Today on January 19, 1809, the mysterious and legendary Edgar Allan Poe was born in Boston, Massachusetts.
Edgar Allan Poe was an American writer, poet, editor, and critic. His imagination and captive storytelling enchanted readers from around the world, making him one of the most well-known 19th-century authors. Poe is widely credited with inventing detective fiction and evocative short stories. Throughout his career, he published countless masterpieces such as The Raven, The Tell-Tale Heart and The Fall of the House of Usher. Like his literary works, Poe’s life was shrouded in mystery and tragedy. Blurred lines between fact and fiction have only intensified since his death; elevating Edgar Allan Poe to his popular and legendary status.
Born into a family of actors, Edgar Allan Poe was tragically orphaned as a young boy. His father abandoned the family when he was only ten years old. And, his mother died shortly after that. Nevertheless, Poe was accepted into the University of Virginia but only attended for one semester. Without any financial support, he was quit post-secondary education. Shortly after, Poe enlisted in the United States military to make ends meet. Contrary to today’s social norms, he would marry his 13-year-old first cousin Virginia Clemm. Some biographers have suggested this might have been more of a brother-sister relationship. In 1847, Virginia prematurely died from tuberculosis. Heartbroken, he became severely depressed and turned to alcohol for comfort.
Edgar Allan Poe ultimately died at the young age of forty. It was only fitting that his death was immersed in mystery as well. On the evening of October 3, 1849, Poe was found stumbling the streets of Baltimore in great distress, wearing someone else's clothes. He was rushed to the local hospital and died four days later. The famed author was never coherent enough to explain what had happened. Several newspapers reported that his death was caused by a ‘congestion of the brain’, a common euphemism for alcoholism. Hospital records were never found and his death certificate has since gone missing. The last words of Edgar Allan Poe were said to have been “Lord help my poor soul.”