The Empty Grave of Edgar Allan Poe



Yes, I know it`s pretentious but it could be worse - I was thinking of translating it into French. The purpose of this site is to find a home for my short stories. Originally I was going to call it ‘The Loft’, but that conjured up images of cool, smokey jazz rooms in New York rather than the space between the roof and the bedroom ceiling which is the final and inevitable destination of all my writing. So then I toyed with the idea of calling it ‘The Slush Pile’, because according to Philip Gwyn Jones of HarperCollins, “This is the nightmare come true for publishers. The slush pile is out there. Why anyone would want to stay on some of these sites for more than two or three sentences defeats me.” I quite liked the idea of creating nightmares for publishers, but then I thought it might make me appear all twisted and bitter. At which point I remembered the empty grave of Edgar Allan Poe and so I decided to chuck my stuff in there. No one was using it and it seemed a shame to let it go to waste.

For the full story of the two graves of Edgar Allan Poe I suggest you visit the site of The Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore. Briefly, the story goes that Poe was originally buried in 1849 in an unmarked grave in Baltimore`s Westminster Churchyard. An abortive attempt was made in 1860 to erect a suitable headstone but this was run over by a train. In 1865 a second attempt was made and by 1874 sufficient funds had been raised*. An imposing monument was designed and constructed and rather than be hidden round the back of the church over the original gravesite, it was decided to place this at the front and move the body instead. The monument was dedicated in 1875 and ten years later the remains of Poe`s wife, Virginia, were brought from New York to finally rest with those of her mother and Edgar Allan Poe. In 1913 another stone was placed over the original site of Poe`s grave, as shown in the picture above. There was some confusion about where the original resting place of Poe had been, which then gave rise to the rumour that the wrong body had been dug up in the first place and that some other poor soul (William Wilson perhaps?) now rests beneath the monument pictured below. 


* The money was raised by various means, including the donation of pennies from students and it has now become the custom that when you visit the grave you leave a penny on the monument. It seems appropriate considering Poe’s lifelong struggle against poverty.


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