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Edgar Allan Poe’s grave tradition ends after 60 years

Since 1949, an unidentified visitor known as the Poe toaster has visited Edgar Allan Poe’s grave in Baltimore, Maryland, on the anniversary of the writer’s birthday, leaving behind three red roses and a bottle of French cognac as a tribute to the master of the macabre. But this morning, Poe enthusiasts were surprised to find that the tradition seemed to have unceremoniously ended.

Today marks the 201st anniversary of Poe’s birth, and some are speculating that the Poe toaster decided that after the bicentennial, the tradition should come to an end. From the CBC:

I’m confused, befuddled, said Jeff Jerome, curator of the Poe House and Museum.

Since 1977, Jerome and a small group of Poe enthusiasts have made their own tradition of keeping an overnight vigil at the church cemetery where Poe is buried to catch sight of the visitor ¦

[Jerome] had waited in the church and on the outer edges of the cemetery along with about two dozen die-hard fans. They spent the time singing Happy Birthday and reciting lines from The Raven.

Many commenters on this story speculate that the toaster might have died after a 60-year tradition. However, it has been reported by several sources that a note was left on the grave in 1993, reading The torch will be passed, which was taken to mean the tradition had been passed on to the toaster’s son. Ever since then, onlookers have reported spotting a much younger-looking man at the grave.

Jerome said he would continue visiting the grave in case the tradition begins again. And although this whole story is appropriately mysterious, the real question is, what happened to all that cognac?