OCTOBER 7, 1849 – Edgar Allan Poe

Renowned author Edgar Allan Poe was found at Ryan’s Tavern in Baltimore on Oct. 3, 1849. At the time, Poe, 40, was supposed to be traveling home to New York City from Virginia. He left Richmond on Sept. 27 and disappeared for close to a week before being found in the pub. Poe was reportedly “in a state of beastly intoxication” and was unable to explain how or why he was in the bar. He was taken to nearby Washington College Hospital where he was confined in the section reserved for drunks. Poe reportedly called out the name Reynolds repeatedly the night of Oct. 6. The following day, Poe said, “Lord, help my poor soul” and died.

Poe’s belongings were eventually located in the Swan Tavern in Richmond. It was unclear why he left them there. Any records investigating Poe’s death have been lost. Theories, however, are many regarding what happened to the famed writer of classics such as “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Cask of Amontillado,” and “The Fall of the House of Usher.” Causes as varying as hypoglycemia, murder, and suicide have been suggested. In addition, Poe was a heavy drinker, and it was believed he was drunk when he was found, so alcohol could have been the cause of his death.

Others believed Poe was kidnapped and forced into a scheme called “cooping,” which involved political gangs forcing people to vote at multiple polling places during an election. Poe was found on the day of an election wearing dirty clothes that did not fit him. Another theory was that he was bitten by a bat while being forced to vote and died from rabies. Whatever the cause, it seems unlikely the reason for Poe’s death will ever be known.

Lou Nightingale
Author: Lou Nightingale

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