🌿📚 21 Must-Read Folk Horror Books to Haunt Your Dreams 🌿📚

best folk horror books

Now, let’s dive into our selection of 21 must-read folk horror books!

best folk horror books

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Welcome, fellow macabre lovers, to the eerie world of folk horror! 🌳 Where, ancient rituals, rural landscapes, and sinister folklore mix to create tales that chill to the bone. So grab your lantern and prepare to venture into the darkness as we explore 23 must-read folk horror books that will leave you questioning the boundaries between reality and nightmare. 🕯️

This week we are talking about all things folk horror related.

For those of you who don’t normally read this genre, a little information. It often takes place in isolated communities or remote settings, where ancient beliefs hold sway and the natural world teems with nasty forces. Themes of paganism, sacrifice, humanity’s oldest fears and anxieties, and the uncanny pervade these tales, evoking a sense of primal fear and unease. 🌲👻

So without further ado, let’s get into these folk horror reads!  And if you need more horror-themed entertainment choices. Go check out-

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folk horror Folk Horror Readsfolk horror

1. Wicker Woes and Pagan Fears

So who doesn’t love a rule breaker? Immerse yourself in a world of forbidden knowledge and dark forces, in The Year Of The Witching.  Immanuelle Moore confronts the oppressive religious order in the puritanical town of Bethel, unleashing a chilling tale of rebellion and supernatural horror. 📜🔮

by Alexis Henderson (Author) 

amazon must haves

In the lands of Bethel, where the Prophet’s word is law, Immanuelle Moore’s very existence is blasphemy. Her mother’s union with an outsider of a different race cast her once-proud family into disgrace, so Immanuelle does her best to worship the Father, follow Holy Protocol, and lead a life of submission, devotion, and absolute conformity, like all the other women in the settlement.

2. Where the Wild Things Are

So, creepy ass house anyone, The Silent Companions is sure to deliver! Step into the eerie and atmospheric world of Victorian England, where protagonist Elsie Bainbridge uncovers a family curse and sinister wooden figures that hold the key to a series of mysterious deaths, in a haunting tale of gothic horror and psychological suspense. 🏰👻

by Laura Purcell (Author) 

amazon must haves

When Elsie married handsome young heir Rupert Bainbridge, she believed she was destined for a life of luxury. But pregnant and widowed just weeks after their wedding, with her new servants resentful and the local villagers actively hostile, Elsie has only her late husband’s awkward cousin for company. Or so she thinks. Inside her new home lies a locked door, beyond which is a painted wooden figure—a silent companion—that bears a striking resemblance to Elsie herself. The residents of the estate are terrified of the figure, but Elsie tries to shrug this off as simple superstition—that is, until she notices the figure’s eyes following her.

3. Critters of the Cryptid Kind

So who knew fern sprouts could be so creepy? Embark on a thrilling post-apocalyptic journey in The Book Of Koli– where Koli navigates a deadly forest filled with mutated creatures and ancient technology, uncovering the secrets of his world’s dark past in a gripping tale of survival and discovery. 🌳

by M. R. Carey (Author) 

amazon must haves

Everything that lives hates us…

Beyond the walls of the small village of Mythen Rood lies an unrecognizable landscape. A place where overgrown forests are filled with choker trees and deadly seeds that will kill you where you stand. And if they don’t get you, one of the dangerous shunned men will.

4. Ballads of the Blasphemous

So, The Hollow Places, not all inheritance is golden. Prepare for a spine-tingling adventure as protagonist Kara uncovers a mysterious portal in her uncle’s museum, leading her on a terrifying journey through a surreal and nightmarish landscape inhabited by eldritch horrors, in a chilling tale of cosmic dread and otherworldly terror. 🚪👁️

by T. Kingfisher (Author)

amazon must haves

Pray they are hungry.
Kara finds the words in the mysterious bunker that she’s discovered behind a hole in the wall of her uncle’s house. Freshly divorced and living back at home, Kara now becomes obsessed with these cryptic words and starts exploring this peculiar area—only to discover that it holds portals to countless alternate realities. But these places are haunted by creatures that seem to hear thoughts…and the more one fears them, the stronger they become.

5. Field Trip to Fear

So, The Remaking, a must read for any and all podcast lovers out there. Dive into a world of cinematic horror as a filmmaker delves into the decades-old legend of a young girl’s murder in the woods, only to awaken a vengeful spirit seeking justice, in a haunting tale of urban legend and supernatural retribution that blurs the line between truth and fiction. 📽️🌳

by Clay Chapman (Author) 

amazon must haves

In the 1930s, Ella Louise and her daughter Jessica are dragged from their home at the outskirts of Pilot’s Creek, Virginia, in the middle of the night. Ella Louise is accused of using her apothecary for witchcraft, and both are burned at the stake. Ella Louise’s burial site is never found, but the little girl has the most famous grave in the South: a steel-reinforced coffin surrounded by a fence of interconnected white crosses. Some wonder: If the mother was the witch, why is Jessica’s grave so tightly sealed?

