to zombie flicks, from the laboratory heroics of Louis Pasteur to the contemporary search for a lifesaving treatment, Rabid is a fresh and often wildly entertaining look at one of humankind’s oldest and most fearsome foes.

 

On MonstersOn Monsters: An Unnatural History of Our Worst Fears by Stephen T. Asma

Hailed as “a feast” (Washington Post) and “a modern-day bestiary” (The New Yorker), Stephen Asma’s On Monsters is a wide-ranging cultural and conceptual history of monsters–how they have evolved over time, what functions they have served for us, and what shapes they are likely to take in the future. Beginning at the time of Alexander the Great, the monsters come fast and furious–Behemoth and Leviathan, Gog and Magog, Satan and his demons, Grendel and Frankenstein, circus freaks and headless children, right up to the serial killers and terrorists of today and the post-human cyborgs of tomorrow. Monsters embody our deepest anxieties and vulnerabilities, Asma argues, but they also symbolize the mysterious and incoherent territory beyond the safe enclosures of rational thought. Exploring sources as diverse as philosophical treatises, scientific notebooks, and novels, Asma unravels traditional monster stories for the clues they offer about the inner logic of an era’s fears and fascinations. In doing so, he illuminates the many ways monsters have become repositories for those human qualities that must be repudiated, externalized, and defeated.

For more try this list: https://www.ebscohost.com/novelist/novelist-special/nonfiction-for-horror-readers

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