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Poe Toaster

This nickname denotes a mysterious person who probably visits Edgar Allan Poe's (1809-1849) grave annually from the 1930s to at least 2009. She is wearing a black coat, a white scarf and a black hat with a large brim; the face is covered. The person always appears in the early morning of January 19, the birthday of the writer. First, she visits Westminster Hall in Baltimore (U.S. state Maryland ) and then goes to the grave. There she leaves three red roses and a bottle cognac, It's not always the same brand, for example Hennessy and Martell (Many of these bottles have been collected and stored by the Edgar Allan Poe Society). A glass is poured out of it, drunk and one toast pronounced on Poe. Notes were occasionally left behind, and in 2004 France's opposition to the Iraq war was obviously criticized: “The sacred memory of Poe and his final resting place is no place for French cognac. With great reluctance but for respect for family tradition the cognac is placed ". The meaning of the cognac is unclear, no reference can be found in Poe's works (Poe's occasional excessive consumption of alcohol is known; see also under Quotes ).

Poe toaster - Roses and cognac from the original and poe toaster from 2016

The mysterious person was first sighted in 1949, but other witnesses claim to have seen her earlier. Attempts have been made several times to reveal the identity and once even to hold onto the person. However, this never succeeded and was no longer done out of respect. Nevertheless, many reporters and Poe fans wait every year to catch at least a look. In 1998 a visibly younger person was seen. The following year, a note left over indicated the death of the original toaster in the previous year and that the tradition had been passed from father to son. The last visit so far was in 2009, the following years there was no toaster. It is puzzled why there has been no visit since 2010 and fears that this beautiful custom, which attracts many tourists, will end after 61 years. There may be no offspring in the family responsible for it.

There were always people who came out as supposed poe toasters, but always spoke different facts. The then 92-year-old Sam Porpora claimed in 2007 to have been the original poe toaster. The reason he gave was that he started the campaign as a PR measure for Westminster Presbyterian Church in 1967, for which he worked as a historian and curator. The Poe House and Museum, however, rejected Porpora's claim because much older reports about the Poe Toaster already existed. The story finally continued in 2015.

The Maryland Historical Society was looking for a new poe toaster in a competition to continue the tradition as an attraction for fans. However, the identity of the actor then selected was not disclosed. The "official" successor first appeared in January 2016. In contrast to the original Poe Toaster, he appeared three days before Poe's birthday after a public announcement in broad daylight and played on a violin (picture above right). Around 100 spectators gathered for the ceremony, some of whom were masked themselves. There was also a dramatic reading of Poe's story “Das Fass Amontillado " instead of.

Image: Von Midnightdreary - Own work, CC BY 3.0 , Link
edited by Norbert Tischelmayer May 2019
Main source text: WIKIPEDIA Poe Toaster

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