6. Maypoles and Madness

So what can I say, Harvest Home, looks can be very deceiving is all i’m gonna say.  Journey to the quaint New England village of Cornwall Coombe, where the idyllic facade hides dark rituals and sinister secrets that slowly unravel, ensnaring the protagonist in a web of folk horror that culminates in a shocking revelation. 🌾👹

by Thomas Tryon (Author) 

amazon must haves

Searching New England for the perfect nineteenth-century home, they find no township more charming, no countryside more idyllic than the farming village of Cornwall Coombe. Here they begin a new life: simple, pure, close to nature—and ultimately more terrifying than Manhattan’s darkest alley.
When the Constantines win the friendship of the town matriarch, the mysterious Widow Fortune, they are invited to join the ancient festival of Harvest Home, a ceremony whose quaintness disguises dark intentions. In this bucolic hamlet, where bootleggers work by moonlight and all of the villagers seem to share the same last name, the past is more present than outsiders can fathom—and something far more sinister than the annual harvest is about to rise out of the earth.

7. Folklore’s Frightful Face

So, The Ritual will teach you to always stay on the trail. Follow a group of friends as they embark on a hiking trip in the remote forests of northern Sweden, only to encounter an ancient evil that preys on their deepest fears and darkest secrets, leading to a harrowing fight for survival. 🌲❄️

by Adam Nevill (Author) 

amazon must haves

Luke figures things couldn’t possibly get any worse. But then they stumble across an old habitation. Ancient artefacts decorate the walls and there are bones scattered upon the dry floors. The residue of old rites and pagan sacrifice for something that still exists in the forest. Something responsible for the bestial presence that follows their every step. As the four friends stagger in the direction of salvation, they learn that death doesn’t come easy among these ancient trees 

8. From Fairytale to Nightmare

So, The Little Stranger, being a country doctor isn’t as easy as you’d think. Step into the crumbling halls of Hundreds Hall, where a country doctor becomes entangled in the lives of the Ayres family, uncovering chilling secrets and malevolent forces that lurk within the walls of the decaying mansion, blurring the lines between reality and madness. 🏰👻

by Sarah Waters (Author) 

amazon must haves

One postwar summer in his home of rural Warwickshire, Dr. Faraday, the son of a maid who has built a life of quiet respectability as a country physician, is called to a patient at lonely Hundreds Hall.  But are the Ayreses haunted by something more sinister than a dying way of life? Little does Dr. Faraday know how closely, and how terrifyingly, their story is about to become intimately entwined with his.

9. The Haunting of the Hinterland

Hex it’s a one of a kind read for sure. Immerse yourself in the eerie town of Black Spring, where a centuries-old curse haunts its residents, forcing them to live under the watchful eye of the malevolent witch Katherine, whose presence permeates every aspect of daily life, leading to a gripping tale of fear, paranoia, and collective guilt. 🌑🧙‍♀️

by Thomas Olde Heuvelt (Author) 

amazon must haves

Whoever is born here, is doomed to stay ’til death. Whoever settles, never leaves.

Welcome to Black Spring, the seemingly picturesque Hudson Valley town haunted by the Black Rock Witch, a seventeenth century woman whose eyes and mouth are sewn shut. Muzzled, she walks the streets and enters homes at will. She stands next to children’s bed for nights on end. Everybody knows that her eyes may never be opened or the consequences will be too terrible to bear.

The elders of Black Spring have virtually quarantined the town by using high-tech surveillance to prevent their curse from spreading. Frustrated with being kept in lockdown, the town’s teenagers decide to break their strict regulations and go viral with the haunting. But, in so doing, they send the town spiraling into dark, medieval practices of the distant past.

10. Beyond the Bonfire

So, The Twisted Ones, granny isn’t so sweet sometimes. Join protagonist Mouse as she navigates the dense forests of North Carolina to clean out her deceased grandmother’s home, only to uncover sinister secrets hidden within the woods, including strange creatures and ancient folklore that threaten to consume her sanity. 🌳👁️

by T. Kingfisher (Author) 

amazon must haves

When Mouse’s dad asks her to clean out her dead grandmother’s house, she says yes. After all, how bad could it be?

