Edgar Allan Poe’s Mysterious Death

Grace Higgins | 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
  • Crooked Teeth Are A Modern Phenomenon

    When you think about cavemen you probably think about clubs, caves, and running away from dinosaurs. So having time for dental hygiene would not have been a top priority. However, research shows that ancient humans had much better teeth than today. Crooked and ill-aligned teeth are a completely modern phenomenon. In 1998, a survey showed...

    Read More
  • The Crypt Of Civilization

    An airtight chamber that was built sometime between 1937 and 1940 is found in Georgia, by the Oglethorpe University. It’s called the Crypt of Civilization and is not planned to be opened until AD 8113. The container is filled with many artifacts and sound recordings from early 20th-century life. The idea was to build something...

    Read More
  • Swedish Man Who Tried To Build A Nuclear Reactor In His Home

    One Swedish man tried for months to build a nuclear reactor in his kitchen, and he would probably have never stopped. Richard Handl was curious if he could split an atom at home. Police finally shut down his home research center after he made a call to the radiation authorities to ask if what he...

    Read More
  • The Infamous Stock Market Hackers Of 1834

    A little-known tale of one of the first times cyber crime happened on the stock market is the tale of the Blanc brothers. What’s even more amazing is it happened in 1834 when there was no internet or computers. But since 1794, France had its national telecommunication lines and network called the semaphore telegraph. It...

    Read More
  • Elderly Tenant Received Over $17 Million To Move Out

    A reclusive man who had lived alone for over 30 years was paid an estimated $17 million to move out of a rent-controlled apartment in New York. By far the most expensive payment ever made to relocate a tenant. Apparently, the man’s apartment was extremely damp, very cluttered, and cramp, but still, he refused to...

    Read More
  • King Tut’s Incredible Rare And Valuable Meteoric Dagger

    Buried with the Egyptian king Tutankhamen during the 14th century B.C., it's thought that this iron dagger would have been worth more than gold at the time. The reasoning being that during this age iron smelting was incredibly rare, which means this dagger is a one of a kind. What makes it even rarer is...

    Read More
  • In Russia Cows Are Wearing VR Headsets To Produce More Milk

    You may have seen the photos flying around social media of cows wearing VR headsets. And no they’re not actually fake. These Russian farmers have been putting VR headsets on their cows. Apparently, it can lead to a much higher yield of milk and more money for the farmers. Of course, commenters quickly asserted that...

    Read More
  • 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