Text: Anonymous, “[Spirit Acrostic from Poe],” Wheeling Daily Intelligencer (Wheeling, VA), vol. 6, no. 286, August 12, 1858, p. 1, col. 4


A Mr. DANSKIN, of Baltimore, has recently been converted to spiritualism. He says that at one time Edgar A. Poe introduced himself as follows:

“Be calm, Danskin, and I will give you an acrostic.” This was, of course, rapped out in alphabetic characters through a table. Immediately afterward Mr. Danskin's hand, he says, was spontaneously controlled by a kind of electric influence, and it involuntarily wrote the promised acrostic, thus:

“Earth has no joys for me,

Dark was my fate below,

Grief like the boundless sea,

And limitless as woe,

Rolled o’er the poet — POE.”

These lines, Mr. Danskin says “were written with a rapidity that would seem incredible to any but those who witnessed the movement of the pencil.”



Washington A. Danskin (1813-1881) lived at 481 North Gilmor Street. His obituary states that he was the “head of the Spiritualists in Maryland.” (see Baltimore Sun December 22, 1818, p. 4.) In 1858, he published a book of 104 pages, with the title How and Why I Became A Spiritualist. The “Introduction” is dated “June 1st, 1858.” This acrostic is included, on p. 33, and this article is largely quoting from the book. His second wife was Sarah A. Danskin (died 1900). (He and his first wife divorced in 1839.) Her obituary notes that her husband had been a Colonel and that their only son, named after his father, was a Lieutenant in the Union Army, and that this son died in the Civil War. (See Baltimore Sun for February 17, 1900, p. 12.) She is buried in Greenmount Cemetery, in Baltimore. The single tombstone appears to mark the burial place of herself, her husband, and their daughter.


[S:0 - WDI, 1858] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - A Poe Bookshelf - [Spirit Acrostic from Poe] (Anonymous, 1858)