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Edgar Allan Poe dreams that he is a crippled librarian named Edgar Marsh. Morbidly sensitive about his disability, he lives in solitude with a housekeeper in his dead mother's house. He spends his evenings in a haze of drugs and dreams lasciviously of encounters with women he ordinarily would not dare approach. A florist's attractive assistant, Betty Clare, moves across the way, and he secretly watches her from his bedroom window and becomes passionately aroused. Although he manages, through a contrived meeting, to arrange a date with her, it soon becomes apparent that she prefers the company of his best friend, Carl Loomis. Insanely jealous, Edgar kills Carl and hides the body under the floorboards of his study. Haunted by the hallucination that he can still hear Carl's heart beating, he cuts the heart from the body and buries it in the nearby woods; but the relentless hammering continues. Betty, meanwhile, has asked the police to investigate Carl's mysterious disappearance. When they question Edgar, he breaks down and confesses to the murder. At this point, Poe awakens from his dream, looks out of his window and sees a young woman--Betty Clare--moving into the house across the way.