Halloween is fast approaching, which means that now is the perfect time to begin exploring some of the many ghost and horror stories written in recent years by South Asian authors.

Ghost stories have a long history on the Indian subcontinent. Rabindranath Tagore’s short story “Manihara” or “The Lost Jewels” thoroughly spooked readers in 1898. The story begins with the narrator beginning to tell a passerby about the inhabitants of a neighboring dilapidated home. Things quickly become more chilling from there.

Ghosts, supernatural elements, and haunted spirits continue to be popular themes among writers in South Asia and in the diaspora today. We’ve rounded up some stories you should check out below.

“Afterlife: Ghost Stories From Goa” by Jessica Faleiro

Afterlife by Jessica Faleiro

This 2012 book starts with what should be a happy event — a birthday party for a family patriarch. As the Fonseca family gathers to celebrate the 75th birthday of their father Savio things are going really well until the lights begin to flicker and the party is left in darkness.

That’s when, as the saying goes, things get interesting. As “Afterlife: Ghost Stories From Goa” unfolds, each member of the family begins sharing ghost stories. A different side of the family’s history — and a long buried family secret — is slowly revealed.

Order your copy here.

“Ghost Stories of Shimla Hills” by Minakshi Chaudhry

Ghost Stories by Minakshi Chaudhry

The title of this collection by Minakshi Chaudhry says it all. In it, the author explores the secrets and spirits that reside in Shimla’s famous hills.

Check out this collection here.

“The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn” by Usman T. Malik

“The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn”

Usman T. Malik made history in 2015 when he became the first Pakistani writer to ever win the Bram Stoker Award for Short Fiction for his story “The Vaporization Enthalpy of a Peculiar Pakistani Family.” (You can read that story here.)

In his novella “The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn,” Malik follows the life of a Pakistani professor named Salman who is based in the United States but is still obsessed with the tales his grandfather told him about a prince and jinn that lived in Lahore. As Salman begins to study his grandfather’s notes on the mysterious jinn, he begins to examine the choices he’s made in his own life.

Order your copy here.

“Springtime: A Ghost Story” by Michelle de Kretser

"Springtime" by Michelle de Kretser

Like much of Michelle de Kretser’s work, “Springtime: A Ghost Story” is set in both Australia and Sri Lanka. De Kretser’s 2012 novella introduces readers to Frances and Charlie, a seemingly typical Australian couple who soon move to Sydney. It is there that Frances becomes increasingly preoccupied with what Charlie’s early life (and first marriage were like).

Things come to a head one day while Frances is walking her dog and suddenly sees a woman in an old-fashioned gown inside a garden. But the garden, as de Kretser notes, is not an ordinary one in Sydney. It is as if the garden is “at an angle to life.”

Things naturally get creepier from there. Check out “Springtime: A Ghost Story” by ordering a copy here.


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