6. Edgar Allan Poe

Most celebrated stories: “The Fall Of The House Of Usher” (1839), “The Murders In The Rue Morgue” (1841), “The Masque Of Red Death” (1842), “The Tell-Take Heart” (1843), “The Raven” (1845)

Life story: After years of Hollywood conjecture and hearsay, a film based on the life of Edgar Allan Poe will finally premiere next year; only, it’ll be a fictional, Se7en-like serial killer flick, The Raven, in which Poe (John Cusack) investigates a string of murders inspired by his writings. A nifty concept, no doubt, but not the straightforward biography that seems like a no-brainer for any confident, research-loving screenwriter.

A dark and intelligent man, Poe loved the booze, repeatedly sipping the hard stuff throughout his wife Virginia Clemm’s bout with tuberculosis—oh, and he married he was 26 and she was merely 13. And she was his cousin. How’s that for “creepy”?

Yet that pales in comparison to the bizarreness of Poe’s death in October 1849. Found stumbling through the streets of Baltimore, wearing someone else’s clothes, Poe, at that point a man in shambles, was brought into a local hospital where he passed away four days later. As if the random attire and his incoherent ramblings weren’t sketchy enough, he, as the story goes, kept saying the name “Reynolds” before his final breaths. Poe couldn’t have written it any weirder himself.