October 15, 2009
When a destitute Edgar Allan Poe died in Baltimore in 1849, barely anyone attended his hastily assembled funeral. But this week, hundreds gathered to give the writer a proper send-off, 200 years after his birth. The mourners—some in 19th-century costume, some in “Evermore!” T-shirts—accompanied a horse-drawn hearse bearing a coffin containing a mock Poe corpse to Westminster Hall, the converted church next to his actual grave. Inside, speakers portraying Poe’s acquaintances and colleagues eulogized him; the emcee was actor John Astin, who has toured with a one-man Poe show for years. “I think Poe would have been bemused by it,” said one attendee.