Burning Question #18: Was It murder?

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We will agree that we all know who Edgar Allan Poe was and are familiar with some of his work. I’ll have a reading list at the end for reference.

Don’t run off before you answer the poll below. It is fast and easy and the reason we’re here today. Just scroll down (but read the amazing story too.)

Welcome to the Next Great True Crime Mystery

In October of 1849, ten years before I was born, my parents were arriving in California with a baby boy and a group of Vampires who’d come out West to start a new life.

In the meantime, across the country on October 3, 1849, Poe was found delirious on the streets of Baltimore, “in great distress, and… in need of immediate assistance”, according to Joseph W. Walker who found him. Poe later died on Sunday, October 7, 1849 at 5:00 in the morning. Poe was never coherent long enough to explain how he came to be in his dire condition and, oddly, was wearing clothes that were not his own. He is said to have repeatedly called out the name “Reynolds” on the night before his death, though it is unclear to whom he was referring. Some sources say that Poe’s final words were “Lord help my poor soul”.

All medical records and Poe’s death certificate were conveniently lost. 

Newspapers at the time reported Poe’s death as “congestion of the brain” or “cerebral inflammation”, To translate that means he died of the overuse of alcohol. To this day the actual cause of death remains a mystery. Speculation has included a multitude of dire conditions including delirium tremens, heart disease, epilepsy, syphilis, meningeal inflammation, cholera, and rabies. 

The day that Edgar Allan Poe was buried, a long obituary appeared in The New York Post signed “Ludwig”. It was soon published throughout the country. The piece began, “Edgar Allan Poe is dead. He died in Baltimore the day before yesterday. This announcement will startle many, but few will be grieved by it.”

“Ludwig” was soon identified an asshole named Rufus Wilmot Griswold an editor, critic, and anthologist who had borne a grudge against Poe since 1842. Griswold somehow became Poe’s literary executor (no doubt through lies and bribes)and attempted to destroy Poe’s reputation after his death.

The story was fabricated by Griswold, and it was denounced by those who had known Poe, including Sarah Helen Whitman, Charles Frederick Briggs, and George Rex Graham. This account became popularly accepted, in part because it was the only full biography available and was widely reprinted. It also remained popular because many readers assumed that Poe was similar to his fictional characters and were thrilled at the thought of reading the works of an “evil” man.

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Nevermore

A more accurate biography of Poe did not appear until of 1875 (Ingram). But once a lie is out it is difficult to retract it. Many writers used Poe as a cautionary tale against alcohol and drugs.  In 1941, Arthur Hobson Quinn presented evidence that Griswold had forged and re-written a number of Poe’s letters that were included in his “Memoir of the Author”. By then, Griswold’s depiction of Poe was entrenched in the mind of the public, both in America and around the world, and this distorted image of the author has become part of the Poe legend despite attempts to dispel it.

The very fact that Poe, a snappy and fashionable man was found in worn out clothing in a gutter went against the nature of the man. I believe he suffered from depression, of course, but I also believe that the notion of him drinking himself to death is wrong.

In the 19th Century, in America, people, especially man, all drank copious amounts of alcohol. The temperance movement in the United States was well founded due to the amount of alcohol most people consumed. Drink did not agree with Edgar Poe. So we he drank it went right to his head in extreme ways, but yet, if he had passed up a drink that would have gone against the social norms.

A few months before his death Edgar Allan Poe became engaged to his childhood sweetheart Sarah Elmira Royster. There were rumors that her brothers, who were against the union, had Poe murdered.

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Sarah Elmira Royster Poe’s Love Interest at the time of he is death.

Poe’s friend Sarah Helen Whitman, a poet, and woman of good standing always insisted he did not die a dishonorable man.

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Sarah Helen Whitman Poet and Friend of Poe

He did die a brilliant story teller and the father of the modern murder mystery, and modern horror.

If you get a chance look up the different stories about Poe. You’ll be amazed at what is out there.

