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The mysterious death of Edgar Allan Poe...

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posted on Oct, 24 2006 @ 09:45 AM
Didn't really know where to post this but there could have been a political involvement in EAP's death...

Wikipedia -

On October 3, 1849, Poe was found on the streets of Baltimore delirious and "in great distress, and... in need of immediate assistance," according to the friend who found him, Dr. E. Snodgrass. He was taken to the Washington College Hospital,[3] where he died early on the morning of October 7. 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 said to have repeatedly called out the name "Reynolds" on the night before his death, though no one has ever been able to identify the person to whom he referred. One Poe scholar, W. T. Bandy, has suggested that he may instead have called for "Herring," (Poe's uncle was called Henry Herring). Some sources say Poe's final words were "Lord help my poor soul." Poe suffered from bouts of depression and madness, and he attempted suicide in 1848.

Also Mr Poe's grave has attracted unusual attention over the years -

Poe's grave site has become a popular tourist attraction. Beginning in 1949, the grave has been visited every year in the early hours of Poe's birthday, January 19th, by a mystery man known endearingly as the Poe Toaster. It has been reported that a man draped in black with a silver-tipped cane, kneels at the grave for a toast of Martel Cognac and leaves the half-full bottle and three red roses. One theory (of many) is that the three red roses are in memory of Poe himself, his mother-in-law, and his wife Virginia.

Does anybody have any theories???


Mod Edit to apply external quote code, please review this link

[edit on 25-10-2006 by DontTreadOnMe]

posted on Oct, 24 2006 @ 10:23 AM
Edgar Allen Poe was a known alcholic. I suspect he succumbed to alcohol poisoning, but others say he may have had tuberculosis. Whatever the case may be, he died in seclusion and distraughtness.

There are theories that Poe was actually a mass murderer; I don't know how well this insinuation is supported, but it is one that is believed by some.

posted on Oct, 25 2006 @ 03:31 AM

There are theories that Poe was actually a mass murderer; I don't know how well this insinuation is supported, but it is one that is believed by some.

I'd like to know more about that!

posted on Oct, 25 2006 @ 04:21 AM
Poe is one of my favorites. I never heard of the mass murderer theory though. He had a horrid early life and the rest of his life wasn't much better.

posted on Oct, 25 2006 @ 05:22 AM
Genius, he’s a major influence on many writers. I've even written a piece of music about him... Aptly titled - Edgar Allan Poe.

If interested you can listen to it here.

posted on Oct, 25 2006 @ 07:12 AM
I remember years ago to have read some magazine article on the subject of his death. It concluded examinig the symptoms that gradually evolved over the years, that he most likely was a victim of poisoning from his enviroment.

In this case it would have been the house he lived in richly decorated in the Victorian Style, lavishly decorated with draperies, hanging and curtains, which all most certain would have been dyed in (the newly invented aniline colors)*).
The pigments of those where derived from compounds containing arsenic, cadmium, mercury, chrome and lead. All the heavy and most poisonous of metal.
A long time exposure was most likely to occure as signs of madness, with symptoms like delirium and halucinations.

As I said it's years ago, so I've have no recollection of the source, but I remembered it also discussed the theory in the light of how it affected his work.

Worth googling.

[edited after googling. *)Cannot be the aniline dyes, wasn't invented before 1856. But arsenic was used for dyeing compounds at Poe's time. Sorry!]

[edit on 25-10-2006 by khunmoon]

posted on Oct, 25 2006 @ 09:18 AM
Thanks, I'll start googling! I take it people were unaware of the effects of prolonged exposure to these metals at the time...?

posted on Oct, 25 2006 @ 09:22 AM
I LOVE Edgar Allen Poe (as you can see by my signature)- But he drank himself to death. Seriously. That's it.

Visiting his grave is a major cool thing. His original grave in the back of the graveyard is empty. His new grave is in the front right corner. The graveyard has a church over it. In fact, when you climb the steps to get into the church, you are stepping on gravestones.

