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Examining Poe’s Death: How Edgar Allan Poe Died From Poisoning Ms. Dymek.

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Presentation on theme: "Examining Poe’s Death: How Edgar Allan Poe Died From Poisoning Ms. Dymek."— Presentation transcript:

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2 Examining Poe’s Death: How Edgar Allan Poe Died From Poisoning Ms. Dymek

3 Table of Contents 1.Possibilities for Poison in Poe’s TimePossibilities for Poison in Poe’s Time 2.Hair Sample EvidenceHair Sample Evidence 3.Mercury PoisoningMercury Poisoning 4.What is Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?What is Carbon Monoxide Poisoning? 5.Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Evidence in Poe’s WorksCarbon Monoxide Poisoning Evidence in Poe’s Works 6.Possible Theory: AlcoholismPossible Theory: Alcoholism 7.Possible Theory: TuberculosisPossible Theory: Tuberculosis 8.SourcesSources

4 Possibilities for Poison in Poe’s Time Heavy metal poisoning was possible from: Drinking water Drinking water Alcohol Alcohol Food Food Cosmetics Cosmetics Medicines Medicines Gas lighting (Carbon Monoxide poisoning) Gas lighting (Carbon Monoxide poisoning)

5 Hair Sample Evidence Lock of Poe’s hair was cut after his death in 1849 in order for heavy metal analysis Lock of Poe’s hair was cut after his death in 1849 in order for heavy metal analysis Poe’s 2.5’’ sample analyzes the 2-5 months of his life Poe’s 2.5’’ sample analyzes the 2-5 months of his life Hair tested for levels of: Hair tested for levels of: Arsenic Arsenic Lead Lead Mercury Mercury Nickel Nickel Uranium Uranium

6 Arsenic Level Poe’s hair contained 15 times today’s normal levelPoe’s hair contained 15 times today’s normal level 2/3 the level associated with symptoms of arsenic poisoning2/3 the level associated with symptoms of arsenic poisoning Lead Levels Lead levels fell 33%--shows that Poe reduced his exposureLead levels fell 33%--shows that Poe reduced his exposure Exposure could be from wine or medicationExposure could be from wine or medication Poe was an alleged drinkerPoe was an alleged drinker 3 to 4 times today’s normal level BUT not enough to cause symptoms of lead poisoning3 to 4 times today’s normal level BUT not enough to cause symptoms of lead poisoning Nickel Levels Levels were 10 times today’s normalLevels were 10 times today’s normal Not enough to cause symptoms of nickel poisoningNot enough to cause symptoms of nickel poisoning

7 Mercury Poisoning Poe’s levels increased by 264% over several months towards the end of his life Poe’s levels increased by 264% over several months towards the end of his life Poe was taking calomel Poe was taking calomel Also known as Mercury Chloride (popular from 1830-1860) Also known as Mercury Chloride (popular from 1830-1860) Used as a laxative, diuretic, and disinfectant Used as a laxative, diuretic, and disinfectant Also used as a horticultural fungicide Also used as a horticultural fungicide Still more than 30 times below level associated with mercury poisoning Still more than 30 times below level associated with mercury poisoning

8 What is Carbon Monoxide Poisoning? Popular during 1800s due to gas lanterns, burning wood and charcoal stoves being used Symptoms include: Nausea Nausea Vomiting Vomiting Chest Pain Chest Pain Weakness Weakness Confusion Confusion Facial Paralysis (drooping) Facial Paralysis (drooping) Poe’s drooping eye and mouth are “tell-tale signs” of CO 2 exposure and poisoning.

9 Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Evidence in Poe’s Works “The Tell-Tale Heart” "And have I not told you that what you mistake for madness is but overacuteness of the senses?” "And have I not told you that what you mistake for madness is but overacuteness of the senses?” “The Premature Burial” “In this condition, without pain, without ability to stir, or strictly speaking, to think, but with a dull lethargic consciousness of life… until the crisis of the disease restored me... “ “In this condition, without pain, without ability to stir, or strictly speaking, to think, but with a dull lethargic consciousness of life… until the crisis of the disease restored me... “ “I grew sick, and numb, and chilly, and dizzy, and so fell prostrate at once." “I grew sick, and numb, and chilly, and dizzy, and so fell prostrate at once."

10 “The Fall of the House of Usher” "struggled to reason off the nervousness which had dominion over me" "struggled to reason off the nervousness which had dominion over me" "irrepressible tremor gradually pervaded my frame" "irrepressible tremor gradually pervaded my frame" "there were but peculiar sounds, and these from stringed instruments, which did not inspire him with horror” "there were but peculiar sounds, and these from stringed instruments, which did not inspire him with horror” Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Evidence in Poe’s Works There are over 30 quotes from just this story that correspond directly with the CO poisoning theory!

