Baltimore County

Foundation for Baltimore County Public Library announces Tales of the Dead horror story contest winners

The Foundation of Baltimore County Public Library has chosen six winners in its Tales of the Dead Short Horror Story Contest.

The contest challenged writers of all ages to write an original horror story with a “Moonlit Masquerade” theme. Entries were divided into two categories, over age 21 and under age 21, and were received from a host of writers including local civic leaders, librarians and published authors.


A panel of judges selected first-, second- and third-place winners in both categories. Criteria for judging included originality, fear factor and quality of writing.

In the over 21 category:

  • Carrie Donovan of Gelsenkirchen, Germany, took first place for “Walpurgisnacht,” a story of discovery about an amnesiac woman on Walpurgis Night.
  • Mike Martin of Catonsville took second place for “The Falling Moon,” about a farmer’s descent into madness.
  • Gary R. Beard of Timonium took third place for “Nowhere to Hide,” about a man looking for love but instead faced with his worst fear.

Winners of this category received VIP tickets to A Toast Among Ghosts, the foundation’s annual festival. Winners will be invited to read their winning stories next to the fire pit at the festival.

In the under 21 category:

  • Ivy McKnight, a 13-year-old eighth grader at Cockeysville Middle School, won first place for “Dead Space,” a sci-fi horror story set on a space station on the moon.
  • Sophia Kantsevoy, a 14-year-old Baltimore student at The Bryn Mawr School, earned second place for “Lunatine Lane,” a story of a house flip gone wrong.
  • Lucy Bray of Baltimore, an eighth grader at Dumbarton Middle School, took third place for “House of the Impathegens,” about an alien invasion on Halloween night.

The foundation held its first Tales of the Dead Short Horror Story Contest in 2016, inspired by the 1816 ghost story challenge that led to the creation of Frankenstein’s monster and the first modern vampire story.

The contest is held in conjunction with A Toast Among Ghosts. The winning stories will be published on the Foundation for Baltimore County Public Library’s website after Oct. 15.