Baltimore Gives Edgar Allan Poe a True Sendoff!

In what has to be one of the greatest genre stories in recent years, the horror genre’s most prolific writer, Edgar Allan Poe, will be given a royal ceremony beginning on October 7th with a public viewing of his body at the Poe house and continuing all the way to October 11th with a funeral procession and service.

Because there is so much fantastic information in this press release, I’m going to leave it as is. Be sure to check out Poe Bicentennial for even more information, and in the meantime get comfortable and read on! I so wish I could be there for this.

Baltimore Gives Edgar Allan Poe a True Sendoff

This will be the biggest Poe Bicentennial event in the country that marks Poe’s death and life. Poe’s body will lie in state at his Amity Street home for an unprecedented 11 hours on Wednesday, October 7th, for public viewing. Immediately following the viewing an all-night public vigil will take place at the Poe Grave located in the Western Burial Grounds at Westminster Hall beginning at midnight until 7:00 am on Thursday, October 8th. Talk Radio WCBM 680 AM will be set up at midnight with talk show host Les Kinsolving, who will read The Raven with commentary

On Sunday, October 11, beginning at 11:30 am, an antique horse-drawn funeral hearse will bring Poe’s body from his Amity Street home to the Westminster Hall for the funeral services and internment. Under police escort the Loch Raven Drum and Pipe unit will lead the procession to the Westminster Hall. There will be one procession for the first service only.

Beloved actor John Astin to officiate over the two funeral services!

The funeral services will include a number of speakers including people who knew Poe, his literary acquaintances, writers who were influenced by him including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Charles Baudelaire, Sir Alfred Hitchcock, H. P. Lovecraft, Walt Whitman and others. Living speakers will include science fiction, horror and fantasy editor Ellen Datlow, film maker Mark Redfield, artist and storyteller Gris Grimly and others to be announced. Music will be offered by The Baltimore Men’s Chorus, The Monumental City Brass Quintet, violinist Ivan Stefanovic of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Paula McCabe, soloist at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, and Monte Maxwell, organist at the United State Naval Academy.

The Poe House and Museum has recreated the original tombstone of Poe and it will be unveiled during the funeral service. This will be the first time that the public will see what the original tombstone looked like.

Please visit the Poe House website for late breaking additions to the funeral program. The very nature of working with deceased people lends itself to changes in the program. Poe’s Funeral is sponsored by the City of Baltimore and individual donors.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009–Viewing of Poe’s body at the Poe House
Thursday, October 8, 2009–All Night Vigil at Westminster Hall
Sunday, October 11, 2009–Poe’s Funeral

Click here for tickets and info.

Public Viewing of Poe’s Body
October 7, 2009 12:00pm to 11:00pm
Tickets: $5. All ages at the door.

Mr. Poe’s body will lie in state at his former home at 203 North Amity Street from noon to 11:00 p.m. The Poe House will be open for an unprecedented 11 hours to allow people to view Poe’s body. This will be an open casket viewing.


All Night Vigil at the Poe Monument
October 8, 2009 12:00am to 7:00am
Free. Open to the public.

After the Poe House closes at 11 pm on October 7th, the Vigil at the Poe Monument, located at the entrance to Westminster Graveyard, will start one hour later at midnight (the morning of October 8th). This will be the only opportunity for the public to offer their own eulogy or tribute to Poe. Assigned times will be given to people wishing to pay homage to Poe and it may be in simple spoken words, poems or music. The scheduling for this event will start in late September. A sign up sheet will be added to this website. People are welcome to spend the entire night if they desire. Poe related performances will be presented throughout the vigil. More details to follow.


Funeral Procession
Sunday October 11, 2009 at approximately 11:30am
Free. Open to the public.

On Sunday, October 11, 2009, under police escort, Poe’s body will travel from his Amity Street home to the Westminster Hall for the funeral services and internment in the family plot in the historic Westminster graveyard. The procession will be led by the Loch Raven Pipes and Drums. Anticipated departure from the Poe House will be at 11:30 am. Mr. Poe’s casket will be transported in an antique horse drawn hearse. His coffin will remain on the hearse until the start of the 12:30 pm service. The procession is expected to arrive at the hall about noon. If you are attending the first service you may want to arrive early to witness the procession as it approaches to the hall. The procession route will be announced when it is finalized. There will be no procession for the 4:30 pm service.


Poe’s Funeral
Two services: Sunday October 11, 2009 12:30pm and 4:30pm
Tickets: $35 in advance. $40 at the door. Ages 10 and up.

As Mr. Poe’s death was sudden and unexpected exact details of the funeral are still in the planning stages. We can say that there will be two services to accommodate the expected throngs of people who wish to attend the event. The first service is at 12:30 pm and the second service at 4:30 pm. A number of people have been invited to speak and present eulogies for Mr. Poe. A list of confirmed speakers is listed below. We are awaiting confirmations from people in the entertainment, stage and literary fields. Not all speakers will be at both services. We are pleased to announce that beloved actor John Astin will officiate over both services. In addition to the speakers appropriate funeral music will be offered by: Monte Maxwell, organist for the United States Naval Academy (4:30 service only), who will play the 1889 Johnson organ, The Monumental Brass Quintet (12:30 service only), Popular soloist Paula McCabe (both services) and B.S.O. violinist Ivan Stefanovic (12:30 service only).

The following people are confirmed as speakers at Poe’s Funeral:

The Reverend Rufus Griswold (literary acquaintance)
Sarah Helen Whitman (former fiancée)
George Lippard (devoted friend from Philadelphia)
George Rex Graham (editor, Burton’s Gentlemen’s Magazine)
Nathanial Parker Willis (loyal friend)
Dr. John Moran (Poe physician at the time of his death)
Sir Alfred Hitchcock (legendary film director)
J.T.L. Preston (childhood friend, Virginia Military College)
Charles Bauldelaire (French writer and Poe admirer)
Narrator from The Tell Tale Heart
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (creator of Sherlock Holmes)
H.P. Lovecraft (Weird Tales writer)
Alexander Dumas (writer of The Three Musketeers)


John Astin (actor and educator)
Gris Grimly (author and illustrator)
Mark Redfield (actor and filmmaker)
Ellen Datlow (author and editor)
(more to be announced!)


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Matt Serafini

Author (Under the Blade, Feral), slasher movie enthusiast, N7 Operative. Plays games, watches movies, reads books. Occasionally writes about them.

  • HorrorMaven

    I met a woman at one of the “Nevermore” performances who’s going to this bicentennial celebration with her family. It sounds so awesome!