The Monkey’s Paw by WW Jacobs has got be the creepiest story ever. It involves a severed monkey’s hand from India that was bewitched to grant three wishes. The hand was probably the most ghoulish part.
Be careful of what you wish for is the main theme of the story. Jacobs does a great job building the tension between the old couple. As the story progresses, the tension between them grows until the end.
The monkey’s paw is kind of like the dealing with faeries. They may grant your wishes, but if you weren’t clear the wish could go so terribly wrong. The paw may grant your wish, just not in the way you think. And yet. With all great horror, there are a few questions of deniability. Did it really happen the way the characters thought it did? A nice story to tell in the dark.
The Monkey’s Paw was originally published in a collection of short stories called The Lady of the Barge in 1902. The story on the audio program I listened to was narrated by Patrick Malahide.