Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Poe Toaster

Last night, it happened again. Every year on January 19th, a mysterious man pays a late night visit to the Westminster Hall and Burying Ground in Baltimore, Maryland. Dressed in black from head to toe, his face hidden by a scarf and a silver-tipped cane in one hand, the man glides through the cemetery and stops in front of an old gravestone. There, he deposits three red roses on the grave and pulls out a bottle of cognac. He toasts the man who was once buried beneath his feet before resting the bottle against the headstone and quickly exiting the graveyard.

Since 1949, the same scene has taken place at Edgar Allen Poe's original gravesite on the anniversary of the great author's birth. No one knows (for sure) who the "Poe Toaster" is--or what led him to start such an unusual tradition. In recent years, crowds of spectators have begun waiting inside the cemetery, hoping to catch a glimpse of the black-clad figure. Usually, they keep a respectful distance. (There was one unfortunate incident in 2006.) This year over 150 people gathered to witness the spectacle. Thankfully all those present allowed the Poe Toaster to go about his business in peace.

For more information (and to see the only known picture of the Poe Toaster), click here.


Blogger Kitty said...

That's kinda freaky. o.o'

1:00 PM  
Anonymous Jin Ai said...

That is freaky, but pretty amazing. It would be nice to know you had an annual [and 150 others] visitor after you died.

2:22 PM  
Blogger Spring said...

That is so totally awesome! I love things about dead people... ghosts and other things. So cool!

3:07 PM  
Anonymous Maddi said...

thats so cool, but really creepy! i uber LOVE edgar allen poe, and i want to see the poe toaster now (and pay my respects w/ him)

5:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder what the "unfortunate" acident was in 2006? I'll look it up!

7:14 PM  
Anonymous Elizabeth said...

Have you ever heard of the Boston Molasses Disaster? It's rather interesting (I've read a lot about it, for my Honors History class). Here are some links and a couple of book titles:

Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919 by Stephen Puleo

Einstein’s' Refrigerator: and other stories from the flip side of history by Steve Silverman

(I’ve read both of the books and they are really good, also Steve Silverman has another book out, titled Lindbergh's Artificial Heart, I haven’t read the book but it’s probably good, he also has a website with unusual stories, link below)

There’s a story about Manhattan:

These stories from the website are good:

Extra stories:

Just kept fighting and fighting and……..

Fish? Fishes? What?

Sliding rocks?

The US Camel Brigade, at your service.

And here’s the site index (It lists most of the stories):

9:58 PM  
Anonymous ginnyweasley007 said...

waaaaaaaah so freaked out! the history channel is doing a show about life after people, its so freaky!

10:37 PM  
Blogger ookamishinzui said...

That's so cool!
If some did that for me when I died I would be the happiest person dead!

11:39 PM  
Anonymous udon'tneed2knowmyname said...

so o my gosh thats pretty cool btw, what was the unfortunate happenstance? thats pretty weird. poe was depresses to say the least. good writer though.

1:05 AM  
Anonymous Cupcakedoll said...

Hey Ananka, I was reading back in this journal and was delighted to find you're a fan of The Avengers. Me too! Mrs. Peel has been MY IDOL since I first saw that show when I was twelve. I want to be cool and dangerous like her.

3:11 AM  
Anonymous Raph said...

That is AWESOME!!
Are there any buried geniuses in Sydney I can do that to?! Hmm... *thinks hard*
But maybe without the cognac. The roses, though, I can do.

Just a thought: it's been going for so long, that it's probably different people taking the role - maybe it's being passed down through a family or something.
OR someone was an E.A.P fan when they were very young...

5:15 AM  
Anonymous Raph said...

And sorry I haven't been posting as regularly as I usually do. I'm in a bit of a trice...
Please forgive me!! xD I come on as much as I can. :)

5:21 AM  
Anonymous SAME ANANYMOUS said...

gost noieses

10:06 AM  
Anonymous lara said...

the "unfortunate accident", i think, was 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.

12:44 PM  
Anonymous Rage said...

I have a new recreational activety for you who have roofs to try. I call it... Roof Walking!

2:37 PM  
Anonymous Patsee said...

That's quite interesting. Maybe the Poe Toaster is a descendant of Edgar Allen Poe...

2:54 PM  
Anonymous SAME ANANYMOUS said...

in maryland(were i live) you can ggo to this pace and get your blood tested to see who your related to.
also i fond this website that i think is realy cool its

4:19 PM  
Anonymous ananka said...

Elizabeth: Excellent idea for a post! Thank you!

Cupcakedoll: Yes, Emma Peel--the original butt-kicking girl superspy! Tough AND fashionable.

Raph: No worries! Don't feel any pressure to comment. Is it OK if I post a pic of your axoltl? He's very cool.

Same Anonymous: Thanks for the link!

5:11 PM  
Anonymous Cupcakedoll said...

Rage- what's your sport of roof walking like?

I like going up on the roof to sit and look at the trees from side-on instead of below, but the landlord said it's too dangerous. *grump* I know he has to protect his renters so I gotta do what he says, but way to spoil the fun!

6:47 PM  
Anonymous hobbes said...

I wonder if it's the same dude all the time. we just read the Tell Tale Heart in Lit. and it was soooo creepy!!

9:55 PM  
Anonymous littlechar said...

I honestly don't understand why you all think this is creepy. Shakespeare gets some serious action these days from writing competions in his honor to awards and reverence. He also happens to be long dead also.
Sorry, this kind of thing just reminds me of that final scene in Phantom of the Opera where they both bring a gift to Christies grave and the rose...long live good writing and romance

11:04 PM  
Anonymous rage said...

Cupcakedoll- It's just walking on the roof mostly. I'm trying to get to the larger part now.

3:37 PM  
Anonymous Patsee said...

We read the Telltale Heart in lit every year on Halloween. It's my teacher's favorite "ghost" story.

4:24 PM  
Blogger girl said...

Oooh. I will have to put that on my list of "things to see/do before I die."

4:40 PM  
Anonymous ss chick said...

so cool. i love POEtry (hehehe) and think the poe toaster (and all the other poe toasters before him) are really cool. I always love a good mystery... which brings me to reccomending Down the RAbbit Hole, and excellent mystery... ttfn

8:24 PM  

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