Native Bostonian Edgar Allan Poe shares his ghostly impressions of the city of his birth—in his own words
Reader, it may astonish you to know that Boston is the city of my birth. Alas, the humble birthplace has disappeared beneath the sands of time—1809 was many a year ago! Yet on a recent haunting of the corner where Boylston and Charles streets meet, I was amused to find instead a statue of myself striding along with that gloomy raven for a companion.
This city by the sea holds many eerie memories of the past. On the same evening I encountered my statue, I found myself wandering through the old Common. Gone was the Great Elm where public hangings were held in my youth. Still, I felt a chill run down my spine as I stood by the plaque that marks the unholy spot.
As I reached the Common’s Central Burying Ground and was pondering the horrors of premature burial, a woman dressed in widow’s weeds suddenly appeared. I was not surprised—Boston has many venerable graveyards, and many ghosts that haunt them. Yet before I could entreat this widow to share her tale of woe, her flowing black gown disappeared into the shadows. Where her face had been, there was only a grinning death’s head carved on a headstone.
At length I left the Common, and found myself in Boston’s Theatre District. A crowd hurried to and fro, making merry and paying me no heed until I happened upon the ghost of a former mayor of Boston presenting his ticket at the Emerson Cutler Majestic. The good fellow had passed away during a performance there in the early 1900s, he explained, yet still attends the theater. He induced me to join him for the performance and I accepted. I felt a kinship towards this ghostly theater-goer, since my own mother was an actress in her day, gracing the stages of Boston two hundred years ago.
After the play I went to seek suitable lodgings, at length reaching that esteemed hotel, the Omni Parker House. Its long-dead founder, Harvey Parker, greeted me warmly and led me to my room on the 10th floor. It was a commodious lodging indeed—alas, that dastardly raven kept me awake all night with his incessant “Nevermore!”
Thus ended my visit to Boston, Dear Reader, yet I am sure I shall return soon. Perhaps I will see you there? —as told to Olivia J. Kiers