It's also reportedly very haunted.

A very fitting place for Edgar Allen Poe to have his remains resting. I encourage ya'll to visit. SPOOKY! and interesting place.

[edit on 10/25/2006 by FlyersFan]

posted on Oct, 25 2006 @ 09:39 AM
Forgive my mistake, I'm no genius in chemestry, but the aniline dyes can be ruled out, they wasn't invented before 1856. I made an edit note in the post.

I'm googling on in chemistry.
Wish I could rember the source, but your memory doesn't always serves you well.

Apolologize for incorrest information.

The arsenic I'm quite sure about. I'll look into what that does in dyeing.

posted on Oct, 25 2006 @ 10:30 AM
Well,I read in a 26 volume collection of books titled Mysteries of Mind, Space and Time that there were theories that he was a serial killer and that is how he was able to tell his stories, specifically The Tell-Tale Heart, so graphically. Anyway, it must not be a very prevalent theory because I can't find anything on the net even alluding to the possibility.

posted on Oct, 25 2006 @ 08:19 PM
Found a few things.

Here's an article from the Poe Society of Baltimore: Poe's Death

Halfway down, this note appears

Notes on the results of test for heavy metals performed in 2002 on hair samples from Virgina and Edgar Allan Poe.

In that study "Results of Tests on the Hair of Virginia and Edgar A. Poe" I found this remark (my emphasis):

Mercury: Edgar’s mercury level increased over a few months by 264%, probably due to the calomel he wrote of taking while in Philadelphia. But even at its highest point, it was still more than 30 times below the level associated with symptoms of mercury poisoning, and only1/2 the level found in President Andrew Jackson’s hair, who (like Poe) was known to have taken calomel medication. Virginia’s mercury level, however, started at a level about that of President Jackson and gradually increased 22%, suggesting that she and Edgar had very different personal exposures.

This study is most likely the refference of the article I recall. The timetable fits, and as mentioned in the emphasised text, I also recall a possible poisoning from various bogus "patent medicines" being discussed.

I'm googling on with 'calomel".

posted on Oct, 25 2006 @ 09:08 PM

Found another piece discussing his drug abuse.
How Did Poe Survive for Forty Years?

Another addiction Edgar Allan Poe harbored was that to various drugs. The reasons behind this addiction range from his depression to his need for constant pain relief due to his heart and brain condition. Some indicate his addiction was not serious. For example, Hervey Allen writes, "From time to time at Fordham, he resorted to drugs, Rosalie Poe specifically mentions morphine" (739). Other drugs that Poe took habitually include opium and laudanum. During his final years when the effects of the brain lesion were especially intense, "pressures and pains drew [Poe] back to opium. In June [1849] he called on John Sartain in Philadelphia demanding laudanum, of which his tolerance was now enormous" (Mankowitz 229). He also built up a tolerance to opium; "his nerves and heart again in poor condition, and his opium dreams no longer inspiring him to write," left Poe depressed (Mankowitz 229). Laudanum was routinely administered to Poe on his death bed. Of course, though Poe was addicted to drugs during his lifetime, "'Poe was in that peculiar condition, a physical dilemma in fact, that few who have discussed his failings seem to realize, i.e., his failing heart required a stimulant which would be disastrous to his brain'" (Mankowitz 239). Unfortunately, unlike alcoholism, the habitual usage of such substances was almost unavoidable, making addiction inevitable. Ironically the drugs that eased Poe's pain mainly caused by erratic heartbeat and brain fevers also aided in his early death. Unfortunately, his addiction to these drugs contributed to depression as well.


He killed himself with drugs, that slowly poisoned him, broke down his weak nervous system, made him over-sensitive and paranoid.

Here's an account that appears in the article.