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Or, on the other hand, Edgar Allan Poe might still be with us, having come aboard the ship to California with the rest of the Vampires.

Burning Question #18: Was Edgar Allan Poe Murdered?

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The Black Cat Illustrated by Gris Grimly

 

When I was a child my brother’s and I used to read Poe around a candle at night. Well, they’d read. As the youngest child I’d just let them scare the jeebers out of me. Later I read the stories on my own. And of course we’ve all seen (much later) the Vincent Price movies.

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Poe by Harry Clarke

Some of the Works of Poe:

Other works

Also HIGHLY RECOMMENDED:

The Poe Shadow
by Daniel Pearl
Yes it is one of my favorite books. You must read it.

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So your project for this summer is to read everything you can by Edgar Allan Poe, or about Edgar Allan Poe, and SOLVE THE MYSTERY.

Your next project is to keep checking back here on Saturday mornings for the next BURNING QUESTION.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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Bliss

She came to my chamber in the dark of the night. I tried to shun her. I tried to block out her light. It was too easy to be seduced by her. She was like the sun bringing life and joy. She wrapped her limbs around me making me forget everything, making me want no knowledge or experience outside of her embrace. I willingly became her servant when she sank her teeth into me. She broke my will and made me blindly follow. I was happy to follow. All my worries were gone. I had no longer had the desire for a will of my own. Any fear of sin melted as we enjoyed the pleasures of the flesh and emptied my mind of anything that could interfere with her wishes and desires. I gladly closed my eyes and ears for the easy way out and the mindless carnal knowledge of Bliss.

 

From the lost letters of St. John

 

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I feel hot.

Burning Question #5: Titanic Edition

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It is Saturday which means it is time for you to answer a BURNING QUESTION. It is TIME for ANSWERS.

Today’s question is #5 of 50 Burning Questions to be featured RIGHT HERE on Vampiremaman.com every single Saturday until we reach FIFTY.

Do the POLL. Yes, you must answer the question. It is fast, easy, guilt free, and your information will not be sold unless I can get a lot of money for it.

And now to be completely uncomfortable and cold…

The Titanic hit an iceberg on April 14, 1912. It was a tragic event that still makes me incredibly sad.

Are you unsinkable like Molly Brown and land a coveted spot on a life boat? Would you take out your violin and play as the ship went down? Would you sink into the ocean like the fictional Jack? Would you give up your space for a small frightened child, or the snappy yappy little dog of a rich woman? Would you stay with your husband and go down with the ship, or at his urging save yourself? Would you sink or swim? Either way you’re doomed if you can’t find a spot on a life boat.

This is a Burning Question of TITANIC proportions!

Burning Question #5: Would you have gone down with the ship?

 

See you next Saturday for Burning Question #6. 

And if you get a chance read the other post I put up today about what would have been in the papers if the Titanic had landed safely in New York on April 16, 1912.

By the way, if you’re a Vampire this is a moot question. You would have survived anyway.

Oh by the way, if you have a burning question let me know. I’ll get you an answer. Yes or no questions only. OK I will also accept questions that have no answer.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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The Titanic – Bon Voyage and Words to Welcome it Home.

Last year, on April 14 my eldest brother Max gave my son Garrett his Patek Philippe & Cie Gold Chronometro Gondolo Pocket Watch. The watch isn’t working, even though it is a magnificent time piece. The time had stopped at 2:48. That was when the icy waters of the Atlantic finally got to the inside pocket of Max’s jacket after the Titanic sank. There were seven Vampires on the ship. They all survived in the water like death, but not dead. Five women and two men. They stayed together, but it isn’t a story Max likes to tell. Garrett turned twenty-one on April 1st 2017. Max told him that they could have the watch fixed. In the box was also the jacket Max had worn. Even after all of these years it is a story that fascinates us, and horrifies us. There is nothing like mismanagement and bad communication, and inflated egos to make something go so wrong.

