575. Monsters Like Making an Appearance in Your Bedtime Stories

Science shows that a bedtime ritual is important for preparing both the mind and the body for sleep. Drink a cup of warm milk. Brush your teeth. Put on socks. Take off socks. Whatever you do in your routine, you probably do it more or less every night. And the right rituals can help your body cool down and doze off in an average of seven minutes.

Listening to a story can also help the mind unwind. For children, the stories are often read or told to them. For adults, stories can come in the form of Netflix series or the latest bestselling novel. But the stories are there, nonetheless, to help redirect your thoughts and funnel them in the direction of slumber.

Occasionally, though, a different kind of story will creep into the mix—a story that’s rotten and leaves a bad taste in your mouth, like a mealy apple from the bottom of the bag. A story that wakes you in a panic, even if you don’t quite remember why. A story that follows you the next day, forcing you to glance over your shoulder…just in case.

These are the stories where you will find us. The dark things that go bump in the night. We make the fairies bite and incite the elves to mischief. Our stories have their own names: Ghost stories. Witch stories. Monster stories.

And rarely, if you’ve made a particularly dark wish in your heart, an honest-to-god devil story.

Or…was it a story at all?

Sweet dreams.

Le bibliothécaire (The Librarian) by Félicien Rops, c. 1878–1881

Sarah G

What do you get when you cross a horror movie with a pile of books? She’s not always sure, but Sarah G is always there to find the connection. In the process, she has helped found a local nonprofit, started a satirical holiday, ticked off celebrities, and tried to purchase the lunar surface.

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