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In This Issue
In this Autumn issue of American Road, we examine locations grim and eerie. We begin with “Finding Edgar”—a homage to that unsettling gentleman Edgar Allan. We hunt Poe’s elusive Gold-Bug across Sullivan’s Island, search for Berenice’s extracted teeth in his former Boston residence, perk a crooked ear to his cursed bells clanging over the campus of Fordham University, and visit his fiendish raven (the Plutonian passerine!) on the third floor of Philadelphia’s Free Library. In summation, throughout our morbid yet lively pictorial essay, we go just about everywhere old Edgar ever went.
We offer a sequel to our infernal interlude with Poe in the form of “Grave Matters”—a compendium that shines a bald light on eminent burial sites and conspicuous tombstones across this country. (A review of crypts, vaults, and sepulchres is an exercise from which any mortal man can reap benefit.) Here is the headstone of Mercy L. Brown, 19-year-old vampire of Exeter, Rhode Island, begging to see a stake driven through its old lime; there is the mausoleum inside which Brooklyn merchant Jonathan Reed lived, pining away over his beloved wife’s corpse. We pay homage to the huge obelisk of Connecticut’s tiny Tom Thumb, and the Cleveland statue renowned as the Angel of Death Victorious, weeping her tarry tears. You’d presume the weight of some comparable monument could keep the fidgety corpse of Anna “Marija” Norkus at rest in the ground. Alas, no! She continues to rise with some frequency west of Chicago to walk Archer Avenue, wearing her earth-encrusted crown and claiming for herself the boastful title Best-Known Ghost in the Midwest. You can read all about her in “The Revisitations of Resurrection Mary”—which is one story that our fetid wretch Poe didn’t write.
Additional tales are entombed herein, among them, that of a possessed child’s doll named Robert, looking bloodless in sea-dog whites and ready to sail the Styx; a mummy called Sylvester, trimming his worm of a moustache behind a cluster of shrunken heads; and a girl with an axe chopping away parts of Massachusetts.