Morbid Mondays - The Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe

Morbid Mondays - The Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe

Today in the Morbid Monday's blog post I will be doing over the extremely mysterious death of one of the greatest authors to even step foot on this Earth, the famed Edgar Allan Poe. 

Edgar Allan Poe headshot

For those of you unfamiliar with the man in question, Edgar Allan Pie was a Boston born American writer, editor and literary critic best known for his poetry and short stories such as "The Raven" and "The Telltale Heart". 

Though officially his death certificate has the cause of death listed as as "Phrenitis" or swelling of the brain, the mysterious circumstances surrounding his death have led many to speculate about the true cause of Poe's demise. So what do people think REALLY killed the author? Was it alcohol? A rough beating? cooping? One thing that we do know for certain is that Poe spent his final days plagued by between fits of delirium as well as hallucinations however these are some of the more popular speculations. 

It was said that Pie could not handle alcohol, he was even a vocal member of the temperance movement. Having struggled with alcohol and its effects earlier in life, many feel that Poe simply gave into temptation and drank himself to death. Though this seems like a pretty cut and dry explanation as relapse is definitely possible, it fails to answer the question of his five-day disappearance or the fact that he was donning soiled second hand clothing when he was found dying in the gutter nor does it explain that samples of Poe's hair contained low levels of lead, something that would not have been the case if he had gone on a binge as many have speculated.

Red wine pouring

Some believe that Poe fell victim to voter fraud, a practice know during the 19th century as "cooping" where victims would be kidnapped, dressed in disguise and forced to vote for a specific candidate multiple times wearing different disguises. Though today there are many precautions put in place to prevent voter fraud, as odd as it would seem the practice of cooper was extremely common in areas such as Baltimore in the 1800's, was the fact that Poe was found delirious on Election day no coincidence? 

A depiction of politicians trying to buy votes from an 1857 Harper’s Weekly. (Photo: Library of Congress/LC-USZ62-118006)

A depiction of politicians trying to buy votes from an 1857 Harper’s Weekly. (Photo: Library of Congress/LC-USZ62-118006) 

Some people think that Poe was actually beaten by a group of ruffians and this trauma is what caused his brain to swell within his skull eventually leading to his demise. Others feel that the way he was acting was a result of heavy metal poisoning or carbon monoxide poisoning however tests done on Poe's body post mortem were inconclusive. 

All that we see or seem, is but a dream within a dream - Edgar Allan Poe

How do you think that Poe died? Do you think it is as simple as the Phrenitis diagnosis written on his death certificate or was it something more macabre and mysterious?


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