13 Terrifyingly True Tales

Posted by Marie on October 1, 2018
Goodreads Horror Week 2018

Horror Week is sponsored by Dark Corners, an Amazon Original Stories Collection.

Even nonfiction can hold the stuff of nightmares. Whether it’s natural disasters, outbreaks of plague, or serial killers hidden in plain sight, there’s no question that reality has its dark moments. Fortunately, there is a silver lining.

This roundup of highly rated true stories shows that there are just as many real-life heroes as there are real-life monsters. Which of these books will you be adding to your to-read list? Share your favorites with us in the comments.



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This story follows the journey of Sarah Graves, a young bride who joined the pioneers of the ill-fated Donner Party as they did the unspeakable to survive.



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When an incurable and deadly virus suddenly appeared in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., all that stood in its way was a secret SWAT team of soldiers and scientists.



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What drove Charles Manson and his followers to carry out the Tate-LaBianca slayings? Prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi gives an inside look at one of the most infamous investigations of the 1960s.



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Master scientist Dr. Bill Bass takes readers behind locked doors of "The Body Farm"—a forensic lab unlike any other—to revisit his most chilling cases, including the Lindbergh kidnapping.  



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This Nobel Prize-winning novel captures the tragic personal accounts of the victims of Chernobyl—the 1986 nuclear disaster that contaminated as much as three-quarters of Europe.



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True-crime writer Ann Rule spent months hunting down a brutal mass murderer, only to realize that he was her close friend and colleague, Ted Bundy, all along.



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For years, large chemical companies have been using Toms River as their personal dumping ground, causing unfathomable harm and culminating in a decades-long battle for reparations.



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Forced by his uncle to take part in the Wineville killing spree, a young boy named Sanford Clark testified against his murderous relative to bring justice to their victims’ families.



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This thoroughly researched and richly comprehensive account pieces together the history and legend behind London’s most notorious East End killer.



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The 1996 Mount Everest disaster claimed five lives and left countless others in disarray, including journalist/mountaineer Jon Krakauer, who stood on the summit as the storm bore down.


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Dr. Pamela Nagami reveals the sobering facts of some of the world’s most horrific diseases, and how it feels to make medical decisions that can mean the difference between life and death.



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This acclaimed 1966 classic recounts the gruesome murders of the Clutter family and the investigation that led to the capture, trial, and execution of their killers.



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In 1894, more than 400 people in Hinckley, Minnesota, perished in the wake of a forest fire so devastating, it created hurricane-strength winds and virtually no means of escape.






Which terrifyingly true tale would you recommend? Let us know in the comments!

Check out the complete coverage of Horror Week:
Let's Play: Conjure Your Worst Nightmare
A Guide to the Ghastly Subgenres of Horror
The Most Popular Book-to-Scream Adaptations

Comments Showing 1-50 of 62 (62 new)


message 1: by Corey (new)

Corey Under a Flaming Sky! I read this book because my family survived the fire but I had no idea about the details. The book is absolutely riveting and horrifying.


message 2: by Michele (last edited Oct 02, 2018 12:42PM) (new)

Michele Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann

Thrilling and horrifying.


message 3: by Wanda (new)

Wanda Maynard If I had to recommend one of these truly horror-filled books, it would have to be, INTO THIN AIR by Jon Krakauer. Because it tells about the 1996 Mount Everest disaster and how these people lost their lives because of what they were trying to do. So scary sad.


message 4: by Katy (new)

Katy Lohman Night of the Grizzlies by Jack Olsen scared me so bad that I remembered it 30 years later... Two girls were killed, and a man mauled, by bears, in the park one night.


message 5: by Wanda (new)

Wanda Maynard That was pretty scary!


message 7: by Mahda (new)

Mahda shademan i want to read the «Voices from Chernoby»


message 8: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Anything by Ann Rule.


message 9: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi & Auschwitz by Miklos Nyiszli


message 10: by Marguerite (new)

Marguerite MacLean The Devil in the White City by: Erik Larson


message 11: by Holly (new)

Holly I normally enjoy non-fiction books on a wide range of topics. As a fan of horror fiction, I have to say that horrific non-fiction just doesn't look appealing to me.


message 12: by Naomi (new)

Naomi Michele wrote: "Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann

Thrilling and horrorifying"


Yes! I read this book during the summer and it was absolutely fascinating!


message 13: by Donna (new)

Donna Krebs the devil in the white city by erik Larson-terribly horrifying


message 14: by Tony (new)

Tony "The Serpent and the Rainbow" by Wade Davis

Zombies are real!


message 15: by Tony (new)

Tony Donna wrote: "the devil in the white city by erik Larson-terribly horrifying"

Yup. Great book about a truly horrifying story.


message 16: by Tony (new)

Tony Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors
by Piers Paul Read

Not for the queasy. Not a fun read, but really well done.
Just a gruesome story.


message 17: by Arpit (new)

Arpit Read Into Thin Air . Everest is not for everyone.


message 18: by Tony (new)

Tony Arpit wrote: "Read Into Thin Air . Everest is not for everyone."

Oh I did. I'm happy at sea level.


message 19: by MiM (new)

MiM Metwally Into Thin Air tops the list for me, nothing more terrifying than an adventure turning to disaster, someone leaving his home for the adventure of his dreams, only to perish, in the harshest manner.

The worst death is when you know you will die, and you can do nothing about it except to wait for the inevitable, knowing that there are billions of lives on the same planet going their way, and no one can help you, you will die alone.....

