Poe Pro Bono: Free Scary Stories For Halloween

Free Poe Stories For Halloween

Via GalleyCat:

In today's age of over-the-top slasher flicks featuring gallons of blood, chainsaws, and torture devices, it's nice to know that someone can still scare the crap out of you with words alone. Best of all, he's been doing it for over 150 years.

As one of the originators of the horror and science fiction genres of writing, Edgar Allan Poe has created some of the most iconic pieces of frightening literature, like "The Pit and the Pendulum," "The Tell-Tale Heart," and his classic poem "The Raven." And to really get you in the mood, thanks to Project Gutenberg (which has roughly 40,000 free eBooks that have become public domain), the complete works of Poe are available to download. You can check everything he's ever published here, here, here, here, and here.

What's your favorite Poe story?

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Scott MacDonald's picture
Scott MacDonald from UK is reading Perfidia October 15, 2012 - 1:45pm

So many to choose from.  I tend to find myself going back again and again to "Fall of the House of Usher".  That opening line just presses all my gothic horror story buttons:

"During the whole of a dull, dark and soundless day in the autumn of the year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens, I had been passing alone, on horseback, through a singularly dreary tract of country; and at length found myself, as the shades of evening drew on, within view of the melancholy House of Usher."

And the end of the same paragraph:

"It was possible, I reflected, that a mere different arrangement of the particulars of the scene, of the details of the picture, would be sufficient to modify, or perhaps to annihilate its capacity for sorrowful impression; and, acting upon this idea, I reined my horse to the precipitous brink of a black and lurid tarn that lay in unruffled lustre by the dwelling, and gazed down - but with a shudder even more thrilling than before - upon the remodelled and inverted images of the gray sedge, and the ghostly tree-stems, and the vacant and eye-like windows."

Okay, these are deeply uncool, overlong sentences in today's literary world, but there's darkness and rhythm there that just does it for me.

And as for the poetry, everyone loves "The Raven", but, for me, "The Bells" is his greatest achievement.

Boone Spaulding's picture
Boone Spaulding from Coldwater, Michigan, U.S.A. is reading Solarcide Presents: Nova Parade October 15, 2012 - 1:49pm

Favs remain "The Cask of Amontillado", "The Tell-Tale Heart", and "Hop-Toad". 

Even the text-to-speech function of my Kindle can't take away the poetry of "The Raven" and "The Bells" and "A Dream Within A Dream." If anything, it is especially eerie having these read to you by Stephen Hawking's voice....

Christopher Provost's picture
Christopher Provost from Nashua, New Hampshire is reading The Zombie Survival Guide October 15, 2012 - 1:50pm

Wow. Tough call. They're all incredible. I'm reading his complete works right now. I'm partial to The Cask of Amontillado, The Masque of the Red Death, The Black Cat, and The Tell-Tale Heart. I also love The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar and his tempest stories MS. Found in a Bottle and Descent Into The Maelstrom.

Boone Spaulding's picture
Boone Spaulding from Coldwater, Michigan, U.S.A. is reading Solarcide Presents: Nova Parade October 15, 2012 - 2:07pm

Yeah - I forgot about "Descent Into The Maelstrom." 

Luka's picture
Luka from Cape Town is reading The Long Earth October 15, 2012 - 4:32pm

What a great question.

I have a small hobby collecting his anthologies of selected works... but never complete ones!

The Pit and the Pendulum, The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar, The Masque of the Red Death and The Tell-Tale HeartLoss of Breath, 'cause it was the first story by Poe that I ever read. 

The City in the Sea, Annabel Lee and, of course, The Raven.


Zackery Olson's picture
Zackery Olson from Rockford, IL is reading pretty much anything I can get my hands on October 16, 2012 - 12:59am

Top three: Masque of the Red Death, The Fall of the House of Usher, and The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar.


As far as the poetry goes, everyone digs The Raven. I also like El Dorado.