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Edgar Allan Poe: The unsolved mystery behind his odd death

Edgar Allan Poe's legacy goes beyond his wide literary career; his death was a real-life mystery that remains unsolved until this day.

Edgar Allan Poe is a pillar in the mystery and horror genres. From poems to short stories, his creations have become a must for anyone who loves to scare themselves through books. But one of the most complex mysteries that this literary connoisseur could generate was precisely one that he did not put into paper nor could've predicted himself; that was the mystery of his own death. 

There are so many theories about what could've happened to him and so far, we only know for certain the first part of the story. People have speculated about a case of alcoholism, rabies, or even an assault for cooping, but nothing has been proved to be the ultimate explanation, and here is why, after all these years, his death remains an unsolved case.

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An in-depth analysis

On October 3rd, 1849, Edgar Allan Poe was found delusional outside a tavern in Baltimore. He seemed like he had been drinking, was dressed in someone else's clothes, and it wasn't until a man named Joseph Walker found him, that he was taken to the now Washington University Hospital. There, he received medical attention supervised by Dr. John Moran, who listed his cause of death as Phrenitis, a term that refers to brain congestion but that was also used for substance abuse cases. 

From this perspective, the case seems pretty easy to understand: Poe got very drunk and his body couldn't handle the booze. But there are details that change the story to an infinite amount of possibilities. 

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First of all, the writer wasn't that much of an alcoholic. He indeed had had some moments in which he turned to alcohol to deal with his sorrows (like when his wife died), but after his grieving period passed, he had left all bottles aside and even joined a group called The Sons of Temperance, where he found enough support to continue living in sobriety. In addition, Dr. Moran also said that Poe wasn't really drunk on his last days of life; so the rumors of him being an irremediable drunkard remained as such, and the alcohol theory wasn't ever something certain. 

Then, there aren't any records about the poet's hospitalization besides his death data, and no other medical staff seemed to have any relevant contact with the patient other than John Moran. In fact, this last one actually wrote a book titled A defense of Edgar Allan Poe where he intended to reveal everything that the poet managed to tell him during that reclusion period, and clear a little bit all the speculations regarding Poe's health status during his last days. But this book also hasn't been considered the sole truth since it was written and published years after the whole event took place, and some details may have faded or changed in the doctor's memory while placing them onto paper.

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On another note, the fact that Poe was found with another person's clothes, that he was found in a delusional state, and left completely alone during that specific date and place, has made people believe that it was a case of cooping. October 3rd was an election day, and just at that time and place, it was very common that people were taken, drugged, and pretended to be other people to get more votes for a certain party. Precisely the poet fulfilled all those characteristics hence why that explanation could be considered one of the more solid theories out there. Still, there isn't an accurate way to support such assumptions.

So, basically there are a bunch of theories to choose from, some more valid than others, but none of them can go further to be considered as the actual truth. Either they lack evidence due to the imprecise medical resources that were available at that time to perform a proper autopsy, or because someone made it disappear. There are only a few facts known about his tragic story, and it seems pretty difficult to pull all the pieces together as of right now. Maybe some things aren't meant to be discovered... Maybe some events happen with the unexplainable purpose of feeding humanity's imagination; but the only thing we can be certain about is that part of the essence that the poet embodied in his creations, was also part of his tragic death, something that probably no one will be able to solve ever.

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Photos from @booksfromfangorn @guiadeleituragelsonbini

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