Edgar Allan Poe is apparently one of the most prolific ghosts in the country, as sightings of his spirit range up and down the East Coast. While ghosts are usually presumed to haunt one particular place—generally their home, where they died, or somewhere that was important to them during life—Poe seems to pop up in multiple different locations. Somehow it feels rather fitting that the father of horror fiction has a particularly active afterlife. Here are some of the places Poe's specter has been spotted:
1. Westminster Hall Graveyard
Poe's ghost is most commonly sighted near where he is buried. I've written before about Poe's mysterious death: While on a trip from Richmond to New York City, Poe somehow wound up in Baltimore and was found deliriously wandering the streets on October 3, 1849. He died a few days later and a small funeral was held there in Baltimore. He was buried without much fanfare near his grandfather in the Old Western Burial Ground, which is now the site of Westminster Presbyterian Church. Several decades later, his body was dug up and moved to a more prominent spot at the front of the church beneath a new monument. The bodies of his wife and mother-in-law are interred there, as well. Visitors to the graveyard have claimed to see Poe's ghost wandering the area by his grave, as well as in the catacombs beneath the church.
2. Poe's Baltimore Residence
Poe called many different places home over the course of his life, which is perhaps why he has so many different options of where to haunt. One of those homes was a small, brick townhouse in Baltimore, ironically just a few blocks from the cemetery where he is buried. Poe moved in here with his aunt, Maria Clemm, when he was a young man fresh out of military service. Also living there was his young cousin, Virginia, whom Poe would later marry. Though Poe only lived there for a couple of years, it's where he wrote many of his early stories and launched his writing career. The house currently serves as a small museum containing several of his personal items, including a lock of his hair, his writing desk and chair, and a set of his china and glassware. Several visitors claim to have seen Poe's ghost or experienced other typical signs of a haunting, including muttering voices, unexplained lights, and cold spots. Others claim to have seen the ghost of a mysterious older woman, though what—if any—connection she has to Poe is uncertain.
3. Edgar Allan Poe Museum in Richmond, Virginia
One of the other cities Poe called home was Richmond, Virginia. He lived here at multiple different points in his life and in various different homes, though none of his original residences have been preserved. However, his legacy in this city is still celebrated by the Edgar Allan Poe Museum, which holds one of the largest collections of his letters and manuscripts, along with various personal items, including his famous walking stick and a pair of his socks. Poe's ghost is often seen here in the form of a shadowy figure, who sometimes appears in photos taken by visitors. As in the Baltimore house, Poe's ghost has some company. The Richmond museum is also said to be haunted by a pair of blond-haired children, presumably members of a family that lived in the house long before it was converted into a museum.
4. Providence Athenaeum
Poe stayed briefly in Providence, Rhode Island, while attempting to court the poet Sarah Helen Whitman in the years after his wife's death. Poe and Whitman, both literary-minded folk, spent a significant amount of time at her local library, the Providence Athenaeum. Portraits of the two writers now hang in the Athenaeum's art room. Their relationship was passionate and founded on mutual admiration for each other's works. In fact, the two were briefly engaged, before Poe's drinking and the disapproval of Whitman's mother put an end to their relationship. Many have claimed to see Poe's spirit sitting dejectedly on the library's steps or wandering the nearby streets.
5. NYU's Furman Hall
You might run into Edgar Allan Poe in the classroom … and not just in the book you're reading. That's right, Poe haunts a building in New York City that has since become part of NYU's law school. Poe lived in a variety of places in NYC throughout his life, one of which was a property at 85 West 3rd Street, where he stayed 1844–1845 while revising his most famous poem, "The Raven." NYU purchased the building and demolished the original structure in 2001 to replace it with Furman Hall. However, the university built the façade of the academic building to resemble Poe's residence and kept the original staircase bannister. Law students have claimed to see Poe's ghost occasionally ascending the stairs.
Have you visited any of these spots, and did you have any of these ghostly encounters? Where do you think you'd be most likely to run into Poe's ghost? Share your thoughts in the comments.