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Haunted Legends

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  761 ratings  ·  75 reviews
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, Joe R. Lansdale, Caitlin Kiernan, Catherynne
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published September 14th 2010 by Tor Books (first published 2010)
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Average rating 3.73  · 
Rating details
 ·  761 ratings  ·  75 reviews

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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 foun
Oct 20, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror, short-stories
A handful of really good stories, but largely mediocre. Ekaterina Sedia's Tin Cans is by far the best in the collection.
Great anthology of ghost stories. As always, some were better than others.
Apr 08, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: anthology, horror, stoker
Culturally diverse urban legends retold. There were two standouts:
Red as Red and The Redfield Girls

While I appreciate the effort of finding stories from all over the world these were pretty tame and, worse, often boring.

Knickerbocker Holiday by Richard Bowes ★☆☆☆☆
What a lame start. Old coworkers gather after a funeral and recall a much hated boss that may have been related to the Headless Horseman. Nothing happens.

That Girl by Kaaron Warren ★★★☆☆
A Figian cab drivers urban legend of/>Knickerbocker/>Red
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
Most of these were really exceptional. I really enjoyed it for the most part.

4 stars.
Oct 28, 2011 rated it it was ok
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.
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 ab/>A
Aug 22, 2015 rated it it was ok
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 tha
Jun 05, 2017 rated it liked it
The premise behind this anthology is that each author took a local tale of a ghost or an urban legend and rewrote it, transforming it from something a little twee into something very different.

As per any anthology, the quality of the stories differs wildly. In this case from the mildly odd, to the what is this shit?, to do not read after dark.

A bit too patchy in quality to rate 4 stars.
Apr 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
An interesting approach to an anthology that contained some really great and spooky stories.
Colin Leslie
Feb 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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 variat
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
Apr 17, 2015 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 m
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
Aug 15, 2016 rated it liked it
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
May 03, 2011 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.
Rebecca McNutt
May 20, 2015 rated it it was ok
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.
Mar 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror, short-stories
Pretty solid collection, as a whole, including a few that I really liked.
Favorites: Down Atsion Road, For Those in Peril on the Sea, The Redfield Girls
Least Favorites: Akbar, Fifteen Panels..., Chucky Comes to Liverpool
Oct 05, 2010 rated it liked it
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".
Mar 24, 2016 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.
Ellen Herbert
Nov 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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.
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
Jul 06, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't really know what I think of this book. I guess I had expected more thrill. There is too much emphasis on the HAUNTED in the title. While it weakens the actual theme LEGENDS. There comes the disappointment. The stories (re)tell legends which sometimes are about haunting.
After reading first three or four stories I had enough. Didn't I get the stories? Were they too short, too hurried and jerky?
But I finished the book and came across a couple of good ones, My favorites from this book: "T
Sep 22, 2010 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
Sep 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Solid anthology, fun rewritings of some well-known ghost stories (and some less well-known). Not especially spooky, and there were a few stories that were definitely misses to me, but more because the ghost story being retold was one I didn't care for, not because the writing was bad.

Nothing too crazy. Worth reading if you're getting into the mood for Halloween.
Bryan Anderson
Sep 08, 2017 rated it it was ok
I'm sorry i did not like this book. it was weak in content and weak In scares or even thrills. a few of the the stories [the knickerbocker holiday] left me wondering "what the hell did I just read". so no not good.
Dec 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kristy Oman
Nov 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Are all the stories equally noteworthy? No. Did some of them scare me to death? Yes.

Something for everyone no matter what kind of spooky, scary, creepy, hair-rising fear you're into.
Jul 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Really solid anthology with just a few clunkers. Well worth your time.
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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