Scary Stories to Read Online Free

There are few pleasures sweeter than reading a truly fine horror story. They are especially effective with reluctant readers. Which is why we’ve compiled 40 scary stories to read online.

We’ve provided links to every story so you can read for free online. 

Want to check out the 10 best scary stories for kids? Go here. You can download all 10 free.

Want to teach how to write scary stories? Go here.

Want more stories for middle school? Or for high school?

Ghost Stories & Other Hauntings

Sometimes They Come Back

By Stephen King
A teacher returns to his hometown only to find that the ghosts of his past are literally haunting his classroom.

The Man Who Collected Poe

By Robert Bloch
A mysterious Poe collector claims to possess the ultimate collector’s item: the body of Edgar Allan Poe itself.

The Rocking Horse Winner

By DH Lawrence
A little boy believes that he can correctly guess the derby winners each time by riding his rocking horse.

An Original Revenge

By WC Morrow
A soldier intends to kill himself in order to return as a vengeful spirit and take his revenge upon his commanding officer.

The Little Room

By Madeline Yale Wynn
A tiny room in a farm house holds a mysterious secret, appearing to be a different room to each person who enters it.

The Hitchhiker

By Lucille Fletcher
A radio play written by a master of the form about a man driving the lonely American highways, and the hitchhiker who appears time & again.

The Companion

By Ramsey Campbell
Not every ride at the carnival is full of fun and laughter. Some are downright scary. And some you never escape.

Number One Fan

By Tyler Miller
A young woman gets a chance to manage her favorite baseball team, but the price for fandom may just be your soul.

Dial Tone

By Benjamin Percy
A man becomes obsessed with a local suicide that hung himself from one of the nearby electric towers and discovers more than he bargained for.

The Evil Men Do: Killer Stories

The Cask of Amontillado

By Edgar Allan Poe
The classic tale of the ultimate revenge.

It Only Comes Out at Night

By Dennis Etchison
A couple stops at an isolated rest stop to take a break and discover that the other cars sitting in the parking lot are not as empty as they believed.

The God of Dark Laughter

By Michael Chabon
Thirteen days after the Entwhistle-Ealing Bros. circus left Ashtown two boys stumbled on a body that was dressed in a mad suit of purple and orange velour.

A Dress of White Silk

By Richard Matheson
A twisted little tale about a very disturbed young girl by the author of I Am Legend and The Incredible Shrinking Man.

Til Death Do Us

By Tyler Miller
A man thinks he’s gotten away with murder, until someone sends his dead wife’s severed finger to him in a box.

Night Drive

By Will F Jenkins
Madge just wanted to pick up her husband, but an unexpected passenger leads to dark and terrible truth about the human soul.

Mars Will Have Blood

By Marc Laidlaw
“Too much ichor,” said red-faced Jack Magnusson, scowling into a playbook. “The whole tragedy is sopping in it. Blood, blood, blood.

The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains

By Neil Gaiman
Two men travel deep into the Black Mountains in the search for gold. Or maybe it’s not gold they want after all.

Monsters & Other Creatures

The Crate

By Stephen King
It’s just a crate found tucked away under a dusty stairwell. Nothing to worry about. Right?

Dracula’s Guest

By Bram Stoker
Removed by Stoker from the novel, this tale serves as an excellent introduction to the greatest of all vampires: Count Dracula.

The Shadow Over Innsmouth

By HP Lovecraft
What really happened in the deserted seaport town of Innsmouth? And why was the government so disturbed they destroyed the town?

They Bite

By Anthony Boucher
One of the most unique and disturbing monsters ever put on paper resides far out in Boucher’s desert.

Children of the Corn

By Stephen King
The classic story about He Who Walks Behind the Rows and the horrors visited upon a tiny rural town when the children finally take control.


By Leonid Andreyev
A powerful tale spun from the biblical tale of Lazurus. Andreyev looks at the reality of how people might view someone who actually came back from the dead.

Pop Art

By Joe Hill
My best friend when I was twelve was inflatable. His name was Arthur Roth, which also made him an inflatable Hebrew…

The Spindly Man

By Stephen Graham Jones
A book group sits down to discuss a story by Stephen King and the conversation goes very, very awry.

Classic Horror Stories

The Monkey’s Paw

By WW Jacobs
The greatest tale ever told about being careful what you wish for, with one of the finest endings ever penned.

The Lottery

By Shirley Jackson
Perhaps the greatest twist ending in 20th Century fiction. A wicked tale of a small town lottery and the danger of tradition.


By Robert Louis Stevenson
Markheim enters an antique shop late one night to sell a rare item but ends up murdering the shop owner instead.

The Great God Pan

By Arthur Machen
An experiment designed to reveal the spirit world goes horribly wrong, leading to a series of disappearances and deaths.

An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge

By Ambrose Bierce
A man set for execution escapes his fate when the noose breaks. He flees, desperate to escape from his executioners.

Horrific Adventures

A Descent Into the Maelstrom

By Edgar Allan Poe
A seemingly old man recounts his horrific tale of being sucked into a massive whirlpool at sea and how he managed to survive.

The Most Dangerous Game

By Richard Connell
A madman hunts human beings for sport on his private island. But with his latest “guest” he may have finally met his match.

The Strange Ride of Morrowbie Jukes

By Rudyard Kipling
There is, as the conjurers say, no deception about this tale. Jukes by accident stumbled upon a village that is well known to exist, though he is the only Englishman who has been there.

The Boar Hunt

By Jose Vasconcelos
A group of hunters stalk wild boars through the jungle. When they begin shooting a herd from the trees, they mistakenly believe it’s their lucky day.

Sci-Fi Horror

The Autopsy

By Michael Shea
Dr. Winter stepped out of the tiny Greyhound station and into the midnight street that smelled of pines.

The Veldt

By Ray Bradbury
The classic tale of the dangers of technology replacing reality and a critique of lackadaisical parenting.


By Stephen King
A classic end of the world tale centered in a diner after all the machines in the world have gone crazy and started killing people.

Mars is Heaven

By Ray Bradbury
They land on Mars only to discover themselves in a town that looks exactly like one they left on Earth, and it’s filled with people they know.

The River Styx Runs Upstream

By Dan Simmons
I loved my mother very much. After her funeral, after the coffin was lowered, the family went home and waited for her return.

Patient Zero

By Tananarive Due
Written over a decade ago, this tale of a young child who may be the first patient in a worldwide plague is disturbingly prescient post-COVID.

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