The spooky season is officially upon us. If you’re looking for reading recommendations to get you in the mood, we’ve compiled some of our favorite Longreads pieces below. Consider Lesley Finn’s “Final Girl, Terrible Place,” a sharp essay on horror films, the male gaze on the female body, and the American patriarchy. Dive into Jeanna Kadlec’s commentary on the witch/mother archetype in the Maleficent films, which is part of her Deconstructing Disney series. Or try “The Corpse Rider,” Colin Dickey’s piece about Lafcadio Hearn, the famous chronicler of Japanese culture, including its ghost stories and folk tales.

We’ve also gathered editors’ picks we’ve highlighted over the past few years about haunted houses, the ghosts of history and in our own lives, famous fictional monsters, and other monsters and figures of evil on our screens—and in our bedrooms.

Longreads essays and reading lists

How to Tell Your Husband You’re a Witch

Witches we need you. Now more than ever. In the time of COVID-19 we can find respite in place-based reverence, plant magic and the divine feminine. So writes Lisa Richardson, who came to witchiness with nothing but white hetero straight-lacedness and a crush on a yoga teacher.

The Corpse Rider

“I could see the ghosts,” recalled Lafcadio Hearn about his early childhood. Late in life, he became a celebrated chronicler of Japan’s folk tales: stories of strange demons and lingering visitations.

The Family That Would Not Live

What can haunted houses and their history tell us about American history and culture? Writer Colin Dickey sets out across America to investigate America’s haunted spaces in order to uncover what their ghost stories say about who we were, are, and will be.

Editors’ picks across the web

Sorcerer’s Apprentice

Kent Russell | Harper’s Magazine | May 11, 2022 | 6,982 words

“Looking for demons in a disenchanted world.”

Encounters With Ghosts

Sadie Stein | The Paris Review | November 2, 2022 | 1,894 words

“We were all there to see ghosts; we were all, I suppose, future ghosts.”


Vauhini Vara | The Believer | August 9, 2021 | 5,992 words

“I didn’t know how to write about my sister’s death—so I had AI do it for me.”

My Father’s Ghost and the Chelsea Hotel

Amanda Chemeche | Harper’s Bazaar | June 7, 2023| 1,800 words

“During a childhood spent in the famed Chelsea Hotel, Amanda Chemeche learned about life, loss, and the power of art.”

Our Haunted Apartment in Montreal

Nathan Munn | Popula | October 5, 2022 | 3,266 words

“Twenty years on, the author reflects on being trapped in a vortex of dark energy.”

When Your Mother Is a Ghost Hunter

Cat Cardenas | Texas Monthly | October 26, 2021 | 2,291 words

“On the hunt with TikTok star Brittany Broski and her mother Heather Long, lead investigator of the Texas Ghost Gals.”

Has Witch City Lost Its Way?

Kathryn Miles | Boston Magazine | October 22, 2021 | 3,758 words

“Is a witch-based tourism economy the best way to honor the legacy of executed individuals who weren’t even witches in the first place? Or is continuing to transform the town into the epicenter of modern-day witchcraft actually the perfect way to right the wrongs of the past?”

Hungry Ghosts

Natalie Linh Bolderston | The White Review | May 20, 2022 | 3,581 words

“I think of all the hurts she can never outlive — the ghosts that can never be satisfied, no matter how much of herself she feeds to them.”