When truth is stranger than fiction

blog57-1I’ll bet you didn’t know that Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven” was based on a real bird.  It was a raven (no surprise there) – flesh and blood – owned by Charles Dickens named Grip. The bird could parrot sentences like “Keep up your spirit,” “Never say die,” and “Polly put the kettle on, we’ll all have tea.” Grip died in 1841 after eating lead paint off a wall.  Just before Grip died, according to Dickens, the raven said “Halloa, old girl!” Dickens included Grip in his book Barnaby Ridge. When Grip made his literary appearance, someone asked “What was that tapping at the door?” The response was “’Tis someone knocking softly at the shutter.” Poe reviewed Barnaby Ridge for Graham’s Magazine in Philadelphia and ‘stole’ the raven for “The Raven.” Grip was stuffed after his death – Poe did better; his writings will live forever – and ended up in a diorama in the Rare Book Department of the Philadelphia Library where you can still see Grip today. [See my books at https://authormasterminds.com/master-of-the-impossible-crime.]

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