Indeed, madness was "in character" for Edgar Allan Poe. Most agree from the facts surrounding Poe's life that his nervous system was extremely sensitive, an ailment which could be a significant indicator of madness. A possible breakdown occurred when Poe arrived at John Sartain's office, begging him for protection from an imaginary army of conspirators disguised as "loungers" in 1849. Poe attempted to shave off his moustache so "they" would not recognize him. He insisted on climbing to the highest point of the reservoir in Philadelphia for protection, finally escaping Sartain. He eventually arrived at Sartain's house again and entertained the idea of committing suicide, not his first nor last entertainment of that idea (Mankowitz 232). Woodberry referred to this madness as a possible "hereditary taint" (73). More convincing is Dr. Nash's argument after listening to Poe's recitations one evening in New York City in September of 1849. He diagnosed Poe's madness by determining the following: "'Poe at such times was the victim of abnormal psychology. There are conditions known as psycho-neurosis of exhaustion, during which period there is a more or less complete paralysis of the will... victims of psycho-neurosis had morbid, irresistible impulses" (Phillips 1469). Furthermore, Dr. George Rawlins also notes that Poe was "violent from time to time" for no apparent reason, which signifies madness and depression. The dysfunction most likely was caused by the brain lesion (Mankowitz 234). On the other hand, some contemporaries believe his madness occurred before the brain lesion manifested and is attested to by the topics Poe's works dealt with (Franklin 178). Regardless of physical evidence, Poe was definitely deranged and acted in ways which were conceived as mad. His actions could or could not have been results of depression, alcoholism, mental dysfunction, or the brain lesion.

The brain lesion mentioned is discussed in the Poe Society of Baltimore article.

By the way, anybody knows the title of one of his short stories, where hashish, cannabis plays a part?
I remember reading it many years ago, and it always pops to my mind, when I look at my complete volume of Poe's work. Never found it, never read through all.

Anybody knows it?

[edit on 25-10-2006 by khunmoon]

posted on Oct, 25 2006 @ 11:58 PM
Poe's death has intrigued me for years and I can't help but come to the conclusion that certain misguided members of a secret society were responsible.

That Poe was enroute to a political activity of some sort is most probably true, and a political motive may very well have lay behind his abduction, drugging, and beating. Politics intertwined with secret societies. Poe was known to have insulted Freemasons when he insulted their most illustrious members; Martin Van Buren and George Washington.

The ritual that has been performed by the "Poe Toaster" since 1949 seems to point to some form of secret society that is, for whatever reason, commemorating Poe's death. What makes me think that the ritual is less about the man himself and more about his death is the light-hearted approach the Toaster has taken on his commemorative visits for the last few years.

In 2006, several onlookers gained entry into the graveyard in an attempt to accost and identify the Poe Toaster. This is considered to be due to feelings that the tradition had been sullied by the current toaster, believed to have replaced the original Poe Toaster in 1999. Jeff Jerome, curator of the Poe House and Museum, was present (as he has been at every appearance of the Poe Toaster since 1976), and was quoted in press reports expressing his disappointment that the solemn occasion had thus been disrupted.
(Link Provided Above)

Poe lived in a time when Anti-Masonry was at it's peak in America. Begun by the murder of William Morgan. Morgan's murder has been refuted by Freemason's for many years, but is the truth finally being revealed?

Originally posted by JustMe74:There was an interesting article (first of a series) in the innagural issue of Bro. Stephen Dafoe's "Masonic Magazine" about the Morgan Affair. I think it is highly probable that some members of Morgan's lodge did indeed murder him. It is very interesting that right after Morgan went missing, the lodge split. I guess we'll never really know for sure, but I am looking forward to the article in the next issue; the first one was very interesting.

Here we have a partial admission of Masonic complicity in Morgan's death by a Freemason on this board.

Originally posted by Nemo Me Impune Lacessit "( In The Cask of Amontillado") A Roman Catholic aristocrat takes revenge on his Freemason Enemy by walling him into a corner of the family catacombs, thus destroying his life and freedom by masonry. To most readers this is an audacious pun, but to anti-Masonic readers it is poetic justice as well: the remains of Fortunato, the hapless Mason, will lie among the bones of his Roman Catholic enemies, "the great and numerous Montresors", while the present Montresor lives on. Anti-Masonic readers may be few today, but in the 1840's they too would have been numerous." (Kent Bales, "Poetic Justice in the Cask of Amontillado", Poe studies, 6, [1972], 51 ).

