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Today is the birthday of Edgar Allan Poe!

If he had lived this long, the old boy would blow out 203 candles today.

Born on Carver Street in Boston, Massachusetts, to actors Elizabeth Arnold Hopkins Poe and David Poe, Jr., young Edgar was later adopted by Scottish merchant John Allan after David Poe abandoned the family in 1810 and Elizabeth Arnold Hopkins Poe died of pulmonary tuberculosis in 1811. Though the Allan family never formally adopted Edgar, it is from them that he gets the “Allan” in his name.

A century after Poe’s death, a mysterious tradition was started by an as-yet unidentified person. In the early hours of January 19th every year between 1949 and 2009, someone who came to be known as the Poe Toaster visited the original site of Poe’s burial in Baltimore. In darkness, the mysterious Poe faithful would leave three red roses and a partially consumed bottle of cognac at the grave, then vanish.

His identity has never been revealed or discovered.

Now the tradition of the Poe Toaster is about to be declared as nevermore. The Toaster hasn’t shown for a few years and the loyal group who gather to watch his brief tribute wonder is he has resigned forever.

Likely, the original Toaster’s moment is over, but the tradition will live on as others let the mystery go but adopt the tradition as their own.

Happy Birthday, Eddie Poe. Happy Birthday to You!

– Joe

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