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Nevermore? Mystery Poe Mourner Again Absent

Last year, I posted that the mysterious visitor who traditionally had placed three roses and a half-bottle of cognac on the gravesite of Edgar Allan Poe had failed to appear for the first time in six decades -plus. 

This year, the unknown mourner again was absent from what had been his annual rite.

An excerpt, below; the full story is at http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_POE_MYSTERY_VISITOR?SITE=FLFNW&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT 

--Earl "Nevermore?" Merkel 

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Tell-tale letdown: Poe visitor again a no-show 

By JOSEPH WHITE 
Associated Press 

BALTIMORE (AP) -- Telltale hearts beat with anticipation during a rainy, midnight dreary and beyond, hoping the mysterious visitor to Edgar Allan Poe's grave would return after a one-year absence. 

Four impostors came and went. The real one never showed. Around 5 a.m., the dozen Poe fans who were left began to wonder if the eerie ritual is indeed nevermore, so they walked to Poe's tombstone and performed their own tribute by leaving roses and drinking a cognac toast. 

A fascinating tradition that ran for some 60 years and was never fully explained appears to have ended. An unknown person who left three roses and a half-empty bottle of cognac at Poe's grave on the anniversary of the writer's birth failed to appear Wednesday, the second straight year he's disappointed those who stake out the downtown Westminster Hall and Burying Ground. 

"I think we can safely say it's not car trouble, and he's not sick," said Jeff Jerome, curator of the Poe House and Museum. "This doesn't look good." 

It would be an ending befitting of the legacy of Poe, the American literary master of the macabre who was known for haunting poems such as "The Raven" and grisly short stories including "The Tell-Tale Heart," "The Fall of the House of Usher" and "The Pit and the Pendulum." He is also credited with writing the first modern detective story, "The Murders in the Rue Morgue." He died in 1849 in Baltimore at age 40 after collapsing in a tavern. 

Sometime in the 1940s, it seems, an anonymous man began the annual tribute at Poe's grave. It was first referenced in print in 1949 by The Evening Sun of Baltimore. 

Those who have glimpsed the "Poe toaster" always saw him dressed in black, wearing a white scarf with a wide-brimmed hat...