Edgar Allan Poes Dream Within a Dream
The life of Edgar Allan Poe was definitely a dream within a dream itself. Infamous literary author extraordinaire is credited as being the father of the detective story and early science fiction forms.
Mysterious conglomerations of facts still surround him that may never be solved making him more myth than man. A few “Poefiles” (fans of Poe’s writings) have dug up a few interesting facts clueing in on some of his inexplicable unknowns.
He was born on January 19, 1809 the second child to traveling actors in Boston, Massachusetts. The wealthy tobacco merchant Allan family in Richmond, Virginia fostered Poe at age three upon the untimely death of both birth parents. They raised him to become a tobacco business gentleman, but his dreams sailed on literary seas navigated by his idol Lord Byron. The headmaster at his school discouraged him from publishing his poems at age 13. Edgar attempted to attend the University of Virginia only to end up burning his furniture to stay warm and engaged in gambling to raise money to pay outlandish college expenses.
Served in the United States Army in 1827as a private where he published the ill-received “Tamerlane and Other Poems” under the pen name Edgar A. Perry. Only a few hundred copies were printed and only a meager handful of 12 survive today. Edgar Allan Poe was also a bit of a jokester having perpetrated a hoax in 1844.
A new story about a three-day gas balloon air trip across the ocean sent public masses madly scrambling to read about it. Fellow author Jules Verne was an admirer of Poe having credited him with the initiation of science fiction. One of Verne’s characters divulges the balloon hoax in his book “From the Earth to the Moon”.
Another mystery encompasses debates of his supposed engagement to Sarah Elmira Royster Shelton. They knew each other as teenagers aged a year apart. Edgar pursued Sarah in 1848 a year after the death of his wife first cousin Virginia Clemm. Poe shipped off to Baltimore to his unexpected death after Sarah expressed that she needed more time to consider his marriage offer. They were never officially engaged.
Edgar Allan Poe was discovered bewildered and disheveled in oversized clothes and shoes on the streets of Baltimore. A Dr. John Moran alone treated him refusing to allow visitors. Dr. Moran continually altered accounts of Poe’s death and the exact time of his death many times over that the how, what and why questions may never be revealed. The master of macabre passed into the great unknown on October 7, 1849. His death certificate and all medical records have dissipated without trace up to this day.
The legendary mysterious “Poe Toaster” started traditional visits in 1949 frequenting Edgar Allan Poe’s original gravesite in Baltimore, Maryland’s Westminster Hall and Burying Ground on the anniversary of his birthday, January 19, 1809. This darkly cloaked figure would raise a cognac toast, leave three roses and the open cognac bottle on the grave, and then silently slip away. The Poe Toaster disappeared after Poe’s bicentennial in 2009 vanished having not been seen since.
The original cognac bottles are currently on display at the Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum also located in Baltimore. This is a mystery for history that might never be unraveled well left evermore to the vague mists surrounding the man Edgar Allan Poe himself.