April 14, 2012 is the day I started writing the blog Vampire Maman. It is also the same day the Titanic hit an iceberg and started to sink – April 14, 1912.

April 16, 2012 would have been the 100st anniversary of the docking of the Titanic in New York City, if the Titanic had docked.

I have in my possession a curious bit of history. This one is real. It gave me the chills to read this and copy it for this post.

In a scrap book is a press release that would have gone out if the Titanic had landed safely in New York.

Rather than throwing out the bit of paper, never sent to the New York newspapers, an executive employee of the White Star line put it in his scrap book. And that is where it still is. And here it is…copied exactly word for word from the White Star Line.

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To be released for Publication after arrival of ship, April 16th.

The latest Ocean Marvel White Star’s “Titanic”

Largest Vessel in the World Arrives in New York.

THE ACEM OF LUXURY AND COMFORT – SOME STRIKING INNOVATIONS.

The largest steamer in the world arrived in New York today (April 16) from Southampton and Cherbourg and Plymouth. Larger even than the giantess “OLYMPIC” the new White Star Line leviathan “TITANIC” began her maiden trip under the most auspicious circumstances.

Many wonderful innovations have been made part of this newest of transatlantic wonders. The “TITANIC’S” 66,000 tons of displacement and 46,328 tons gross register are not her sole claim to distinction as the most elaborate handiwork of shipwrights. The “TITANIC” is the first steamer to be built with private promenades in connection with some of her splendid suites. Heretofore the floating apartment hotels, but fall to the “TITANIC” to provide the transatlantic traveler with an actual private residence, even to the exclusive promenade deck without encroachment upon the hundreds of first-cabin voyagers.

The “TITANIC”, like its sister ship, the “OLYMPIC”, possesses the great length of 882 feet, 6 inches, and a beam of 92 feet, 6 inches. Over the boat deck, the “TITANIC’S” beam spans 94 feet even, from rail to rail.

Four great funnels rise 81 ½ feet above the uppermost deck with a total distance of 175 feet from the top of the funnels to the keel.

Fifteen watertight bulkheads divide the great vessel, making her unsinkable even though half of her compartments should be filled with water. Eleven steel decks add to the “TITANIC’S” staunchness while an ideal of the vast promenading space may best be had when it is noted that the main promenade deck alone has an unbroken sweep of 190 yards on either side of the ship.

A Parisian Café and Palm Room are but some of the features of this remarkable vessel which will now enter regularly in the Plymouth-Cherbourg-Southampton-New York service with the “OLYMPIC.”

Besides the main dining salon, which has seating capacity for nearly 600 passengers, there is an a la carte restaurant, French service, which seats 200 passengers. The restaurant features will be especially appreciated by those who do not have the desire to be held to regular hours for dining, for night suppers, dinner parties, etc.

The size of the staterooms is also one of the remarkable features of the new giantess “TITANIC.” Varying from 8 feet to 9 feet, 6 inches in height, they are all roomy. Some of the 2-berth cabins are 17 x 10 feet, 6 inches in size. There are no 4-berth rooms, and a great number of single-berth rooms, 8 ½ by 10 ½ feet, have been provided.

A great swimming pool, squash racket course, gymnasium and the Turkish baths are all closely together on the lower deck, from which elevators carry the passengers to the various upper decks.

As in her sister ship, the “OLYMPIC,” passengers on the “TITANIC” will descent the grand staircase to the main reception room, which, in turn, leads into the great dining salon, from which it is separated by glass. Stretching the full width of the vessel amidships, the main dining salon is light and cheerful, and at night, with its myriads of electric lights, it presents a veritable fairyland.

Describing the gathering of the voyages in the reception room, awaiting the dinner hour, a writer has aptly remarked:

“Upon a dark, richly colored carpet, which will further emphasize the delicacy and refinement of the paneling and act as a foil to the light dresses of the ladies, this company will assemble – the apotheosis surely, of ocean-going luxury and comfort. What more appropriate setting than this dignified Jacobean room, redolent of the time when the Pilgrim Fathers set forth from Plymouth on their rude bark to brave the perils of the deep!”

