Since 1949 Edgar Allan Poe's grave has been graced by the presence of a mysterious visitor. Every year, on the eve of his birthday, a bottle of cognac and 3 roses are left by the large marble statue marking his grave at Westminster Hall in Baltimore.
The 3 roses are said to be left for Poe, his wife Virginia, and his mother-in-law Maria Clemm. The symbolism of the cognac has remained a mystery. Perhaps only being used by the stranger to make a toast in Poe's honor. Several of the bottles of cognac from prior years are on display in the Poe House and Museum.
An occasional note is often left on the grave as well. One such note read "Edgar, I haven't forgotten you." In 1993, a cryptic note was left at the grave saying, "The torch will be passed". In 1999 another note was left stating that the tradition would be carried out by "a son". This led many to believe that the original Toaster was being replaced.
Every Year, a large group of Poe enthusiasts gather at the gates, hoping to catch a glimpse of the "Poe Toaster". This year, for the first time ever, the stranger did not show, disappointing a 30 plus crowd.
Jeff Jerome, curator of the Edgar Allan Poe House stated "I've been doing this since 1977, and there was no indication he wasn't going to show up". He oversees the watch for the toaster from inside Westminster Hall.
Jerome said he plans to keep vigil on Jan. 19 at least through 2012. We hope this is a tradition that has become "Nevermore".