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Pilgrimage To Poe's Grave A Disappointment This Year

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By Kate Sheehy

A mysterious visitor who usually leaves gifts at the grave of Edgar Allan Poe on his birthday, didn't show up this year, breaking with a ritual that began more than 60 years ago.

The curator of the Poe House and Museum, Jeff Jerome, says he doesn't know why the mystery gift giver didn't show. Jerome says this tradition goes back to 1949.

Every year on Jan. 19 an unknown person leaves three roses and a half-bottle of cognac at Poe's grave in a church cemetery in downtown Baltimore.

The event has become a pilgrimage for die-hard Poe fans hoping to catch a glimpse of the figure known only as the "Poe toaster."

But this year Jerome had to break the disappointing news to the crowd. He says people keep asking him why he thinks the "toaster" was a no show. Jerome speculates that perhaps the visitor considered last year's bicentennial an appropriate stopping point.

Jerome says he will continue the vigil for a few years in case the visits resume.

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