There screws, propelled by turbine and reciprocating engines, furnished the motive power of the great “TITANIC.” Leaving Southampton and calling at Cherbourg and Plymouth for continental passengers on Wednesdays, she is expected to reach New York on the following Tuesday evening. The two ships will maintain an ocean ferry with regularity of other ferries across a river, for their immense tonnage displacement makes them practically impervious to the elements, no matter how adverse these may be.

The “TITANIC” and the “OLYMPIC,” as instruments of commerce, represent the highest skill and perfection yet reached in naval architecture; and in the struggle for supremacy they will easily hold the place of honor and the historic names that have been given them.

 

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It makes you think. It also makes me feel kind of cold as if the icy waters are calling with the ghosts of those who did not survive.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

The Quiet Beauty of San Miniato al Monte

Last week, it seems like yesterday, and it seems like a hundred years ago, I was at San Miniato al Monte monastery and cemetery in Florence, Italy.

The church was built in the year 1018 with no power tools, and workers who no doubt couldn’t even write their own names. It is beauty from a dark time.

It was an unexpected, moving, and beautiful find.

We (my husband, children and I) expected to find an old monastery at the highest point in Florence. We did not expect to find the huge cemetery surrounding it.

There was not enough time to spend there. I could have spent a week looking at the hundreds of touching statues that spoke of memories, but there by those who loved and those who lost their hearts. So many dates were from the 1940’s. So many were children.

The ghosts lurked far from us, watching us walk through the rain. More than anything we could feel the love and the loss. It is a special place where those who are no longer remembered by anyone now living, are still touching our hearts and souls.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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I want you so bad my fangs hurt (and more historically accurate tales of Camelot)

“I want you so bad my fangs hurt.”

I whipped around feeling cold breath on my neck. Smiling behind me was non other than my old boyfriend Pleasant Van Dousen.  Yes, HE is the one I made that meme about. Yes, this one. Even after all these years, more unpleasant memories to want to remember, and the fact that we’re both happily and faithfully married, I still got a little bit of a thrill out of it.

Pleasant Van Dousen, my old beau

Anyway, this isn’t about this. It is about history, and setting the record straight. It is about reunions. It is about sharing experiences. It is about the Knights of the Round Table before you learned it all from Monty Python. It is about old people and how you need to get their stories down and treasure their stories because when they’re gone so is any trace of the history they take with them.

Over the past four months I’ve been in the throes of planning a reunion for the Vampires of my youth (1870’s.) My old friend Amelia, a charming and stylish Vampire now living in Las Vegas, came up and stayed with me for the week. While she was here we stopped by to see the Ancient Vampires Eleora and Tellias.

Apparently we were not the only ones. Pleasant also stopped by. Amelia was even nice to him, something which surprised the jeebers out of me. Stranger things have happened.

We sat on the back porch of the large old Victorian farm house chatting over glasses of iced Poet’s Blood with sprigs of mint and sweet basil. Our hosts Tellias and Eleora are over 2,000 years old but they look like they are nineteen or twenty years old. Tellias wore an old Bob Seager tour shirt from the 1980’s over black tuxedo pants. Eleora was in an old faded sundress made of a print with monkeys and tropical flowers on hit. She’d pinned the straps with safety pins. They both wore yellow flip flops.

We were just chatting about people we used to know, or still know, or want to know better, or want to be rid of. Then Pleasant said, “Tellias, Eleora, I heard recently that you two were close with Merlin, the Wizard in the Court of King Arthur.”

Tellias leaned back in his chair and smiled a sly Vampire smile. “The thing is Pleasant, Merlin wasn’t much of a Wizard. In fact he wasn’t a Wizard at all.”

Pleasant looked surprised, as did the rest of us. “Was he a Vampire, like us?”

“Heaven’s no,” said Tellias. “Merlin was a time traveler. Or maybe still is. He still pops in occasionally, though it has been about sixty years.”

