Edgar Allen Poe's Mysterious Graveside 'Toaster': Who Was He?

 @ceylanwrites
on January 19 2012 2:48 PM

The mysteries of Edgar Allen Poe go far beyond his novels.  For years an anonymous graveside toaster marked the author's birthday  with cognac and roses, but after failing to show up for a third consecutive year, Poe fans have accepted the end of a tradition.

Since 1949, a mysterious figure --The Poe Toaster-dressed  in a wide-brimmed hat and scarf has arrived at the Westminster Hall graveside of one of America's most remembered literary figures . During the midnight visit he would leave half a bottle of cognac and three blood-red roses at the Baltimore grave.

Chip Brown, a Washington Post reporter, attended a Poe Vigil in 1983. He described the mysterious toaster:

As five people waited in the catacombs, a man bundled in a black frock coat and clutching a gold-handled cane stole into a graveyard in downtown Baltimore in the dead of night yesterday and laid three roses and a half-empty bottle of cognac under the baleful granite eye of a raven perched over the grave where Edgar Allan Poe was buried 132 years ago.

Now, after a three-year absence, many presume the mysterious man dead. On Thursday morning, Jeff Jerome, a curator at the Edgar Allan Poe House museum officially announced the end of the tradition, the Baltimore Sun reported.

I more or less resigned myself that it was over with before tonight, Jerome said What I'll miss most is the excitement of waiting to see if he's going to show up. 

Jerome was not the only one who had waited for the toaster on the eve of Poe's Jan.19 birthday. A group of fans would gather in a separate vigil and anticipate the toaster's arrival.

In the 60-years of his visit, the toaster was never identified. According to the Washington Post, there is evidence that suggests the tradition was passed along a family throughout the years, and it was never one given person that visited the grave.

A note, once left by the toaster and obtained by the Washington Post, reads: The sacred memory of Poe and his final resting place is no place for French cognac, the note said in part. With great reluctance but for respect for family tradition the cognac is placed.

Poe is remembered for his many literary works of mystery, terror and science fiction, but he is best known in the modern day for his detective stories, His works have been in print since 1827 and continue to be reprinted and enjoyed today. His most famous works include: The Tell-Tale Heart, The Raven, and The Fall of the House of Usher.

Although centuries have passed since Poe's death, his life is still wrapped in mystery. Much of what we know about him is contested because his biography was written by one of his enemies-an attempt to defame his n 

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