Skip to content

CHECK THIS OUT: How to scare a librarian

Avi Silberstein surveyed his colleagues to learn what books or movies frighten them
Photo: Pexels

By Avi Silberstein

With Halloween just around the corner, I decided to ask everyone who works at the library what books (or movies) scared them. Their answers surprised me.

Here was one reply I got: “I started The Woman in Cabin 10 (Ruth Ware) and right on the first page you’ve got a woman living by herself who hears an intruder in her house. She walks down the stairs, and he’s sitting at her kitchen table, calm as anything, wearing rubber gloves. The protagonist says ‘It was the gloves that terrified me the most’ — and I would say the same! Right away I knew: this book is not for me!”

Another identified a series of books that they love and frequently recommend to patrons who are looking to inject a little fear into their lives (who are these people?): The Swallow (Charis Cotter), The Graveyard Book (Neil Gaiman), The Ocean at the End of the Lane (Neil Gaiman), and Horrorstör (Grady Hendrix).

One suggested that any patrons who think they might have ghosts lurking in their homes check out our copy of Ghost Hunting for Beginners: Everything You Need to Know to Get Started (Rich Newman).

And another one remembered a story from her youth that’s haunted many of us over the years: “The evilness of The Lottery (Shirley Jackson) has stayed with me for decades!”

Two cited scary movies: “I Am Legend creeped me right out when I saw it.” and “The Awakening, The Turn of the Screw, and The Picnic at Hanging Rock are slow-burn, gothic ghost stories that leave many unanswered questions — I absolutely loved them all.”

As for me, I love reading Don Winslow’s books, but I spend half my time skipping pages that are filled with more gore than I can handle.

I’d be remiss not to mention Lost Souls of Lakewood: The History and Mystery of Blaylock Mansion (Charlie Hodge and Dan McGauley), a local novel with a ghostly narrator which draws upon the rich haunted history of Blaylock Mansion.

And if you’re looking to dig deeper into the Nelson ghost scene, you can join the Haunted Heritage Nelson Ghost Walk, put on by Touchstones Museum and the Nelson Paranormal League, which will take place on Saturday, Oct. 30 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. (tickets available online through Eventbrite).

Some people love Halloween for the ghostliness, some for the candy, some for the costumes. Me, I love it because it’s the one day a year when I get to wear a mask.

Avi Silberstein is the children’s librarian at the Nelson Public Library. Check This Out runs every other week. If you’re interested in learning more about library programs and services, sign up for their monthly newsletter on their website or give them a call.