Paranormal means different things to different readers. The term casts a wide net over psychics, werewolves, dragons, vampires, demons, fairies, ghosts, and more.
Because of that, I’m going to break from the pack on this week’s theme and list my favorite stories/books that contain paranormal elements.
These are in no particular order:
THE HARROWING, Alexandra Sokoloff
Baird College’s Mendenhall echoes with the footsteps of students heading home for Thanksgiving break, and Robin Stone, who won’t be going home, swears she can feel the creepy, hundred-year-old residence hall breathe a sigh of relief for its long-awaited solitude. As a massive storm approaches, four other lonely students reveal themselves to Robin: Patrick, a handsome jock; Lisa, a manipulative tease; Cain, a brooding musician; and Martin, a scholarly eccentric. Each has forsaken a long weekend at home for their own secret reasons. The five unlikely companions establish a tentative rapport, but they soon become aware of another presence disturbing the building’s ominous silence. Are they the victims of an elaborate prank, or is the energy evidence of something genuine—something intent on using them for its own terrifying ends? Together, they’ll face three long days and dark nights before the world returns to find out what’s become of five students nobody wants and no one will miss…
THE PRICE, Alexandra Sokoloff:
Boston District Attorney Will Sullivan dreams of becoming the next governor of Massachusetts. With his beautiful wife, Joanna, and adorable daughter, Sydney, Will seems destined for greatness…until Sydney becomes seriously ill. Now both parents resolve to doanything to save their daughter’s life.But in the twilight world of the Briarwood Medical Center, nothing is as it seems. Patients on the brink of death are not only surviving but thriving, while others wither away…and the recoveries all revolve around the ministerings of a mysterious counselor, who takes an unsettling interest in Joanna. When Sydney’s health miraculously improves, Will suspects that Joanna made a terrible bargain to save their child. Now Will must face a powerful, unknown evil before he loses…everything.
HELL’S BELLE’S, Jackie Kessler:
Once upon a time, Jezebel was a powerful succubus, capable of seducing men and sucking out their souls. But that was before Hell put a bounty on her head. Now her only chance to escape a fate far worse than death is to live as a mortal, losing herself in a sea of unfamiliar humanity, in a place where sinners walk hand-in-hand with saints - a place like Belle's strip club in New York City. Working as an exotic dancer is a piece of cake for a former demon who once specialized in sex.
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, Shakespeare:
To trick Titania into handing over an Indian boy she is raising, Oberon orders Puck to find a plant that causes love at first sight, and through Oberon's meddling and Puck's trickery, the characters fall into and out of love with the wrong people.
THE LOVELY BONES, Alice Sebold:
The story of a teenage girl who, after being brutally raped and murdered, watches from heaven as her family and friends go on with their lives, while she herself comes to terms with her own death.
PROMISE NOT TO TELL, Jennifer McMahon
Interweaving past and present, Promise Not To Tell is a story of friendship, secrets, murder, and redemption. At its center is Kate Cypher, a reserved 41-year-old school nurse who returns to the small town of New Canaan, VT, to care for her Alzheimer’s-afflicted mother. The night she arrives, a young girl is murdered. Slowly Kate is drawn into the investigation—and deep into the childhood she’s tried to escape—for the killing eerily echoes the death of another young girl: her childhood friend, Del. Poor, misunderstood, Del suffered the taunts of classmates who shunned her and called her “Potato Girl.” But in Del, 10-year-old Kate found a kindred spirit, until a painful falling out shattered their relationship shortly before Del’s death.
THE TELL TALE HEART, Edgar Allen Poe:
An unnamed narrator who insists on his sanity after murdering an old man with a "vulture eye". The murder is carefully calculated, and the murderer hides the body by cutting it into pieces and hiding it under the floorboards. Ultimately the narrator's guilt manifests itself in the hallucination that the man's heart is still beating under the floorboards.
CHRISTINE, Stephen King:
The story revolves around teenage nerd Arnie Cunningham and his 1958 red and white Plymouth Fury, dubbed "Christine" by the previous owner. The car takes Arnie from nerddom to stardom, but Arnie’s friends are certain the car is possesed.
