In 2016, Baltimore County Public Library introduced the Tales of the Dead short horror story contest in conjunction with Foundation for Baltimore County Public Library and their annual Poe-themed fall festival A Toast Among Ghosts, held on Saturday, October 6. The Foundation is pleased to announce the winners of the 2018 contest.
The first place winner is Ethan Bean of Baltimore for his spine-tingling original story, “In Proximity of Murder.” The winning story tells of a woman warned that she is near a murderer, but she has no way of knowing who the killer is or if she’s next.
“It was truly in the spirit of Edgar Allan Poe’s psychological horror,” said Josh Aterovis, published author and one of the contest judges. “It genuinely left me creeped out after reading it.”
Jacob Thompson of Fallston won the Under 21 category for his story “In Deo Speramus,” a terrifying tale of a boy being chased through tunnels by a demon.
The second and third place winners were Hilary Hargis, of Towson, for “The Shadow Hand” and Nell Quinn-Gibney, of Catonsville, for “Funny.”
The Tales of the Dead contest was inspired by a ghost story writing challenge 200 years ago which led to the creation of Mary Shelley Frankenstein and John Polidori’s The Vampyre, the first modern vampire story, two of the greatest gothic horror stories of all time.
There are two categories: Adult (21+) and Under 21. More than 25 entries were received in both categories. Criteria for judging included originality, fear factor and quality of writing.
The adult winners will read their stories at A Toast Among Ghosts around the Ghost Story Fire Pit this Saturday, October 6 at the Reisterstown Branch. Tickets for the event are still available.