Since at least the 1940’s, a mysterious man dressed all in black with a white scarf visited author Edgar Allan Poe’s grave in Baltimore each year on Poe’s birthday. But in 2010 the visitor failed to show. The same thing happened in 2011.
As of Thursday (Jan. 19), the mysterious man — whose custom was to leave three roses and a half-empty bottle of cognac — failed to show for the third time, leading Poeists to declare the tradition officially dead.
A group of diehard fans gathered at Poe’s original resting place at a Baltimore cemetery late on Wednesday, but reports the Associated Press, only three impersonators appeared.
“It’s over with,” Poe House and Museum Curator Jeff Jerome says. “It will probably hit me later, but I’m too tired now to feel anything else.”
Still, fans may inaugurate a new tradition of reading Poe’s works graveside each year to mark the occasion. Although it doesn’t have quite the same romantic impact, fans will still be able to pay their respects to the poet and author of classic works including “The Raven,” “The Fall of the House of Usher” and “The Murders in the Rue Morgue.”
Poe died at 40 during a visit to Baltimore in 1849. The circumstances of his death remain, appropriately, clouded in mystery.
To mark the occasion, we share this recitation of “The Raven” by Christopher Walken: