Edgar Allan Poe's not-long-for-this-world life came to an end on this day in 1849. The exact cause remains unknown, but was rumored to have been everything from alcohol and opium, to syphilis, cholera, tuberculosis, rabies, and "brain congestion."
Most likely, he simply drank himself to death at age 40. Apparently, he was found in a stupor at a local Irish bar named Gunners Hall on Oct. 3. He died four days later at a nearby hospital. In the morning hours of Oct. 7 he is said to have calmly breathed and prayed, "Lord, help my poor soul" after days of having passed back and forth between delirium tremens (presumably from alcohol withdrawal) and unconsciousness.
Poe is widely considered to have invented the modern detective story with the "Murders at Rue Morgue," "The Mystery of Marie Roget," and "The Purloined Letter," and the creation of fictional detective C. Auguste Dupin, who appears in each story.
However, it is not all dark news today regarding Poe: This past Saturday the Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum in west Baltimore — closed for nearly year — reopened for weekends this month as part of Free Fall Baltimore.
It's presumed that Poe wrote nine of his published stories and eight of his poems at the little red house at 203 Amity St.
Poe is buried at Westminster Hall, near the University of Maryland Medical Center, in a small, gothic, iron-gated cemetery, which is open to the public daily.