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Haunted Legends

3.67  ·  Rating Details ·  549 Ratings  ·  52 Reviews
Winner of the 2010 Bram Stoker Award for Best Anthology!

Darkly thrilling, these twenty new ghost stories have all the chills and power of traditional ghost stories, but each tale is a unique retelling of an urban legend from the world over.

Multiple award-winning editor Ellen Datlow and award-nominated author and editor Nick Mamatas recruited Jeffrey Ford, Ramsey Campbell,
ebook, 352 pages
Published September 14th 2010 by Tor Books (first published January 1st 2010)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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This anthology is a solid 4 stars. Highly recommended. Very varied content with great stories (only a few exceptions).


AUGUST 14, 2011:

"Following Double-face Woman" by Erzebet YellowBoy:

This one didn't leave any lasting impression on me. It's based on a figure of Native American myth.

OCTOBER 21, 2011:

"The Folding Man" by Joe R. Lansdale:

This story was a bit silly to me. In part because I found it difficult to take the premise serious: a van full of angry, dead nuns have a folding
Alisi ☆ wants to read too many books ☆
Meh. The vast majority of these were meh. Some were okay and some were written badly enough that I skipped altogether. None were remotely good. The stories and the theme just weren't done well in them. Each had an epilogue to explain the urban/haunted legend at the end, and since 95% of these were taken from the English speaking variety of the subject, this is a rather telling clue of the quality of stories found within. Stories are like jokes: if you have to explain why they're stories and how ...more
So this was my effort to try something a little different this year. I found Haunted Legends in the same search that lead me to Bleeding Violet, and the theme intrigued me. An anthology of spooky legends from around the world re-told by a group of diverse, critically acclaimed authors? I will take that now plz.

The actual reading experience turned out to be a mixed bag. I grabbed this hoping for a genuinely spooky read for the Halloween season, and while there were stories in here that I liked, a
Colin Leslie
Feb 16, 2011 Colin Leslie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Haunted Legends gathers together 20 tales from the far flung corners of the globe which all focus on local folktales or urban legends. With the Ellen Datlow sign of quality on the cover and an all star line up within, this promised to be a special collection. Lets see how it shaped up.

The writers were tasked with "choosing their favourite 'true' ghost story and rescue it from the cobwebs of the local tourist gift shop". The result is a collection of vast cultural and stylistic variation. We are
Apr 17, 2015 Linda rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The idea in this collection was to ask modern day horror writers to take a legend well-known in their area and write a modern day story incorporating it. It might be something that's known in a wide area (such as New England vampire legends - which I'm not familiar with, probably because I'm not from New England) to very local (a haunted fairground just south of Portland). For me, it just didn't work.

Except in two cases. One was a Russian story concerning Beria, Stalin's right-hand man and tortu
Shellie (Layers of Thought)
Original review posted on Layers of Thought. Linked on the blog is an audio version of one of the stories read with an eerie deep voice. It is perfect for a fall evening!

A diverse collection of ghost stories based on actual legends, making it all the more interesting, fun, and just plain scary.

