Tales of the Dead short story contest winners; Dulaney Theater Company performs ‘Dracula’ this week at Dulaney High | COLUMN

The Tales of the Dead short story contest sponsored by the Foundation for the Baltimore County Library offered up some spooky stories and several local winners.

The annual contest directs writers to pen an original horror story based on a theme, with this year focused on a “Moonlit Masquerade.” All entries needed to feature a mask and/or the moon in some way. Each entry was judged on originality, fear factor and quality of writing by a panel of civic leaders, librarians and published authors.


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

Ivy McKnight, in the eighth grade at Cockeysville Middle School, was the Under 21 winner of the Tales of the Dead short story contest. Her offering, “Dead Space,” is a sci-fi horror story set on a space station on the moon along with some murder and mayhem.


Drawing on inspiration from books and movies that she enjoys, McKnight said, “I wanted the main character to be more realistic so I made her a typical curious young adult who would be excited at the prospect of going to space.” McKnight loves to write and would love to be an author in the future.

Second-place winner and student at The Bryn Mawr School, Sophia Kantsevoy’s story, “Lunatine Lane,” centers on a house flip gone wrong. Lucy Bray, an eighth grader at Dumbarton Middle School, was awarded third place for her tale, “House of the Impathegens,” about an alien invasion on Halloween night.

The winners of the Under 21 contest were honored at a special reception which featured reading of their stories. All the stories are also featured on the foundation’s website.

For the Over 21 category, the winners were from far and wide with the winning offering coming all the way from Germany. Carrie Donovan entered “Walpurgisnacht,” a story of discovery about an amnesiac woman on Walpurgis Night.

The second-place offering came from Catonsville resident Mike Miller, with a story about a farmer’s descent into madness in “The Falling Moon.” Timonium resident Gary R. Beard took third place with his tale, “Nowhere to Hide,” centering on a man looking for love but instead faced with his worst fear. Beard is no stranger to the contest as his “Sinister Charm” took top honors in the 2017 contest. This set of winners were able to share their stories around the firepit at “A Toast Among Ghosts,” the foundation’s annual festival.


The Dulaney Theatre Company is also getting into the spooky season as they will perform “Dracula,” right in time for Halloween. The play, based on Bram Stoker’s novel, will bring the macabre to life with all the gore and horror of the classic story. There will be three showings, Thursday through Saturday at 7pm, at the Dulaney High School auditorium. Be sure to leave the little ones at home as this will be a PG-13 event.