From the Washington Post (“Poe Fan Takes Credit for Grave Legend,” by Wiley Hall):
BALTIMORE — The legend was almost too good to be true. For decades, a mysterious figure dressed in black, his features cloaked by a wide-brimmed hat and scarf, crept into a churchyard to lay three roses and a bottle of cognac at the grave of Edgar Allan Poe. Now, a 92-year-old man who led the fight to preserve the historic site says the visitor was his creation.
“We did it, myself and my tour guides,” said Sam Porpora. “It was a promotional idea. We made it up, never dreaming it would go worldwide.”
Further down in the story, however, it appears that Porpora may have fictionalized his autobiography — which is not my kind of literary hoax.
And this paragraph made me chuckle:
Porpora’s belief that he resurrected the international fame of Poe, that master of mystery and melancholia, is questioned by some Poe scholars. But they do credit Porpora, a former advertising executive, with rescuing the cemetery at Westminster Presbyterian Church where the writer is buried.
Hey, rescuing a cemetery is nothing to sneeze at.