Poe Toaster No-show Again

For the second year in a row, the mysterious “Poe Toaster” failed to appear at Edgar Allan Poe’s gravesite on January 19th. It seems a long-running tradition may have ended.

Every year for 60 years, an anonymous man visited Poe’s Baltimore grave on the anniversary of the writer’s birth, leaving roses and a bottle of cognac. For years, speculation ran rampant on the identity of the “Poe Toaster” and the motivation for his yearly vigil.

Some, including Jeff Jerome, the curator of the Poe House and Museum, suspected the original Poe Toaster had passed the baton to another man, perhaps his son, several years ago.

The tradition abruptly ended when the Toaster failed to show last year, the 201st anniversary of Poe’s birth. Many, including Mr. Jerome, hoped this was a one-off happenstance and expected the Toaster to return this year. The failure of the Toaster to appear two years in a row is fueling speculation that the original Toaster is no more. As Mr. Jerome says, “I think we can safely say it’s not car trouble, and he’s not sick. This doesn’t look good.”

Not surprisingly, given last year’s non-appearance, several pretenders showed up this year, including one who arrived in a stretch limo, two who appeared to be women and an older man. However, none gave the secret signal known only to Jerome and none arranged the flowers in the traditional pattern of the real Poe Toaster.

It looks like a decades’ long tradition has come to a close.

For more on the Poe Toaster, please see last year’s post.

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One Response to “Poe Toaster No-show Again”

  1. Whether the real Toaster is a show or no-show these past few years, I still had a lot of fun last night feezing with my buddies at Westminister Burial Grounds and watching the fakes fall into the dumpster over the back wall of the cemetery. The tradition is alive, if only for a few. A happy birthday to Mr. Poe! -O.

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