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    Book closes on Poe Toaster tradition

    Patrick Semansky/Associated Press
    Jeff Jerome (right), Poe House and Museum curator, joined others yesterday in examining items left at the gravestone.

    BALTIMORE - Edgar Allan Poe fans waited long past a midnight dreary, but it appears that annual visits to the writer’s grave in Baltimore by a mysterious figure called the Poe Toaster shall occur nevermore.

    Poe House and Museum Curator Jeff Jerome said early yesterday that die-hard fans waited hours past when the tribute bearer normally arrives. But the Poe Toaster was a no-show for a third year in a row, leaving another unanswered question in a mystery worthy of the writer’s legacy. Poe fans had said they would hold one last vigil this year before calling an end to the tradition.

    It is thought that the tributes of an anonymous man wearing black clothes with a white scarf and a wide-brimmed hat, who leaves three roses and a half-empty bottle of cognac at Poe’s original grave on the writer’s birthday, date to at least the 1940s. Late Wednesday, a crowd gathered outside the gates of the burial ground surrounding Westminster Hall to watch for the mysterious visitor, yet only three impersonators appeared, Jerome said.


    The gothic master’s tales of the macabre still connect with readers more than 200 years after his birth.

    One Poe tradition may have ended, but Jerome said a reading of tributes by Poe fans at the gravesite planned for last night may develop into a new ritual to mark the writer’s birthday.