Back in the day, there was a short series of old school horror story anthologies called SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK. Now, if the stories didn’t scare you shitless as a kid (and they usually did), then Stephen Gammel’s horrifying illustrations sure as hell got the job done. To this very day, there’s a particular drawing that I can’t bring myself to look at. The story was about a girl whose nightmare was coming true, and the illustration was that of a hideously obese woman with thin gangly arms, oily black hair, tiny black eyes, and an enormous smile. It doesn’t sound so bad when I describe it, but trust me, it’s pretty damn traumatizing for an eight year old. The book is sitting in my bookshelf as I type, and there’s no way I’d take it out at night.
Yikes I love this book.I’ve been obsessed with it since the 3rd grade.The art is incredible all the cobwebby dripping blood and spittle and people having cracks in thier forheads.All based on ancient folklore.What about the one where the thief tries to rob the girl’s grave and dies of fright(he also falls on his own knife).Or the people who transform into aligators or the yowling spitting witch woman who’s paw gets severed and turns back into a human hand(As you might be able to tell I own the book and have it next to me)
FYI, the story and picture that the original Traumafession mentions (the lady whose nightmare comes true, with the picture of the weird obese woman) appear in the third volume in the series(Scary Stories 3). I think the one about the yowling, spitting witch might have been in the second one (More Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark), or maybe the third also. My personally traumatic illustrations were from the original: The girl with the skeleton face for the story about the haunted house, and the freaky-faced zombie guy with the disturbingly intense stare for the story called “The Thing” (about the ghostly harbinger of a man’s death…The bizarre simplicity of that particular story also used to really get under my skin). These books were my favorites from my childhood…In fact, I still have nightmares where a new Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark book has come out, and I’m scared to open it because I know the illustrations alone will kill me with fright. I’m 30 goddamn years old, by the way.
I’ll echo the previous comment. I really thought there would come a day where I would be okay with reading these at night, and like him, nearing 30, the day has yet to come. The picture of the witch from the “Such Things Happen” story remains one that plagues my thoughts as I walk home in the dark.
So I guess I am still of the younger generation and I thought these books where kinda new when I was a third grader. I was a weird little child since I have loved scary stories since forever. One day I find the box with the three books on sale. I was all happy and excited since I had already read the first and loved it. Oooh I was so wrong when I got to the third one.It was as if they progressingly got scarier and scarier as the stories went. I read the one about the scarecrow one called “harold” I believe. I didnt even finish read the story and it just gives me chills thinking about it now. I couldnt bring my self to pick up those books since then. Another one that kind of scared me just not as bad was the wendigo story, but yes I believe those stories have traumatized many children.But…does any one know how old these are?