Everyone has heard the name Edgar Allan Poe. His legacy and stories haunt our mind and come crawling to the surface as we get closer and closer to Halloween. He is known for being the father of horror, mystery and phycological thriller. Throughout his lifetime, he really pushed the boundaries of literature and pioneered a new genre that many are addicted too.

Edgar Allan Poe’s stories were even the inspiration for a lot of mystery/horror/detective books we know today (including Agatha Christie). It is said that his stories have lead to the creation of the modern detective novel.

To this day readers adore his multitude of short stories and devour them all year. Why do folks continue to seek out his macabre prose? Mainly its because his stories dissect universal themes that everyone can relate to. Grief, loss, love etc. Everyone can relate to these.

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“Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“’Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door—
Only this and nothing more.” – The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe 

Even those who don’t love poetry often find themselves making an exception for Poe. His poetry is beautiful, haunting, and can captivate anyone. But if you don’t believe me, check out this short Ted Talk all about Edgar Allan Poe and why you should read his works!

Top 5 Edgar Allan Poe stories that you should read

*Disclosure: We only recommend books which we love and would read ourselves. This post contains affiliate links, as we are part of the Amazon Services LCC Associate Program, which may earn us a small commission, at no additional cost to you.

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5. The Tell-Tale Heart 

Tell Tale Heart

This short story follows the aftermath of a man who has committed murder. After committing his murder, he chops his victim into pieces and stuffs him into the floorboards. Shortly thereafter, he realizes that he can hear the man’s heart still beating steadily beneath his feet…

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The Tell-Tale Heart is a study in paranoia-Edgar Allan Poe writes the paranoia in such a way that you almost feel it yourself. Poe explores the madness of a psychological mystery — why we harm those we love. 

4. The Pit and the Pendulum

The Pit and the Pendulum

Our narrator begins by plunging into unconsciousness and waking up completely alone in a dark cell. Our own narrator admits that he looses his senses and can not be reliable; the perfect example of an unreliable narrator trope, which wouldn’t be Poe’s last.

The Pit and the Pendulum plays on the horror of the unknown, the horror of time and death slowly approaching as time presses on. Full of creepy symbolism that drags you deeper into the mind of a man ravaged with fear and the unknown, this slightly underrated story is one of his most terrifying.

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3. The Cask of Amontillado

The Cask of Amontillado

This is a story about revenge, crypts, and being buried alive. What starts out as an adventure with friends is quickly revealed to be riddled with lies, deceit, and a vendetta. We are thrown into the middle of this journey, so one must wonder just what happened prior to the events of the story? We’re provided with the punishment doled out for our character with not context, making the events all the more horrifying. The most interesting aspect of this is that it gives the reader the opportunity to wager a guess as to what the background of the story is. 

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2. The Fall of the House of Usher

The Fall of the House of Usher

We are alone with our narrator and we do not know why, nor does he. Evoking claustrophobia with his words, we quickly realize that he is trapped in this house where he cannot roam about freely.

Running along the edge of a metaphor with the house, is he really trapped or is the house only in his mind? Edgar Allan Poe creates confusion on top of the claustrophobia by blurring the line between being alive and being an object.

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There seems to be no escape from our horror, but what is it exactly that we’re afraid of?

1. The Black Cat

The Black Cat

Edgar Allan Poe takes us on a descent into madness with this story. Fueled by alcoholism, our narrator seems to parallel Edgar Allan Poe’s own life a bit. (He was known to have had struggles with alcohol himself). We start to blur the line between real life and fantasy in this story.

Being both rational and irrational at the same time, The Black Cat plays with the existence of a black cat who is and is not. Hovering between our reality and the one our narrator can see, Edgar Allan Poe manages to draw you in and creep you out about the possibility that you too can be going a little crazy. 

All of Edgar Allan Poe’s works are short stories, so if you’re on the fence about reading his stuff, go ahead and pick one up! You can get into it with out the worry of a long novel holding you back. If you want to know more about Edgar Allen Poe, or want to read some of his works, Its all about Edgar Allan Poe has some great information there for you to dive into. Happy Selection! 

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