Poe's Mystery Birthday Visitor a No-Show

Cognac and rose-leaving 'toaster' doesn't arrive for first time since 1949
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 19, 2010 12:46 PM CST
Jeff Jerome, curator of the Poe House and Museum, walks away from the grave in 2008, with a bottle of cognac and roses left by the mysterious visitor.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – On every one of Edgar Allan Poe’s birthdays since 1949, a mysterious visitor has arrived at his grave in Baltimore in the wee hours and left roses and a bottle of cognac—but no more. The unidentified admirer failed to turn up today. “There was no indication he wasn't going to show up,” says the curator of the Poe House since 1977. Fifty or so people had gathered during the traditional time of arrival, between midnight and dawn.

“People were very disappointed, but there was no anger,” the curator tells the Baltimore Sun. He dispersed them around 5:30am. Theories abound about the missed date: “Maybe he just has the flu,” one spectator wondered, or car trouble. The curator notes that 2009 was the bicentennial of Poe’s birth, and “if it was going to end, that would be the perfect time.” No one ventured the decidedly un-Poe-etic possibility that the midnight toaster had passed on and had not come back from the dead to do his duty. (Read more Edgar Allan Poe stories.)

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