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The Gothic Poets Society was founded by Arijah Ankh Khalid-Zyn in the Autumn of 1986.
Actually, the society was formalized in 1986, however existed in 1984...by default. What kind of default, you may be asking as you brace yourself for the unavoidable cringe.
Well, the truth is that we started off as a couple of teenagers who would meet to discuss the works of Edgar Allan Poe, and on a few occasions, attempt to contact his spirit.
In a nutshell, TGPS started off as a teen spiritualist society, fueled by Poe's works, late night pizza and slumber parties.
Yep. 13 year olds holding book club and seances in a blanket fort on a Baltimore back porch.
Loads of candles and urban legends, such as Black Aggie filled imagination and caused subsequent terror when things went bump in the night.

Moves and interests divided our little group. I was still reading the Gothic lit, jumping stone fences at Westminster burying ground and visiting with my beloved Edgar.
Still holding seances by myself.

The romantics say that "TGPS was founded at the grave of Poe himself". To an extent, it indeed was...I prefer to say "refined".
Up until the Autumn of 1986, it was just me and my backpack full of majikal supplies and books, and then I met two others.
We would sit in gym class, discussing metaphysics, spiritualism and the greats like Poe, Shelley, Stoker and Lovecraft.

Time passes, interests again divide. Perhaps this time, by more structure and less chance as majik and spiritualism found their comfort in a little coven in the forest called Ravynmoon,
while the literary discussions stayed within a now larger group between local cemeteries and haunts and the high school cafeteria.
Slumber parties gave way to more mature group settings. Friends traveled away. Families started being created.
With each one, I'd like to think the spirit of TGPS went with them.
The formality remained mine, and on more than a few occasions, it was once again just me, with no more then notebook and pen in hand, book and spirit of Mr. Poe at my side.

With the advent of the internet, and then social media, and then again with virtual media, many others were able to find us, and today, we have hundreds of members from all over the world.
We've had many incarnations, having gone from note passing to phone calls, to Gothic kids hiking through the forest,
or sleeping between the graves at our local cemetery to where we are now...an international group of like minds and spirits; books at the ready, be they paper volume or pixels in e-books or pdfs.
Technically, I guess were back to note passing, only this time it's in a much larger hallway, and frequently that flashlight glow under the blanket fort comes from a mobile device.
Now, people anywhere can see photos of the old cobblestone streets, and get a personal view of the graves of Mr. Poe from the comfort of their own space, anytime, anywhere.
People who couldn't read his works before now have access, along with a myriad of others.

Although the technological advances have been astounding, and it has helped us meet others from all over the world, I can't help but long for a simpler time.
The smell of old books, library card with the bent and torn edges hanging on for dear ink, that flashlight clanging around in my backpack, screams from under a blanket fort during another session of
scary story or "let's channel Edgar." with the heavy smell of spices from McCormick spice factory flowing through the air of those humid summer nights.

So, here we are (blows kisses to ghost Sean)...another year passes. Another progression. Another session and season and more data then you can shake a stick at.
The sound of boot upon cobblestone streets as they echo with laughter now traded for the sound of keyboard clacks and ticks.

Consider next time you pick up a scary story, do it under a blanket fort and don't forget the pizza.

"Wit, word & spirits!"

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