A Lady's Ruminations

"Jane was firm where she felt herself to be right." -Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Perhaps it was The Raven?

AP: Mystery Man Places Roses on Poe Gravesite---

BALTIMORE - For the 57th straight year, a mystery man paid tribute to Edgar Allan Poe by placing roses and a bottle of cognac on the writer's grave to mark his birthday.


[Jeff] Jerome, curator of the Poe House and Museum, said early Thursday he had to chase people out of the graveyard, fearing they would interfere with the mystery visitor's ceremony.

"In letting people know about this tribute, I've been contributing to these people's desire to catch this guy," Jerome said. "It's such a touching tribute, and it's been disrupted by the actions of a few people trying to interfere and expose this guy."

Jerome has seen the mysterious visitor every Jan. 19 since 1976.

"They had a game plan," Jerome said of the spectators. "They knew from previous years when the guy would appear."

But Jerome declined to reveal details of what the Poe toaster was wearing, what he did at Poe's grave, and whether he left anything besides the roses and cognac, such as a note.

It was a the crisp, cold, clear night. "I was hoping for wind and rain in keeping with a Poe story," Jerome said.

But the museum curator was saddened by the disrespectful spectators.

"I hope to preserve this tribute. It's one of those things that make Baltimore so unique," he said.

For decades, a frail figure made the visit to Poe's grave. In 1993 the original visitor left a cryptic note saying, "The torch will be passed." A later note said the man, who apparently died in 1998, had handed the tradition on to his sons.
I love a mystery. I haven't made much of a study of Poe, but my favorite of his stories is The Masque of the Red Death.