Poe's stories were full of mentions of opium, but the only evidence that he ever actually used it was one letter to a lady friend where he claimed he tried to commit suicide using laudanum, and he was probably just making shit up to look interesting.
He was the original emo kid, after all.
So how did he go from an occasional drunk to a raving lunatic in the eyes of the public? That was all the work of his nemesis, editor Rufus Griswold, who anonymously wrote Poe's infamous "everyone hated him" obituary and later expanded it into a book. Griswold despised Poe and went as far as to forge his letters to discredit him. His work was referenced by Poe's early biographers, despite being the literary equivalent of smearing shit on someone's grave (which he probably did, too).
But as with all of the entries on this list, the story is still repeated today because it's just seen as a more fitting ending to his "character." We need Mozart to end his life as an unappreciated genius, and Walt Disney to go out clinging to a whimsical fantasy. And it's more appealing to think of Poe as a tragic, dark, self-destructive figure (much like his own characters) than some schmuck who was probably bitten by a Chihuahua or something.
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