I love a good mystery and to read of such stories that are nonfiction is what I live for. One such story with a mystery that may never be resolved is that of Edgar Allan Poe’s death. He was an eccentric personality with astuteness that showed in his writings but sad to say not in his life.

Edgar Allan Poe was born January 19, 1809 in Boston Massachusetts. His father David Poe was born in Baltimore Maryland and his mother Elizabeth Arnold was born in England. She came to the US in 1796 and married David Poe after her first husband died in 1805. They had three children, Henry, Edgar, and Rosalie.

Poe was an American author, poet, editor and literary critic. known for his tales of mystery and the macabre, Poe was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story and is considered the inventor of the detective fiction genre and also contributing to the emerging genre of science fiction.
His mother died in 1811, when Edgar was 2 years old. She and Poe’s father had separated.

The children where orphaned. Mr. and Mrs. John Allan took in Edgar. John Allan was a successful merchant. John and Frances Allan, lived in Richmond, Virginia, never formally adopted Edgar.

Edgar attended the University of Virginia for one semester but left due to lack of money. He enlisted in the Army and later failing as an officer’s cadet at West Point.
Edgar started his publishing career humbly, with an anonymous collection of poems, Tamerlane and Other Poems in 1827, credited only to “a Bostonian”.

Edgar won a newspaper contest in 1835 with his detective story “The Manuscript Found in a Bottle”; he got his first real job as the result. That same year Poe married Virginia Clemm, his 13-year-old cousin he was 27. He continued to work for the paper until 1842. Poe left because he desired to start his own paper. He tried to start a magazine called The Stylus and failed.

Poe spent the next several years working for literary journals and periodicals. His work had him moving between cities, such as Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York City. In January 1845, Poe published his poem, “The Raven”, to success. In 1845, Edgar Poe became an editor at The Broadway Journal. A year later, the Journal ran out of money and Poe was out of a job again. He and his family moved to a small cottage near what is now East 192nd Street. Virginia’s health was fading away and Edgar was becoming deeply distressed by it. His wife died of tuberculosis.

Poe’s death

The mystery surrounding Poe’s death has led to many myths and urban legends. The reality is that no one knows for sure what happened during the last few days of his life. Poe was on his way to Philadelphia by train but on October 3, 1849,He never made it.

Poe was found on the streets of Baltimore delirious, according to Joseph W. Walkerthe man who found him, “he was in great distress, delirious and in need of immediate assistance”. Whast do that mean?

Poe was taken to the Washington College Hospital, where he died on Sunday, October 7, 1849, at 5:00 in the morning. Poe was never coherent long enough to explain how he came to be in his dire condition, and, oddly, was wearing clothes that were not his own.

Poe is to have said to have repeatedly called out the name “Reynolds” on the night before his death, though it is unclear to whom he was referring. Some sources say Poe’s final words were “Lord help my poor soul.” All medical records, including his death certificate, have been lost.

Newspapers at the time reported Poe’s death as “congestion of the brain” or “cerebral inflammation”, common euphemisms for deaths from disreputable causes such as alcoholism.

The actual cause of death remains a mystery; from as early as 1872, cooping was commonly believed to have been the cause

Cooping was a practice by which unwilling participants were forced to vote, often several times over, for a particular candidate in an election. Generally these innocent bystanders would be grabbed off the street by so-called ‘Cooping gangs’ or ‘Election gangs’ working on the payroll of a political candidate, and they would be kept in a room, called the “coop”, and given alcohol or drugs in order for them to comply. If they refused to cooperate, they might be beaten or even killed.

Some other speculation has included delirium tremens, heart disease, epilepsy, syphilis, meningeal inflammation, cholera and rabies. No ones knows for sure.

Next Month we will try to answer some of these questions.

Why was Poe in Baltimore?
Who clothes was he wearing?
What happen to Poe during those lost days?
How did poe really die?
How treated him?
What was the real cause of his death?
Did he have any enemies in Baltimore?
Was Poe death a Murder?


Moreover, more important them anything is why in the world did he stop in Baltimore?   I was born and raised there and I hate it!

3 Responses to The Edgar Allan Poe Mystery

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