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Short Story: “The Pit and the Pendulum” Author: Edgar Allan Poe, 1809–49 First published: 1843 The original short story is in the public domain in the United States and in most, if not all, other countries as well. Readers outside the United States should check their own countries’ copyright laws to be certain they can legally download this e-story. The Online Books Page has an FAQ which gives a summary of copyright durations for many other countries, as well as links to more official sources.

This PDF ebook was created by José Menéndez.

Impia tortorum longas hic turba furores Sanguinis innocui, non satiata, aluit. Sospite nunc
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And that gulf is—what? How at least shall we distinguish its shadows from those of the tomb? But if the impressions of what I have termed the first stage are not, at will, recalled, yet, after long interval, do they not come



unbidden, while we marvel whence they come? He who has never swooned, is not he who finds strange palaces and wildly familiar faces in coals that glow; is not he who beholds floating in mid-air the sad visions that the many may not view; is not he who ponders over the perfume of some novel flower; is not he whose brain grows bewildered with the meaning of some musical cadence which has never before arrested his attention. Amid frequent and thoughtful endeavors to remember, amid earnest struggles to regather some token of the state of seeming nothingness into which my soul had lapsed, there have been moments when I have dreamed of success; there have been brief, very brief periods when I have conjured up remembrances which the lucid reason of a later epoch assures me could have had reference only to that condition of seeming unconsciousness. These shadows of memory tell, indistinctly, of tall figures that lifted and bore me in silence down—down—still down—till a hideous dizziness oppressed me at the mere idea of the interminableness of the descent. They tell also of a vague horror at my heart, on account of that heart’s unnatural stillness. Then comes a sense of sudden motionlessness throughout all things; as if those who

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