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Poe toaster

This nickname refers to a mysterious person who visits the grave of Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) every year, probably from the 1930s until at least 2009. She wears a black coat, a white scarf and a black hat with a large brim; her face is covered. The person always appears in the early hours of 19 January, the writer's birthday. First she visits Westminster Hall in Baltimore (US state of Maryland) and then goes to the grave. There she leaves three red roses and a bottle of cognac. These are not always the same brand, for example Hennessy and Martell (many of these bottles have been collected and preserved by the Edgar Allan Poe Society). A glass is poured from it, drunk and a toast is made to Poe. Notes were left in some cases, in 2004 apparently criticising France's opposition to the war in Iraq: "The sacred memory of Poe and his final resting place is no place for French cognac. With great reluctance but for respect for family tradition the cognac is placed". The meaning of cognac is unclear, no reference can be found in Poe's works (Poe's occasional excessive drinking is well known; see also under quotations).

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