Wiley Hall in USA Today:
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.”
Porpora is an energetic, dapper fellow in a newsboy cap and a checked suit with a bolo tie. He’s got a twinkle in his eye and a mischievous smile, and he tells his tale in the rhythms of a natural-born storyteller.
No one has ever claimed ownership of the legend. So why is Porpora coming forward now?
“I really can’t tell you,” Porpora answered. “I love Poe. I love talking about Poe. I had a lot to do with making Poe a universal figure. I’m doing it because of my love for the story.”