Sunday, October 11, 2009

Edgar Allan Poe

The death of Edgar Allan Poe is still unsolved, and something that the author himself might have liked to write about (as he did in his short story "The Mystery of Marie Roget").

In 1849, Poe took a trip to New York. When he left the residence of a friend, he accidentally took his friend's walking stick, leaving his own behind. On his train journey back to his home in Virgina, Poe vanished. Days later, he was found in a Baltimore saloon, in very bad condition. A journalist friend took him to the hospital, where he died later. Nobody has ever been able to determine why Poe vanished, where he had been, or what caused his death. One of the riddles of his disappearance is that, when he resurfaced in Baltimore, he was wearing a suit of clothes that didn't belong to him - but he still had his friend's walking stick.

Poe was never lucid long enough to explain what had happened to him, though in a rare bout of clarity, he stated that "the best thing my friends could do, would be to blow my brains out with a pistol." His last words were typical of his short, impoverished, tortured life: "Lord, help my poor soul."

Poe has not rested easily in the city of his death. His ghost - or, at least, the ghost of a man in dark clothing - has been seen in the streets near his old residence. The spirit also can be seen in the cemetery in which Poe was buried (and later, reburied in grand style). Another place frequented by the author is the Horse You Came in on Saloon.

2009 is the bicentennial of the birth of Edgar Allan Poe, and the city of Baltimore is offering many events to commemorate one of its best-known citizens.

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