11 Possible Theory: Alcoholism Alcoholism ran in Poe’s family Alcoholism ran in Poe’s family Father and brother both alcoholics Father and brother both alcoholics Poe’s Public Drinking Poe’s Public Drinking Records of drinking came from “literary enemies” Records of drinking came from “literary enemies” Came to office intoxicated in April 1845 Came to office intoxicated in April 1845 July 7, 1849: Wrote letter to Maria Clemm about jail time July 7, 1849: Wrote letter to Maria Clemm about jail time Poe drank mostly because depression brought on by of Virginia’s death

12 Possible Theory: Alcoholism Went to Sons of Temperance meeting a month before his death Went to Sons of Temperance meeting a month before his death “Poe’s flirtation with alcohol was intermittent” “Poe’s flirtation with alcohol was intermittent” “a few days of drinking followed by months or even years of abstinence” “a few days of drinking followed by months or even years of abstinence” Poe’s 1841 letter to Snodgrass admits single deviation, showing Poe’s honesty Poe’s 1841 letter to Snodgrass admits single deviation, showing Poe’s honesty http://www.eapoe.org/geninfo/poethair.htm

13 Possible Theory: Alcoholism April 1841 Letter to J.E. Snodgrass “... I am temperate even to rigor.... At no period of my life was I ever what men call intemperate.... “... I am temperate even to rigor.... At no period of my life was I ever what men call intemperate.... For some days after each excess I was invariably confined to bed. For some days after each excess I was invariably confined to bed. But it is now quite four years since I have abandoned every kind of alcoholic drink — four years, with the exception of a single deviation... when I was induced to resort to the occasional use of cider, with the hope of relieving a nervous attack” But it is now quite four years since I have abandoned every kind of alcoholic drink — four years, with the exception of a single deviation... when I was induced to resort to the occasional use of cider, with the hope of relieving a nervous attack” For more information about Poe and alcoholism, click here.here

14 Possible Theory: Tuberculosis Extremely contagious bacterial infection Extremely contagious bacterial infection Spreads mostly through lungs, lymph node, blood stream Spreads mostly through lungs, lymph node, blood stream Many in Poe’s family died from Tuberculosis Many in Poe’s family died from Tuberculosis Virginia contracted TB in 1842—died in 1847 Virginia contracted TB in 1842—died in 1847 Many who are exposed never develop symptoms Many who are exposed never develop symptoms TB can lay dormant for years in a person’s body TB can lay dormant for years in a person’s body Disease will not spread unless it becomes “active” Disease will not spread unless it becomes “active”

15 Possible Theory: Tuberculosis Tuberculosis Symptoms Immediately Present Prior to Death Chills Chills Fever Fever Night sweats Night sweats Poor appetite Poor appetite At The Time of His Death: in and out of consciousness in and out of consciousness Speech was incoherent Speech was incoherent Called out for an unknown person named “Reynolds” Called out for an unknown person named “Reynolds” CO Poisoning Persistent Headaches Persistent Headaches Confusion Confusion Memory Loss Memory Loss Loss of Consciousness Loss of Consciousness Poe’s symptoms that were present at his death coincided more with Carbon Monoxide Poisoning than with Tuberculosis.

16 For more information… Click on the following links if you would like to know more about: Edgar Allan Poe Edgar Allan Poe Edgar Allan Poe Edgar Allan Poe Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Poe’s Alcoholism and Tuberculosis Poe’s Alcoholism and Tuberculosis Poe’s Alcoholism and Tuberculosis Poe’s Alcoholism and Tuberculosis

17 Sources Donnay, Albert. ”A Edgar Allan Poe and The Tell-Tale Face of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning." POE: The Tell-Tale Face of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning. Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Referral and Resources, 2006. Web. 07 Mar. 2013.. "E. A. Poe Society of Baltimore - Poe's Death." E. A. Poe Society of Baltimore - Poe's Death. Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore, 1 May 1997. Web. 01 Mar. 2013.. Hartshorn, W.S., and C.T. Tatman. Cropped Image from the Famous E.A. Poe Daguerrotype. 1848. Photograph. Wikipedia Commons. Web. 13 Mar. 2013.. Klimas, Anne, David Tauriello, Ben Graff, Mary Esselman, and John Sullivan. "MPT: Knowing Poe: Home." MPT: Knowing Poe: Home. Maryland Public Television, 2002. Web. 01 Mar. 2013. http://knowingpoe.thinkport.org/default_flash.asp.http://knowingpoe.thinkport.org/default_flash.asp Poe, Edgar A. "The Fall of the House of Usher." 18 Best Short Stories by Edgar Allan Poe. New York: Dell, 1965. 21-40. Print. Poe, Edgar A. ”The Premature Burial." 18 Best Short Stories by Edgar Allan Poe. New York: Dell, 1965. 58-72. Print. Poe, Edgar A. ”The Tell-Tale Heart." 18 Best Short Stories by Edgar Allan Poe. New York: Dell, 1965. 138-143. Print. PoeStories.com. Edgar Allan Poe. N.d. Photograph. PoeStories. 2005. Web. 7 Mar. 2013.. Poe's Grave. N.d. Photograph. The Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore, Baltimore. Pics4Learning. Www.eapoe.org. Web. 13 Mar. 2013. http://pics.tech4learning.com/details.php?img=poesgrave.jpg. http://pics.tech4learning.com/details.php?img=poesgrave.jpg ”What Is Tuberculosis? Picture, Diagnosis, Causes." WebMD. Ed. Melinda Ratini, DO. WebMD, 25 Apr. 2012. Web. 07 Mar. 2013..

18 PowerPoint Created by Cate Dymek Cathryn_dymek@hcpss.org


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