10 Ways Stephen King's Books Are All Creepily Connected To Each Other

by Charlotte Ahlin
Warner Bros. Pictures

Clowns lurking in storm drains. Twins at the end of an abandoned hotel hallway. A sad girl covered in blood on prom night. Honestly, it's hard to think of a Stephen King book that hasn't left at least one image permanently scorched into our brains. Stephen King's horror stories scarred many of our childhoods (and adulthoods, for that matter), but the most upsetting thing of all might be that all of King's books are connected. Yes, Shawshank State Prison, the children of the corn, and the lone Gunslinger walking through the desert are all part of one huge, terrifying narrative. Here are just ten of the ways in which all of King's books are connected, and why you should be very, very scared.

Between the new movie of It, the new movie of The Dark Tower, the new movie of Gerald's Game, and several dozen other TV and film adaptations (not to mentions new novels), it seems like Stephen King must run the universe. But that's simply not true: King runs the multiverse. Many of his books share locations and characters across parallel universes, as neatly explained in this flowchart. Or, if you don't have time to follow every line between Annie Wilkes and the Crimson King, here are some of the creepiest connections between King's novels:

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The Man in Black keeps showing up

He goes by Randall Flagg, or Walter o'Dim, or simply the Man in Black. He appears in The Dark Tower books,The Stand, The Eyes of Dragon, 'Salem's Lot, Children of the Corn, and several other King stories. He's never good news. As King's self-described best villain, the Man in Black takes on various forms throughout the multiverse to sow conflict and bring down entire civilizations in service of some even greater evil force.


Pennywise Lives

Pennywise, or "It," is another King villain who spans multiple books and even universes. In Tommyknockers, a character glimpses "a clown with shiny silver dollars for eyes" while driving through Derry, Maine. In Dreamcatcher, someone has spray painted the words "Pennywise Lives" on the standpipe. In 11/22/63, the protagonist asks two of the children from It about a crime in their town, and overhears one say to the other "that wasn't the clown." The creepy character of Dandelo from the Dark Tower books has a lot of Pennywise qualities as well, but King has said that they're not the same character... although they're probably from the same species. So there's an entire species of killer clowns out there. So that's fun.


The Eclipse

This one's not quite as all-encompassing, but two of King's novels hinge on the same solar eclipse. In Gerald's Game and Dolores Claiborne, an eclipse in Maine becomes a major plot point, and the titular Dolores Claiborne senses that Jessie, the protagonist of Gerald's Game, is in some kind of trouble, despite being an entire novel away.


Everyone is from Derry or Castle Rock

Stephen King in famous for setting his stories in Maine, and a lot of those stories center around the fictional towns of Derry and Castle Rock. Even when the book doesn't take place in Derry, Castle Rock, or the surrounding area (like Jerusalem's Lot or Shawshank Prison), chances are that at least one of the characters hails from a small town in Maine that just so happens to be the nexus for ultimate evil.


One character gets a 29 year, 4 book redemption arc

A lot of the characters who crop up in multiple books, like the Man in Black, Pennywise, or the Crimson King, are pretty clearly evil. Father Callahan from 'Salem's Lot gets to redeem himself over the course of several different books, though. After getting bullied by vampires, losing his faith, and leaving the town of Jerusalem's Lot in shame, Callahan heads to New York and pops up in the Dark Tower books, where he gets to stop feeling sorry for himself and help our heroes in their quest to save the multiverse.


The cook from the Overlook Hotel appears in "It"

It's impossible to pick one single scariest King book, but The Shining and It are both top contenders. Dick Hallorann appears in both novels: he was an army cook who lived in Derry, Maine, and used his shining to save the life of Mike Hanlon's father before the events of It. He later took a job as a cook at the Overlook Hotel, where he warned a young Danny Torrance about his "shine."


All nasty things come from “The Macroverse” or “Todash Space”

Almost all of the creepy, supernatural elements in Stephen King's books can be traced back to the mysterious dark reality known as "The Macroverse" or "Todash Space." These two realms seem to be connected, if not one and the same, and they are home to Pennywise, the mist, the deadlights, Cthun, and many more King monsters.


Stephen King is a character

Perhaps the biggest connection between all the Stephen King books is that Stephen King appears in the Stephen King books. He's a character in the Dark Tower series, in which he plays a writer in our world who writes the Dark Tower series. Apparently, King's near-fatal car accident in 1999 was an attempted murder by the Crimson King, but the author was saved by Jake Chambers, one of the protagonists of The Dark Tower.


The Shop is behind it all

The secretive government agency known as The Shop is behind the horror in several of King's novels. The Shop has tapped into Todash Space before with the Arrowhead Project, releasing the mist from The Mist. They experimented with the chemical Lot Six in Firestarter. They appear in Tommyknockers and The Lawnmower Man, and they're mentioned in The Stand. Basically, you don't want to end up involved in one of their "science projects."


Everything connects to the Dark Tower

The Dark Tower stands at the nexus of every universe, and the Dark Tower series serves as the huge, over-arching plot of the King multiverse. You can certainly enjoy his other novels as standalone stories, but since The Dark Tower is a fight for existence itself, it encompasses all of the other stories. As King himself puts it:

I have written enough novels and short stories to fill a solar system of the imagination, but Roland's story is my Jupiter--a planet that dwarfs all the others . . . a place of strange atmosphere, crazy landscape, and savage gravitational pull. Dwarfs the others, did I say? I think there's more to it than that, actually. I am coming to understand that Roland's world (or worlds) actually contains all the others of my making...