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Halloween & Día de Muertos Resources

Tales of the Supernatural

Halloween Logo Created by the Library of Congress

What's more appropriate on Halloween than gathering around the fire for spooky stories? And where better to find such stories than The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress?  AFC has a wide variety of spoken-word recordings containing tales of the supernatural, going back at least to the 1930s. In the 30s and 40s, fieldworkers like Herbert Halpert, Vance Randolph, and Alan Lomax recorded ghost stories, witch tales, and other frightening narratives on lacquer discs. In the 1950s and 1960s a new generation of collectors, including Richard Dorson, Mary Celestia Parler, and George Carey, continued this work on audio tape.

The 1970s saw the establishment of large storytelling festivals, including the National Storytelling Festival, which donated to the Center one of the largest and most important archival collections of modern storytelling in the world. Their collection includes thousands of hours of audio and video recordings, as well as photographs, manuscripts, and publications, that document every National Storytelling Festival since its founding in 1973. Performers represented in this collection include traditional storytellers, with stories that have been passed along in their families for many generations, and modern professional storytellers, with newly minted tales of their own families, experiences, and observations. The festival often featured special sessions for ghost stories and other supernatural tales.

AFC's collections of oral histories, including the StoryCorps collection, also contain valuable stories of Halloween and the supernatural. Explore the links below for some highlights of these collections!

Podcasts and Blog Posts Featuring Audio and Transcribed Tales

Scary Story Podcasts

Ghost Tales

Witch Tales

Devil Tales

Murder Tales

The Latin American Legend of La Llorona

Bats and Other Creepy Critters