Since 1949 ... a black-clad figure has shown up annually early on the morning of Jan. 19, the author’s birthday, to raise a Cognac toast to his grave and deposit three red roses, along with the remnants of the Cognac bottle.
But the visitor — whose identity, or identities, has never been revealed, despite some claims to the contrary over the years — failed to show up this year for the first time, ending a strange crepuscular tradition and disappointing a crowd of more than 30 people who forfeited a good night’s sleep to witness the visitation.
Randy Kennedy in the New York Times over the no-show of the Poe Toaster on the anniversary of Edgar Allan Poe's birthday, January 19th.
In today's paper there is speculation that the toaster "might have just had the flu or car trouble — or that he had died," as people have been known to do.
Update: Leslie Miller, she of much cake, commented on Facebook this morning that there was speculation that her friend, the poet David Frank, was the latest Poe Toaster. Mr. Frank passed away on January 14th. This recording of his poem, Alice Gains Plays the Harp, is really quite lovely.