Hereford And Parkville Students Clinch Top Honors In ‘Tales of the Dead’ Horror Story Challenge


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BALTIMORE COUNTY - Hereford and Parkville Middle Schools students clinched the second and third-place prizes in the Under 21 category of Baltimore County Public Library's 2023 Tales of the Dead Short Horror Story Contest.

Ella Dengler, an eighth-grader from Hereford Middle School, secured second place with her story "Estranged," which revolves around a young woman who finds shelter from a storm at a seemingly haunted, deserted rest stop.

Maaz Ijaz, an eighth-grader from Parkville Middle School, garnered third place with his tale "Whispers of the Netherrealm: The Haunting of Ravenshade Mansion," a gripping narrative of a young man's journey through a haunted mansion.

Initiated in 2016, the Tales of the Dead Short Horror Story Contest was inspired by the famed 1816 ghost story challenge, which gave birth to literary classics like Frankenstein's Monster and the inaugural modern vampire tale.

The library's 2023 contest challenged budding writers across various age groups to craft original horror stories with a "Petrifying Poe" theme. A distinguished panel of local community leaders, librarians, and established authors selected the winners based on originality, scare quotient, quality of writing, and alignment with the given theme.

Both Dengler and Ijaz will have the honor of presenting their award-winning stories at an exclusive reception slated for October 6 at the BCPL's Reisterstown Branch. In addition to this honor, both emerging writers will be gifted a prize package with a certificate and a gift card.

Fans of horror can look forward to reading the winning entries on the Foundation's website later this month.

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