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What is the scariest short story ever written?What is the scariest short story YOU have...

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mjay25 | Student, Graduate | Valedictorian

Posted October 7, 2012 at 3:38 PM via web

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What is the scariest short story ever written?

What is the scariest short story YOU have ever read?

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ask996 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted October 7, 2012 at 3:48 PM (Answer #2)

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There is no doubt that some of Edgar Allan Poe's short stories would be on the list. "The Tell-Tale Heart" and "The Cask of Amontillado," detail the horror of the narrators' descent into or embracing of of insanity. The heartlessness of their actions is deplorable. "The Masque of the Red Death" is a horror story in both the cavalier attitude of Prince Prospero and his guests towards the disease overtaking the country, but it is also horrifying as they find they have locked themselves in with death itself.

http://www.enotes.com/masque-red-death

http://www.enotes.com/tell-tale-heart

 

http://www.enotes.com/cask-amontillado

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 7, 2012 at 5:14 PM (Answer #3)

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For me, it is very hard to choose the scariest short story ever written.  “The Black Cat” freaks me out, and I find “A Tell-tale Heart” disturbing.  However, I would have to say that “The Most Dangerous Game” and “A Sound of Thunder” (Ray Bradbury) both frighten me psychologically.  I also find “There Will Come Soft Rains” (also Bradbury) gives me chills.

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted October 8, 2012 at 3:10 AM (Answer #4)

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I give all the above mentioned stories serious props for scariness, but they have nothing on Joyce Carol Oates' "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?"

I frequently answer Q&A for "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" and every time I look at the final scene between Connie and Arnold Friend in his odd-fitting boots and strange wig, it still scares me as much as the first time I read it in college.  Oates makes the perfect combination between the unbelievably bizarre (could Arnold be the Devil in a poor disguise?) and every girl's deep-seated fear of being attacked while at home alone. 

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Kristen Lentz

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kiwi | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted October 8, 2012 at 3:58 AM (Answer #5)

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I found Charlotte Perkins Gilman storyThe Yellow Wallpaperscary in the sense that it was based on the real experiences of a woman suffering from post partum depression, and is a chilling cautionary tale. In terms of tales of mystery and suspense, Edgar Allan Poe'sThe Tell-Tale Heartwould be top of my list. A creepy tale which became a Hitchcock blockbuster, Daphne Du Maurier'sThe Birdsis also a very unsettling read.

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carol-davis | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted October 8, 2012 at 10:40 AM (Answer #6)

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I fear snakes.  For the most part, I am a brave person.  Living alone, the night, darkness, storms--those things do not frighten me, but snakes scare me. A couple of years ago, I was going to run my bath water, and there in my tub was a little snake, probably 10 inches long.  He slithered back down the drain, and I poured every acidic liquid I could find.  However, the next night he was back.  I called the city, and they could not imagine how he got there. A city worker came and got him.  Thought he was cute!

Anyhow, that leads me to what I think is a very freaky story by Ambrose Bierce called "The Man and the Snake." Of course, many of Bierce's stories have psychological overtones; this one offers up a snake. 

Like Bierce's stories, there is a twist at the end. It is the getting to the twist in this story that holds court over the reader.  Here is Bierce's description of a snake that has slithered into the man's bedroom:

...beneath the foot rail of the bed, the coils of a large serpent--the points of light were its eyes!  Its horrible head, thrust flatly forth from the innermost coil and resting upon the outermost, was directed straight toward him, thedefinition of the wide, brutal jaw and the idiot like forehead serving to show the direction of its malevolent gaze. 

Long story short, the man attempts to get out of the bedroom. He tells himself he is not afraid, but every move he makes sends the man into a greater frenzy.  Finally, he falls on his face about a yard from the head of the snake. With his head bleeding, he looks again at the snake and goes into a seizure, screams, and dies.  Of course, it was the play snake that belonged to the herpitologist' s daughter.

Here's the depth of my fear.  I will never visit Australia because they have 7 of the 10 most venomous snakes in the world.  In addition, they have sea serpents that are just as deadly.  I look everywhere I walk for copperheads and any other kind of snake.  My daughter had me touch a python once, and it moved with those coils inside its body.  I had nightmares for weeks.

A friend sent me a picture of a goat that was being swallowed by a huge boa constrictor.  It was nauseating.  What friend would send someone who despises snakes that picture. 

