Throughout human history, books about ghosts have tried to explain life after death and other unknown phenomena. In early literature, books about ghosts were taken seriously and were seen as practical manuals, offering methods for dealing with ghosts and stories of supposed encounters. In some classical literature, ghosts were accepted as real beings, appearing in the works of Homer, Shakespeare, Dickens and more.

However, with the advent of scientific thought, books about ghosts have mostly migrated into the realms of fantasy and horror. Ghosts and other spirits are common inhabitants in these genres, ranging from benevolent specters to malevolent entities who exact vengeance upon the living. But not all modern books about ghosts are fictional; many people still believe in ghosts, and many of these believers have written books documenting the evidence for the existence of ghosts.

#1 – The Graveyard Book

Neil GaimanThe-Graveyard-Book-books-about-ghosts

Inspired by Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, this ghostly tale takes place in a graveyard. After the tragic murder of his parents, Nobody Owens is left alone in the world. Fortunately, the supernatural residents of the graveyard take over his upbringing. This book is full of the adventures of Nobody as he befriends werewolves, goes on adventures with ghosts, and learns to develop his own supernatural powers.

#2 – The Haunting of Hill House

Shirley JacksonThe-Haunting-of-Hill-House-books-about-ghosts

The Haunting of Hill House, like many books about ghosts, centers on a grandiose location with a long and dark history. Dr. John Montague, an investigator of the occult, rents the Hill House mansion and invites a few individuals with supernatural connections to stay with him. Soon after their arrival, the guests begin to experience terrifying sights, including roaming ghosts and odd writing on the walls.

#3 – Anna Dressed in Blood

Kendare BlakeAnna-Dressed-in-Blood-books-about-ghosts

As a hunter of the dead, Cas Lowood has seen many horrible sights and vanquished many difficult foes. His next target, however, proves to be the most difficult he has ever faced. Anna, still wearing the white dress she wore when she was murdered, has left a trail of violence that will be difficult for Cal to stop.

#4 – Hell House

Richard MathesonHell-House-books-about-ghosts

William Reinhardt Deutsch is a dying millionaire who is desperate to know what happens after death. He hires a group of people with supernatural training to enter a house that is allegedly haunted in order to connect with deceased spirits. The house, however, proves to be a formidable foe to the mental health of all who enter, a common theme in books about ghosts.

#5 – Second Glance

Jodi PicoultSecond-Glance-books-about-ghosts

The sale of a piece of land that may have once been used as burial ground for the Abenaki tribe triggers a chain of supernatural events that haunts the residents of a small town in Vermont. Ross Wakeman, a drifter with knowledge of the supernatural, arrives in the town and begins to search for the cause of these supernatural happenings.

#6 – The Summoning

Kelley ArmstrongThe-Summoning-books-about-ghosts

Chloe Saunders once had a normal life full of normal things, like school and friends. One day, however, she saw a ghost for the first time, setting into motion events that would forever change her life. She ends up stuck in Lyle House, a place for troubled teens. The world of the dead bleeds into the world of the living, as it does in many books about ghosts, when Chloe realizes that many of the residents of the house are not exactly alive.

#7 – Ruined

Paula MorrisRuined-books-about-ghosts

Rebecca feels out of place and unwelcome after coming to live with her aunt in a creepy house in New Orleans. One night, while wandering the city, she meets a new friend, Lisette. Lisette wants to show Rebecca all the secrets of New Orleans, but there is one small problem with this new friendship: Lisette is actually a ghost.

#8 – Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

Alvin SchwartzScary-Stories-to-Tell-in-The-Dark-books-about-ghosts

Like other books about ghosts written for children, this book brings frightening urban legends and folklore to life through vivid writing. The stories included cover a range of terrifying subjects, from ghostly revenge to frightening supernatural events. The book also features chilling illustrations.

#9 – The Name of the Star

Maureen JohnsonThe-Name-of-the-Star-books-about-ghosts

Rory Deveaux arrives in London on the very day that a serial murderer begins to wreak havoc across the city, drawing comparisons to Jack the Ripper. Although the police are at a dead end with few clues, Rory realizes that she may have seen the killer. However, she is the only one who can see him, and he quickly sets her as his next target.

#10 – Ghosts

Noel Hynd Ghosts-books-about-ghosts

As in most books about ghosts, the departed souls in this book mingle with the living. Three individuals, including an actress, a police officer and a ghost hunter, make their way to quiet Nantucket Island. Unfortunately for them, the dead are waiting, transforming solitude into horror.

#11 – Ghosts Among Us

James Van PraaghGhosts-Among-Us-books-about-ghosts

The author of this book, like other authors of books about ghosts, believes that these haunted beings are real, presenting stories from people who believe they truly have seen ghosts. James Van Praagh uses his book to explain how ghosts interact with the living and includes stories about his own time as a medium between the living and the dead.

#12 – Hunt for the Skinwalker

Colm A. Kelleher and George KnappHunt-for-the-Skinwalker-books-about-ghosts

In this book about ghosts, readers take a journey to a remote ranch in Utah. According to area residents, the ranch has been the sight of unusual occurrences for decades, including strange flying objects, missing cattle and unusual sightings. The authors of this book spent hundreds of days on the ranch, documenting their findings and searching for rational explanations for the strange events.

#13- Ghost Files

Apryl BakerGhost-Files-books-about-ghosts

Mattie Hathaway has an unusual talent: she can see and speak to the dead. When Mattie’s foster sister Sally disappears, everyone believes she is just another runaway. Mattie, however, can see Sally and knows that she has been murdered. Mattie’s connection to the dead, as in other books about ghosts, drives the plot forward as she teams up with a local cop to solve Sally’s murder.