This story made me sad. You see, since at least 1940 and some say for even longer, a mysterious figure has turned up at the grave of Edgar Allen Poe on his birthday (January 19) and poured a bit of cognac, toasted, and left behind the bottle of cognac and three red roses arranged in a very specific configuration. Over the years there’s been a great deal of speculation as to who may be behind this ceremony. It’s said that there was some indication that the tradition was passed on to the next generation some time in the nineties. But it seems to have come to an end at last, with the toaster failing to turn up for the third year in a row. And so a literary mystery ends with something of a whimper. It was a lovely mystery while it lasted, though.
There’s also a Poe house in Philadelphia, by the way, not just the one in Baltimore. A couple of years ago my friend David Surface wrote a terrific piece on his blog about his visit to that Poe House here.