The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

Voice of Poe speaks out

“Edgar Allan Poe is dead. He died in Baltimore on the day before yesterday,” said Brian “Fox” Ellis. Ellis played the ghost of Poe Wednesday in the Charleston Public Library. In his dark long coat, thick black mustache, and a black hat, Ellis as Poe claimed that Rufus Wilmot Griswold wrote lies when he published Poe’s obituary.

“.The regrets for his death will be suggested principally by the consideration that in him, literary art has lost one of its most brilliant, but erratic, stars,” Ellis as Poe said.

Ellis as Poe said that he wrote a bad review about one of Griswold’s books, which is why he wrote the obituary the way he did.

“Griswold was a snake,” he said.

Ellis as Poe also said Griswold lied when he said he had an addiction to opium as Poe was allergic and it made him sick.

“I will admit I had a fondness for spirits in a bottom,” Ellis as Poe said.

But, Ellis as Poe said he wants to clear his name.

“I am here this afternoon to set the record straight,” he said.

Ellis presented to an audience from the Academy of Lifetime Learning a history of Poe and a reading of some of his most famous works through the use of storytelling. Throughout the performance and even through questions at the end, Ellis played the part as Poe.

“I’ve got a dozen characters in me,” Ellis said.

Ellis has been a storyteller for over 30 years and has always been a fan of Poe.

“I love Poe and I’ve been telling his stories for awhile,” he said.

In the performance, Ellis as Poe read “The Raven,” “The Cask of Amontillado,” “A Masque of the Red Death,” “A Dream Within a Dream,” and “A Tell-Tale Heart.”

Ellis also used quotes that Poe had read in between the readings that gave more of the history of Poe.

The audience seemed to get into the performance, as many people would jump at different points in the reading.

Linda Gay Tooley, a Charleston resident, said she went to the performance because she had been getting into ghost stories and things dealing with the paranormal. She said she really enjoyed the performance and jumped a few times.

“I don’t remember reading Poe, but it was refreshing an earlier education,” Tooley said.

Jack and Jane Little, Mattoon residents, said they both enjoyed the performance and thought it was interesting.

“Edgar Allan Poe is an interesting historical figure,” Jack Little said.

They did not know a whole lot about Poe, but still thought it was a good performance.

“(Ellis) got into character very well,” Jane Little said.

The Academy of Lifetime Learning will have a presentation on first ladies as advocates in the spring.

Courtney Bruner can be reached 581-7942 or [email protected].

Voice of Poe speaks out

Voice of Poe speaks out

Brian “Fox” Ellis, master storyteller, performs as Edgar Allan Poe at the Ghosts of Edgar Allan Poe workshop in the Charleston Carnegie Public Library Wednesday evening. (Seth Schroeder


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