Wherever I Go: Edgar Allan Poe!

Have I told you this story before? A few years back, a guy in a heavy coat and big hat — mind you, he was wearing this warm outerwear in the middle of a hot Oklahoma summer! — anyway, he sat next to me at a bar. He showed me a manuscript. An old, yellowed manuscript — maybe a hundred years old or even more. And I saw that it was made up of limericks!

100 limericks!

Well, long story short: this odd man sold me that manuscript, saying that there was reason to believe the limericks might’ve been written by none other than Edgar Allan Poe! Oh, I was skeptical. Needless to say, I was skeptical. Still, what if I could find proof of authorship — and what if that authorship had been sailed by Poe himself! Man, that would’ve been something…

Alas, I’ve never found conclusive evidence for or against Poe having written those limericks. But I did publish them in a little book presumptuously titled The Lost Limericks of Edgar Allan Poe. But they’re probably all a hoax. (But then Poe pulled more than one hoax.)

I mention this because, on Sunday, I’ll be adding to the celebration of Halloween with my dramatic reading of “The Facts of M. Valdemar’s Case,” also known as “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar.” It’s not typical of Poe’s horror, which relies on dank catacombs or old castles or neglected streets. Spooky settings to create gloomy atmosphere, I mean. Instead, “Facts” mimics a scientific report. Apparently, some of the original readers thought it was a scientific report! (Did I mention that Poe liked the occasional hoax?) In fact, it’s tempting to approach this piece as more a work of early science fiction than of horror.

Not really a raven — just a crow — but, hey, this happy bird was only a block or two from my apartment!

Meanwhile, I also recorded a couple of lines for an international reading of Poe’s “The Raven,” scheduled to be released on Halloween, too. I’m not 100% certain about the details, so I’ll let you know more on Sunday.

Learn more about the limericks here. My reading of “Facts” will be on the Tales Told When the Windows Rattle YouTube channel, and the audio portion is already up here in the Tales Told rec room.

— Tim

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