Autumn Short-story Literary Countdown!

Autumn Short-story Literary Countdown!

Autumn is without a doubt my favorite season of the year. The trees turn, pumpkin patches open, corn mazes draw crowds, hoodies, jackets, scarves appear, and fall decorations of leaves are made by children everywhere. As the nights grow+ colder and days shorter, who couldn’t also love a good spooky story told around a campfire while cooking smores and drinking hot cider?

Dana Mele created a list of amazing short spooky stories from solid literary sources. These aren’t your blood and gore stories, gimmicky kiddie tales, or cheap jump scares. Many come from the golden ages of the 1800’s when proper authors would often write short, scary tales. I approve of her entire list. Best yet, each is short enough to read before falling asleep. So pour a warm drink, toss a few logs on the fireplace, and settle in under a warm blacket before bed and read a good story!

(The link to her countdown is here, but I’m always afraid of such beautiful resources getting lost/shut down. So I make a copy here.)
Do you have any spooky stories you would add? Please share!

31. The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Stetson, PDF – Free Audiobook version


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30. The Tapestried Chamber by Sir Walter Scott – Free Audiobook version

29. The Phantom Coach by Amelia B. Edwards, PDF – Free audiobook version

28. Squire Toby’s Will by J.S. Le Fanu

27. The Upper Berth by F. Marion Crawford – Free audiobook version

26. The Judge’s House by Bram Stoker, PDF – Free audiobook version

25. Man-Size in Marble by Edith Nesbit – Free audiobook version

24. The Roll-Call of the Reef by Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch – Free audiobook version

23. The Friends of the Friends by Henry James

22. The Red Room by H.G. Wells – Free audiobook here

21. The Monkey’s Paw by W.W. Jacobs, PDF – Free audiobook here

20. The Lost Ghost by Mary E. Wilkins – Free audiobook here

19. ‘Oh, Whistle, and I’ll Come to You, My Lad’ by M.R. James – Free Audiobook version (2 parts)

18. The Empty House by Algernon Blackwood, PDF – Free audiobook version

17. Widdershins by Oliver Onions (6 ghost stories) – Free audiobook version

16.  Rose Rose by Barry Pain

15. The Confession of Charles Linkworth by E.F. Benson

14.  On the Brighton Road by Richard Middleton – Free Audiobook version

13. Bone to His Bone by E.G. Swain, PDF version

12. The Taipan by W. Somerset Maugham

11. A Visitor From Down Under by L.P. Hartley

10. Fullcircle by John Buchan

9. The Clock by W.F. Harvey

8. Mr. Jones by Edith Wharton

7. Smee by A.M. Burrage – Free audiobook version

6. The Little Ghost by Hugh Walpole

5. The Hollow Man by Thomas Burke (small print- view in fullscreen and adjust)

4. Et in Sempiternum Pereant by Charles Williams

3. An Encounter in the Mist by A.N.L. Munby, PDF version

2. The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe – Free audiobook version

  1. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving – Free audiobook version

List of Honorable Mentions:

How Old is the Universe – EU’s Gaia probe

How Old is the Universe – EU’s Gaia probe

According to most scientific sources, even those written by such notables as Stephen (corrected) Hawking, the universe is about 13.88 billion years old. But the dirty secret is that recently possible measurements weren’t jiving.

Gaia is the EU’s new space-based telescope and has logged the distances between almost a billion nearby stars with unprecedented accuracy. In releasing the distances to the first 2 million objects, it’s numbers are causing a stir because if the Gaia speed observations are correct, it would mean having to reduce the estimated 13.88 billion-year-old universe by perhaps a few hundred million years.

Kudos to the BBC for not dumbing it down:



Humility isn’t about doing crazy acts of self-deprecation, self-abuse, having low self-esteem, or believing you are fundamentally bad/terrible/worthless. We often see this hyperbole in movies and TV that features an often unstable person consumed by ‘religion’.  Sometimes read that kind of language from the saints, but they did not believe their soul was actually worthless or they were valueless and unloved. Quite the contrary – they took refuge in knowing that God loved them infinitely. Instead, they meant that when we see ourselves clearly, we recognize just how broken we are. It’s like an athlete that realizes just how often they don’t train with their full effort, or a person on a diet that cheats all too often, or a spouse that realizes they’ve neglected their partner. Except for them and us, it’s the painful realization we so often do not love as we ought. Because of that lack of love, we are robbed of happiness and feel the pain they caused the God they loved so ardently. Some go further and recognized that besides the wrongs we know about, even our best efforts are often tainted with laziness/vanity of how we want others to see us/errors in judgment. In that way, they really just state the basic brokenness that we so often do things we know we shouldn’t. It’s original sin – the state of this broken world that each of us is born into. But none of this is humility.

Humility is about stopping thinking it’s all about us. It’s really about truly being free. In our modern world, we believe freedom is the ability to do whatever thing we want. This idea isn’t true freedom. Instead, when we become free of thinking everything is related/about us and our desires, we become free to have other motives for our actions. This is why many saints lived very ascetic lives. These practices helped them strip away the desires for comfort and ease that make us weak to our desires. This is absolutely no different that Olympic athletes that deny themselves all kinds of things and train 7 days a week/8+ hours a day for years. Many ambitious professionals forgo bar nights, sleeping in, friendships, fun activities, travel, marriage, or many other pleasurable things to reach their professional goals. But just like athletes, we need to look at our ascetic practices carefully. It’s easy to put on great shackles of self-denial – but if they are not producing good fruits – then they are worthless or perhaps even just injure us. As the exercises of a marathoner are tracked to see if they produce better times, our ascetic practices should be tracked/reflected on to see if they are producing greater compassion, forgiveness, love, and the ability to deny our unhelpful desires.

So humility is really a path to freedom. As we grow in the ability to look beyond our desires, it means we can abandon ourselves more and more to do the things that are good. For Christians, it allows us to quietly reflect on and do the will of God – putting ourselves at the service of him and others. Our faith teaches us that by doing this, we learn what true love is. This is what is meant when one says we live the cross. By the painful nails of turning away from our desires, our selfishness and lack of humility are stripped away until we become free of ourselves. We are able to embrace childlike, self-giving love that empties itself for others and make us Christ for the world. Or as St Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD) notes when reflecting about the centurion that regarded himself as unworthy to receive the Lord into his house: “Humility was the door through which the Lord entered to take full possession of one whom he already possessed.”