Edgar Allan Poe

How They Croaked Project

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Brief Bio

Edgar Allan Poe was born in Boston, Massachusetts on January 19th, 1809. He was a writer who wrote stories and poems with themes of misery, loneliness and death. He died at the young age of 40.

Brief History

When Poe was young his parents split, and his dad left his mom, his three siblings and himself. When he was 3 his mother died of tuberculosis, as did his girlfriend when he was 15, his foster mother, older brother Henry, and his first cousin Virginia, whom he had married. By the time he was twenty he had gone to college, dropped out, joined the army, dropped out, and published his first book. Soon after his wife (also first cousin) Virginia died, widow Poe used his sadness and put it towards his writing. In 1845 he published his poem “The Raven” which turned him into a celebrity but still didn't pay the bills due to the fact that there were no copyright laws, so he was paid very little.

Poe's last days

Poes family dragged his limp body out of a bar, where he had gotten trashed to say the least, and dropped him off a hospital. He woke up the next day jumpy and agitated so the doctors assumed he was still drunk. He was offered water and he wouldn’t take it. He was there for four days and on October 7th, 1849 he died. His cause of death was given as “congestion of the brain” which the book explains was a medical term that at the time explained practically nothing. Over the years people have suspected his death was the result of alcohol poisoning but the fact that he was still acting drunk after sitting in the hospital for 4 days with not a drop of alcohol and he refused to drink water shows symptoms of rabies. Although, no one is sure how Poe died.


What Poe really died of is unknown.

Alcohol poisoning treatment involves supportive care while the body rids itself of the alcohol. This normally includes; careful monitoring, prevention of breathing or choking problems, oxygen therapy, fluids given through a vein to prevent dehydration, and use of vitamins and glucose to help prevent serious complications of alcohol poisoning.

For rabies most patients receive a treatment called human rabies immunoglobulin (HRIG). This is given the day the bite occurred. Once the symptoms appear, the person rarely survives the disease, even with treatment. Death from respiratory failure usually occurs within 7 days after symptoms start. There is no known effective treatment for people with symptoms of a rabies infection.

Interesting information

Poe might have been apart of a voter-fraud scheme right before he died. Potential voters were kept in rooms where they’d change into different clothes and go to different polling places so they could vote more than once. The payoff was free alcohol.


1. Disoriented: A polite word used at the time for “drunk”

2. Tuberculosis: An infectious bacterial disease characterized by the growth of nodules (tubercles) in the tissues, especially the lungs.

3. Grim: Forbidding or uninviting, depressing

4. Belligerent: Hostile and aggressive

5. Erratic: Not even or regular in pattern or movement; unpredictable.

Important events


Poe's parents split, dad left, and by the time he was three his mother died of tuberculosis.

1827: Published his first book of poems called Tamerlane and Other Poems

1835: Poe wins a contest for "The Manuscript Found in a Bottle". Winning this contest got him a job.

1845: Poe writes The Raven and works 14 hour days and still can’t make a living.

1875: Poe is found half conscious and is taken to a hospital where he dies four days later.