Four days later, Poe was dead, and there was no shortage of people – among them the temperance fanatic Snodgrass – ready to blame it on drink and debauchery. In an article on The Facts of Poe’s Death and Burial, Snodgrass even falsified the contents of Joesph Walker’s note to the effect that Poe had been found ‘in a state of beastly intoxication’.
The many theories put forward for the cause of Poe’s death over the years have included alcohol poisoning, syphilis, apoplexy, diabetes, heavy-metal poisoning – and even rabies. But one of the most popular theories is that he was a victim of ‘cooping’, whereby he was kidnapped, forced to drink himself into a stupor and then used in multiple-voting frauds in the election taking place in Baltimore that day.
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