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Welcome to criminalize a production of scandal and audio in partnership with I Heart Radio. Hello and welcome to the second season of criminality. This season, we're exploring the lives and motivations of some of the most notorious stalkers throughout history. I'm Maria Murky. And I'm Holly.


And as we did in the first season, we plan to look at some of history's transgressions to get a better understanding of what really went down.


And in doing so, we're hoping that we'll get some perspective on whether any of these alleged perpetrators emerge instead of sympathetic characters and also how these crimes look through today's eyes, because, as they say, a little distance goes a long way.


So our first season was all about women poisoners and frankly, it was all about arsenic.


But now in season two, hopefully we'll see far less arsenic, but we will see a lot more stalkers today. We're going to talk about Rufus Griswold, who was the arch nemesis of Edgar Allan Poe. And while the cause of Poe's death is a mystery still today, we do know one thing. Well, actually, we know two things.


One, Griswold did not kill him to everything we thought we knew about. Power is actually wrong. And it's Griswold's doing. But we're here to talk about the man. Griswold was not to solve the mystery of Poe's death. First, we need to lay a little groundwork and talk a little bit about stalking and stalkers.


Right. So stalking, by definition is simple. Like the definition just says it is the unwanted pursuit of another person. That's it. That's all. So it's a pretty wide net that could involve things like following someone or unexpectedly appearing at a person's home or a place of employment or making harassing phone calls, leaving written messages or objects or vandalizing a person's property. We've seen a lot of this in the modern era, a little different history, not all the same technology available.


And it could involve a little bit or a few of these things and still be defined as stalking. But it is also a crime, right?


Whether it's one or six, still a crime. So who becomes a stalker? You might wonder. Well, we wonder, do the demographics related to stalkers are actually quite diverse? And as you're going to see this season, virtually anyone can become a stalker. They come from all walks of life and socioeconomic backgrounds. But despite the diversity, research shows that there are actually some common characteristics that they have in the United States.


According to the FBI, as many as 87 percent of stalkers are male and 80 percent are white. Half fall between the ages of 18 and thirty five. Most stalkers, again, according to the FBI, are of above average intelligence and most earn above average incomes. But now let's take a look at the victims. So just as anyone could become a stalker, anyone could become a victim of all stalking victims. About three quarters, according to the FBI, again, are women and they are between the ages of 18 and 39.


And 83 percent of them are white.


Also, a little more than half of them are married.


And indeed, as Maria said, anyone can become a stalker. Take Rufus Wilmot Griswold, for example. Griswold was, by all accounts, successful. He was a journalist, a literary critic and anthologist and an editor. That is a really impressive resume and it looks really good on paper. But what he's best known for is his character assassination of Edgar Allan Poe. His hatred was palpable during the years of rivalry between the two authors. And that was a rivalry that didn't end until Griswold's death, which was well after Poe was long gone.


Mm hmm. So Griswold is born on February 13th, 1815, in Vermont in a really small town outside of Rutland. And he was the 12th of fourteen children. His father was a farmer and a shoemaker, and he raised his family, strict Calvinist. And it was said that Griswold was intelligent looking.


He had a high, broad forehead and a large gray eyes, a sharp nose and an expression of smug defiance in which when I read that, I thought was fantastic, because as you learn a little bit more about him, you're going to envision that what he looked like as a kid manifested his entire life.


It's also been said that he has a glib tongue and I think that did carry with him his entire life.


So he left home when he was 15 and he called himself and we quote here again, a solitary soul wandering through the world, a homeless, joyless outcast.


What would it be, 15?


He was like an eighteen thirties emo kid. He totally was. Right. There's a. Fifteen man, and although Griswold would like people to believe that he spent his teenage years voyaging the world, modern biographers disagree with that claim because actually it was not out traveling the world by himself. He was in Troy, New York, attending the Rensselaer School that is now Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. And this was all thanks to his brother, who was a well-known businessman in that town.


Griswold was, however, kicked out of the school shortly after he started his studies there because apparently he had a little problem with playing pranks. So we went to live with his brother, who was in Detroit, and it said that during that time, Griswold became acquainted with the writer George Foster, who's famous for writing the book New York by Gaslight. He moved out of Troy and moved in with Foster, who lived in Albany, New York. Now you're unfamiliar with New York State.


Albany is about eight miles away from Troy World Traveler, right?


He's bridging this date.


While he was in his 20s, though, Griswold moved to Syracuse, New York, again, not so far afield, and he started a newspaper there called The Porcupine, which is terribly charming as names go.