I do not think about snakes very often. Just when someone talks about scary things.  Obsessed by them, I am not.  Here is my philosophy about them:  I would never kill a snake unless it was poisonous and going to bite me.  They too  are God's creatures, and I think should only be killed if they are dangerous to a human being or another animal. 

Back to the story, it is probably not the scariest story to anyone who is not afraid of snakes.  But, the imagination takes it to places that no one wants to go!

 

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 8, 2012 at 1:55 PM (Answer #7)

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You need look no farther than Edgar Allen Poe. I'd have to say "The Pit and the Pendulum" gave the reader more of a taste of the unknown than his other two great and equally scary short stories--"The Cask of Amontillado" and "The Tell-Tale Heart." Can't really remember any other short stories having such an impact as these three.

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ask996 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted October 8, 2012 at 10:30 PM (Answer #8)

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For me, it is very hard to choose the scariest short story ever written.  “The Black Cat” freaks me out, and I find “A Tell-tale Heart” disturbing.  However, I would have to say that “The Most Dangerous Game” and “A Sound of Thunder” (Ray Bradbury) both frighten me psychologically.  I also find “There Will Come Soft Rains” (also Bradbury) gives me chills.

Oh man--Bradbury was a master. What about "The Veldt?" That is chilling.

 

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bullbudder | Student, Grade 11 | Valedictorian

Posted October 21, 2012 at 7:58 AM (Answer #9)

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gosebumps

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William Delaney | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted October 24, 2012 at 9:11 PM (Answer #10)

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I recently reread "The Monkey's Paw," and I would guess that it is the scariest short story I have ever read. It is the ending that makes it so scary. Somebody is knocking at the door, and Mrs. White is trying to get the door open--but she can't reach the latch at the top of the door. Meanwhile Mr. White is trying to stop her from opening that door, and the knocking persists. Who else but their dead and mangled son would be knocking at the door at that time of night--especially after Mr. White has been persuaded to wish for his return? What would the son Herbert look like? How would he behave? Would he blame them for causing his accident by wishing for two hundred pounds? Would he want to live with them? How could they get rid of him?

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bayleekite | Student, Grade 10 | eNoter

Posted November 2, 2012 at 7:52 PM (Answer #11)

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One that comes to mind for me is a story that is only two sentences long, but it makes you think and its kinda funny. It's "Knock" by Fredric Brown.

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beautifulsunshine16 | Student, Grade 10 | Salutatorian

Posted November 2, 2012 at 10:59 PM (Answer #12)

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Stephen King wrote the Shining. i was on the verge of screaming and peeing my pants.

 

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rinodyssey | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 4, 2012 at 4:44 PM (Answer #13)

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The Most Dangerous Game, by Richard Connel. In terms of being scary, I suppose it's not the scariest. But it's definitely a suspenseful thriller and keeps you on your toes

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bcarter38 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 11, 2012 at 2:41 AM (Answer #14)

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I noticed a lot of people have mentioned Edgar Allen Poe, and I have to say that "The Pendulum" was one of the scariest I have ever read. Most scary stories do not get to me, but the idea of someone watching the end of their life approach a little bit at a time, and having to lie and watch as their life is taken from them is horrifying.

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unknown-awesomeness | Student, Grade 9 | eNoter

Posted November 12, 2012 at 1:24 PM (Answer #15)

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The scariest is probably A Tell Tale Heart, by Edgar Allan Poe. A Sound of Thunder and Most Dangerous Game are sort of scary too. I don't want to sayanything abot these stories because it will give the whole story away.

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boeing | Student, Undergraduate | Honors

Posted November 13, 2012 at 9:12 AM (Answer #16)

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the black cat by edgar alen poe. i got really disturbed after reading that. i even had a night mare about it!

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angieangangela | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted November 16, 2012 at 10:21 PM (Answer #17)

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Mine would be "Knock" by Fredic Brown.

"The last man on Earth sat alone in a room. There was a knock on the door".

 

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msmcgarron | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted November 19, 2012 at 8:36 PM (Answer #18)

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'The Landlady' by Roald Dahl. Discretely despicable.

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psycink | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 22, 2012 at 6:00 PM (Answer #19)

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THE RAVEN?

 

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jimfc | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 27, 2012 at 3:50 AM (Answer #20)

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Another Bierce tale, very short; is The Boarded Window.

Give it a read! 

 

 

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bob773 | Student, Grade 9 | eNoter

Posted December 6, 2012 at 2:05 AM (Answer #21)

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The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe.

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