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Michael Bell
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Posted By Michael Bell

In June of 1914, the New York Sun ran a headline, “A Poe Story from the Grave,” with the subhead, “Convict buried in Texas may have been Annabel Lee’s brother.” The account of how this lost manuscript was discovered is as weird as Edgar Allan Poe’s tales, themselves.

Before I attempt to untangle that web of mystery, however, I want to give you the story of the “poisonous vampire plant” as it was presented in the newspaper article so that you can read it with a relatively open mind.

Introducing the tale, the authors wrote: “The paper was stained and partly eaten by insects. Evidently the part preserved is not the entire manuscript, although presumably a large portion of it is there.”

Here it is:

“And it came to pass after 30 long years of experimenting that I at last discovered a drug by means of which the body could live on after the soul had departed. No one knew of my success except Dr. Hansel, my physician, and even he was not aware that the curse of my discovery was already upon me. For my wife and both my sons had passed away, and their bodies were still living, inhabited by alien spirits! I was then old, very old, and had little to live for except my discovery; and yet, notwithstanding my many years of toil, I could not—I could not—give my secret to the critical eyes of the whole world.

“One day a great illness came upon me. I realized that I was very near death’s door. I had grown too weak to speak, when, motioning to the doctor, I pointed to the small purple bottle near me. He understood. With trembling hands he gently raised me and poured a spoonful of the dreadful stuff down my throat. Inexplicable forebodings came over me at once. I knew that something dreadful was going to happen—something so strange and wonderful that I was overwhelmed with fear.

“A stupefying atmosphere of dullness enveloped the room. I felt something pulling me upward—upward. My body was still on the bed, but I was gone. Horrors! I saw it move. Then I realized some other soul had taken possession of it. My spirit had floated into a strange chimerical realm. I could hear strange words, but could not understand.

“Out into the untold space I drifted, upward, upward and upward. Days, months and even years passed like seconds. To me there was no pain, no joy, no fear; only the consciousness of a vague, undefinable feeling which was new to me—the mysterious sense of the supernatural.

“All kinds of unspeakable things passed by me, through me, over me, for I had no form and my old feelings were all gone. I was surrounded by new sensations that no one could realize except by experience. I was literally sieved through space as water runs through sand. There were millions of pieces, and they clung together like a swarm of bees migrating. The terrible figures took the form of fluttering bats and gaping toads. The air was full of a mighty Babel; shouts and screams, groans and moans, weeping and wailing, and therewith the continuous flashing of purple lights as an incalculable host of strange forms flashed by.”

[continued in next entry, above]

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August 17, 2017 12:44:57
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