“A Tale of the Ragged Mountains,” Edgar Allan Poe, 1844 — The narrator makes the acquaintance of the curious Mr. Augustus Bedloe, a man of peculiar appearance and great attachmen to his physician and constant companion, Doctor Templeton. Templeton is a convert of Mesmer and has apparently cured Bedloe of many ailments through magnetism. Bedloe is a particularly imaginative person, perhaps due in part to copious doses of morphine. One day Bedloe wanders into the woods and is missing for a stretch of time. Upon his return, he relates a story his companions assume to be a dream, a tale of adventure in India during the insurrection of Cheyte Sing in 1780. Bedloe insists that the experience–which includes an out of body experience at the moment of death–was real. Dr. Templeton reveals that he was present during this period at that he befriended a man named Oldeb; he produces a picture to prove that Oldeb and Bedlo share a striking resemblance, which is why Templeton was originally drawn to Bedloe and consented to become his physician.
Shortly afterward, Bedloe’s death notice is published. The narrator is surprised to find that a typographical error has resulted in the “e” being left off the man’s name: Bedlo, the reverse of Oldeb. He marvels at this coincidence.
Comments: See H. Bruce Franklin’s commentary in Future Perfect: American Science Fiction of the Nineteenth Century.