The thousands of people who disappear every year without trace fascinate us, as do unexplained deaths. Here are five authors who have met tragic and mysterious ends, perfect for you Halloween-loving bookworms.
Edgar Allan Poe
Image via Literary Fictions
The death of this widely known and renowned poet and author has caused much confusion over the years. Still, even over 150 years after his death, we may never know what really happened to Edgar Allan Poe. And although Poe had many enemies and rivals during his time, many of whom made claims about Poe dying due to addiction. This raises even more questions than answers, however.
Poe was found on October 3rd, 1849, wondering in an intense delirium through the streets of Baltimore. Joseph W. Walker, the man who found Poe and took him to a hospital, claimed that the poet was dressed completely out of character when he met him. It would later be confirmed that Poe was not wearing his own clothes when he was found. Poe continued to talk incoherently for another four days before he would finally die.
There are many theories out there about what may have happened. Among them, are the popular beliefs that Poe simply died due to his alcoholism or other possible drug addictions; but this theory is more or less disproved, as Poe was never seen to be an alcoholic and rarely abused drugs. More popularly believed is the theory that Poe was a victim of cooping, in which a person is drugged and kidnapped in order for them to vote for a certain political party during an election. What do you think happened?
Image via The Weekly Standard
Everyone knows this illustrious poet from his Divine Comedy, among other simple quotes. Although Dante was able to publish such a great, imaginative, and symbolic piece, his life was riddled with many political disputes. His hometown, Florence, even banished him when political power flopped from Dante’s White Guelph party to the Black Guelphs.
In his final days, Dante was able to finish the Comedy, but not without catching a fatal disease. While many think he simply caught malaria and died, the true controversy pops up after his death.
While Dante was banished from his beloved city in life, Florence demanded that the poets remains be transported back home. Dante was initially buried in Ravenna, but after Florence came knocking for the body, the good people of Ravenna saw it fit to hide the body in a wall. But, eventually the body would be forced to move back to Florence. And as it was being transported, a couple of the good folks from Ravenna decided to TAKE BODY PARTS as souvenirs. What a way to remember someone!
Percy Bysshe Shelley
Image via The Independent
Percy Bysshe Shelley had a poetic heart of fire. Husband to the famous author of Frankenstein, Mary Shelley, Percy also gained lots of fame for his own poetic writings. His lyrical style is noted among the poet community as being one of the most unique for his time.
Percy sadly met his end only a month before his thirtieth birthday. While out on a schooner near Italy’s Gulf, his boat would sink with the crew aboard, drowning the 19th century poet along with it. While many mourned his death, his body wouldn’t wash on shore for another few weeks.
When his body did finally turn up, many gathered for his cremation. What’s more interesting, though, is the fact that every body part but his heart burned to complete ashes. His wife kept his heart as an endearing reminder of her husband, and it was even rumored that Mary Shelley kept his crushed, aged heart in her writing desk. Now that’s love for ya!
Barbara Salinas Normon
Image via Santa Fe New Mexican
Barbara Salinas Normon was known as a trail-blazer in her day. As an activist, teacher, and author, she was well known in the Chicana community, and fought for equality. She was also known as a bilingual teacher who would try to inspire her pupils to love language and the differences and variants riddled with the subject.
After years of falling out of touch with close family and friends, Barbara Salinas Normon started to become a recluse. She would stay at her apartment, of which had been crowded thanks to the author’s compulsive obsession with hoarding. After remaining isolated from most of her contacts, it was her brother-in-law who would discover what became of her.
Barbara Salinas Normon was found in her apartment, dead and decomposing, in May of 2013. She died at the age of seventy, yet no one can be sure to what exactly ended her life. Although she stopped seeing her family, it was noted that she never seemed to be suicidal; Barbara had a liking to living and took all the steps she could to be healthy. Family members even noted how she would bark at them to be healthier with their life decisions. Perhaps her past caught up with her, or maybe even a tragic accident ended the author. To this day, we shall never know
Barbara Newhall Follet
(Note to self, do not name a daughter Barbara)
Image via Lapham’s Quarterly
This author grew up as a prodigy. Born in 1915, Barbara Newhall Follet expressed a love for reading at the age of ONE YEAR OLD. By the age of three, she began to be home-schooled, and by the age of twelve, Barbara already had a book published.
Although, one would expect the next step for such a genius to be fame and fortunes, Barbara met a very different fate. If this is the first time you’ve heard of this author, don’t worry; after her first publication and the abandonment of her father, Follet crept into what seemed like a downward spiral.
After traveling with her mother extensively and not finding much success due to the poverty caused by her father’s leaving, Barbara Newhall Follet must have decided that the life of a normal person was not suited for her. On December 7th 1939, the young woman left her residence with only $30 and a notebook in tow. She was never found again. While many believed it was a part of a suicide, some declare that the woman wasn’t the least bit suicidal, and that she merely retreated to nature to live a life among the animals and beauties of the world… But then shortly died after not being able to endure such natural terrors such as hypothermia and the like.
The Disappearance of Agatha Christie
Image via Hollywood Reporter
Okay, so while this isn’t necessarily a death, it is indeed very peculiar. Agatha Christie was already a prominent author during the time that lead up to her disappearance in 1926. However, all of the fame and fortune in the world can’t magically save a marriage. Sadly, Christie’s husband had expressed his sentiments on their marriage, and decided that he would leave Agatha for his mistress.
What follows is a complete mystery. After a night of intense quarreling, her husband Archie left their house to go be with his mistress, Nancy Neele. Shortly after he left, so did Agatha, although it is completely unknown as to where she went. All she left was a letter to her secretary, saying that she would be on her way to Yorkshire. However, Agatha never made it there. Her car was found with her driver’s license and a suitcase containing her clothes.
This disappearance shocked the entire world. The police were accepting rewards of over £100 for any information regarding the renowned author. As a manhunt ensued, the author wouldn’t be found for another ten days. And even after being found, Agatha never gave any sort of hint as to why she disappeared. She was found at the Swan Hydropathic Hotel under a different name, and even years after the event, would refuse to comment. We’ll all be stuck in confusion as to what really happened to her during this time.
Featured Image Via Gazette Review