It is, except for when you learn what he did with it.


Right. So this publication was later remembered as a spiteful critique that targeted locals. And mostly it was all written by Griswold under the pseudonym Toby Tranquillo. Basically, it was just his next door that he had a printing press for.


Yes. I also laugh because I know what comes ahead and I apologize for that. But this won't be the first time that we see Griswold using a pseudonym. But I really have a love hate relationship that he uses and writes an entire newspaper under one. So anyway, he continued working as a journalist after Syracuse, and he was a journalist and a critic in Philadelphia, New York City and a few other northern cities at the time when he began editing for the Chautauqua wig that officially established him as an editor.


And he held editorships of both the Western Democrat and the Literary Inquirer in 1835. And then in 1836, he edited The Olian Advocate. Much of his work at this time was again still in western New York.


So I'm actually going to change the topic quite a ways right now. Let's talk about Griswold's marriages for just a minute. And I bring this up because of Griswold met his wife right before he began working at the Olian Advocate.


The relationship he had with her is really interesting because it's unlike any other we see him have throughout his entire life, watching it develop and watching them as a couple helps us see the complexity of Griswold and not just his hot streak.


He was actually married three times during his life. Shortly after marrying his first wife, Caroline Griswold actually became a reverend at her encouragement. Caroline, unfortunately, died young while she was giving birth to their third child, the son that also died during childbirth. And they had two daughters. And all accounts suggest that Griswold was deeply in love with Caroline from the moment he met her. As one story goes, he threw himself on her grave during her funeral.


And another tells about how a month after she died, he actually snuck into the crypt where she was buried just so he could spend the night near her. Sorry, my pause was just because I don't know if I'd want someone to sneak into my crypt or not. I know I'm torn on that. So while his marriage to Carolyn made him feel saved, he has said his other marriages were not so deep.


He eventually remarried, as we said, to a woman named Charlotte Meyers, who was many years his senior. But when Griswold became interested not in his wife, but in the poetess Alice Carr and asked for a divorce, Charlotte refused him. This turned into quite an ongoing conflict, and that marriage ultimately ended in a public and very controversial divorce. Griswold's third wife, Harriet Maquilas, left him after the previous divorce was almost repealed, basically after Caroline never got it right again.


No, he didn't know. He never should have tried. He should have just stuck with being a widower.


But enough now, though, about Griswold marriages. We're going to take a quick sponsor break. And when we return, we're going to talk about how and when Griswold met Edgar Allan Poe.


Welcome back to Criminally. Now we are going to talk about how CO and Griswold meant so Rufus Griswold and Edgar Allan Poe met right around 1840, and that's when Griswold was planning a poetry anthology. So at this time in his career, Poe was working as a literary critic and he was a budding poet. He was interested in Griswold and the work that Griswold was doing, and the two of them met and ended up talking for hours. Poe, presumably trying to be helpful, provided several works of his own for the anthology.


And he also recommended poets for all to consider. But Griswold ultimately ignored all of post suggestions, although he did include some of Poe's works.


Once that book was published, Griswold paid Poe to write a review of the anthology for the Boston Misselling. A little awkward, right? There's some journalistic standards to be examined there. Not so cool. Moving on. Yeah, Poe did take that job and he wrote what was mostly a positive review, except, oh, yes, there is an exception.


There's always he criticized some of the poets that had been selected, possibly as many as 24, including Longfellow, who Poe accused of plagiarizing Alfred Lord Tennyson. I mean, who among us hasn't done a little light?


Lord Tennyson plagiarism just from time to time comes up.


Poe stated that many of the poets who were selected were and were quoting him here, too mediocre to entitle them to particular notice how wammo.


So Poe was known to be a really harsh literary critic and was no way the latter. Everybody's doing their best, he wrote, I love your haiku.


So basically when he reviewed your poem, your book, your anthology, whatever it was, his reviews generally stung and he offended many of his peers and his colleagues with his writing. But among the most offended was Rufus Griswold, who at the time was a rival Ed anthologist and to Poe, at least a failed poet.


Griswold had once said about Poe that, quote, The tales of Mr. Poe are peculiar and impressive. He has a great deal of imagination and fancy, and his mind is in the highest degree analytical. The reader of Mr. Poe's tales is compelled almost at the outset to surrender his mind to the author's control.


Now, that should have been the bio, and he should in the end. I mean, that's a beautiful praise. That's lovely. But times change.


