Forgive me? Just in case, I'll put a handful at the bottom of this post instead.
is for Poe's Disappearance.
On October 7, 1849, author Edgar Allan Poe called out "Lord, help my poor soul" before taking his last breath (or so it's claimed). That's there the only non-mystery elements of Poe's death end, and the questions begin.
You see, Edgar Allan Poe left Richmond, Virginia on September 27, arriving in Baltimore the next day. He was supposed to continue on to New York, but he never made it there. Instead, on October 3rd, he was discovered, upset and raving, on the streets of Baltimore. He was wearing clothing that didn't appear to belong to him (it didn't fit and wasn't his style), was entirely unkempt, and his money and trunk weren't with him (the trunk was found back in Richmond). Someone claimed he'd left Richmond with about $1500, though this is reported as unlikely, due to the fact that he was there collecting subscriptions to his $5 magazine, and he'd never collected anywhere near that amount before.
|Edgar Allan Poe|
By Oscar Halling [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
It was assumed Poe was drunk, and he was taken to a hospital, where they put him in the area reserved for drunks. He went in and out of consciousness for several days, raving mindlessly, not making any sense. One night he called for "Reynolds!" over and over, though no one has ever been able to figure out who this was. It became obvious he was not inebriated when he continued in this way for four days before dying. He was never able to recount what had happened in the days he'd been missing.
The newspapers of the time claimed he died of a brain fever or congestion of the brain, which is said to be a euphemism for death by embarrassing means. It appears no death certificate or official records exist.
One theory as to what happened to him while he was missing is that he was kidnapped, drugged, and forced to vote at multiple ballot boxes in an election. This is called cooping, and was a known issue during that time period. Perhaps the drugs they used to keep him doing their bidding were just too much for his system.
Most other theories have to do with the cause of death, as no one is quite sure what he was doing, and cooping has been the primary suspicion to explain why he was missing and why he was in such a deplorable condition.
Rabies has been put forward more recently as the cause of death, and the confusion that might have caused him to be wandering around, not knowing who he was. His symptoms in the hospital resemble the symptoms of rabies. But how did a man as famous as Poe stay out of sight, as ill as he was, without anyone discovering him? And what happened to his clothing? Was he ill from rabies and someone mugged him, taking the nice, expensive clothes he was known to wear? Even the shoes he was found in were not his own.
|Poe's original grave (his body is no longer there)|
By KRichter (probably own picture (see original filename)) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Various other illnesses have been suggested, such as cholera, syphilis, hypoglycemia, meningitis, a brain tumor, epilepsy, and plenty of others. Or did he overdose on something like laudanum? It had happened to him in 1848. Was he actually drunk? Despite people thinking he was acting drunk, there was no mention of the smell of alcohol, and at least one person made the point of saying he never smelled any liquor on him. It's been theorized that he committed suicide or was the victim of some slow murder, but that would involve some sort of poison, most likely, and nothing was found.
So what happened to Poe while he was missing? Where was he? How did he die? Where did his money go? His clothing? Was it an illness, or was he a victim?
A couple links to make up for my mistake...
Idyllic Books has a call out for submissions for their BladeMage Magazine. Seems to be primarily fantasy they're looking for. Paying market. Also seeking illustrations for pay.
Phantom Drift is seeking fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and art. Paying market.
New Horizon Press is seeking non-fiction. They have specific requests, so be sure to check those out.
Clean Teen Publishing is hosting a Kick Off Contest, with categories in illustration, drabble, short story, novelette, and novella. Prizes are $25 to $100. Deadline is April 30.
The National Storytelling Network is offering their Brimstone Award for Applied Storytelling, a grant of up to $5000. The preliminary application deadline is April 30.
Anything to share?
May you find your Muse.
Letter P courtesy of Mohamed Ibrahim, clker.com.