Dr. R. Michael Benitez's The Raven

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Now Dr. R. Michael Benitez's fresh review of the case tends to support the idea that, in the last four days of his life, Poe's central nervous system was under attack by a vicious viral disease. The University of Maryland cardiologist believes rabies killed the dark-eyed author of "The Raven," and Benitez appears to make a convincing case.

But not, of course, without qualification.

"No one can say conclusively that Poe died of rabies, since there was no autopsy after his death," Benitez says. "But the historical accounts of Poe's condition in the hospital a few days before his death point to a strong possibility that he had rabies."

And he might have got it from cats.

(Before we go any further, it should be noted that, when he was handed
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