So after Poe's assessment of the anthology, Griswold believe that Poe thought too much of himself and he was really displeased by the review. So this is the moment that sparked a rivalry that lasted beyond Poe's death and might be one of the longest standing smear campaigns of literary history at the end of the day.


Experts on this rivalry put it pretty simply. Griswold was the kind of person who made enemies everywhere he went, and he and Poe may have just been a pair that provoked and infuriated each other.


It happens, right? Sometimes people just rub you the wrong way. But, wow, this went much further than that. So a nightmare to many who knew both socially and or professionally.


Griswold was really actually pretty good at what he did. And he had built a strong literary reputation when his 1842 collection called The Poets and Poetry of America, was released. In fact, Griswold and Poe had both worked on a publication called Grammes Magazine. But to pose disappointment when Griswold succeeded him as assistant editor, Griswold also took home a bigger paycheck.


And Poe may have felt shortchanged. But Griswold had come to utterly loathe Poe because Poe had criticized Griswold's poetry collections. How dare he? How did he was obsessed with this bad review? The owner of Grammes magazine later commented that Poe, quote, gave Mr. Griswold some raps over the knuckles of force sufficient to be remembered.


I suppose that is a way to say it. Yes.


I mean, again, this is the kid who thinks he left home and paints himself as like this lonely, penniless, joy lover of the world. And then someone's like your kind of a crap poet. He's like, fine, then I'll just write under pseudonyms. You'll never know how your identity was undermined by this thing. So really, at this point in their story, this is when things went kind of truly weird. All right. So Poe died on October 7th.


Eighteen forty. And the Poe Griswold situation moved beyond rivalry between two editors. Speculations about the cause of Post death abound. Even today. They range from alcohol poisoning to an undiagnosed illness such as maybe tuberculosis. And they even speculated that it could have been rabies, which actually at that time wouldn't have been a weird thing like today.


But what we do know is that he was found lying on a street in Baltimore, incoherent and dressed in someone else's clothing. He was admitted to the Washington College Hospital where he spent his last days. And reportedly while there, he kept repeating the name Reynolds.


A local newspaper, reported his cause of death as congestion of the brain. And today we would call that for Naidus or swelling of the brain. But it was at the time often used as a euphemism for alcohol poisoning.


The circumstances surrounding Poe's untimely death remain one of the great mysteries about the author, even today. And it has long fueled the perception that he lived a life of debauchery with Poe's death. Griswold saw an opportunity and he went on and on to defame Poe for many years.


We are going to take a break and then when we come back, we will talk about how and when Griswold began this campaign of defamation. Welcome back to Criminalist. So it all started with the obituary, that character assassination we mentioned before the break began immediately upon Poe's death, Griswold penned Poe's obituary for the New York Daily Tribune, which actually was so libelous.


And he knew that that he wrote it under the pseudonym Ludvig. More pseudonyms.


Come on, Rufus, stand up for your own words. So that obituary began. I'm going to quote it. Edgar Allan Poe is dead. He died in Baltimore the day before yesterday. This announcement will startle many, but few will be grieved by it. He went on that Poe was morally bankrupt and a drunken womanizer. And today we know that none of that is actually true.


And this obituary, along with any information about Poe that came from Griswold, we're all an attempt at revenge for some of the offensive and provoking things that Poe had written about Griswold and his work over the years. But there's a beautiful sort of irony here, which is that the attacks that Griswold mounted, which he intended to turn people off of reading Poe's works, actually had the opposite effect. People became very fascinated and started reading Poe even more after his death than when he was alive.


I love it, the obituary was just the beginning with Poe's death, Griswold became the wellspring of pretty much all the misinformation about Poe's life from the eighteen hundreds until today. And next in his toxic campaign, he decided that he would write Poe's memoirs.


I always think about this in the selfish limbs and go who that hates me would write my name. And how badly would that go?


What would those sound like?


And it said that Poe had appointed his now literary rival Griswold's to be his literary executor. And that sounds weird. Correct? But it also might have happened, it often seems, when you read about their story that Griswold was really fuming all the time and Poe was kind of like your krabby, like he didn't have the same idea in return at all.


I feel the same way. I feel like for Poe, he kind of like came and went out of the rivalry. And Griswold was just in it all the time.


Yes. Because he was obsessed. Yes.