WITCH WAY TO MURDER, Shirley Damsgaard:
Thirty something Ophelia Jensen wants to live a quiet life as a small town librarian. She’s created a comfortable existence with her kooky, colorful grandmother Abby, and if it were up to her, they could live out their days—along with Ophelia’s dog Lady and cat Queenie—in peace and quiet. But, to Ophelia’s dismay, she and Abby aren’t a typical grandmother/granddaughter duo. She possesses psychic powers, and Abby is a kindly witch. And while Ophelia would do anything to dismiss her gift—harboring terrible guilt after her best friend was killed and she was unable to stop it—threatening events keep popping up, forcing her to tap into her powers of intuition. To make matters worse, a strange—yet devastatingly attractive—man is hanging around Ophelia’s library, and no matter how many times she tells him she’s sworn off men forever, he persists. Soon this handsome newcomer reveals he’s following a lead on a local drug ring, and then a dead body shows up right in Abby’s backyard. And much as Ophelia would like to put away her spells forever, she and Abby must use their special powers to keep themselves, and others, out of harm’s way.
ABBIE COOPER, PSYCHIC EYE, Victoria Laurie:
Abby Cooper is a P.I., psychic intuitive. But her insight failed her when she didn't foresee the death of one of her clients-or that the lead investigator for the case is the gorgeous blind date she just met. Now, with the police suspicious of her abilities and a killer on the loose, Abby's future looks more uncertain than ever.
PRACTICAL MAGIC, Alice Hoffman:
For more than two hundred years, the Owens women have been blamed for everything that went wrong in their Massachusetts town. Gillian and Sally endured that fate: As children, the sisters were forever outsiders, taunted, talked about, pointed at. Their elderly aunts almost seemed to encourage the whispers of witchery, with their darkened house and their love concoctions and their crowd of black cats. All Gillian and Sally wanted to do was escape. One would do so by marrying, the other by running away. But the bonds they shared brought them back to each other, and to the magic they couldn’t escape. A delicious novel about witches and real love, family life and everyday spells. A literary incantation.
MIDNIGHT BAYOU, Nora Roberts:
There was something about the house that called out to Declan Fitzgerald. The dilapidated mansion on the outskirts of New Orleans, rumored to be haunted, and long taken over by spiders and dust, would require countless hours of labor to restore to its former splendor. Perhaps that was part of the appeal. Having finally purchased Manet Hall after dreaming about it for years, Declan left his Boston law practice, traded in his briefcase for a tool belt, in hopes of rediscovering the deep soul satisfaction of real hard work. But as he begins the renovation, spending long days in total isolation within the crumbling house, Declan wonders whether the talk of ghosts is more than just local legend. He has had visions, seen strange things from a century past. More so, he feels inexplicable, unpredictable sensations of terror and nearly unbearable grief.
For a time, a beautiful neighbor named Angelina Simone provides an alluring distraction from the disquieting events--and as Declan focuses on rebuilding Manet Hall, the passion between them grows stronger as well. This dusky, earthy woman has an odd connection to the mansion too, however. Before Declan and Angelina can hope for a future together, they must uncover a secret from the past as deep and dark as the bayou.
WAKE, Lisa McMann:
For seventeen-year-old Janie, getting sucked into other people's dreams is getting old. Especially the falling dreams, the naked-but-nobody-notices dreams, and the sex-crazed dreams. Janie's seen enough fantasy booty to last her a lifetime. She can't tell anybody about what she does -- they'd never believe her, or worse, they'd think she's a freak. So Janie lives on the fringe, cursed with an ability she doesn't want and can't control. Then she falls into a gruesome nightmare, one that chills her to the bone. For the first time, Janie is more than a witness to someone else's twisted psyche. She is a participant....
CLAIRE VOYANT, Saralee Rosenburg:
Of course the future is a mystery. But the past? This is nuts!
Talk about ruin-your-day flights. I'm headed to Florida, when the elderly man seated next to me collapses on my tray table. I swear, if I'd known this was his final boarding call, I would have offered him my pretzels or my New York Times. But no, I was too busy feeling bloated, anxious, depressed, unloved, a failure, and did I mention bloated? You'd be bummed too if you were almost thirty, living back home in Plainview, Long Island, with your at-war parents and loser siblings. If your acting career was such a bust your last film was an X-ray. If your boyfriend and your agent dumped you the same week, but great news! -- They're in love with each other. Could things possibly get any worse? Do you even need to ask? That man on the flight? We were related. And my life story? Nothing like I thought. Oh, and then this fall in the shower? Opened up my psychic senses. Bottom line? I knew nothing about my real past, but suddenly my future was coming in loud and clear!