This book was a complete pleasure to read, and what a perfect time of year to do so. Part of the reason that I got so excited about this collection is that each of the stories is prefaced with a bit about
This one really underwhelmed me, with the concept of an anthology about local, spooky legends I thought I was heading for an atmospheric and entertaining October read. What I got was mostly a variation of the same dull running concept of a sad and/or melancholic ghost tale, only a tiny number of the 20 stories didn't follow this path. Don't get me wrong, this approach to the idea of "Haunted Legends" has a fair spot in the entirety of the book, meaning 3-4 stories. This collection desperately ne ...more
Aug 29, 2016 Angie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As with most anthologies, this book is a mix of hits and misses in the genre of retelling urban legends and ghost stories. Probably about a third that are really awesome, a third that are good, and a third that are "meh." The particularly good ones were Catherynne Valente's Japanese-based offering, Kaaron Warren's ghost girl hitch-hiker, Carolyn Turgeon's take on the Woman in White, and Stephen Dedman's spin on reality shows mixed with spooks. One or two of the other tales... Eh, they were overl ...more
Mar 24, 2016 And_it_spoke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An amazing collection of authors writing short stories related to real life legends from around the world. Full of strong offerings, and not a clunker in the bunch! No truly terrifying or earth shaking material. Very solid, and a good creepy read.
I was very excited about this anthology when I discovered it, since I love urban legends - particularly the more paranormal ones. However, whether due to my high expectations or not, it just didn't thrill me like previous Datlow edited ones have. There were stories I liked; for example Down Atsion Road, Return to Mariabronn and The Redfield Girls, and stories I wasn't sure if I liked (Oaks Park has great ideas but is written entirely in the 2nd person which is jarring, For Those In Peril On the ...more
May 17, 2015 Chris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An odd collection of short stories based on dark urban legends and folktales by an impressive list of authors, including Joe R. Lansdale, Ramsey Campbell, Pat Cadigan, Caitlin R. Kiernan and many others. The stories here are very hit-or-miss. Several didn't connect with me at all. By far, my favorite was "Shoebox Train Wreck" by John Mantooth. Of course, the Ramsey Campbell and Joe R. Lansdale stories were very good, too.
Alison C
Haunted Legends, edited by Ellen Datlow and Nick Mamatas, is a collection of original stories based on ghost stories and legends from various parts of the world, such as China, Thailand, Mexico, England, Texas and India, written by a diverse group of writers including Richard Bowes, Kaaron Warren, Kit Reed, Steven Pirie, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Jeffrey Ford, Gary A. Braunbeck, Stephen Dedman, Pat Catigan, Ramsey Campbell and Joe R. Lansdale, among others. As with all such short story collections, I ...more
Oct 12, 2010 Lori rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
So far, my favorite story is "Astion Road". It is challenging to review the book as a whole, because some of the stories were great and some I couldn't even get through. Most were somewhere in the middle of that. Best stories- "Redfield Girls", "Astion Road", "La Llorana" and "The Folding Man".
Aug 15, 2014 SmarterLilac rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ellen Datlow sure can pick 'em.

I really enjoyed Datlow's The Dark: New Ghost Stories, and this book is, amazingly, even better (read: scarier).

The stories in Haunted Legends are grim, gritty, and entertaining, yet elegant and always thoroughly well written. No shallow flash fiction in here; these are pieces for readers with attention spans. I also appreciate the fact that they are crafted with great subtlety--a true rarity in modern horror. Bonus points for showcasing writers from the Pacific No
Oct 28, 2011 Jennifer rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
I read 5 of these and they were all kind of boring and did not deliver the punch you want in scary/creepy story. I am surprised as I usually love the collections she edits.
Ellen Herbert
Nov 14, 2011 Ellen Herbert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Delicious. perfect for Fall. All those half remembered childhood stories whispered at sleep-overs? All here, all grown up and chilling. God, Ellen Datlow is a great editor.
Liz Mackey
May 09, 2012 Liz Mackey rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
did not enjoy. booo
I have never been disappointed with any anthology edited, or co-edited, by Ellen Datlow, and HAUNTED LEGENDS continues that trend. While there are a few stories in this collection that didn't really work for me, the majority of them did.

The theme is exactly what the title implies: those local, "home-grown" tales of hauntings and other oddness that you often find retold in poorly-edited "local legends" tomes sold in airports kiosks and tourist-trap gift shops. Datlow and Mamatas' edict to the par
This past Halloween, I participated in a lot of chatter about that scariest of spooky story collections - actually, it’s a trilogy - compiled by Alvin Schwartz and terrifyingly illustrated by Stephen Gammel: Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark. Recently, the publishers re-released it, but with tamer illustrations - a complete travesty to the horror genre. All this talk of frightening stories put me in the mood for a new collection, and the fact that some of my favorite authors have contributed to ...more
Gothic Readers Book Club
Urban legends have always been a bizarre idea. They can be found in every culture and in every city around the world. Ellen Datlow and Nick Mamatas have put together a great collection of stories based on these strange stories. The collection features stories from around the globe such as "Tin Cans" by Ekaterina Sedia. Set in Stalinist Russia, it's a take on the Russian legend of Beria, who was known as "Stalin's butcher." "As Red as Red" by Caitlín R. Kiernan has a distinct Lovecraft feel with ...more
Nov 06, 2010 Erika rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am reviewing a copy provided by the publisher.

