If you’re like us, you know that there’s no such thing as too many ebooks. Especially free ebooks. This month, we're bringing you books by iconic authors like Bram Stoker and Mary Shelley. The best part? They're all free! Download them today, and start reading now.
This post was lasted updated on 10/1/19.
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
The original American ghost story
North of New York City lies Sleepy Hollow, a secluded glen rumored to be the home of countless phantoms and specters. Chief among them is the Headless Horseman, the ghost of a Hessian soldier whose head was removed by a stray cannonball in the Revolutionary War. He rides across the glen each night and disappears in a flash of fire and brimstone at the bridge near the Old Dutch Burial Ground.
Ichabod Crane, a superstitious schoolteacher who recently arrived from Connecticut, wants to marry Katrina Van Tassel, the only child of a wealthy farmer. The locals spook him with story after story about the ghosts of Sleepy Hollow. Late one night, he spies a menacing figure at a crossroads. Worse yet, the man’s head appears to be on his saddle. Crane has only one chance to survive—he has to make it to the bridge before it’s too late.
The classic fantasy about a young man who travels through a mystical reflecting glass into a hidden world
Mr. Vane spots the mysterious old man while reading in his family’s expansive library. His interest piqued, he follows the man up to the attic, where he finds a tall and dusty mirror. In its rather unremarkable glass, the reflection of the world behind him slowly melts away to reveal a sweeping country of moors and hills framed by the tops of faraway mountains. Enchanted by the sight, Vane steps through the mirror and is transported to a dreamlike land where myriad perils and adventures await.
With the old man, Mr. Raven, as his guide, Vane travels through the Evil Wood, where innocent children frolic in the day and dead men battle at night. He visits the ominous city Bulika, whose people live in silent fear of a menace roaming the streets. Each chapter building on the last, Lilith follows Vane to a final and universal truth in a stunning allegory of life, death, and redemption.
The vampire novel that defined a genre by tapping into our deepest fears and darkest fantasies
A junior solicitor travels to Transylvania to meet with an important client, the mysterious Count Dracula. Ignoring the dire warnings of local townsfolk, he allows himself to be seduced by the count’s courtly manners and erudite charm. Too late, the solicitor realizes that he is a prisoner of Castle Dracula, his guards a trio of voluptuous young women with sharp white teeth and a taste for blood.
Soon thereafter, the solicitor’s fiancée, Mina, visits a friend on the English coast. The town is full of speculation over a Russian ship run aground nearby, its crew missing, the dead body of its captain, crucifix in hand, lashed to the wheel. A giant dog was seen leaping from the deck before disappearing into the countryside. The ship’s cargo: fifty boxes of Transylvanian dirt. As the beautiful Mina will soon learn, Count Dracula has arrived.
The premier monster story of English literature—a tale of science pursued to horrifying extremes
An origin story nearly as famous as the book itself: One dreary summer on the shores of Lake Geneva, amid discussions of galvanism and the occult and fireside readings from a collection of German ghost stories, Lord Byron proposed a game. Each of his guests—eighteen-year-old Mary Godwin and her future husband, the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, among them—would try their hand at writing a tale of the supernatural. Unable at first to think of a plot, Mary was visited one sleepless night by the terrible vision of a corpse, a “hideous phantasm of a man,” lurching to life with the application of some unknown, powerful force. The man responsible, a “pale student of unhallowed arts,” fled in horror from his creation, leaving it to return to the dead matter from which it had been born. But the monster did not die. It followed the man to his bedside, where it stood watching him with “yellow, watery, but speculative eyes”—eyes of one who thought, and felt.
The novel that Mary Shelley would go on to publish, the legend of Victor Frankenstein and his unholy creation, and their obsessive, murderous pursuit of each other from Switzerland to the North Pole, has been the stuff of nightmares for nearly two centuries. A masterpiece of Romantic literature, it is also one of the most enduring horror stories ever written.
The Haunted House
The blood-chilling true story of a nineteenth-century girl’s terrifying and bewildering haunting
First published in 1879, The Haunted House: A True Ghost Story is the author’s account of the infamous haunting of eighteen-year-old Esther Cox, who lived with her extended family in Amherst, Nova Scotia—a beautiful, peaceful little village, population three thousand—during the late 1800s. Walter Hubbell stayed with the family for six weeks, during which he witnessed a variety of alternately compelling and terrifying paranormal and unexplained events.
The King in Yellow
Ten twisted tales that have haunted generations of readers and writers from H. P. Lovecraft to the creators of the hit TV series True Detective
Nightmare imagery courses through these stories like blood through the veins. In “The Repairer of Reputations,” a Lethal Chamber stands at the edge of Washington Square Park, open to all who can no longer bear the sorrows of life. A Parisian sculptor discovers a liquid solution that can turn any living thing—a lily, a goldfish, a love-struck young woman—to stone in “The Mask.” The unnamed narrator of “In the Court of the Dragon” seeks respite in a church only to be driven mad by organ music that no one else can hear.
Nothing is stranger or more frightening, however, than The King in Yellow, the play that links these tales to one another and to a larger fictional universe containing the ghost stories of Ambrose Bierce, the cosmic horror of H. P. Lovecraft, and the first season of the critically acclaimed HBO series True Detective. Said to induce insanity and despair in those who read it, little is known for certain about the play beyond the ravings of those who have dared to open its pages. They speak of Carcosa, where black stars hang in the heavens. Of twin suns sinking into the Lake of Hali. Of the Yellow Sign and the Pallid Mask. And, in dread-filled whispers or lunatic shouts, of the King in Yellow himself, come to rule the world.
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
The most infamous of horror stories—a disturbing examination of man’s capacity for evil
One pitch-black London morning, a ghoulish little man tramples a young girl and continues heedlessly on his way. Caught by a passerby and returned to the scene of the crime, the man is forced to pay £100 in restitution. He produces ten pounds in gold and a check for the remainder. Curiously, the check bears the signature of the well-regarded Dr. Henry Jekyll. Even stranger, Dr. Jekyll’s will names this same awful and mysterious little man, Mr. Hyde, as the sole beneficiary. Troubled by the coincidence, Dr. Jekyll’s attorney visits his client. What he uncovers is a tale so strange and terrifying it has seeped into the very fabric of our consciousness.
The Turn of the Screw
One of the most disturbing ghost stories ever written, a tale of imagined danger and real dread
A young governess arrives at a secluded country estate, hired by the manor’s often-absent master to look after his orphaned niece and nephew. The young woman, a parson’s daughter, is immediately charmed by eight-year-old Flora—and Miles, two years older, seems like a perfect little gentleman when he is unexpectedly sent home from his boarding school.
But Miles’s steadfast refusal to reveal the cause of his expulsion is troubling, as are the staff’s whispered stories about the previous governess, Miss Jessel, and her lover, the mysterious valet, Peter Quint, both of whom are now dead. Most disturbing of all are the spectral figures wandering the grounds of Bly that only the new governess can see: a woman and a dark man who seem to take a special interest in Miles and Flora. No longer sure of what is real and whom she can trust, the governess desperately tries to hold on to her sanity and protect the innocent children from forces too sinister to name.
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