Although this is a few days late, I’d like to lift a glass of cognac and wish happy birthday to a great writer and an even greater misunderstood man, the master of the macabre, Mr. Edgar Allan Poe.
I was saddened to hear that for the first time since 1949, the mysterious detective fiction genre. The identity of the toaster and the meaning of his tributes are unknown, and Poe aficionados seem content to leave it that way. Perhaps it’s because Edgar Allan Poe’s own death in 1849 was as mysterious as any story he penned: the circumstances leading up to it are uncertain and the cause of his death is disputed.
did not show up at the Westminster Church, Poe’s final resting place, to place three roses and a half-bottle of cognac as a tribute to the inventor of the
What is known is that on September 27th, he stepped off a boat into the city streets of Baltimore and vanished. There are anecdotal accounts of his whereabouts, but none have been substantiated. Then, on October 3rd he reappeared outside Ryan's Tavern, a polling place, in great distress, wearing clothes that were not his own and unable to coherently explain what had happened to him. He died on October 7th, 1849, with the cipher of those missing days unsolved.
Poe left a mark on literary fiction that will never be erased, but his influence is felt in other areas of the hard sciences as well. His prose poem, Eureka, included a cosmological theory that presaged the big bang by 80 years. It also presented the first plausible solution to Olbers’ paradox, which poses the question of why the night sky is black. Poe also had a keen interest in cryptography. In , he incorporated ciphers into the story. Later, William Friedman, America’s foremost cryptographer, cited The Gold-Bug as the story that first influenced his interest in ciphers – interest he put to use in solving Japan’s PURPLE code during World War II.
Poe also lives on in popular culture, making fictional appearances in books and movies, where he typically plays a mad genius or tormented artist. The latest, a one-man play starring Jeffrey Combs, portrays Poe – warts and all.
Yes, Poe had his faults, namely being a caustic reviewer and . Even after his death, those who had felt the pain of his prussic acid filled pen, got their revenge by besmirching his reputation in "official" biographies, adding yet another layer of misdirection in the attempt to find out who Poe really was.
As a writer of Seductive Suspense, I will go on record saying I abhor unanswered questions and unsolved mysteries. Perhaps this why, in my work in progress tentatively titled, Nevermore, I endeavor to shed a little fictional light on those final days of Poe’s life. I’d like to think that with his love of the macabre, he would appreciate his role in a story filled with magick, mystery, mayhem and zombies(!)
I’d like to thank the wonderful writers at Midnight Seductions for this chance to share a little of the research I’ve been doing for my latest book. I hope you’ve learned a little more about the mysterious Mr. Poe. For even more information, check out the online Poe Museum at http://www.poemuseum.org/
Ericka Scott is a multi-published, bestselling author of seductive suspense. Her latest book, Crisscross, is the story of a psychic, a skeptic, and a serial killer. It is available at Write Words, Inc., Fictionwise, and OmniLit. You can get a behind the scenes look at her writing and zany family on her blog at http://erickascott.blogspot.com. She also loves friends, so come friend her at http://myspace.com/erickascott or on Facebook at http://facebook.com/ericka.scott. You can find out more about her books at www.erickascott.com