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Observations placeholder

Poe, Edgar Allen - The Raven



Type of Spiritual Experience


Number of hallucinations: 1


Later in life Poe drank absinthe and took any number of unfortunate concoctions, but this particular poem is inspired by grief.  The full story is provided in the section on sources.  Poe was generally regarded as extremely sensitive and emotional on a  day to day basis , the description bears an uncanny resemblance to that of many widows…..



A description of the experience

Collected Works – Edgar Allen Poe

The Raven

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore –
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping
As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door
‘Tis some visitor’ I muttered ‘tapping at my chamber door –
Only this and nothing more’.

Ah distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor
Eagerly I wished the morrow – vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow – sorrow for the lost Lenore –
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore –
Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me – filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
‘Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door
This it is and nothing more.

Presently my soul grew stronger, hesitating then no longer
‘Sir’ said I ‘or Madam, truly, your forgiveness I implore
But the fact is I was napping and so gently you came rapping
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door
That I scarce was sure I heard you – here I opened wide the door
Darkness there and nothing more.......

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning
Soon again I heard a tapping something louder than before
‘Surely’ said I ‘surely, that is something at my window lattice
Let me see then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore
‘Tis the wind and nothing more
Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter
In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore
Not the least obeisance made he, not a minute stopped or stayed he
But with mien of lord or lady perched above my chamber door
Perched and sat and nothing more.
Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore
‘Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou’ I said ‘ art sure no craven
Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore –
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore’
Quoth the Raven ‘Nevermore’
Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly
Though its answer little meaning – little relevancy bore
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door –
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door
With such name as ‘Nevermore’
But the Raven, sitting lonely on that placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour
Nothing farther then he uttered, not a feather then he fluttered –
Till I scarcely more than muttered ‘Other friends have flown before –
On the morrow he will leave me as my Hopes have flown before’
Then the bird said ‘Nevermore’

The source of the experience

Poe, Edgar Allen

Concepts, symbols and science items




Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Difficult birth


Being left handed



"Not the least obeisance made he", as illustrated by Gustave Doré (1884)