Spooky, surprising and macabre stories about Edgar Allen Poe, UFOs, Lizzie Borden and more from the Footnote archives.
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Account of Edgar Allen Poe's final 14 hours
7 Oct 1849 | Baltimore, MD
He was on his way to marry his second wife, Lenore, but was overcome with a stupor induced by opium and alcohol.
Found sleeping on a park bench, he was carried to a hospital.
When told by the nurse that he was in the care of good friends, he replied:
"My best friend would be the man who would blow my brains out with a pistol... O, God the terrible strait I am in! Is there no ransom for the deathless spirit?"
He slept but his health continued to diminish. He awoke during his final moments to say:
"Doctor, it's all over. Eddie is no more."
When asked to hope and trust in God he replied:
"Self-murderer, there is a gulf beyond the stream. Where is the buoy, life-boat, ship of fire, sea of brass? Rest, shore, no more!"
His eyes rolled upward into his head so that only whites balls could be seen. He twitched and then died. It was midnight.
Lizzie Borden today
31 March 1899 | Fall River, MA
Seven years after her parents were hacked to death with an ax in their home, Lizzie Borden takes her $350,000 inheritance and moves into a more elegant home just a mile away.
Click on the image above to see a picture of Lizzie.
Man driven to suicide after medium threatens to reveal his murderous past
3 apr 1905 | Audubon, IA
After a spiritualist had promised to reveal the name of a murderer, Mike Nelson - long suspected of killing a wealthy farmer - became alarmed and killed his two daughters and himself.
The medium had already stated where the body could be found.
UFO scares trick-or-treaters
1957 | Annapolis, MD
Two teenage girls see an glowing egg-shaped object in the sky over Primrose Acres, a suburb of Annapolis, MD.
Across the country, others see the same thing including an engineer at White Sands Proving Grounds in New Mexico.
The US Air Defense Command says only 1.9 percent of these reported sightings end up in the "unknown" category.
A strange day in California
October 1968 | Fall River Mills, CA
A UFO is seen hovering over town and then rockets off. It's the second UFO sighting of the week.
Our Project Bluebook collection has 23 pages of UFO reports from the year before.
In a nearby town on Halloween, a phonebooth explodes while a man tries to make a call.
Please share your favorite Halloween stories here...
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Origins of Halloween
Halloween or All Hallows Eve originated in Celtic culture as the festival of Samhain. When the Romans conquerd the Celts in the 1st century A.D., two Roman holidays Feralia, a day the Romans honored their dead, and Pomona, a day honoring the Roman goddess of fruit and trees, were combined with Samhain. In the seventh century, Pope Boniface IV declared November 1st All Saints Day, a day to celebrate saints and Christian martyrs. The day before All Saints day became All Hallows Eve, known today as Halloween.
Why do We Carve Jack O'Lanterns?
The Jack O'lantern originated from an Irish myth about "Stingy Jack." The myth explains the Jack repeatedly tricked the devil into keeping his soul out of hell, but when Jack died, heaven would not take him. The devil, keeping his word, would not allow Jack into hell. Instead Jack was given a coal to light his way as he wandered the earth for eternity. Jack put this coal into a turnip, making a lantern. The Irish and Scottish would carve out their own turnips and place a light inside. These lanterns they believed would keep Stingy Jack away, along with other evil spirits. When immigrants from Ireland and Scotland came to America, they brought the tradition with them. Since pumpkins were more available, the orange fruit became the classic symbol of a jack O'lantern in America.
The Real Dracula
Vlad Dracula truly existed. He was not a vampire, but Prince of Wallachia. He was also known as Vlad the Impaler and Vlad Tepe. He reigned during the 15th century in modern-day Romania. During his time Vlad Dracula impaled over 20,000 Turks in defiance to the Ottoman Empire. He is the man Bram Stoker based his vampire Dracula on in his famous novel.
Salem MA, the favorite place for Halloween
In 1692, the Village of Salem was the site of the infamous Witch Trial. Due to infamous past theVillage of Salem's name was later changed to Danver, MA. Ten miles away from Village of Salem was the city of Salem, which had only minor role in the Witch Trial, but nevertheless it calls itself the "Witch Capital" with Witch Museum and memorial to the victims of Witch trial. Salem is famous also for the House of the Seven Gables, which inspired Nathaniel Hawthorne's horror story "the House of the Seven Gables".