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That Skull Should Have Been Empty

Posted Tuesday, October 23, 2007, at 9:22 AM

(Photo)
What went on in this man's head?
I've been an Edgar Allen Poe fan since back when I first read "The Tell-Tale Heart" because it was the shortest one in the book. And he naturally comes to mind at this time of the year when leaves start to fall, folks start to carve pumpkins with scary faces and ministers dust off their annual "touch that Twizzler and you're going straight to Hell" letters to the editor.

Poe died back in 1840 under appropriately mysterious circumstances for the inventor of the detective story. He disappeared, was found babbling and out of his head in a tavern and died a few days later. Theories abound. Was it advanced alcoholism? Some sort of fever? Was he poisoned by his in-laws? A man named Matthew Pearl, researching a Poe novel, came across some intriguing circumstantial evidence that points toward a brain tumor as the culprit that put Poe in his oblong box.

It seems that when they moved his body years after his death, people noted that his brain had dried up and "rattled around" inside his skull. But pathologists say that brains shouldn't do that. Tumors, however, might. This inevitably leads to the following, because I can't help it. I just can't help it.:

Once beneath a Ballmer headstone, as I lay there mostly dead bone,

In the box where my remains for all those years were darkly hid,

As I lay there gently napping, suddenly there came a tapping

As of someone's shovel rapping, rapping on my coffin lid.

"Who the heck is this," I muttered, "scratching on my mouldy lid?

Hope it's not some nosy kid."

Ah, the unexpected shocks! How quickly as they hoist my box now

Slide my shins into my socks and makes my spine a sudden bend!

Eagerly I wish they'd quit it! Do not like this row one bit, it

Shakes me up I must admit, it seems to spill me they intend!

For the callous, clumsy clowns have all conspired me to send

Piling all up in one end!

And the crackling, creaking crying of the boards they now are prying

Thrill me, fill me with annoyance like I haven't felt for years!

Where do they get off to take me from the ground and rudely shake me?

Can it be my jumbled bones awake in them no tinge of fear?

Then from my skull there arose such a clatter

That they peered in my ear to see what was the matter.

All picks and shovels thrown down with a crash,

They look for a crack for to shine in their flash.

And what to their wondering eyes should appear

But a dried up brain tumor there inside my ear!

On Dasher! On Dancer! On Comet and

Wait a minute. That's not right. Well, anyway. Poe. Brain tumor. And to all a good night.


Comments
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The tumor has even affected the aspect of his left brow line. Notice how it is depressed laterally. No wonder he was master of the macabre!

-- Posted by kennethjones on Fri, Oct 26, 2007, at 11:05 AM

Wow, I can see the tumor in the photo. There, on the left frontal lobe, see the protrusion.

-- Posted by kennethjones on Fri, Oct 26, 2007, at 11:01 AM

What a loving daddy. I'll bet you even read her "The Cask of Amontillado" before bricking up her bedroom doorway.

-- Posted by kenteutsch on Wed, Oct 24, 2007, at 9:37 AM

I love it!!!!!!!!!! Teutsch, you're as crazy as I am....... Seriously, I love Poe....... used to read the Raven.... Bells, Bells, Bells,........... and Annabelle Lee to my daughter to put her to sleep when she was younger

-- Posted by Johnny Yuma on Tue, Oct 23, 2007, at 5:36 PM


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