Edgar Allan Poe, journalist and famous writer of many a macabre, gothic tale, was driven close to insanity by grief over his young wife’s untimely death in 1847, aged only 24. Virginia Clemm was a sweet, innocent and very healthy young bride, when Poe married her as a 13-year old. That her health deteriorated within so very few years caused such agony to Poe that he initiated his own private, criminal investigation after her death. It turned out that Marylou Shrew, the lady who tended to Virginia in her sickbed was anything but the compassionate nurse, she pretended to be. After confessing and being brought to trial, she explained in the Philadelphia court, how a jealous ex-lover of Poe, Elizabeth Osgood, had paid her to slowly poison Poe’s young wife, and perform all sorts of daily black rituals of sorcery and witchcraft, constantly encouraged by an eager Miss Osgood. This tonic of poison and evil magic eventually drove Virginia to an early grave. As if plain murder wasn’t enough, the Pennsylvania laws prohibiting any degree of sorcery and spiritualism made the case even graver. The honorable judge presiding had no other option than to sentence both Marylou Shrew and Elizabeth Osgood to lifetime imprisonment for murder and conspiracy to murder. Had they been males they probably would have been hanged by the neck, but instead they both ended their lives in the notorious Eastern State Penitentiary. The conviction of his wife’s murderers seemingly offered Edgar Allan Poe little consolation. His poetry turned even bleaker, even misogynous, and he died less than two years after his beloved Virginia.
This is a collaboration beer made with Voodoo Brewery, Meadville, PA, USA.