By Ron Matz

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It’s Edgar Allan Poe’s birthday and every year tributes are paid to the acclaimed author and poet at his gravesite in downtown Baltimore.

Ron Matz reports in the early morning darkness, mystery shrouded the annual ritual once again.

Unlocking the mystery of what happens at Edgar Allan Poe’s gravesite isn’t easy. In the early morning darkness fans of the famed author and poet left roses for his birthday, but the mysterious visitor known as the “Poe toaster” failed to appear for the second straight year.

“I just hope that people don’t try to start a new tribute. If it’s over with, let it die. Let’s have the nice memories, let’s not start a new tribute. You could actually have 50 or 60 people showing up trying to be the new Poe toaster. We don’t want that,” said Jeff Jerome, curator of the Poe House and Museum in Baltimore. “If people want to pay tribute to Poe, put flowers on the gravesite, read one of his stories, visit the Poe House, but don’t leave bottles on the Poe Monument.”

Only impostors or faux toasters showed up Wednesday.

“It’s very interesting with everybody supporting Edgar Allan Poe. I’m surprised they didn’t leave that bottle of cognac. That would have been wonderful to see him with his cognac on his stone this morning,” said Herman Griffiths, visitor.

Poe is buried at Westminster Hall, along with his wife. Poe fans stopped to mark the 202nd anniversary of his birth.

A couple from France and a man in a stretch limousine wearing a long dark coat were among the visitors Tuesday night.

“I think people are captivated by the sincerity of it. I’ll be the first to admit, it is theatrical in nature, in the middle of the night, roses and cognac in a graveyard among the dead. But people are really touched by how simple it is and how heartfelt it is,” said Jerome. “People around the world were waiting to see if the guy showed up. That’s the attraction that this has. Not just in the United States, but around the world.”

It’s a world of mystery in Baltimore where Poe is still the toast of the town.

Edgar Allan Poe died in Baltimore in 1849 at the age of 40. To this day, the exact cause of his death remains a mystery.

Comments (8)
  1. MJ Jackson says:

    Did anyone stop to think that this person past away……

  2. pigeon says:

    MJ – my thoughts exactly. Perhaps it is time to “pass the torch” and my personal recommendation would be Ms. Pelayo.
    Mr. Poe, RIP!

  3. Mather says:

    MJ- Read the article all the way through. The original person past away in 1998, and the tradition was passed on to his 2 sons. It would be highly unlikely that BOTH sons passed away without passing on the tradition. Most likely they just called it quits after the 200th anniversary.

  4. Joseph Williams says:

    I do not think it is a coincidence that the last time (s)he came there was no note, and it was such an even year as 200th birthday. My question is why not reveal yourself, or atleast leave a note so people won’t be wondering every year?

  5. Christina Gayer says:

    Revealing himself would ruin the poetic mystery behind it, and it’s possible that both sons could have passed. Death is a strange fickle thing as well as time. Personally I think they should also toast the toaster too in addition to Poe 🙂

    1. Christina Gayer says:

      As a special event/gathering not by leaving bottles of cognac (flowers are okay) at the grave-site.

  6. Janet says:

    I’m thinking that the end of the ritual had more to do with 200 years than with the inability of the person to continue the visits. Since Poe wrote the first fiction in the mystery genre, perhaps we should look for a “200 year” reference in his work.

  7. Erika says:

    it’s called the mystery poe toaster for a reason . he probably didn’t show upi because of all this attention !

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