Even with the proliferation of movies, television shows, online videos, and podcasts, nothing beats the good old written word when it comes to scaring yourself silly. Who doesn’t love to hunker down on a rainy night with a collection of short horror stories?
And, while books may never die out completely and offer certain tactile advantages over other forms of scary, there is no denying that you could spend a lifetime and never work through all the thrills and chills available at your fingertips right here on the Internet.
To get you started on that journey, here are 12 of the best websites for finding the terrible, spine-tingling, awesome short horror stories that will keep you up for days on end.
As you might expect from the name of the site, American Literature is dedicated to aggregating the best literary work from American authors in one place on the web. It’s a noble effort, and the result is a tremendous resource for students, teachers, and voracious readers alike.
But like most things, American Literature has a dark side.
Specifically, the site presents an extensive collection of terrible short tales that they dub the “Gothic, Ghost, Horror & Weird Library.”
It’s chock full of stories by masters like Edgar Allan Poe and Mary Shelley, but also features several chilling one-offs and a link to a separate gallery of Halloween stories.
If you like your scary short stories with a bit of age on them, this is the site for you.
Creepy Little Stories
Creepy Little Stories is the web home of author Riley Weidler. It’s a fairly small site, but the the dozen or so stories you’ll find here are all worthy of a read and will make you want more.
East of the Web
East of the Web is one of the largest compendiums of short stories on the web.
With thousands of tales to peruse and nearly half a million monthly visitors, East of the Web offers something for almost every literary taste.
Lucky for us, horror is no exception, and the site offers up a rich selection of scary short stories that spans just about every subgenre.
With stories ranging in length from a single page to more than 30 pages, you could spend days in the dark corners of East of the Web before coming up for air.
Gothic Horror Stories
As Todd Atteberry himself puts it, his Gothic Horror Stories website is dedicated to …
The search for mysteries, curiosities, the magical and the enchanted. From ghost stories long forgotten, to the ones everyone knows, to places still stained with the macabre dyes of history, this is my journal of that journey.
Here you will find Atteberry’s breakdown of classic horror tales and also his accounts of personal visits to the some of the most haunted places on Earth.
The author’s distinctive literary flair lends an extra layer of darkness and mystique to each entry and will leave you shivering away the chills from your spine.
When it comes to scary short stories — and really scary stories of any length — you still can’t do much better than Edgar Allan Poe.
Even nearly 170 years after his death, Poe still inspires awe and terror with his tales of the macabre, and generation after generation of readers pour through his works with great, dark fervor.
Robert Giordano of PoeStories.com, recognizing the master’s continued influence, has collected Poe’s short stories and poetry in one place, making them readily available for all.
Beyond just presenting the stories themselves, though, PoeStories.com also provides summaries, an image gallery, a forum, and other resources that only help to intensify the reading experience.
Scary for Kids
Most of us found our love for scary stories when we were kids.
I mean, that bump in the night may have sent you scurrying into Mom and Dad’s room, but didn’t it secretly thrill you, too? Wasn’t it fun and exciting to imagine what was really happening under you bed as you struggled to fall asleep?
Scary for Kids not only recognizes this double-edged sword of darkness and exhilaration but seizes on it and brings the best of the scary web for kids to bear in one place.
While Scary for Kids offers up games, pictures, and movies to generate chills for kids of all ages, their collection of 50+ scary short stories is can’t-miss material for anyone who doesn’t want to sleep tonight.
Just beware, though — these stories can scare just about anyone.
As the site’s tagline tells us, it’s all “even scarier for adults.”
Short ‘n’ Scary Stories
Short ‘n’ Scary Stories is a community site that brings readers and writers together to share in their love of dark tales.
The site allows you to submit your own story or delve deep into the dark recesses of other people’s nightmares, as told through their own words.
Categories offered up include:
- True Stories
- Kid’s Stories
- Zombies Stories
Whatever subgenre you choose to follow, be assured that your path will be shadowy and chilling as you work through page after page of macabre tales.
Short-Story.me exists “Because everyone loves a short story,” as the site’s tagline insists.
Truer words have never been typed, and you will find that Short-Story.me fills this niche through a simple interface that presents page after page of stories across all genres — crime, fantasy, romance, and horror.
With nearly 200 horror stories in the offing as of this writing, Short-Story.me will keep you busy in the dark for quite a while.
And when your creative juices have been sufficiently stoked, you can submit your own story to the site.
Billing itself as one of the oldest continually functioning websites on the Internet, Slightly Warped brings all sorts of “funny, absurd, interesting, and other attention-getting adjectives” to web denizens across the globe.
Lucky for us, Slightly Warped also maintains a set of short horror stories that definitely fit in with the “warped” mentality of the rest of the site.
Check them out here, but don’t neglect the rest of the offering while you’re there because you’re bound to find something, um, tasty every time you visit.
The Scary Story
Lake Lopez is an author who specializes in horror, claiming that, “I want to scare the Hell out of you.”
He does a pretty good job of that, too, with his full-length books and his collections of short stories.
Lake is not stingy with his work, either, offering up a selection of his short fiction for free on his website, The Scary Story.
Check out his stories here.
True Ghost Tales
True Ghost Tales has been online for several years now, and during that time it has grown into one of the web’s largest collections of spooky tidbits, from historical narratives to (yes) tales of true hauntings.
Their Short Ghost Stories and Weird Experiences series is especially compelling for darkside lovers, offering a combination of real encounters and flights of fancy.
While the writing is not always at the standard of professional story tellers, there is a certain grit and realism that comes from “real” people telling their stories, and True Ghost Tales has that in spades.
Writing.com Daily Flash Fiction Challenge
If you like your horror in bite-size morsels, you can’t do much better than the Daily Flash Fiction Challenge at Writing.com.
In case you’re not familiar with it, Writing.com is one of the premiere sites for writers looking to hone their craft, and it’s been plying its trade for well over a decade.
But Writing.com is also a true boon for readers because authors of all ilk are always on the site experimenting, and that means proffering their latest stories for free.
One area of the site that is well-suited to horror lovers is the Daily Flash Fiction Challenge. Here, writers are presented with a quick writing prompt and encouraged to write a story based on that prompt in 300 words or less.
With 5-10 stories pouring in every day, you can almost always find a gem or two, and many of them have a decidedly dark tint.