Friday, January 19, 2007

This Calls for a Toast

Since 1949, writer Edgar Allan Poe's Baltimore grave has been visited every year by a mysterious visitor in the early hours of Poe's birthday, January 19th. The man, described as an elderly gentleman draped in black with a silver-tipped cane, kneels at the grave for a toast of Martel cognac and leaves the half-full bottle and three red roses. Only this and nothing more.

'He leaves quietly and we don't know who he is, nor do we have any intention. We're very careful to protect his anonymity,' said Lou Ann Marshal, a tour guide at Westminster Hall cemetery . 'In the last few years, I've heard it's been a younger man with a cane who tries to walk with a limp, but it's not natural-looking. My guess is that it's something that's been passed down in a family--a secret Poe society.'

See this report for more news about the 2007 visitation.


Specs said...

I've always loved this story.
I've never known if it was true or not, but since you know your Poe I'll finally let myself believe that it is.

Genevieve said...

What a sweet little story! And so Poe-like. It's comforting to know that there are people out there who still value literature and family traditions.

Carrie K said...

I love that "only this and nothing more"

A belated toast to Mr. Poe!

tiennie said...

I read this story too. I think I also read that a letter was left a few years back that this tradition was going to be passed on b/c he had failing health so it may be that he passed it on to his son to continue the tradition.

EGJ said...

I love this! Cognac and red roses. He'd be welcome to my birthday party too... It reminds me a bit of that latest Phantom of the Opera-film though.

Anonymous said...

I'll drink to that!

Anonymous said...

Hi - I attended Law School at U Md in Baltimore. Westminster Hall, formerly a church, is now used as a meeting place for the university. Poe's graveyard is right there, on the corner of Greene and I think W. Fayette St. Jan. 19th was always the topic of conversation - and it wasn't until very recently that someone was actually caught on camera doing this - apparently it's been happening every year for a LONG LONG time!
Take care,
Joan G a/k/a


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