The Bibliophile's Adventurers Club

Exemplars of bookish delight

Once upon a midnight dreary . . .

PoeSource: Barnes, A.S. A Brief History of the United States. New York: American Book Company, 1885

Edgar Allan Poe, a name synonomis with the morbid and the macabre. He didn’t have the easiest of lives, Poe–from his parents early deaths, to the mystery surrounding his own.  

You see, in1849, on his way to Philadelphia, Poe disappeared for five days. He reappeared October 3, in the bar of a Baltimore public house. His hair was crazy, his clothes stained, his shoes worn; he gave an appearance not at all like him. Poe did not go about town bedraggeled. Further, his clothes were not at all like his. They didn’t fit, giving every indication he wore the clothes of another.

He would die a few days later–October 7, 1849–incoherent, and unable to tell his final tale.

To this day, we do not know the precise cause of his death–though we seem perfectly content to theorize: it was a murder plot . . . the side effects of syphilis, cholera–maybe even rabies . . . he suffered from hypoglycemia . . . a brain tumor . . . he overdosed on drugs and alchohol . . . he was the victim of cooping (which would explain the confusion and strange clothing choices, mind you).

Whatever the story, one thing remains certain:  in death, as in life, Edgar Allan Poe sparks our imagination.


  1. Love this story…

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