It’s Halloween. You might be a bit old to don a mask and bum candy off your neighbors, but that’s no reason not to enjoy the day. Halloween parties are a classic pastime, and if nothing else, a good horror movie or scary story might be in order.
Scary stories, be they films, TV shows, or books, are enjoyed by many and can provide a fun dose of fear without the actual danger. At the end of the day, they’re works of fiction, right? Well . . . not always.
The following ten creepy reads are based on “true stories” and are guaranteed to get you in the Halloween spirit.
The Exorcist William Peter Blatty
It’s not surprising that William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist would appear on a list of Halloween stories, but it may surprise you that it’s based on an actual event.
In the late 1940s, “Robbie Mannheim,” also called “Roland Doe,” was a 14-year-old boy from Cottage City, Maryland. Plagued by demonic activity after trying to contact his aunt Harriet (herself a spiritualist) with an Ouija board, he began speaking in tongues. Strange noises, moving furniture, and flying objects were regular occurrences when young Robbie was around, to the terror of everyone else.
Robbie is said to have undergone multiple exorcisms at the hands of various priests. He reportedly stopped one by slashing a priest’s arm with a bedspring. Eventually, however, Robbie finally broke free from his demonic hold.
Robbie’s story would certainly make me think twice before using a Ouija board. It’s just a game, though, right?
The Demon Of Brownsville Road: A Pittsburgh Family’s Battle With Evil In Their Home Bob Cranmer
Written by Bob Cranmer himself, The Demon of Brownsville Road offers a firsthand account of his family’s paranormal experiences while living at 3406 Brownsville Road in Brentwood, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Pittsburgh. Like the legends of so many horror stories, Cranmer claims his property was the site of a horrific event in 1792 that resulted in the deaths of a mother and her three children at the hands of marauding Native Americans trying to discourage the increasing pioneer settlement in Western Pennsylvania and Ohio.
Despite the criticism surrounding the book—mostly from the family that lived there before the Cranmers—it’s a compelling read that is at times terrifying. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette did an investigative article on the Cranmers’ experiences and confirmed all of Bob’s claims with the people he cited in his book, including Fr. Ron Lengwin, who affirmed the official involvement of the Catholic Church.
Chronic illness, extreme behavior, and a family on a downward spiral into their own personal hell make this story perfect for Halloween chills.