BALTIMORE — Telltale hearts beat with anticipation during a rainy, midnight dreary and beyond, hoping the mysterious visitor to Edgar Allan Poe’s grave would return after a one-year absence.
Four impostors came and went. The real one never showed. Around 5 a.m., the dozen Poe fans who were left began to wonder if the eerie ritual is indeed nevermore, so they walked to Poe’s tombstone and performed their own tribute by leaving roses and drinking a cognac toast.
A fascinating tradition that ran for some 60 years and was never fully explained appears to have ended. An unknown person who left three roses and a half-empty bottle of cognac at Poe’s grave on the anniversary of the writer’s birth failed to appear Wednesday, the second straight year he’s disappointed those who stake out the downtown Westminster Hall and Burying Ground.
"I think we can safely say it’s not car trouble, and he’s not sick," said Jeff Jerome, curator of the Poe House and Museum. "This doesn’t look good."