Edgar Allan Poe’s Mysterious Death

Samuel Reason - December 10th, 2020

Even though he was considered a literary genius, albeit, with the macabre and dark themes, Edgar Poe’s life was largely very short and unhappy. In fact, the mystery of his death is very shrouded and still a big unknown to this day. It was after his young wife Virginia died from tuberculosis in 1842, Poe sought refuge in the love of drink. By 1842, he had proposed to an old childhood sweetheart by the name of Elmira Shelton. But this marriage never happened.


Poe left Richmond on September 27th, 1849, and by accounts, he should have been on his way to Philadelphia. This is where he was going to marry Shelton. However, over the next few days, his whereabouts are a big question mark. A few days later, he was spotted slumped over in an Irish pub. His friend Dr. Snodgrass was called to check on him given this time his drunken state was much worse than usual. The doctor stated Poe was wearing strange cheap clothes that were not his usual attire. Furthermore, he was very weak as if he had not eaten in days. Poe was immediately sent to a hospital where he woke up a few times, but ultimately never really regained full consciousness. Famously, his last words were Lord help my poor soul.

Even a century later, no one really knows what happened. A death certificate was never filed and a local newspaper said his death was a brain aneurysm. Though historians debate at the time this was just a nicer way of saying alcohol poisoning. And shortly after his death, the main rival writer by the name of Rufus Griswold published Poe’s biography. It depicted Poe as an extremely drunk womanizer with no morals. This is the portrayal that stuck in the public’s mind, which is why Poe’s debaucheries are a thing of legend. It later came about that Griswold had highly exaggerated this part of Poe’s life.

Of course, many theories have come about such as tuberculosis or cholera, or even rabies. But the main theory that many historians believe could hold is that Poe fell afoul of a practice called cooping. This was a corrupt politician move where thugs were paid to round up the homeless. They would drug them, disguise them, and force them to vote over and over again in different towns. Once the voting was done, they would leave them for death to ensure it did not come out. Given Poe’s strange clothing and that there were citywide elections across Baltimore the day he was found – this is a common theory that could be true. Simply a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Next Article
  • Kolkata to London Used To Be The World’s Longest Bus Route

    Back in the 1960s, there used to be a bus running from Kolkata, known as Calcutta back then, all the way to London. That means it drove from India to the United Kingdom. It was a trip known as Albert Tours, as the double-decker bus was colloquially referred to as Albert. It was for a...

    Read More
  • Record For Longest Survived Elevator Fall

    If you have ever thought you were having a bad day, just think about poor Betty Lou Oliver who cheated death twice on the same day. It would probably have to be one of the worst days at work ever. Though silver lining she did earn a world record: longest survived elevator fall. It started...

    Read More
  • The Infamous Shark Arm Case in Australia

    In 1935, the infamous case of the shark arm started when a tiger shark in captivity vomited up a human arm. The tiger shark was in the Coogee Aquarium Baths on public display. After just a week it became very ill and vomited in front of a crowd. What came out was the forearm of...

    Read More
  • The Only Man In History To Turn Down A Nobel Peace Prize

    Le Duc Tho was a very tough and nonsense negotiator to resolve world conflicts. Notably, the Vietnamese chief negotiator was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1973 for his part in the Paris Peace Accords. This was a joint award with his American counterpart Henry Kissinger. However, only Kissinger accepted the award. This made Le Duc...

    Read More
  • The Lost Notebook Of Ramanujan

    Ramanujan is regarded as one of the greatest mathematicians to ever live. He grew up in a poor Brahmin family in India, with very limited access to any form of education. At the age of 15, he was lucky to receive a copy of Carr’s Synopsis of Pure Mathematics. Apparently, this book set him on...

    Read More
  • The Crazy Story Of The Women In The Mercury 13 Program

    During the 1960s at the height of the Cold War and the space race, 13 women went through grueling NASA tests. It was a set of tests to prove they could go on to become astronauts, but none of the women ever made it to space. In fact, the program’s eventual shutdown changed the whole...

    Read More
  • The Legend Of The Sleeping Barbarossa Emperor

    Emperor Frederick I. also known as Barbarossa was an Emperor of modern-day Germany. He became a symbol of stability and national unity, even years after his death. Because the country fell into war and civil war, the people longed for the peace that had existed with Barbarossa’s rule. The legend started because his body was...

    Read More