So like we said, this may have actually happened that Poe chose Griswold to be his literary executor. It is actually likely that one of the following two things happened. So some historians think that, yes, Poe did name Griswold to be his literary executer probably during a time when the two were in a more civil relationship, which, you know, possible. However, others believe it was more likely this scenario.


Griswold probably convinced Poe's mother in law, a woman named Maria Klemm, after Poe's death, to sign away the rights to the author's works, promising her profits from the sales of the memoir. But Maria was never actually paid what she was paid, but not as she expected to be. She received six sets of the two volumes of memoir with a card that said that she could sell them and that would be her profits.


What a peach.


And now with all of those literary papers, Griswold was able to take real events in Poe's life and twist them to fit the character of Poe that he was creating. And he ended up creating what you've probably heard of before, kind of a mad genius version of Poe, one where he became this poor wandering mad man with alcohol and opioid problems who talk to himself on the streets. And Griswold backed up his claims about Poe with, quote unquote, evidence, although most of that so-called evidence has also been completely debunked.


I would love to see that evidence. So when Griswold edited and published an inaccurate collection of Poe's writings in which he included a biographical piece entitled Memoir of the author, as you might guess, it did not paint a good picture of Poe.


Griswold made false claims about Poe's character, and it was this piece that would go on to seal the negative reputation Griswold was trying to develop of Poe within the community.


And it was starting to become how people thought of Poe in the biography that Griswold wrote of Edgar Allan Poe. He also portrayed Poe is basically a conniving jerk who had conned a woman out of money and who spent most of his time drunk. But then Griswold actually took things to a new level. He made up passages and quotes from Poe posthumously. They were all quotes that gave high praise to Rufus Griswold surprise.


And they were way they were all attributed to Poe. So he claimed after the man's death that, in fact, he was very complimentary of him. Right.


He's a terrible person, but he loved me. So at this point was becoming a legend in the community, but his life still to this day is widely mischaracterized and his character has been distorted this whole time because of this one book. And while Poe was an obsessive rivalry for Griswold, that was not the only person that Rufus had some controversy with.


You don't say he had a personality type. There were a lot of people that he had conflict with. But there are two that came up in the research that are really worth noting. Reverend Joel Healy and Griswold were working on books about George Washington at the same time and through their interactions with Angry and Swore Revenge. We don't know exactly what went down, but this is Griswold.


He began calling Griswold and we, quote, such a liar that even his friends replied to his statements with the query, is that a Griswold or a fact, which I would really like to make a comeback?


I think we can do it.


I'm using my day to day life. I'll have to explain it the first few times and then people will start to get it.


Yeah, well, so unlike Griswold's lifelong stalking of Poe, this rivalry lasted only about a month. And unfortunately, no one today says, is that Griswold or is it a fact anyway? So nothing about this rivalry really stuck.


It's kind of another, like twist of the dagger that even an insult about him did not persist historically. Like, you're not famous in any way, dude.


Right. I can't even stick.


He was not the first person who butted heads with Griswold that year. A young woman named Elizabeth Elliot, who was well known among the high circles of literary society, proposed to Griswold that she could write a book about American revolutionary women. And he really liked the idea. So he agreed. And he also agreed that she could have access to his private library. But she committed the terrible, terrible faux pas of never thanking him for letting her have that research access.


Bless her soul, this bruised Griswold's ego, and he found the oversight completely insulting. And Elizabeth Elliott essentially became dead to him at that point.




Rufus just can't resist. Just can't. It's going to be my reaction to anything, but I don't want to deal with. I'm sorry, Rufus. I just can't. Good. So, OK.


During the years between Poe's death and his own, Griswold published numerous poems and anthologies as well as sermons and editorial pieces. And none of them had anything to do with Poe. Among his most notable works are the poets and poetry of America, which we talked about earlier, the poets and poetry of England, and a poem that was called Five Days, which was written for his first wife, Carolyn.


After her death, Griswold continued to work on anthologies right up until his death by tuberculosis on August 27th, 1857. And when Griswold died, there are stories that there was a portrait of Poe hanging on the wall in his hallway.


This was the only portrait that Poe ever sat for and Griswold had stolen it.


Listen, you might maybe use the word con as a more appropriate description, but basically he had gotten it somehow from Poe's mother in law of the same exact woman who he had kind of conned into signing away the rights to pose works.


Yeah, she should stop talking to him. But I love the idea that it was a portrait on the wall in the hallway. She hated him so much.


He looked at him every single day like.