Answer: pretty bad. Grandma was a hoarder, and her house is stuffed with useless rubbish. That would be horrific enough, but there’s more—Mouse stumbles across her step-grandfather’s journal, which at first seems to be filled with nonsensical rants…until Mouse encounters some of the terrifying things he described for herself

11. Lost in the Labyrinth

So, The Loney, but horror lovers are the evil ones. Explore the desolate landscape of the Lancashire coast, where a family’s annual pilgrimage. Is plagued by unsettling occurrences, eerie locals, and a sense of impending doom that builds to a haunting and unforgettable climax. 🌊⛪️

by Andrew Michael Hurley (Author)

amazon must haves

When Smith was a boy, he and his family went on an Easter pilgrimage with their local parish to the Loney, a bleak stretch of the English coastline, to visit an ancient shrine in search of healing for Smith’s disabled brother. But the locals were none too pleased to welcome them, and the two brothers soon became entangled in a troubling morass of dangerous rituals.

For years after, Smith carries the burden of what happened that spring. And when he hears that the body of a young child has been found during a storm at the Loney, he’s forced to finally reckon with his darkest secrets—and the terror they carry with them.

12. Haunts of the Homeland

So, The Moorstone Sickness, nice neighbors are always sus. Journey to the remote village of Moorstone, where a young doctor becomes embroiled in a series of bizarre and inexplicable events. Including strange illnesses, ancient rituals, and a malevolent force that lurks within the fog-shrouded moors, leading to a chilling and atmospheric tale of horror. 🌫️🩺

by Bernard Taylor (Author)

amazon must haves

After the death of their infant son, Hal and Rowan Graham decide to leave the mad bustle of London and move to a quiet country refuge. And the rustic village of Moorstone seems perfect. Too perfect …? Lying beneath a hill capped by an enormous stone, Moorstone hides mysterious secrets. Why does such a small town need such a large insane asylum? Why do the village’s elderly residents leave everything they own to young newcomers they barely know? And why is everyone so friendly, so handsome, and so preoccupied with Hal and Rowan’s health?

13. The Devil in the Details

So, The Hunger, a tale of for all the Donner Party fantics. Follow the ill-fated journey of the Donner Party as they traverse the treacherous terrain of the American West in search of a better life. Only to be plagued by hunger, madness, and an unseen evil that stalks them from the shadows, resulting in a harrowing and visceral tale of survival horror. 🏔️❄️

by Alma Katsu (Author) 

amazon must haves

Evil is invisible, and it is everywhere.

That is the only way to explain the series of misfortunes that have plagued the wagon train known as the Donner Party.

Whether it’s a curse from the beautiful Tamsen Donner (who some think might be a witch), their ill-advised choice of route through uncharted terrain, or just plain bad luck, the ninety men, women, and children of the Donner Party are heading into one of one of the deadliest and most disastrous Western adventures in American history.

14. Rock n Roll Folk Horror

Wylding Hall, how far will you go for your passion? Join the members of the 1970s British folk rock band Windhollow Faire as they retreat to the secluded Wylding Hall to record their latest album. But supernatural forces, tragic mysteries, and a haunting presence that lingers long after their fateful summer, in a haunting and atmospheric tale of music and madness. 🎸👻

by Elizabeth Hand (Author) 

amazon must haves

When the young members of a British acid-folk band are compelled by their manager to record their unique music, they hole up at Wylding Hall, an ancient country house with dark secrets. There they create the album that will make their reputation, but at a terrifying cost: Julian Blake, the group’s lead singer, disappears within the mansion and is never seen or heard from again.

Now, years later, the surviving musicians, along with their friends and lovers—including a psychic, a photographer, and the band’s manager—meet with a young documentary filmmaker to tell their own versions of what happened that summer. But whose story is true? And what really happened to Julian Blake?

15. Wolf in Sheeps Clothing Horror

Hexenhaus, proving monsters where all shapes and sizes. Explore the harrowing trials of three young women accused of witchcraft in 17th-century England. They navigate betrayal, persecution, and the dark forces that threaten to consume them, in a gripping tale of sisterhood, survival, and resilience. 🧹🔥

by Nikki McWatters (Author)

amazon must haves

Read it and see…

16. Modern Problems Folk Horror

The Witch Elm, showing us that the come back kid isn’t always great. Follow protagonist Toby Hennessy as he grapples with memory loss, identity, and the discovery of a human skull in the trunk of a tree.  leading to the darkness that lies within us all. 🌳💀

by Tana French (Author) 

amazon must haves

Toby is a happy-go-lucky charmer who’s dodged a scrape at work and is celebrating with friends when the night takes a turn that will change his life—he surprises two burglars who beat him and leave him for dead.

Struggling to recover from his injuries, beginning to understand that he might never be the same man again, he takes refuge at his family’s ancestral home to care for his dying uncle Hugo. Then a skull is found in the trunk of an elm tree in the garden—and as detectives close in, Toby is forced to face the possibility that his past may not be what he has always believed.

