Spooky & Specific Short Story Anthologies

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I am obsessed with short story anthologies on anything spooky; they take up 70% of my book collection (I’m guessing). One of these days I will share my favorite anthologies of ghost stories, but that is a challenge. I’m going to get more specified for now.

I have been trying to seek out anthologies with very specific themes, because so many of my anthologies were overlapping in content. I probably have 10 anthologies with M.R. James’s story “Lost Hearts,” for example. Below are three that I have enjoyed.

Please note: I shared Amazon links so you could learn more about the books, but I always recommend supporting small business! 

The Haunted Dolls (Selected by Seon Manley & Gogo Lewis, 1980)

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Stories by: Agatha Christie, Nathaniel Hawthorne, M.R. James, Algernon Blackwood…

This book is rare and I probably paid too much for it, but I loved it. This 318-page anthology has an introduction for each story with interesting historical tidbits about dolls and their folklore. There are also fun illustrations sprinkled throughout the book.

In some stories, dolls are terrorized by their human owners. In other stories, the dolls cause havoc in their homes. This book will not cause sleepless nights, but that does not mean the stories are not haunting. I thought the entire book was an interesting look at the intimate relationship between humans and dolls and the anguish dolls must feel when left behind.

Favorite Story in the Book: A tie. “Feathertop” by Nathaniel Hawthorne & “The Doll” by Terry Tapp

Lighthouse Horrors (Selected by Charles G. Waugh, Martin Harry Greenberg, and Jenny-Lynn Azarian, 1993)

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Stories by: Rudyard Kipling, Henry Van Dyke, Ray Bradbury, Edgar Allan Poe…

So, I love haunted lighthouses. The solitude! The sea! The shipwrecks! The ghosts!

This 256-page anthology starts with a short introduction on lighthouses and the four basic variations of horror stories. Each story opens with a short biography on the author along with some contextual information on the story. Overall, I like the psychological elements of these stories. I think that much solitude could make anyone mad.

One story worth mentioning is Edgar Allan Poe’s unfinished “The Light-House,” which is finished by American fiction writer Robert Bloch.

Favorite Story in the Book: “The Fog Horn” by Ray Bradbury

Into the Mummy’s Tomb (Selected by John Richard Stephens, 2001)

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Stories by: Ann Rice, Bram Stoker, H.P. Lovecraft, Tennessee Williams, Agatha Christie, Ray Bradbury, Edgar Allan Poe, Elizabeth Peters…

First off, this anthology has a substantial introduction about mummies. My favorite part is the long list of people affected by the curse of King Tut.

Second off, this 368-page anthology has a variety of genres (mystery, horror, travel lit, etc.) and, along with famous authors, perspectives from Egyptologists, archeologists, and even an ancient Egyptian priest.

Y’all. I started this book with a whatever perspective on mummies and finished it wanting to get my hands on any literature on the subject. 

Favorite Story in the Book: “Lost in a Pyramid, or The Mummy’s Curse” by Louisa May Alcott

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