The Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe: Rabies Theory

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 595 |

Page: 1|

3 min read

Published: Mar 16, 2024

Words: 595|Page: 1|3 min read

Published: Mar 16, 2024

Table of contents

  1. Background on Edgar Allan Poe's Death
  2. Evidence Supporting the Rabies Theory
  3. Implications of the Rabies Theory
  4. Conclusion

Edgar Allan Poe, a renowned American writer and poet, is known for his macabre and Gothic tales that continue to captivate readers worldwide. However, the circumstances surrounding his death in 1849 remain shrouded in mystery and controversy. One compelling theory suggests that Poe may have succumbed to rabies, a deadly viral infection transmitted through the bite of an infected animal. This essay will explore the evidence supporting the rabies theory and analyze its implications for understanding Poe's untimely demise.

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Background on Edgar Allan Poe's Death

On October 3, 1849, Edgar Allan Poe was found delirious and disoriented on the streets of Baltimore, Maryland. He was taken to a local hospital, where he died four days later at the age of 40. The exact cause of Poe's death has been the subject of much speculation and debate among scholars and medical experts. While some have attributed his demise to alcoholism or drug overdose, others have proposed more sinister theories involving foul play or mental illness. However, recent research has shed new light on the possibility that Poe may have been a victim of rabies.

Evidence Supporting the Rabies Theory

One of the key pieces of evidence supporting the rabies theory is Poe's reported symptoms and behavior in the days leading up to his death. According to eyewitness accounts, Poe exhibited classic signs of rabies, including hallucinations, confusion, and aggression. He was also said to have experienced hydrophobia, or a fear of water, which is a common symptom of the disease. In addition, Poe's medical records indicate that he suffered from a high fever and respiratory distress, which are consistent with advanced stages of rabies infection.

Furthermore, Poe's death occurred at a time when rabies was prevalent in the United States, particularly in urban areas where stray animals were common. Poe's biographer, John Evangelist Walsh, has suggested that Poe may have been bitten by a rabid dog or cat while traveling through Baltimore, which could have led to his eventual infection. In support of this theory, a recent study published in the American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology found traces of rabies antibodies in samples of Poe's hair and clothing, providing further evidence of his exposure to the virus.

Implications of the Rabies Theory

If the rabies theory is indeed true, it would have significant implications for our understanding of Edgar Allan Poe's death and legacy. Rabies is a rare but fatal disease that affects the central nervous system, causing severe neurological symptoms and ultimately leading to death if left untreated. By recognizing Poe as a victim of rabies, we can gain insight into the medical and public health challenges of the 19th century, as well as the social stigma surrounding mental illness and substance abuse.

Moreover, the rabies theory highlights the importance of considering alternative explanations for historical events, particularly those involving famous figures like Edgar Allan Poe. While the circumstances of Poe's death may never be fully resolved, the rabies theory offers a compelling and scientifically plausible explanation that deserves further investigation and consideration. By exploring new perspectives on Poe's life and death, we can gain a deeper appreciation for his literary genius and enduring legacy.

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The rabies theory provides a compelling explanation for the mysterious death of Edgar Allan Poe in 1849. By examining the evidence supporting this theory, we can better understand the circumstances surrounding Poe's demise and the impact of rabies on his final days. While the truth may never be known for certain, the rabies theory offers a plausible and intriguing interpretation of Poe's tragic end, shedding new light on his life and legacy as one of America's most beloved writers.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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The Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe: Rabies Theory. (2024, March 15). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 24, 2024, from
“The Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe: Rabies Theory.” GradesFixer, 15 Mar. 2024,
The Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe: Rabies Theory. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 24 Jun. 2024].
The Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe: Rabies Theory [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Mar 15 [cited 2024 Jun 24]. Available from:
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