Creepy Maryland: Edgar Allan Poe
Baltimore has the distinct (and let's face it, macabre) honor of being the place where Edgar Allan Poe met his untimely end -- and a place where he spent some time alive, too! Maryland loves to claim Poe, even naming the NFL team that replaced the Baltimore Colts after one of his poems (Maybe you've heard of a little team called the Ravens?). Poe was known as a master of horror prose and poetry, and his work is absolutely spine-tingling, even today!
If you're a fan of Poe's work, or just want to take a spooky tour of Baltimore, there are plenty of things to do at this time of year. The first time, of course, is the Edgar Allan Poe House, which sits at 203 North Amity St. This is where Poe lived with his aunt and cousin, who he would later marry. Supposedly, some of the poems and stories he wrote while he lived here included "MS Found in a Bottle" and "Serenade". (Unfortunately for you sports fans, he wrote "The Raven" elsewhere).
Planning to visit? Remember that people made do with a lot less space back in the day. The quarters are going to be a bit cramped, and the very top floor, where Poe himself lived, is not completely accessible. But it's a great way to spend an hour if you're in town, especially if you're hoping to see the way Poe actually lived way back in the day!
The Poe House itself -- not fancy, but full of history! Photo via Wikipedia.
Next, you might want to head down to Fell's Point for a drink at The Horse You Came In On Saloon -- that's what Poe himself would do! The bar was founded in 1775, and it was a favorite haunt of Poe's. Strike that -- it still IS a favorite haunt of his! Supposedly, the ghost of the famous poet still can be seen in this historic site. Rumor even has it that it was the very last place Poe visited before his death in 1849. (If you visit, you can see the sign for yourself that says "Poe's last stop"!)
Poe was found wandering the streets of Baltimore shortly after leaving the bar, though his death is shrouded in a great deal of mystery, since so many of the documents surrounding it are gone -- including his death certificate. But we do know that he died on October 7, 1849, at the age of 40. He was buried at the Westminster Burying Ground at 519 West Fayette Street.
via the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery
And technically, he has two headstones there! The first one marks his original burial site -- that's been replaced with a memorial that indicates the spot. (It's also the place that the Poe Toaster, a mysterious figure who would leave gifts for Poe's birthday every January, would leave his now-famous roses and cognac.) The new site marks the spot where Poe, now rests -- though the stories of ghosts here and at The Horse You Rode In On suggest that he's not resting peacefully. Will you see the spirit of Baltimore's most famous poet when you visit? You'll just have to see for yourself....