The Ghost of Edgar Allan Poe
The ghost of Edgar Allan Poe depicts how he was haunted in both life and death as well. It seems Poe has stuck around in the afterlife, walking the grounds of the earthly realm he once lived. It’s no wonder many believe his ghost haunts his homesteads, favorite watering hole, the hospital where he died, and the cemetery he is buried in.
“The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends and where the other begins? “
Edgar Allan Poe
Even Poe himself was contemplative of the mysteries of life and death.
The life of Edgar Allan Poe
Born in Boston, MA, in 1809, Poe was the second child of David and Eliza Poe. His father was a rock bottom alcoholic, and his mother was an actress. When Poe was less than two years old, his father abandoned the family. A year later, his mother died of tuberculosis, leaving Poe an orphan.
Poe was fostered by tobacco merchant David Allan and his wife Francis, who raised but did not legally adopt Poe. Being raised in Virginia, Poe always considered himself a Virginian. However, he moved around quite a bit in his short life between Richmond, Philadelphia, New York, and Baltimore. Every place he lived is stamped with the footprint of his memory, and many also say his ghost.
Poe’s relationship with his foster father was tumultuous and indifferent due to his irresponsible habits and hobbies, namely alcohol and gambling. When he attended the University of Virginia, his education there only lasted one year. He was forced to quit school. He was out of money, and dear old dad said no more as Poe would only spend the money on booze and gambling, landing him deep in debt.
Beginning of an American writer and poet
After leaving school, Poe joined the armed forces under an assumed name. His love of writing began, starting with the anonymous collection Tamerlane and Other Poems in 1827. He credited his work only to “a Bostonian.”
When Allan’s wife died in 1829, Poe and Allan reached a temporary reconciliation. However, that went out the window when Poe deliberately failed as an officer cadet at West Point. All Poe wanted was to be a poet and a writer, thus causing a parting of ways between him and Allan.
When Allan died, he left his fortune to his biological son and stepson and nothing to Poe. This gave way to Poe struggling financially for the rest of his life.
Poe’s one true love
Before Poe had left for West Point, he moved to Baltimore to live with his Aunt Maria Poe Clemm and his cousin Virginia. Virginia Clemm was Poe’s first cousin and thirteen years his junior. This was the first time he had met Virginia, who at the time was only seven.
After he left West Point, he lived briefly in New York, writing and publishing various works that didn’t amount to much at the time.
In 1833 Poe returned to Baltimore to live with his Aunt and Cousins and his Grandmother Elizabeth Poe. The family relied on the small pension of Elizabeth Poe to rent a small home (now the Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum). However, Elizabeth died in 1835, making the family’s impoverished financial situation even worse. It’s believed that his grandmother Poe haunts the small Baltimore house to this day.
Edgar Poe fell madly in love with young Virginia, who was now the ripe old age of 13. Poe married her in 1835 when he was 26, and she was 13.
Although some say the couple loved each other like a brother and sister, others say to the contrary that their love was affectionate with passionate devotion to each other. This love is seen in a poem that Virginia wrote to her husband the year before she died.
Sadly, Virginia Poe died of tuberculosis just eleven years into their marriage at the young age of twenty-four. Poe was never the same after his beloved wife’s death as she was indeed his one true love. Many of his writings were taken from his love for her.
The Death of Edgar Allan Poe
Poe’s life was filled with depression which ultimately spurred his writings into the dark world of mystery and death. His drinking had escalated when Virginia got sick, and it began to take a toll on his health.
Poe rekindled with a former childhood sweetheart and sobered up to be with her and to marry her. It seemed that Poe’s life was finally looking brighter. Ten days before the marriage was to take place, Poe was traveling to New York City to do an editing job but never made it. Instead, he was found delirious and feverish in a gutter in Baltimore, reportedly in squatters clothing and not his own. He was taken to a hospital where he spent four days until he succumbed to his illness.
There is a lot of mystery behind Poe’s death. Over the years, it has become even more shrouded with researcher’s findings and interpretations. It isn’t a mystery why Poe has stuck around in the afterlife – moving from homestead to homestead, his favorite watering holes, the hospital where he died, the cemetery where he is laid to rest.
Hauntings of the Baltimore Edgar Allan Poe House
The Baltimore home Poe lived in for a few short years with his Aunt and his beloved Virginia is now a museum. It displays many artifacts of the well-versed writer. Moreover, it houses the unknown ghost that many speculate to be his grandmother, Elizabeth Poe, who died during their stay there.
Besides the heavy energy felt in the home, many have claimed to see an older portly woman throughout the house. She isn’t a malevolent spirit. However, another presence that haunts the house causes some issues. A woman was changing her clothes in one of the rooms. Suddenly a window popped out of its frame and crashed to the floor. Other reports tell of mysterious tapping on shoulders, muttering voices, lights moving from room to room when no one is in them, and windows and doors slamming shut.
Some people report seeing Poe himself, which may be the case as he drifts from place to place throughout the areas that his life and death played out. Poe’s ghost is seen at a saloon he frequented while he lived there. His spirit is seen walking toward The Horse You Came In On Saloon for a drink.
Fordham Cottage: The Poe’s last home
In 1844 Poe moved his family to a small cottage in the Bronx in New York, hoping that more rural life would benefit Virginia’s health. This cottage turned out to be the place where Virginia succumbed to her illness and died. It was also the last residence for Edgar before his death in Baltimore two years later.
In this small quaint cottage, Poe also wrote his final story not long before his impending death. Some believed it was when Poe and his family lived there. The home is now a museum with sparse furnishings. Amongst the furnishings is the small bed where Virginia died, Poe’s desk where he did his writings with his cat “Catterina,” who would sit on his shoulder while he wrote.
Poe wrote some of his most famous works in the cottage, as well as his last.
The Edgar Allan Poe Museum-Richmond
The Edgar Allan Poe Museum in Richmond, VA, was never occupied by Poe. However, the house is full of Poe’s original writings as well as memorabilia and personal belongings. Pictures, relics, and verses focusing on the many years and his life in Richmond are featured in the museum.
Some believe that Poe visits the museum in his afterlife, perhaps for the familiarity of the objects within. Aside from Poe’s alleged ghost, the house is said to be haunted by two other ghosts. Two blond children, possibly from the original owners of the house, the Ege family. Though Poe is seen as a dark shadow that moves about the house, the children simply show up in photographs taken by tourists.
The mysterious life and death of Edgar Allan Poe and his dark writings of death and the macabre are intriguing stories. Stories that did not end with his death.
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