June 17, 2005

I have been perusing a book of Poe short stories over the past few days. I am still in my reading slump, I think, and have not really been in the mood for picking up any of the books I've started recently. Admittedly, this does not bode well for my Challenge.

But I do love revisiting Poe every once in a while. One thing I noticed on this go-round is that three of the stories I read - Ligeia, Berenice, and The Fall of the House of Usher - involve women who were buried prematurely, who weren't quiiite dead, perhaps, when they were laid to rest. Not to mention The Cask of Amontillado, where a man is buried alive against his will. Obsessed much, Edgar?

Speaking of being buried, my own personal Poe obsession is this: I have always wanted to go to Baltimore on Poe's birthday and spend the night watching his grave. Every year on this day, a dark, cloaked stranger comes to the cemetery and leaves roses and booze on the grave in the middle of the night. From the Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore:

Since 1949, on the night of the anniversary of Poe's birth, a mysterious stranger has entered this cemetery and left as tribute a partial bottle of cognac and three roses on Poe's grave. The identity of the stranger, referred to affectionately as the Poe Toaster, is unknown. The significance of cognac is uncertain as it does not feature in Poe's works as would, for example, amontillado. The presumption for the three roses is that it represents the three persons whose remains are beneath the monument: Poe, his mother-in-law (Maria Clemm) and his wife Virginia. Out of respect, no attempt is made to stop or hinder [the Toaster].

Awesome! I really want to see that some day.

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