MiM


message 20: by sian sollis (new)

sian sollis Mindhunter - wow!!!


message 21: by Alexis (new)

Alexis It's hard to make me scared when reading a book any good ideas???


message 22: by Candace (new)

Candace Istrico Many years ago I read a book by Tom Tryon titled "The Harvest" or Harvesttime, not sure but it was the scariest book I ever read !I must find it again


message 23: by Diana (new)

Diana The Stranger Beside Me is unbelievable, and yet it really happened. Classic true crime. Ann Rule was actually friends with Ted Bundy before anyone knew he was a serial killer, and then she began writing stories about young women disappearing in the Seattle-Tacoma area.... A coincidence of a lifetime for the true-crime author. Fascinating to read her account.


message 24: by Brent (new)

Brent Bakken Katy wrote: "Night of the Grizzlies by Jack Olsen scared me so bad that I remembered it 30 years later... Two girls were killed, and a man mauled, by bears, in the park one night."

Night of the Grizzlies scared me too. I picked it up in the St. Mary Gift Shop on the east side of Glacier National Park and read it while staying in the park lodges. Needless to say, when night time came each night I had a hard time sleeping. Great book!


message 25: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Michele wrote: "Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann

Thrilling and horrifying."


Yes!! Just finished this. Also 'I'll Be Gone in the Dark.'


message 26: by Brenda (new)

Brenda any Lizzie Borden or Jack the Ripper books.

Anne Marie West's memoir "Out of the Shadows: Fred West's Daughter Tells Her Harrowing Story of Survival". He murdered a few of their family members. A very disturbing book.


message 27: by Fhiona (new)

Fhiona Galloway I read the the hot zone a few years back and loved it-so informative and scary truth!


message 28: by Lacey (new)

Lacey Connor Alexis wrote: "It's hard to make me scared when reading a book any good ideas???"
Intensity - Dean Koontz


message 29: by Margaret (new)

Margaret Bechtol Katy wrote: "Night of the Grizzlies by Jack Olsen scared me so bad that I remembered it 30 years later... Two girls were killed, and a man mauled, by bears, in the park one night."

One of my hubby's favorites! Terrifying!


message 30: by Margaret (new)

Margaret Bechtol Candace wrote: "Many years ago I read a book by Tom Tryon titled "The Harvest" or Harvesttime, not sure but it was the scariest book I ever read !I must find it again"

I read The Other when I was young, scary! I looked him up on google
there is one called Harvest Home?


message 31: by Pamela (new)

Pamela In cold blood! Gave me nightmares


message 32: by Laurie (new)

Laurie Candace wrote: "Many years ago I read a book by Tom Tryon titled "The Harvest" or Harvesttime, not sure but it was the scariest book I ever read !I must find it again"

Harvest Home! Also his book The Other was TERRIFYING.


message 34: by Carol (new)

Carol Ray Katy wrote: "Night of the Grizzlies by Jack Olsen scared me so bad that I remembered it 30 years later... Two girls were killed, and a man mauled, by bears, in the park one night."

That’s one of my favorites. Truly scary.


message 35: by Mary Eve (new)

Mary Eve Yes, Tony. I read ALIVE: The Story of the Andes Survivors. It was horrific, sad, and absolutely heartbreaking. It tests human will to survive. I cannot imagine living through this nightmare and having PTSD. My youngest child died in my arms when she was eight years old awaiting a heart transplant. I relive that night often. I can truly sympathize with these survivors and what they must live through in memory alone. This story stuck with me. I'll never forget it.


message 36: by Mary Eve (new)

Mary Eve I read THE HOT ZONE in one sitting. It terrified me. Trust me, dying from the Ebola virus is a complete nightmare. How anyone survives this virus is a true testament to modern science. Scared me senseless.


message 37: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl Roberson Helter Skelter


message 38: by Priscilla (new)

Priscilla I'll Be Gone in the Dark really needs to be added to this list!


message 39: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Markham Why is Death's Acre on this list?


message 40: by Holly (new)

Holly Ward Marguerite wrote: "The Devil in the White City by: Erik Larson"

That was SUCH a good book! I recommend it constantly!


message 41: by Rose Marie (new)

Rose Marie Peterson Cas wrote: "Starvation Heights: A True Story of Murder and Malice in the Woods of the Pacific Northwest"

An excellent account of a psychotic Doctor practicing her brand of medical treatment and nutrition. She also charges as much as she thinks she can get away with. Her clients are in most cases affluent and gullible.


message 42: by Ayşe (new)

Ayşe https://youtu.be/2N133uoGRfg
7renk 7kitap önerisi 🌈https://youtu.be/2N133uoGRfg
7renk 7kitap önerisi 🌈


message 43: by Sara (new)

Sara Gobes Haven't read any of these, interested in nearly all. Haha


Amy "the book-bat" listened to The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women yesterday and what those women went through was horrifying


message 45: by Sarah (new)

Sarah The Stranger Beside Me is one of my favorite books...and also the reason I have trust issues.


message 46: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Manchester ((( Silver O. Smith - "Snug as a bug on a drug. (We Happy Few)" . . . What the hath... ))) wrote: "13 choices...I get it."

I do too, just wish I also knew the reasons why.


message 47: by Kaarin (new)

Kaarin Devil in the White City is a real horror story. I highly recommend it!


message 48: by Brenda (new)

Brenda Sarah wrote: "Anything by Ann Rule."

I enjoy her books too


message 49: by J (last edited Oct 05, 2018 11:06PM) (new)

J Jahir I've read two books of this list: In Cold Blood and voices from Chernovil. Both are amazing. The last one, I loved it. I highly recommend Them.


message 50: by Lynn (new)

Lynn The Stranger Beside Me .. I've read it and it gave me nightmares. It also left a terrible taste in my mouth. Ted was so evil.


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