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One would have to be a fairly devoted admirer of Edgar Allen Poe to brave the cold temperatures of Baltimore in January to deposit three roses and a half-empty bottle of cognac on the famous author's grave in commemoration of his birthday. That's precisely what happened this past Wednesday when the "Poe Toaster" (as he is known) deposited these items to pay homage to Poe on the anniversary of his birthday. For the 56th consecutive year, a man dressed in a heavy coat visited the tomb with these offerings. The three white roses are believed to honor Poe, his mother-in-law and his wife, all of whom are also buried in the graveyard. Regrettably, this year saw a bit of a disturbance as several spectators on hand for the event confronted the curator of the Poe house and adjoining museum, demanding that he reveal the identity of this mysterious visitor. Apparently, the current mysterious visitor is one of the sons of the original admirer who began the tradition in 1949. Finally, the brand and vintage of the cognac left on Poe's grave also remains shrouded in mystery.The first link leads to a piece from CNN that talks about the recent visit by this stranger to Poe's grave during the wee small hours of the morning of January 19. The second link will take visitors to a nice archived piece from NPR about the creation of the much-loved poem, "The Raven." Additionally, visitors can listen to legendary British actor Basil Rathbone's enduring recital of the poem. The third link is to the homepage of the E.A. Poe Society of Baltimore, and here visitors can learn about the Poe house and museum in Baltimore, and read articles about his life and browse a list of upcoming events sponsored by the Society. The fourth link leads to a site provided by the National Park Service which offers some information about the Poe house in Philadelphia where he wrote some of his most beloved works. The fifth link leads to a nice digital collection offered by the University of Virginia (where he attended school for a time) that includes a host of letters written by Poe during his time as a young man. The final link leads to the homepage of The Raven Society of the University of Virginia, which is a honorary society at the University of Virginia. As this group has been charged with maintaining Poe's former room at the University, it has a few nice tidbits of material here that offer a glimpse into his life as a student.
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