Poe Toaster: Edgar Allan Poe Grave Visitor Fails to Show Again
Poe Toaster: Mysterious Visitor Misses Edgar Allen Poe's Birthday
An unknown visitor made a tradition of visiting Edgar Allen Poe's grave in Baltimore every year on the writer's birthday. This year, January 19 came and went, and no sign of the black-clad Poe Toaster, who used make a toast at Poe's grave and leave a half-full bottle of Martell cognac and three roses. Edgar Allen Poe's visitor did not show in 2010, either.
Why not? Perhaps the visitor has died, having visited Poe's grave since the 1940's. Perhaps a near-miss with would-be Poe-Toaster unmaskers scared the visitor off.
Sam Porpora, who worked with Baltimore's Westminster Church, had claimed to have invented the Poe Toaster as a publicity stunt, but never quite kept the story details straight, including when the tradition started: Porpora claimed to have begun the stunt the 1960s, but the Poe Toaster appeared in 1949 at the latest. Some believe the Poe Toaster to be a father and son)
The tradition began on January 19, 1949, according to the Edgar Allan Poe Society. The last visitation came two years ago, on the 200th anniversary of the birth of Poe, the author of such dark classics as "The Fall of the House of Usher," "The Telltale Heart," "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," and the poem "The Raven."
Edgar Allen Poe, whose best-known works include The Cask of Amontillado, The Tell-Tale Heart, The Pit and the Pendulum, and The Murders in the Rue Morgue, died in Baltimore in 1949 at age 40; the actual cause of his death remains unknown.