Chris Semtner

Chris SemtnerThe Curator of the Edgar Allan Poe Museum, Chris Semtner has written several books on topics including Edgar Allan Poe, visual art, and cryptography in addition to contributing articles to, Resources for American Literary Studies, Crime Writers’ Chronicle, and The Edgar Allan Poe Review. Semtner has been interviewed on the BBC, PBS, Travel Channel, Military History, NPR, CNN, and other networks. He has spoken about a variety of unusual, obscure, and macabre subjects to groups around the country and as far away as Japan. An internationally exhibited fine artist, Semtner’s paintings have entered numerous public collections including the Virginia Historical Society and the University of Maryland. He has exhibited paintings at Viktor Wynd Fine Art, London; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia; and the Science Museum of Virginia, Richmond. Semtner currently co-hosts the web series The Raven Lunatics with comic writer and publisher Dwight MacPherson. He has also collaborated on Poe-themed performing arts projects for the Latin Ballet of Virginia, Engaging History Productions, the Friends of Shockoe Hill Cemetery, and other groups. Semtner’s most recent book, The Poe Shrine: Building the World’s Finest Edgar Allan Poe Collection, tells the strange stories behind the Poe Museum’s artifacts. You can see Semtner’s art and learn more about his books at or learn more about the Poe Museum at


Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan PoeWhy RavenCon?

Many cities lay claim to Edgar Allan Poe—Baltimore, Providence, Boston, Philadelphia—but Richmond is the city that he grew up in. Poe called himself a Virginian. Orphaned shortly before the age of three, Edgar was brought to Richmond to be raised by the Allan family. He grew up in Richmond, loved and lost in Richmond, wrote his only novel in Richmond, married in Richmond. Some say that he gave his final reading of “The Raven” in Richmond. If not for his untimely death, he likely would have moved back to Richmond to rekindle a romance with his teenage love.

Richmond was important to Poe. And Poe has always been important to RavenCon. One of our founder’s earliest childhood memories is hearing readings of Poe’s “The Black Cat”, “The Tell-Tale Heart” and “The Gold Bug” on public radio at the age of four. He was hooked immediately. When searching for a name for a Richmond-based convention, RavenCon was the obvious choice.

Now that the convention has moved to Williamsburg, we’ve lost our obvious Poe connection but not our love for Poe. Besides, sergeant-major Edgar Allan Poe was stationed at Fort Monroe, just 30 miles away from our current hotel. Surely he passed through Williamsburg frequently. We like to think he spent many a pleasant afternoon in beautiful historic Williamsburg. Just like us.

For more on Edgar Allan Poe, we recommend visiting the Poe Museum in downtown Richmond.