People Feared Being Buried Alive So Much They Invented These Special Safety Coffins

For centuries, inventors have been patenting technology to prevent such a nightmare from happening

Gourds come in all shapes and sizes—some sweet and delicious, some stiff and bitter, and some that are just plain odd.

The Science Behind Decorative Gourd Season

Gourds are the runts of their family of fruits, too tough and bitter to eat, but they remain one of the most popular crops of fall

Several railroads around the country are offering spooky train rides just in time for Halloween.

Get Spooked on One of These Haunted Vintage Train Rides

Skip the haunted house and climb aboard one of these trains instead

17 Inventions That Will Put You in the Halloween Mood

Here are some bizarre costume ideas, decorations and supplies culled from the U.S. patent archives

An 1887 illustration by British artist Hablot Knight Browne of “resurrectionists” stealing dead bodies from a graveyard.

In Need of Cadavers, 19th-Century Medical Students Raided Baltimore's Graves

With a half-dozen medical schools and a shortage of bodies, grave robbing thrived—and with no consequences for the culprits

Inside the library at Trinity College, where Stoker was a student.

Explore the Dublin Destinations That Inspired 'Dracula'

Follow in the footsteps of Bram Stoker and see how his hometown inspired him to write his famous horror novel

A Plea to Resurrect the Christmas Tradition of Telling Ghost Stories

Though the practice is now more associated with Halloween, spooking out your family is well within the Christmas spirit


An A.I. Bot Named "Shelley" Is Generating Spooky Stories on Twitter

And you're invited to collaborate on her very weird tales

NASA's Halloween playlist captures the sounds of the solar system

Celebrate Halloween With These Unsettling Sounds From Outer Space

NASA's new SoundCloud playlist captures the sounds of planets, comets and plasma waves

The "Hatbox Ghost" is one of the most beloved attractions in Disneyland's Haunted Mansion.

A Brief History of the Haunted House

How Walt Disney inspired the world's scariest Halloween tradition

William Castle was adept at using marketing ploys to lure audiences to the movie theaters for his horror films.

The Hair-Raising Gimmicks of the Abominable Showman

William Castle went all-out to fright audiences with his horror movies and marketing strategy

"The mischievous deeds we perpetrated," writes Jim Deutsch, a Smithsonian curator of folklore, "were never elaborate pranks carefully planned, but rather were almost always spontaneous."

Yes. The Night Before Halloween Is a Real Holiday

In New Jersey, it's known as 'Mischief Night." In Detroit, it's 'Devil's Night.' And in Cincinnati, it's ... 'Cabbage Night'?


Zombie Movies Are Never Really About Zombies

Zombies have offered a way to work out cultural fears about everything from race to climate change

A woodcut from a 1720 history of "witches and wizards"

How New Printing Technology Gave Witches Their Familiar Silhouette

Popular media helped give witches their image

Even the venus fly trap, which takes an active role in catching its prey, is almost nothing like us.

Getting to the Roots of "Plant Horror"

From the serious—pod people—to the farcical—”feed me, feed me!”—this genre has produced some strange stuff

One of the excavated burials in Drawsko, Poland showed a skeleton with a sickle placed over its neck, likely to prevent the dead from rising again as the undead.

Burials Unearthed in Poland Open the Casket on The Secret Lives of Vampires

What people actually did to prevent the dead from rising again was very different than what Hollywood would have you think

Scary pumpkins are the least of what frightens us at Halloween, a day devoted to being frightened.

What Happens in the Brain When We Feel Fear

And why some of us just can't get enough of it

A 1908 postcard depicts Halloween mischief.

When Halloween Was All Tricks and No Treats

Nineteenth-century urbanization unleashed the nation's anarchic spirits, turning holiday mischief into mayhem

Rick Araluce's The Final Stop, installed at the Renwick Gallery, is a world unto itself.

At This Spectral Subway Platform, Trains Approach But Never Arrive

An otherworldly art installation debuts at the Renwick just in time for Halloween

In 2014, Americans Feared Walking Alone at Night. Now They’re Worried about Government Corruption

A survey on American fears by Chapman University sociologists has produced some surprisingly frightful results

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