“Sixty five,” said Eleora. “Sixty five long years without a word. No word at all. Not a one.”

“But how…” started Amelia.

Tellias leaned forward and gave all of us a long look. “Technology. He bowled them over with simple technology. You’d be amazed at what folks in the dark ages thought of a man with a simple hand held flash light full of D batteries. Or music coming from a smart phone stuck in a tree.”

“But what about Excalibur?” asked Pleasant. “How did Arthur get the sword out of the stone? Didn’t Merlin have something to do with that?”

“A few sprays of WD40. It was a no brainer,” said Tellias. “You know what else?”

“Pray tell Tellias,” said Pleasant.

“He had a taser, and a laser pointer, and a Zippo lighter. The Knights of the Round Table went nuts. They had no idea they were being fooled by a handsome sleight of hand artist with a seductive voice and skills that would have made Houdini proud.”

“He fooled them with all kinds of things.” said Eleora.

“All kinds of things,” said Tellias.

“A bag full of things we take for granted,” said Eleora.

“Things we take for granted,” said Tellias, “but seemed positively magical in the Dark Ages.”

“Positively magic,” said Eleora.

“But,” said Pleasant, “what about the Lady of the Lake?”

“That was me,” said Eleora with a coquettish grin.

“You know how she loves to swim,” said Tellias. “Can’t keep my gal out of the water. She love to swim.”

“I love it,” said Eleora.

“What about the rest of the Camelot group?” I asked.

“Arthur was a good King, but his personal life was out of control. He was swayed too much on his emotions. He trusted everyone,” said Tellias.

“He was sexy as hell. I have no idea why Guinevere cheated on him so much,” said Eleora.

“She was in an arranged marriage my dear,” said Tellias. “Remember it wasn’t love at first night as it was with us Eleora.”

“Love at first sight. Every single night with you  Tellias is love at first sight,” said Eleora.

Tellias blew her a kiss from across the room and continued, “Guinevere didn’t go to a convent either after her affair with Lancelot.”

“Where’d she go?” Asked Pleasant.

Tellias shrugged his shoulders. “She hooked up with the pilot of the time machine, a guy named Frank. They’re both still out there. Somewhere. I don’t know. I saw them at one of Scott and Zelda’s parties back in the 20’s. Don’t know where they went from there.”

Pleasant looked surprised. “What about Lancelot?”

“Sir Lancelot du Lac, now he was a piece of work. He was worse than Casanova. Couldn’t keep it in his tights. It wasn’t just the queen. He’d see a pretty face, or any half way decent face that was female and he’d go nuts. It didn’t matter if she was married or not,” said Tellias.

“Once Lancelot came up behind me and guess what he said to me,” said Eleora.

“What did he say?” said Pleasant.

“He said I want you so bad my fangs hurt. And that was when he was with Gwen. Yes, he was a Vampire. Tellias and I turned him.”

I was shocked. “You two never told me that. Where is he now?”

“Nowhere,” said Tellias. “He was an unfortunate victim of the Spanish Inquisition.”

“So sad. So sad it was. Positively tragic,” said Eleora.

On that somber note we turned our conversation beck to Time Travelers, old friends, and our plans for the week.

As night turned into dawn we shared hugs and promised we’d be back soon.

On the drive back to my house, while Amelia talked about Merlin’s use of simple technology, I thought about my own past. I thought about how it had always been love at first sight with my  husband Teddy, when I knew what love at first sight was. I thought about all of the Vampire men who’d attempted to take a piece of my heart, along with my body. Then I said, “What are you wearing to the party tonight? I’m going to wear my black dress with the low back.”

Amelia answered, “Color. Juliette you need more color. I’m wearing blue and silver.”

And she did and she was absolutely beautiful, more than any princess or queen who ever lived. Even in Camelot.

Of course, as usual I wore black. I always wear black.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Everybody likes a little romance. Come back for more at Vampire Maman.