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The Mystery of Edgar Allan Poe's Death

The Mystery of Edgar Allan Poe's Death

The original master of horror, Edgar Allan Poe, died 166 years ago - but nobody can agree how and or why.

On Oct. 7, 1849, Poe, the author of such classics as "The Fall of the House of Usher," "The Black Cat," "The Tell Tale Heart," "The Raven" and "The Haunted Palace," died under shocking circumstances.

Four days earlier Poe was found by an employee of the local Baltimore paper in a gutter clad in someone else's clothes.

Poe was unable to explain how he got there after leaving his Virginia home five days earlier to travel to Philadelphia. He was taken to a nearby Washington Medical College hospital where he died at the ripe old age of 40.

According to The Smithsonian, there are as many theories about Poe's mysterious death as there are his tales of the bizarre.

He may have been murdered, a victim of "cooping," a notorious political practice in which people were forced to vote for a certain candidate and then later beaten or killed. Others blame the booze as Poe was an inveterate drinker. Some think he may have been a victim of rabies or a flu epidemic.

While his medical records have been lost, newspapers at the time say Poe may have been felled by a "congestion of the brain" or "cerebral inflammation".

Whatever the reason for his demise, Poe was one of the first American authors to become more popular in Europe than in the United States – in part due to translations by French poet Charles Baudelaire.

After his death, Poe's fame soon rose in America. He is forever enshrined as a literary genius who created the horror and mystery tales that still scare us.

And, as to his death, Poe himself wrote "That the play is the tragedy, 'Man,' And its hero, the Conqueror Worm".

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