We recently celebrated Edgar Allan Poe's birthday with five strange facts about the master of the macabre. Born January 19th, 1809, Poe was a writer best known for his devotion to all thinks dark and mysterious.
Whether the only Poe you know happens to be the Star Wars character, or you have a vague recollection of reading The Raven back in high-school, here are five spooky Poe stories you definitely need to read.
1. The Murders in the Rue Morgue
One of the lesser known facts about Edgar Allan Poe is that he created modern detective fiction when he penned his short tale, The Murders in the Rue Morgue. In this story, amateur detective C. Aguste Dupin gets pulled into investigating the brutal murders of two Parisian women. There appears to be no reason for the murders, and the man accused of committing them might be innocent. Is everything as it seems? Probably not, but you will need to follow in Dupin's footsteps to find out.
2. The Gold-Bug
After writing his part-horror, part-detective fiction The Gold Bug, Poe challenged his readers to crack the cryptogram code featured in the tale. As a result, The Gold-Bug went on to become one of Poe's most popular stories. The story centers around a man who suspects his friend has gone mad as a result of an insect bite. What follows is a remarkable journey full of dangerous adventures, strange codes, and hidden treasures. This one will keep you enthralled from beginning to end.
3. The Cask of Amontillado
Poe's classic tale, The Cask of Amontillado, is a must-read if only for the eerie manner in which it delves into the psychology of revenge. Set in an unnamed Italian city, The Cask of Amontillado is told through the perspective of a narrator with murderous intent. He's carrying out a deadly revenge against a friend who, he claims, has insulted him. The most unsettling part? The reader never really learns what insult leads to the friend's gruesome demise.
4. The Tell-Tale Heart
This is one of Poe's shortest stories, but there's a good reason why he was so economical with his language. The Tell-Tale Heart is narrated by an individual who has attacked, killed, and dismembered an old man, then buried him beneath the floorboards. When the police arrive to investigate, the narrator believes he can hear the old man's heart beating beneath the floor. Poe's use of short, sharp language creates a sense of paranoia, and in the end the reader is left wondering if it was guilt or madness which caused the narrator to imagine his victim's heartbeat.
5. Fall of the House of Usher
A key reason why this is one of Poe's most fascinating short stories is because he utilizes the fear of totality (in which every detail seems relative to the horror the characters experience) to add an extra layer of psychological intensity. In the story, an unnamed narrator visits a friend's house after learning he and his twin sister have fallen ill. The sister dies, and the narrator's friend begins to hint that the house is alive. You'll definitely want to read this gripping horror tale in a single sitting, and with ALL the lights on.
Are you a fan of Edgar Allan Poe's stories?
Share which ones you think are the spookiest!