Edgar Allan Poe grave
Edgar Allan Poe
Westminster Presbyterian Churchyard
Baltimore, Maryland

Seven Watch Through Night
for Man in Black

     BALTIMORE (AP) Jan. 20, 1985 — Seven Edgar Allan Poe enthusiasts hid in the catacombs of the Westminster Church early Saturday to watch a mysterious stranger place roses and cognac at the author’s grave on his 176th birthday.
     “This is the first year I can say I saw the guy. I saw his tribute,” said Jeff Jerome, curator of Baltimore’s Poe House. “It’s like history unfolding before your eyes. It was just a fantastic sight.”
     Poe was born in Boston on Jan. 19, 1809, and died in Baltimore 40 years later. He began his fiction writing career in Baltimore at his uncle’s house near the Westminster cemetery.
     Jerome said he and six others stayed awake telling ghost stories until the mysterious stranger appeared at 3:40 a.m. Dressed in a black coat and top hat, the stranger kneeled, gently placed three roses and a half-empty bottle of cognac on the grave, ran his hand across the tombstone and then departed.
     The curator has spent the past few years trying to learn more about the shadowy visitor who has left three roses and a half-empty bottle of fine cognac on Poe’s grave since 1949. “My theory is that this person is, in his own way, paying tribute to Poe. It could be a writer or a poet—or maybe just somebody who suffered like Poe did,” he said.

Most Americans are no doubt familiar with one of Edgar Allan Poe’s most famous poems, The Raven. In grade school or high school it’s probably been in one of your English or Literature textbooks: Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.” There is a wonderful and hilarious parody of The Raven by someone who goes by the single name of “Edgar,” (an obvious choice for a pseudonym in this case) posted in the 101 Bananas Bag Full of Poems. You can read it HERE.

Two U.S. postage stamps have been issued honoring Edgar Allan Poe:

Edgar Allan Poe 1949 postage stamp
Edgar Allan Poe 2009 postage stamp