Stock Up on Cognac and Literature in Honor of Poe’s Birthday

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catch of the day fish (2)We’re sure you’ve all marked your calendars, but just a friendly reminder: tomorrow is the 204th birthday of Edgar Allan Poe. Not only did he give us a mascot for our professional football team,  he also inspired that one Simpsons episode where Lisa’s rival builds a diorama  based on “The Tell Tale Heart” and Lisa steals it, only to be haunted by the mechanical ticking of the diorama’s hideous heart. Surely this is what compelled the Poe Toaster to arrive at Poe’s grave in the wee hours of Poe’s birthday, every year for 75 years. The Toaster, a silent, hooded figure, would arrive at the grave, lay three red roses at the grave, pour him/herself a glass of cognac, toast, and leave the rest of the bottle at the grave site. Nothing more. The phenomenon ended a couple of years ago when the Toaster failed to make their usual appearance. Alas.  

So this year, we’re proposing a sort of do-it-yourself Poe commemoration. Today, you can swing by Baltimore’s favorite used book store, Normals, for their weekly “Kindles are for Chuckleheads Fridays”—when all books are 20% off. Grab a collection of Poe’s greatest hits and then head over to The Wine Source in Hampden for a bottle of your favorite cognac (more in honor of the Poe Toaster than Poe himself, but whatever). If this plan doesn’t hit the spot, there’s always the Poe House & Museum, which is no longer open to the public, but which will be offering free tours of the Westminster Hall burial ground this Saturday & Sunday at 2pm and 4pm.

Normals Bookstore is located at ­­­­­­­­425 East 31st Street. The Wine Source is located at 3601 Elm Avenue. For more information about the Edgar Allan Poe House & Muesum and this weekend’s free tours, visit

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  1. I like the idea of toasting the Poe Toaster as well as E.A. Poe. Both have kept us mystified and fascinated for many years, though in different ways. But why is the Poe House and Museum no longer open? You should do a story on that.

    And, sorry to correct the author, but Edgar spelled his middle name “Allan”.

    John Rose, Metaphysician to the Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore and son of the late Alexander G Rose III, President Emeritus of the Poe Society

  2. Thanks for the spelling correction, John! And also, thanks for the great story idea. We’ll look into it!

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