So we have Griswold and he has died, and just a few years after his death, a woman named Sarah Helen Whitman posed former fiance published her own biography of Poe. Several other authors, editors, poets, followed with their own written defense of Poe. And these versions, most of them, at least, if not all of them, portrayed Poe in a much better light than Griswold ever had.


And while they were unable to set the record straight within the community, they did finally almost successfully dismiss the popular idea that Poe was an opium addict.


However, as time passed, it was Griswold's memoir of an author that he'd written ages ago when Poe had first died, that became accepted as a true account of past life. In fact, it was actually really the only established biography of Poe for something like twenty five years.


And today, the largest collection of Griswold's work now belongs to a museum dedicated to his enemy.


I love that so much. I love his portrait is hanging up in his historical society and it has nothing to do with him. Yes.


And while Poe's legend, of course, lives on today, it's huge. Griswold is basically just remembered as Poe's first biographer and the man who smeared him after his death. Now, there was a story that came up that we talked about during the research that you loved and there was it quite a correct place to put it here. But I wanted to make sure that you tell it because it's so incredibly charming, it is so charming.


And I think that it is such a good description of who Poe actually was. I just fell in love with it. So it was a time after the Raven, the poem came out.


And as a literary critic, you're not recognized on the street, but as a poet at that time you were. And so the Raven became very popular and so popular that children knew who it was and they would follow him around on the streets cackling at him, which I think is a fantastic one.


But two, he would turn around and sort of raise his hands up in the air and go nevermore.


And the kids would just run off, like screaming and laughing and having a really good time with Edgar Allan Poe, which if you were Griswold, those words don't actually make sense, probably even incensed him that children like to.


I know he was like even the children are calling it, you know, calls it me.


I just love that. I mean, everything that I've learned about Poe that hasn't had Griswold's touch to it just suggests he was such a charming man. It didn't fit in the script.


And I appreciate you giving me the time to share it. It's slightly selfish because I love Edgar Allan Poe. I like Rufus Griswold, have his portrait in my home, although not so I could sneer at it because I love. So we instead of what you poisoned this season and have a little bit different name, so Holly is going to get at.


Yeah, I mean, we still are going to have cocktails. There's no way around it.


Don't don't misstate my language for no cocktail. Just mean we're going to call on something else. And this one you have to excuse because we're taking a little bit of linguistic license. We are calling these the chaser. Normally a chaser is actually non-alcoholic. It's what you have after you have a shot where you then drink down like a soda or a water or something so that it helps balance that out in your system and you don't become a train wreck too quickly.


But we're calling them chasers because we're talking about stalkers and they will, in fact, usually have alcohol.


I think it's a brilliant name in thinking about these two and Rufus Griswold in particular, I wanted to make a dark drink and I wanted to make something that was just interesting. And a little bit outside of where I would normally land am I created something called the bitter rival who. So it starts with four ounces of cold coffee, two ounces of rum. I used a spice rum. Mmm. An ounce of simple syrup. You can use a flavored one.


I used a little bit of my left over honey syrup from when we did the bee's knees at the end of season one. Right. Three quarters of an ounce of lemon juice and then two to three shakes of Angostura bitters. The lemon juice is interesting. It gives it a little bit of bite, which is what we want. Right. We don't want this to be an overly sweet and cloying thing. We definitely do not want these men.


Right, because I want everything to be overly sweet and cloying. But yeah, you can do other bidders if you prefer them. I had Angostura on hand. Mix it all up, give it a shake and a shaker if you wish. Pour it into your glass. And there you have a bitter rival. It's interesting because it doesn't have as much body as I anticipated. Mm hmm. And it's not as bad as I thought. And if you really dislike biting, you can add a little more simple syrup.


If you would prefer it to be a little more bitter, you can drop that down to like a three quarters of an ounce.


But that is my my ode to Rufus Griswold, the bitter rival.


I'd like to think that those the kind of guy who would have a lot of coffee, one would hope it's a coffee time. Yeah. And it's also a good way. If you are like me and you make like a pot of coffee, sometimes you end up with, like a cold beer at the end that you don't really want to drink. Put that in a jar or a container and toss it in your fridge and keep it on hand for something like this.


It's a good way to not waste. It's perfect. So thank you. Thank you. Thank you for joining us for this kickoff to season two of criminality. We are so excited. There will be so many more stalkers to come and we will see you next week right here. Criminality is a production of QandA Land Audio in partnership with I Heart Radio for more podcasts from Shandley and Audio. Please visit the I Heart radio app, Apple podcast or wherever you listen to your favorite shows.