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Chapter 42 - Frankenstein

As Halloween approaches, days get shorter and night comes quickly and lasts longer. For me, nothing suits like a scary book. There are lots to choose from - books that have monsters like vampires, zombies, and well, Frankenstein's monster, ones that have psychological monsters, and books that just have evil people doing evil things.

Psychologists seem to believe that in times of stress and confusion people need to see and read scary things. It is like reminding ourselves how bad it could be versus how bad it is. These stories not only give us a somewhere to place our fears but we can also control it, simply by putting the book down. Horror stories also reflect the times. The Victorians loved monsters like Dracula, Mr. Hyde (Dr. Jeckyl's alter ego) and Frankenstein, while we gravitate towards technology and apocalypse horrors with a few psychos thrown in.

Here are some of my favorite scary books in case that stress and confusion part are part of your life right now. Just remember - monsters can be defeated!

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley - I reread this recently and was once again surprised at how applicable it is to current times. Themes here include Man as God, boutique babies, Artificial Intelligence and Nature vs Nurture.

Dracula by Bram Stoker - This is perhaps the finest Gothic novel ever written. Classic elements of good and evil, hero and maiden, and of course a despicable bad guy. It doesn't get much better than this.

The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris - Still one of the best horror stories of modern times. What could be scarier than an imprisoned serial killer who has feasted on his victims? I know, let's throw in a young FBI agent with her own baggage who is just trying to work up a profile on recent killings. There is lots of tension and suspense in this thriller.

The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty - You probably know the story but have you ever read the book? Two priests are called in to perform an exorcist as a young girl fights a demon invading her body. There is psychological build up as the book goes into how the demon possesses the child and, of course, a fight against good and evil. This is not a story for the faint of heart!

I Am Legend by Richard Matheson - If you have seen this movie, then you really don't know the story and should read the book. The world has been infected by a pandemic which turns humans into vampire/zombie creatures. By day, the hero kills the sleeping zombies, by night he hides out in his barricaded house listening to the sound of zombies calling his name.

Do you have any favorite horror stories? If so, let us know.

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