Amy H. Sturgis (eldritchhobbit) wrote,
Amy H. Sturgis
eldritchhobbit

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"that suspiciously lingering smile"

Since we've been counting down the scariest books of all time, a poll seems in order:

What is the scariest book you've ever read?



And - oh yes - a meme!


According to the Edmonton Journal, the scariest book of all time is The Collected Short Stories of Edgar Allan Poe (including such works as "The Fall of the House of Usher," "The Cask of Amontillado," and "The Tell-Tale Heart," written from 1832 to 1849). Here is an excerpt from one of my personal favorites, "The Fall of the House of Usher":

At the request of Usher, I personally aided him in the arrangements for the temporary entombment. The body having been encoffined, we two alone bore it to its rest. The vault in which we placed it (and which had been so long unopened that our torches, half smothered in its oppressive atmosphere, gave us little opportunity for investigation) was small, damp, and entirely without means of admission for light; lying, at great depth, immediately beneath that portion of the building in which was my own sleeping apartment. It had been used, apparently, in remote feudal times, for the worst purposes of a donjon-keep, and, in later days, as a place of deposit for powder, or some other highly combustible substance, as a portion of its floor, and the whole interior of a long archway through which we reached it, were carefully sheathed with copper. The door, of massive iron, had been, also, similarly protected. Its immense weight caused an unusually sharp grating sound, as it moved upon its hinges.

Having deposited our mournful burden upon tressels within this region of horror, we partially turned aside the yet unscrewed lid of the coffin, and looked upon the face of the tenant. A striking similitude between the brother and sister now first arrested my attention; and Usher, divining, perhaps, my thoughts, murmured out some few words from which I learned that the deceased and himself had been twins, and that sympathies of a scarcely intelligible nature had always existed between them. Our glances, however, rested not long upon the dead --for we could not regard her unawed. The disease which had thus entombed the lady in the maturity of youth, had left, as usual in all maladies of a strictly cataleptical character, the mockery of a faint blush upon the bosom and the face, and that suspiciously lingering smile upon the lip which is so terrible in death.


- from "The Fall of the House of Usher" by Edgar Allan Poe (1839)

Read the entire "The Fall of the House of Usher" at Bartleby.com.
Read the entire "The Fall of the House of Usher" at Project Gutenberg.
Visit PoeStories.com.
Visit Poe's Virtual Library.
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