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Chilling Book Recommendations Based on Real-Life Experiences

Paranormal Experiences Blog
From The Sixth Sense to The Tell-Tale Heart, countless interpretations of ghosts and paranormal experiences have existed since ancient times. Explore Fable's guide to books based on real-life hauntings and decide for yourself if ghosts are real.

What was the First Ghost Story?

While we don't know who claims to have seen the first ghost, one of the earliest records is by Pliny the Younger during the first century A.D. Most notable for his recount of the Pompeii tragedy, Pliny reveals a ghost encounter in a letter to Licinius Sura. He writes about a house in Athens that he stayed in, where the sound of rattling chains was heard each night. Residents of the house also claimed to see a disturbed and dirty-looking older man with a white beard walk through the home whose feet and hands were both chained. The residents were so fearful of this phantom that they abandoned the house and put it for sale at a reduced price! Soon after, philosopher Athenodorus Cananites bought the house and was determined to solve the case of this wandering spirit. Moving the couch to the front of the house, he stayed up all night with an oil lamp and writing material, hoping to catch a glimpse of the ghost who drove away the previous residents. After several quiet hours, Athenodorus finally heard the faint rattling chains and ignored the spirit by continuing to write. Not looking up until he could hear the chains right next to him, he finally made contact with the ghost and followed the white-bearded phantom through the house and to a spot in the yard where he mysteriously vanished. Athenodorus marked the site, and the following day, he got the help of local authorities and discovered a buried skeleton where the ghost had disappeared.

What is the Most Haunted City in the World?

Ranging from the Forbidden City in China to Savannah, Georgia, there is no shortage of haunted cities worldwide. However, one island between Venice and Lido in northern Italy is reportedly so haunted that the government has banned entry. Poveglia Island has a long history of death, disease, and abuse. Once the dumping ground for infected victims of the 14th century Bubonic Plague, the island acted as a place to quarantine the infected, and most knew that if sent to this island, there would be no return to the mainland. In addition to being a place of exile for the sick, in the late 19th century, the island was converted into a mental asylum. Unfortunately, the atrocities continued as rumors spread of a doctor performing unethical and abusive experiments on his patients before jumping off the bell tower and dying by suicide. Today, the island has been completely abandoned. Construction crews were commissioned to restore the asylum, but work abruptly stopped with no explanation, and soon after, the government prohibited tourists and Italian citizens from traveling to the island. What do you think?

Books Based on Real Paranormal Experiences

If you're looking for books based on real paranormal accounts, check out this list of frightening encounters with the unexplainable.

The Exorcist

by William Petter Blatty

The Exorcist

The Exorcist is based on the alleged real-life 1949 demonic possession of a boy commonly known as Roland Doe. After the death of his aunt, the family began hearing strange scratching around the house and believed she was trying to contact them in the afterlife. But when scratch marks started appearing on the boy's body and mattress, the family got their local minister to assist them with these strange occurrences. Sources claim that Roland spoke Latin, denounced Christianity, projectile vomited, and urinated during these exorcisms. Blatty consulted Father William S. Bowdern and researched the family's journals for a decade before writing The Exorcist.

The Shining

by Stephen King

The Shining
After one night at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, Stephen King was inspired to create the iconic and haunting Overview Hotel in The Shining. If you're feeling brave, you can book a particular "paranormal" room where guests have reported paranormal activity, including 217, AKA the "Stephen King Room."

The Haunting of Hill House

by Shirley Jackson

The Haunting of Hill House
Shirley Jackson's 1959 classic has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror. It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a "haunting"; Theodora, his lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon, it will choose one of them to make its own. Jackson researched the famous Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California. After the death of her infant daughter and husband months, Sarah Winchester abruptly moved out West to an eight-bedroom farmhouse. However, from 1886 to 1922, construction continued daily for twenty-four hours until her death. It is rumored that Sarah visited a psychic who claimed that spirits who died by the Winchester Rifle, known as "The Gun that Won the West," had put a curse on her so that unless she constantly, without pause, built a house for them, she would die. The house was 24,000 square feet with 10,000 windows, 2,000 doors, 160 rooms, 52 skylights, 47 stairways and fireplaces, 17 chimneys, 13 bathrooms, and six kitchens.

The Monster of Florence

by Douglas Preston and Mario Spezi

The Monster of Florence

While this is not paranormal, The Monster of Florence is a gripping account of crime and punishment in the lush hills surrounding Florence as he seeks to uncover one of the most infamous figures in Italian history. In 2000, Douglas Preston fulfilled a dream to move his family to Italy. Then he discovered that the olive grove in front of their 14th-century farmhouse had been the scene of the most infamous double murders in Italian history, committed by a serial killer known as the Monster of Florence. Preston, intrigued, meets Italian investigative journalist Mario Spezi to learn more. This is the true story of their search for--and identification of--the man they believe committed the crimes and their chilling interview with him. And then, in a strange twist of fate, Preston and Spezi become targets of the police investigation. Preston has his phone tapped, is interrogated, and is told to leave the country. Spezi fares worse: he is thrown into Italy's grim Capanne prison, accused of being the Monster of Florence himself.Like one of Preston's thrillers, The Monster of Florence tells a remarkable and harrowing story involving murder, mutilation, and suicide-and at the center of it, Preston and Spezi are caught in a bizarre prosecutorial vendetta.

Find horror reading book clubs and book recommendations on Fable

In a world struggling with cognitive dissonance and toxic behaviors on social media, we believe that a reading habit delivers digital nutrition. Our platform ensures that our community members can reap the public health benefits of reading and the mental well-being benefits of reading books on our platform.Fable community members enjoy the many benefits of reading while making deeper human connections with other readers. Start by exploring our exceptional book recommendations from some of the world's great tastemakers. Each Folio covers an important theme, and some of our Folio curators include LeVar Burton, Paulo Coelho, Wolfgang Puck, and Jasmine Guillory. 

Discover great horror and thriller recommendations on Fable!

Fable also makes it easy for readers to share their thoughts and connect with others through Reading Clubs. With our platform, you can host every aspect of an online discussion at a single destination to reach readers and build safe online communities regardless of location or time zone. Start your own book club today!Every week, we update our Fable blog with new features, interviews, and reader resources. Explore any of these pages to become a better reader and discover book recommendations in every genre. Thriller Lovers Book ClubKiller Thriller Crew Book ClubA Kinda Creepy BookclubThe BNHB Book Club

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