Poe’s secrets between the lines

Edgar Allan Poe, one of the most famous and celebrated American writers, has confounded enthusiasts who believe he hid his deepest secrets within his own poetry.

The Poe Museum is hoping to shed some light on these encrypted secrets with their event The Poe Code: Cryptograms and Puzzles in the Works of Edgar Allan Poe.

Poe’s affinity for cryptography, the art of writing or solving codes, can be seen in many of his works. His short story “The Gold Bug” is about a group of people trying to decipher a secret message that could lead to a buried treasure.

He was also the editor for “Graham’s Magazine” and challenged readers to send in ciphers for him to solve.

For many years, deciphering code was reserved for specialists in the armed forces, but Poe was one of the firsts to popularize cryptography.

The Poe Museum aims to educate visitors on cryptography by having them solve simple codes and even form their own.

Founded in 1922, the Poe Museum is housed near the poet’s home when he lived in Richmond. It boasts one of the largest collections of Poe’s artifacts like his clothing, bed, letters, and even a lock of hair. They have his manuscripts and original publishings as well.

The museum also portrays the life of Poe through pictures and relics. Many of his poems and general prose are used to document his accomplishments in life.

The Poe Code is just one of the many events held at the museum. There’s a recreation of the catacombs from “The Cask of Amontillado”, and even a celebration of Poe’s birthday in January.

The Poe Code will be at the museum until Dec. 31.

Article by: Samuel Goodrich, Contributing Writer

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