Originally posted by Nemo Me Impune Lacessit "Insult is added to injury in this tale since Poe drew it's central character and basic narrative situation from the Freemason, Benjamin Franklin. So we have a character from a "bagatelle" of the adversary forever enshrined as fiction's best known Masonic executioner since the name of Franklin's hero is Montresor and this is of course the name Poe has chosen for his; that his source was indeed Franklin is confirmed by William H. Schurr ("Montresors audience" in 'The Cask of Amontillado', Poe Studies, 1, [1977]"

Link to ATS Thread

If you read through the thread I have provided a link to above you will see good evidence to support the theory that Poe was critical of the "Brotherhood". This has been verified by Kent Bales and William H. Schurr in their studies of Poe. It is possible that members of the "Craft" were misguided enough to take Poe's insults to heart and had him "Done away with".

Here is another interesting quote:

"I was at work, in my shirt sleeves, in my office on Sansom Street, when Poe burst in on me excitedly, and exclaimed, "I have come to you for refuge. I was just on my way to New York on the train, when I heard whispering going on behind me... I was enabled to overhear what the conspirators were saying. Just imagine such a thing in this Nineteenth Century! They were plotting to murder me. I immediately left the train and hastened back here again. I must disguise myself in some way. I must shave off this mustache at once."

...Taking him to the rear of the office I sheared away until he was absolutely barefaced... Going up in the 'bus he said to me, "After my death see that my mother (Mrs. Clemm) gets that portrait of me from Osgood. - John Sartain, The Reminiscences of a Very Old Man, 1808-1897 (Unknown Binding)

One month later Poe was found in the vacant lot from where he was taken to Hospital where he died.

It is also interesting to note that Poe was wearing clothes that were not his. A last laugh by his murderers perhaps? To disguise the man who had disguised himself to hide from them?

Another quote by John Sartain:

Originally posted by Nemo Me Impune Lacessit "He made many enemies and many harsh things have been said about him, but I never once saw him drunk." - John Sartain in William Sartain's Edgar Allen Poe - Some Facts Recalled, Art World, 2 (July, 1917) 321-23.

[edit on 26-10-2006 by Beelzebubba]

posted on Oct, 26 2006 @ 03:34 AM
Thanks for the info guys, it's very interesting. I shall read more from the sources...

posted on Oct, 26 2006 @ 09:13 PM
Below is a bibliographic reference to Poe's death and that the cause was a blow to the head.

Courtney, John F. "Addiction and Edgar Allen [sic] Poe," Resident and Staff Physician (January 1971), pp. 107-115. [An aimless recounting of Poe's episodes with alcohol and laudanum, with a redeeming speculation that J. J. Moran's description of Poe's last hours suggests that cause of death was a blow to the head.]

Link to Article

The following is also of interest:

Walsh, on the other hand, believes that Poe was murdered, and he believes he knows why and by whom. His claim is based on documents written by Elizabeth Oakes Smith, a 19th century poet Poe knew. Smith wrote:

"Not long before his death he was cruelly beaten, blow upon blow, by a ruffian who knew of no better mode of avenging supposed injuries".

Link to Article

There is also the theory that Poe was kidnapped into a cooping ring:

"At that time, and for years before and after, there was an infamous custom in this and other cities, at election time, of "cooping" voters. That is, gangs of men picked up or even carried off by force, men whom they found in the streets - and transported them to cellars in various slums of the city, where they were kept under guard, threatened, maltreated if they attempted to escape, often robbed, and always compelled to drink whiskey [sometimes mixed with other drugs] - until they were stupefied and helpless".
(Link supplied above)

Jeff Jerome, Curator of the Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum in Baltimore, had this to say about the "Death by Drink" slander:

Poe almost surely did not die of alcohol poisoning or withdrawal, Mr. Jerome said. The writer was so sensitive to alcohol that a glass of wine would make him violently ill for days. Poe may have had problems with alcohol as a younger man, Mr. Jerome said, but by the time he died at 40 he almost always avoided it.

