With Halloween around the corner it seems only right that I dedicate a few words this month to something even scarier than Vancouver housing prices–non fiction. With subjects ranging from demonic possessions to jealous spirits and strange vortexes, here are a few of the most terrifying true-life stories ever written.
THE HAUNTED, by Robert Curran
It’s hard to doubt the validity of something when it’s backed by a priest and a pair of world-famous demonologists (yes, that’s a thing). But that’s exactly what The Haunted is. A true life account of one deeply devout family, this bone-chilling novel describes a multitude of attacks that took place in their home in Pennsylvania, and the superb courage it took for them to overcome the events.
THE AMITYVILLE HORROR, by Jay Anson
Another case of spookiness on maximum overdrive, this classic cult novel was (supposedly) based on the real-life paranormal encounters experienced by the Lutz family in the Amityville neighbourhood of Long Island, New York. After moving into a house that was the site of 6 homicides, it describes how the family was plagued by terrifying encounters. Of the stranger discoveries was when the owner realized he bore a striking resemblance to the killer himself, and had been drinking at the killer’s favourite watering hole, aptly named The Witches Brew.
THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY, by Erik Larson
Known as a great literary master of the nonfiction variety, this is one of Larson’s most famous works. Spinning the tale of two characters–one an architect, the other one of the first recognized serial killers in the US–this grim tale recounts the hotel, also known as the “Murder Castle,” where any number of grizzly murders took place. No worse for wear after his horrific acts, the killer found just as inventive ways of ‘disposing’ his victims. Absolutely terrifying and absolutely true.
THE DEVIL IN CONNECTICUT, by Gerald Brittle
In 1981 in Connecticut a man is convicted of murdering his landlord. But when a family claims that the killer was possessed with a demon that had been exorcised from their young son, things really get weird. Another case where those wacky demonologists (Ed and Lorraine Warren of The Haunted and The Amityville Horror fame) were called to help investigate, Brittle pens a hair-raising account of both the murder and the possessions claimed to have have caused it. The first US court case of a demonic possession defense, this one will have you up at night.
HOUSE OF DARKNESS HOUSE OF LIGHT, by Andrea Perron
Back to the paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren we go. The true story behind the movie, The Conjuring, this book is a look back at the Perron family 30 years after they first moved their five children into a haunted estate on Rhode Island. Written by the eldest sibling, who chronicles the family’s harrowing saga of supernatural terrors, evil spirits and physical threats, this case was evidently one of the most frightening the Warren’s had ever experienced. Move ahead with caution.