Poe and murder

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This might be an ignorant and uneducated question but I'm curious about something I half heard on TV awhile ago. Someone was saying that there was evidence that Poe had actually committed a murder and wrote about some of the details. I know this could be a complete hoax but I was just wondering if anyone had more information on the story.

-- Anonymous, May 10, 2000



Actually, this is neither an ignorant or an uneducated question at all and your curiosity is certainly understandable. It is the presumption of guilt for murder by a man that has departed this existence more than 150 years ago that should be viewed as ignorant and/or uneducated. Without question, we should all like to see the evidence and know its source(s) prior to reaching any conclusions in order to avoid conjecture and supposition. Hoax or not, I trust there is more substantial evidence than a daguerreotype photograph of flying saucers or sasquatch.

I apologize, Dominic, I do not mean to be facetious. Its just that I find it difficult to imagine how this evidence could be proven beyond a reasonable doubt here in the year 2000. This does raise an interesting question though. Is a man, an American citizen, famous or infamous, that has been deceased for greater than 150 years still entitled to the presumption of innocence under the law? Is there an eyewitness available? I sure would like to meet them! : )


-- Anonymous, May 11, 2000

It has been stated that Poe's story, "The Mystery of Marie Roget" was based on an actual murder of a woman who worked in a cigar store in New York City.

In a book about Unsolved Murders, it is theorized that the murder of the real girl, who Poe might have known or seen while he was in New York, was committed by Poe himself.

Though there is absolutely nothing but the flimsiest of circumstantial evidence to tie him to the murder, this might be the source of that rumor/ or legend.

-- Anonymous, May 11, 2000


Thanks for bringing that point to light. I could not, for the life of me, conceive of any evidence beyond the presumptive that could possibly give someone the notion that would, ultimately, lead to reasonable fact. It is an interesting theory, at least in the comical sense.

As I understand them, the available facts regarding Ms. Mary Cecelia Rogers murder was that she was working as a clerk in a tobacconist shop owned by a Mr. John Anderson on Liberty Street in New York City. The murder occurred in August of 1841 and the police were reported to have been baffled. Nevertheless, according to accounts, Ms. Rogers was last seen alive in the company of a naval officer at the Lossberg Steps in Weehawken, New Jersey. Her body was later found floating in the Hudson River. According to a footnote to the story in Tales of 1845, two people confessed to the accidental murder, one of which was the naval officer. I found this information in, Edgar Allan Poe  A Critical Biography by Arthur H. Quinn (pgs 357-358). The murder and the subsequent investigation caused quite a stir in New York and was published widely in newspapers.

Particularly in Philadelphia where Poe was living at the time and working as editor for Grahams Magazine.

Best Regards,

-- Anonymous, May 11, 2000

Thank-you both for your replies!!

-- Anonymous, May 12, 2000

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