Link to Article

The article linked to above is interesting in that it states that Poe died of rabies.

Unfortunately history remembers Poe as a drug fiend and alcoholic. Slanderous accusations that were refuted by people who knew him. Has this erroneous image been cultivated to tarnish his image?

[edit on 26-10-2006 by Beelzebubba]

posted on Jan, 16 2009 @ 01:36 AM
As you know Poe's birthday is coming up. And to show respect to him, we will be web playing a New award winning movie about Poe's life and deth. I believe your audience would like to see it for free.

The movie will be played on this web site for one day on January 19th.

This is a link to movie trailer, it contains all of the information about the event.

posted on Feb, 21 2009 @ 09:16 PM
reply to post by thebox
reynolds was a fellow author about a hollow earth theory Poe was interested in. as for Poe an unbelievably talented man just started reaind his stories today. So far it's really amazing.

posted on Feb, 21 2009 @ 10:16 PM
reply to post by thebox

Many contradictions about EAP's life and death, his addictions and vices.
Some say he was bi-polar, many say he was depressed most of the time. There were many rumors about drug abuse.

He was scorned by the religious righteous, often mocked and teased by children, and misunderstood by critics, he still maintained a playful spirit in public.

He had a curious fondness for hats and on the same day every year he would spend hours and sometimes days trying on new hats. He would buy at least one, sometimes not taking it with him. It was supposed that this was a precursor to a new writing, but that was proven to not be the case.

I only know that from 1978-1981, a single rose was placed at his grave not on his birthday, but on the anniversary of his death. (I was in broadcasting at that time and remember the story because of this curious oddity)

Proud to see he is still remembered and has fans.

posted on Feb, 21 2009 @ 11:27 PM
Edgar Allen Poe made a significant contribution to popularizing cryptography and detective-fiction in the mid-19th century [1]. Since he was revealing techniques that could enable adversaries to evade capture or to expose sensitive activities, the government may have seen him as a security threat. To prevent him from publishing further information, government agents may have poisoned him and used cooping and his issues with alcohol and mental illness as a cover-up.

The Pinkerton National Detective Agency, conveniently established in 1850 the year after Poe's death, may have been involved.

[edit on 22-2-2009 by tmk81]

posted on Apr, 24 2010 @ 02:00 PM

Originally posted by thebox
Thanks, I'll start googling! I take it people were unaware of the effects of prolonged exposure to these metals at the time...?

Maybe he had fillings. Many people I know are suddenly suffering from similar symptoms. I recently had salmon and blamed the fish but maybe I need to check any fillings I may have gotten years ago.

Mercury is odorless, colorless, and tasteless, unless under a black light, then the vapors can be seen rising from the tooth like it was a cigarette

Mercury is a natural and very poisonous substance, its chemical symbol is Hg, and the commonly found and used chemical of Mercury is Mercuric Sulfide Hgs. It is a refined form of Cinnabar.

Causes of Mercury Poisoning Mercury poisoning can be caused by any number of methods of exposure. Amalgam dental fillings are a main cause, other causes are eating fish that have been exposed to mercury in the environment, industrial and work place exposures such as those in the paint industry, even in the hospital (and home) setting poses a potential threat to mercury poisoning because of the mercury in thermometers, dropping or somehow breaking a single thermometer is a very hazardous situation even without touching the mercury because of the vapors produced by the mercury.

Some other sources of mercury are cosmetics. There have been several cases of mercury poisoning in the south western states by a company that sold a beauty cream with "calomel" listed as an ingredient. Calomel is mercurous chloride (HgCl2). This product had mercury levels around 10%.

[edit on 24-4-2010 by rusethorcain]

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