I know I’m late to this party, but I recently purchased my very first Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark book. Of course I got the old edition, with the legendary black watercolor illustrations by Stephen Gammell (a few of which I’ve scanned for you, dear readers).
If you don’t own a copy, you have no excuse not to pick one up, especially since it only costs 1 cent.
Here’s my favorite story of the collection (so far):
“A man named Joseph Blackwell came to Philadelphia on a business trip. He stayed with friends in the big house they owned outside the city. That night they had a good time visiting. But when Blackwell went to bed, he tossed and turned and couldn’t sleep.
Sometime during the night he heard a car turn into the driveway. He went to the window to see who was arriving at such a late hour. In the moonlight, he saw a long, black hearse filled with people.
The driver of the hearse looked up at him. When Blackwell saw his queer, hideous face, he shuddered. The driver called to him, ‘There is room for one more.’ Then he waited for a minute or two, and he drove off.
In the morning Blackwell told his friends what had happened. ‘You were dreaming,’ they said.
‘I must have been,’ he said, ‘but it didn’t seem like a dream.’
After breakfast he went into Philadelphia. He spent the day high above the city in one of the new office buildings there.
Late in the afternoon he was waiting for an elevator to take him back down to the street. But when it arrived, it was very crowded. One of the passengers looked out and called to him. ‘There is room for one more,’ he said. It was the driver of the hearse.
‘No, thanks,’ said Blackwell. ‘I’ll get the next one.’
The doors closed, and the elevator started down. There was shrieking and screaming, then the sound of a crash. The elevator had fallen to the bottom of the shaft. Everyone aboard was killed.”