A collection of supernatural tales drawn from cultures around the world, Haunted Legends is part horrifying, part skin-crawling, and part contemplative. Ellen Datlow has teamed up with Nick Mamatas to gather resurrections of urban legends, ghost stories, and local terrors derived from a variety of imaginations and reality-based nightmares to produce a solidly satisfying anthology. There are, of course, some stories that outshine the rest, but the o
Sep 13, 2016 Jeff rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
They say that short story collections are like a box of chocolates, and that might be true, but this was a box that should have been tossed out. There are only a couple of truly great stories, and a few ok ones, but the majority were painful to suffer through. Almost none of these felt hunted or even eerie, they were mostly flat and lusterless stories, often seeming to have little purpose. I was hoping for so much more from this collection, but by the end, I was glad it was simply over.
Valkyrie Franco
I wanted to like this so much but I feel like it killed my mood for horror short stories. You have amazing writers writing boring, uninspired legends from around the globe? And don't ruin the mood for a horror anthology by overly stating in your foreword "ghosts aren't real". Over and over again! I get it now why are you putting this together? Probably more disappointing than anything. Bored to death...

There are others that are far better, please read Doll Collection over this.
Nov 09, 2013 Cissa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent creepy tales!

On the whole, I enjoyed this collection a lot. Almost all of the stories were very well-written and wonderfully creepy, but each in its own way.. and some of them were even more than that.

"Oaks Park", for example, was intentionally somewhat disjointed in narrative, but was one of the finest fictional depictions of dissociation I've ever read.

Most of the others,though, were satisfied by sending shivers up one's spine, and that was completely what i wanted this Halloween sea
Dec 09, 2012 Nicole rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, anthologies
I don't tend to approach anthologies with a whole lot of expectation. Many times, there's only one or two stories that really draw me in. Haunted Legends, however, is actually a rather good collection. There's only one story that didn't quite feel like it fit the overall theme at all ("Following Double-Face Woman", though it is well written to be sure) and only one I didn't particularly enjoy ("Down Atsion Road", which is far too dry to evoke an emotional response, let alone suspense).

A list of
Aug 17, 2015 Janice rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Ghost stories. This was ok, but was not the best anthology I read this years. Some were pretty effective, some I didn't like as well.

I've read all but the Cat Valente story, because for some reason, I bounce off her writing really hard. .
OTOH, Joe Lansdale ALWAYS manages to completely weird me out. Well done, Joe, I guess. :/
Rebecca McNutt
Eerie collection of stories, but not anything that any horror or thriller fan wouldn't have heard of a million times before. I isn't really worth it, but I will say that they were well-written for the most part so if you're new to the horror genre, this could be a good place to start.
Aug 22, 2015 And_it_spoke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An amazing collection of authors writing short stories related to real life legends from around the world. Full of strong offerings, and not a clunker in the bunch! No truly terrifying or earth shaking material. Very solid, and a good creepy read.
3.5 stars. I loved the premise, and Ellen Datlow has to be one of the best editors of speculative fiction anthologies, but this was a little bit underwhelming. All story collections are a mixed bag, but for me this one had more duds than gems- too many of these stories focused on ghosts as metaphors for guilt/regret/loss, and there weren't enough genuinely scary stories for a book of reworked urban legends & local lore. That being said, some stories stand out, and even for someone who loves ...more
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Wow - really cheap paper 1 9 Jun 28, 2011 11:37AM  
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Ellen Datlow has been an award-winning editor of short science fiction, fantasy, and horror for over twentyfive years.

She is editor of the Best Horror of the Year and has edited or co-edited a large number of award-winning original anthologies. Her most recent are Supernatural Noir, Naked City, Blood and Other Cravings, The Beastly Bride, Teeth, Trolls Eye View, and After (the last three with Ter
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