Spookiest Bookshop

Spellbinding Tales

Despite what its name might lead you to believe, Spellbinding Tales isn’t a horror bookshop or even a mystery bookshop. It’s just a regular bookshop, specializing in secondhand and small-press titles. And yet … and yet … cue spooky sound effects. Owner Karen Zimmerman, a former ad-industry lady, goes all-out for All Hallows’ Eve. She schedules a full week of eerie in-store activities — of which readings by spinners of spooky yarns are only a part. Last year’s extended screamfest included a visit from befanged local-cable personality Vicki Vampyr, who hosts weekly horror films on Alameda Power & Telecom. On hand another night was a team of photographers from South Bay-based Ghost Trackers, showing slides depicting what they claimed in all sincerity were spirits. Zimmerman dresses up the shop with mock cobwebs and all the bloody trimmings, and lays out Samhain spreads of trick-or-treat snacks that even grownup ghouls are welcome to wolf.

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