17. Folk Horror for First Timers

Folk Horror: Hours Dreadful and Things Strange, because sometime you need a quick WTF. Explore the rich tapestry of folk horror through this anthology. Which brings together a collection of chilling tales from acclaimed authors, offering diverse perspectives on the genre’s themes and settings. 📖💀

by Richard Wells (Editor)

amazon must haves

These twenty-two stories take the reader into the isolated and untamed wilderness of unholy rights, witches’ curses, sinister village traditions and ancient horrors―with beautiful illustrations They stalk the moors at night, the deep forests, cornered fields and dusky churchyards, the narrow lanes and old ways of these ancient places, drawing upon the haunted landscapes of folk-horror… 

18. Arctic Folk Horror

The Terror, proving nothing good comes from wandering where we shouldn’t.  Venture into the icy wilderness of the Arctic as the crew of a British naval expedition battles both the elements and an unknown terror.  Historical fiction and supernatural horror that explores the limits of human endurance. 🚢❄️

by Dan Simmons (Author) 

amazon must haves

The men on board the HMS Terror — part of the 1845 Franklin Expedition, the first steam-powered vessels ever to search for the legendary Northwest Passage — are entering a second summer in the Arctic Circle without a thaw, stranded in a nightmarish landscape of encroaching ice and darkness. Endlessly cold, they struggle to survive with poisonous rations, a dwindling coal supply, and ships buckling in the grip of crushing ice. But their real enemy is even more terrifying. There is something out there in the frigid darkness: an unseen predator stalking their ship, a monstrous terror clawing to get in.

19. Play Acting Folk Horror

Ghost Wall, taking reacting a bit to far. Join a teenage girl and her father on an archaeological reenactment in the Northumberland wilderness. Tensions rise and ancient forces awaken, in a atmospheric tale that explores the collision of the past and present. 🏰👻

by Sarah Moss (Author) 

amazon must haves

For two weeks, the length of her father’s vacation, they join an anthropology course set to reenact life in simpler times. They are surrounded by forests of birch and rowan; they make stew from foraged roots and hunted rabbit.

The students are fulfilling their coursework; Silvie’s father is fulfilling his lifelong obsession. He has raised her on stories of early man, taken her to witness rare artifacts, recounted time and again their rituals and beliefs—particularly their sacrifices to the bog. Mixing with the students, Silvie begins to see, hear, and imagine another kind of life, one that might include going to university, traveling beyond England, choosing her own clothes and food, speaking her mind.

The ancient Britons built ghost walls to ward off enemy invaders, rude barricades of stakes topped with ancestral skulls. When the group builds one of their own, they find a spiritual connection to the past. What comes next but human sacrifice?

20. To Cult to Handle Folk Horror

Little Eve, the path to hell is paved with good cult intentions. Return to the remote Scottish Highlands with a young woman as she confronts the traumas of her past. Uncovers dark secrets lurking in the shadows, in a haunting exploration of family legacies and the supernatural. 🏴👻

by Catriona Ward (Author) 

amazon must haves

On the wind-battered isle of Altnaharra, off the wildest coast of Scotland, a clan prepares to bring about the end of the world and its imminent rebirth.

The Adder is coming and one of their number will inherit its powers. They all want the honor, but young Eve is willing to do anything for the distinction.

A reckoning beyond Eve’s imagination begins when Chief Inspector Black arrives to investigate a brutal murder and their sacred ceremony goes terribly wrong. And soon all the secrets of Altnaharra will be uncovered.

21. From Fairytale to Nightmare

The Essex Serpent, wild women on the hunt! A paleontologist, Cora Seaborne ventures to a small village in Essex to  investigate rumors of a  mythical sea serpent.  As she delves deeper into the local folklore, the lines between science and superstition begin to blur   

by Sarah Perry (Author) 

amazon must haves

London, 1893. When Cora Seaborne’s brilliant, domineering husband dies, she steps into her new life as a widow with as much relief as sadness. Her marriage was an unhappy one, and she never suited the role of society wife. Seeking refuge in fresh air and open space, she leaves the metropolis for coastal Essex.  Accompanied by her inquisitive and obsessive eleven-year-old son, Francis, and the boy’s nanny, Martha, her fiercely protective friend. 

A blend of ancient folklore, rural landscapes, and supernatural horror. These 21 folk horror books offer a journey into the darkest corners of human imagination. So dim the lights, stoke the fire, and prepare to be immersed.  With tales that will linger in your mind long after you’ve turned the final page. Happy reading, and may the spirits of the old gods watch over you. 🕯️📚

best folk horror books

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