Ideas about Poe's DEATH : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread

I read somewhere that some people thought that Poe died of rabies? Anyone with some insight about this???

-- Anonymous, March 24, 2000



Most of my information related to the 1996 diagnosis of Dr. R Michael Benitez comes from news articles of the time by the University of Maryland Medicine News and Publications. Dr. Benitezs opinions are apparently the result of a case study provided him at a weekly conference called the Clinical Pathologic Conference at the University of Maryland Medical Center. It seems Dr. Benitez was unaware that the case was that of Edgar Allan Poe and was asked to determine the cause of death.

His conclusions were based largely on his access to the information related to the patients condition, his symptoms and historical accounts and records of Dr. John J. Moran, Poes attending physician at his death. Dr. Benitezs diagnosis leans heavily on these notes and personal accounts that were 147 years old and while his medical expertise is clearly not at all in question, it is inherently dependent upon information as reported from another century. It is these symptoms characterized in the 19th century and used to diagnose a cause of death in the 20th century that causes me reluctance to accept them with any measure of precision. In fact, Dr. Benitez himself was quoted as saying, No one can say conclusively that Poe died of rabies, since there was no autopsy after his death. But the historical accounts of Poes condition in the hospital a few days before his death point to a strong possibility that he had rabies.

Frankly, I find it to be a fascinating theory but lean more to the Cooping theory for Poes demise. I would rather have had Dr. Benitez, with his modern technology, climb aboard the nearest time machine, zip back to October 3rd, 1849 and render his own first hand account and diagnosis. Yet, I fear it may be difficult to persuade him to do so! I just have a difficult time reconciling presumptuous interpretations of 147 year old symptoms with a definitively accurate medical certainly and Dr. Benitez seems to agree.

If you are interested, there are two websites where you can read about this study.

The first is at and is on the EAP Society of Baltimore website and the second is at the University of Maryland Medicine.

-- Anonymous, March 25, 2000

he was killed by an ice cream truck and drowned by a tub of root beer

-- Anonymous, May 06, 2004

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