“ALL THAT WE SEE IS BUT A DREAM
WITHIN A DREAM.” (Edgar Allan Poe)
His life had been traumatized by the death of almost every person he cared for including his mother and wife. This may have accounted for the dark nature of his writings. Poe is buried in Baltimore. While he was originally interred toward the rear of a cemetery at a local churchyard, because of the demands of his devotees, Poe was reburied in 1875 closer to the front of the church.
In the early hours of the morning, a shadowy man dressed all in black except for a white scarf and a broad-billed hat, enters the cemetery and approaches the grave. He carries a silver-tipped cane. He stops to pour a glass of Martell Cognac with which he toasts the iconic author. He leaves three fresh red roses in a specific arrangement on the headstone; along with the unfinished cognac bottle. He then turns and leaves. The visitor has become known as the “Poe Toaster.”
The Poe Toaster does not attempt to hide from onlookers. Every year, reporters and groups of Poe lovers (as many as 150) observe the tradition. Out of respect the watchers do not interfere with the ritual. There has been no serious effort to identify the Poe Toaster.
In 2009, the last visit of the Poe Toaster was witnessed. It was the bicentennial of Poe’s
birth and some thought that it might be the logical point at which the ceremony
ended. The next year people were gathered around the cemetery to see if the
visitor would make another appearance, but he never came. Jeff Jerome, the
curator of the Poe Museum in Baltimore, said, “We had several suspects (in
mind) but they had all passed away. The mystery will never be solved unless
someone confesses on their deathbed.”