While the literary works of Edgar Allan Poe are macabre and mysterious, investigations into his personal life reveal an even darker side: At least two of his famous works may actually have been inspired by real and, shockingly, personal events.
“It would seem that elements of ‘The Telltale Heart’ and ‘The Cask of Amontillado’ coincide with actual unsolved police cases, one a murder, the other a disappearance, suspected foul play,” says Ryan Ng, Researcher and Literary Analyst.
The revelations come to light after Ryan tracked the historical movements of Poe and compared them against police records. What he found has convinced him that Poe is guilty of more than just stealing our imaginations.
Twenty years after The Telltale Heart was published, renovations at a seaside manor in New Jersey uncovered the corpse of an elderly man from under the floorboards. The date of death was officially determined as being twenty-two years earlier which, Ryan demonstrates, is precisely the time when Edgar was known to have ‘visited a friend’ in that area.
“The timing is almost perfect. Also, in Virginia, there was a wealthy businessman, Kieth Hitchcock, who disappeared after attending a masquerade ball. The grounds next to the ball was a construction site, known to have been visited by Poe and his friends during a holiday from University. I would be keen to see if there are any skeletons buried inside those walls,” says Ryan, “If we look at the progression from killing a cat, then old men, then wealthy businessmen, we see a very real pattern of psychopathic behaviour.”
Publishing his stories is an sign of Poe’s restrained regret, Ryan says, whereas the details placed within the story, specifically highlighting the cleverness of his crimes smacks of the egotistical mind of a genuine serial killer.
“I’m currently investigating the Pit and the Pendulum to see if there are any crimes of torture to which he might be linked.”