It's the time of year for ghosts, goblins and scary stories. Many times scary stories are based on fact, just taken beyond. As author Stephen King said at Fall for the Book, when he's writing a book he thinks of the worst that can happen.
Virginia Outdoors shared a scary story based on truth. In Medieval Europe death from lead poisoning was common. But the symptoms of lead poisoning -- a deep coma with very shallow breathing and a nearly undetectable heartbeat -- were sometimes mistaken as death. To prevent someone from being buried alive, at times the mourners would bury put a string in the hand, leading out of the coffin and attached to a bell above ground.
If the bell rang after burial, that person was "saved by the bell."
Vicki Emery, media coordinator and technology administrator at Lake Braddock Secondary School recommends Witches’ Kitchen by Allen Williams as a scary read for teens.
Witches Kitchen is the story of a toad’s escape from a witches’ cauldron into an impossible maze. She hopes to free herself, with the help of her friends. "Not only is this book scary, it highlights what can be done when friends work together," said Emery. School Library Journal calls it a “dark and twisted fairy tale.”
Sue Mayo, middle school librarian at Lake Braddock, recommends these three scary favorites for middle schoolers.
The Crossroads: A Haunted Mystery by Chris Grabenstein
Zack moves into the country with his dad and new stepmom. Even though he is haunted by the spirit of his mother, Zack is happy about the new move. That is, until he meets the ghosts of people who were involved in a car crash long ago at the crossroads in back of his farmhouse. Old ghosts, a mean and spiteful neighbor, and malevolent spirits all roll into one ghostly book.
All the Lovely Bad Ones: A Ghost Story by Mary Downing Hahn
This is a good, old-fashioned ghost story. Ghosts of children who have mysteriously died in a poorhouse in the last century are haunting that house, now a weekend bed-and-breakfast inn. Summoned by the grandchildren of the current innkeeper, they're insisting on revenge for their untimely deaths.
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
This 2009 Newbery Award winner has an unlikely main character -- a toddler who escapes his parent's murderer. He grows up in a cemetery, lovingly cared for by an elderly ghostly couple who never had children of their own. Nobody, or Bod for short, doesn’t realize he is safe only if he never leaves the cemetery. His relationship with his guardian, his protector, leads him on a frightening journey to the underworld.
What scary story do you enjoy? Tell us in the comments.
Vicki Emery and Sue Mayo wrote the book synopses for this article.