For this Halloween week I am featuring a truly creepy haunted house story by none other than Bram Stoker, author of the iconic vampire novel, Dracula. "The Judge's House" begins with a university student named Malcolm Malcolmson in search of a quiet and secluded place to study for his upcoming exams. He chooses a small town called Benchurch, and finds a desolate old house that suits his purposes admirably. He learns from the landlady at the inn where he has been staying that the empty dwelling is known locally as the Judge's House, because it had been owned many years ago by a ruthless judge renowned for his harsh sentencing. Although the house has a bad reputation, she could not say exactly why, and Malcolmson dismisses her misgivings as mere superstition. Upon moving in, he soon discovers that the neglected house is infested with rats. While he gradually manages to adjust to their presence, it is not long before he begins to realize that one of these rats is different from the rest, much larger and distinctly more sinister. A confrontation between the two is inevitable, and unfortunately for the young student the secret of the evil rat is even more diabolical than he could have imagined.
You can read "The Judge's House" here, or listen to an audio version on YouTube:
This terrifying tale should effectively cure you of any inclination to enter empty old houses all alone!