Until your copy of "New Ghost Stories III" turns up in the mail, here are some quick story fixes to help get you through the Halloween weekend at hand:

  • For something that's just a few keyboard taps away, head to the website, www.ghostsandstories.com, where a collection of all-time ghost story classics is instantly available for free, including the favorite of Richard Agemo, author of "The House Friends" (see  accompanying story): Dickens' "A Christmas Carol." Or sample these equally timeless spine-tinglers: Washington Irving's "Legend of Sleep Hollow," Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher" and "Ligeia," Mark Twain's "A Ghost Story" and several Algernon Blackwood creepers ("The Willows," "The Empty House" and "A Haunted Island").
  • If you'd like to experience some scares under the canopy of night without subjecting yourself to the elements, check out "Ghostly Tales Under The Stars," a climate-controlled creepshow Friday and Saturday in the Illinois State University Planetarium. Members of ISU's Improv Mafia comedy troupe will be offering family-friendly spook stories at 7:30 p.m. both days, with a 2 p.m. matinee Saturday. At midnight Friday, the Mafia pulls out all the shock-stops for a mature-audiences-only session. Admission: $2-$5.
  • One of the area's most experienced storytellers, longtime favorite Bill Myers, will be spinning a web of weirdness, for free, at 7 p.m. Saturday in the Starved Rock State Park visitor's center, near Utica. Included, says Bill, will be his "all-time favorite," "Taily-Po," a Tennessee folk story with a stinger in its tale (the title creature is a very scary, and hungry, cat-thing). "Both adults and kids will jump," says Bill.
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