“I’ve always loved ghost stories, writers like M.R. James, L.P. Hartley, Joan Aiken, Stephen King, Joe Hill. But the scariest story I’ve ever heard was a true ghost story.
“There were eight or nine of us at a restaurant in Raleigh, North Carolina, and we were telling ghost stories. The friend of a friend said, ‘When I was a girl living in Texas, I had a recurring dream. In this dream, I was walking down the street of my hometown, and a man would walk toward me. Sometimes he was older and sometimes he was younger. He didn’t always have the same face, but I always knew it was the same man. He would get closer and closer, and I would know that something bad was going to happen, but I would wake up each time before he reached me. I would be terrified.
One night, in my dream, we finally got face to face and I spoke to him. I said, “What is your name?” He said, “My name is Sammy.” And then I woke up, and I was so afraid that I couldn’t go back to sleep. I went to my sister’s room and said, “Can I get in bed with you? I’ve just had a really bad dream.” My sister said, “Was it Sammy?” I said, “What did you say? How do you know Sammy?” And my sister said, “I don’t. But you just brought him in the room with you.” I turned on the lights and I saw that my sister was asleep.'”
— Writer Kelly Link first made hair stand on end with her debut short-story collection Stranger Things Happen in 2001, followed by Magic for Beginners in 2005 and Pretty Monsters in 2008. Link and her husband Gavin Grant recently collaborated on an anthology of the weird, Steampunk!, which was released in October 2011.