5 Most Peculiar Deaths in History

November 16, 2012

The majority of people have this exceedingly stiff, gloomy, prefabricated perception of the otherwise sole invariable in our pretty hazardous lives: I’m referring to the frightening, constantly lurking death I rather regard as a perfectly personal epilogue for the one who’s canny enough to work it out, to make it a paragon.

Surely, with the dwindling courage of the human race, this subject is far from being easy to discuss objectively since it underlines the prospect of our own demise none usually desires to confront, but I’m attempting to change the perspective a bit. Death’s sometimes preferable, seldom (yet still) recommended  and can, on various occasions, invest our very lives with a purpose we’ve previously lacked. Death is faithful and least as interesting as its antagonist, not that I’m adulating either. Through the prism of my (frequently) phlegmatic temper, the quietus  in question is even charged with a dose of undeniable aesthetic value; not for nothing I’ve a habit to judge a person starting from the manner in which (s)he passed away. There’s a lot to understand about a man’s personality analyzing their final moments.

Hence I put together the following list of the 5 most peculiar deaths I ever came upon during my nocturnal readings, containing more or less obscure historical characters with comments attached.

year 1531: Louise of Savoy, mother of bawdy  King Francis I  (of France) kicked the bucket while watching a comet on a chilly September evening. Tout ensemble, quite an idyllic ending for the active figure she was but nonetheless fit if you ask me.

year 1771: King Adolf Frederick of Sweden, deemed a weak, useless monarch, died after having consumed a full meal consisting of lobster, caviar, sauerkraut, kippers and champagne galore, in God knows what humongous quantities, which was topped off with 14 servings of his favorite dessert: semla (the thing he’s thinking about in the above picture) served in a bowl of hot milk. He is thus remembered by Swedish school children as “the king who ate himself to death.” Justifiably.

year 1556: Pietro Aretino, the Italian responsible for the invention of erotic literature,  chum with the reputed painter Titian (who made the displayed portrait)  is said to have died of suffocation from “laughing too much.” A strange conclusion, giving his curriculum vitae… Playwright, poet, satirist , pensioned by both Francis I and  Charles V, twice knighted by two Popes… I definitely didn’t see that coming, which makes it all the more interesting, don’t you agree?

year 1667: A handsome lad called James Betts died from asphyxiation after being sealed in a cupboard by Elizabeth Spencer, at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, in an attempt to hide from her father, John Spencer. Apparently, the two were passionate lovers with bright future perspectives… until  impure thoughts drove them to experience some unfortunate premarital intercourse and almost got caught in flagrante delicto … To further dramatize the story, after her beloved’s demise and probably inspired by the tragic romance of Romeo & Juliet, unbearable grief made Elizabeth commit suicide. Surely, I’ll never again look at “Quickly! Hide in the wardrobe!” sort of commercials with the same ignorant eyes: there’s a true danger over there.

year 620 BC: Draco, not the pathetic Harry Potter character but rather the Athenian law-maker who, known for his severity, is presently as synonymous with maleficence as Machiavelli, was smothered to death by gifts of cloaks showered upon him by appreciative citizens at a theatre on Aegina. Whether a smartly masked murder or pure coincidence, I find his way of snuffing it the most peculiarly amusing of them all. Something about the lethal value of a present tickles my fancy…

But which of these 5 tickles yours?


7 Responses to “5 Most Peculiar Deaths in History”

  1. Great post, I can’t imagine a more ironic death than a poet laughing to death. I laughed till I died!!

  2. sex date Says:

    Nice blog over here! I’ll just wanna thank you for that.

  3. daseger Says:

    Oh, love this! And it’s a challenge–now I’m thinking of even more “impressive” deaths.

  4. i think i can come up with several more unusual deaths but these are weird enough for now

  5. Louise of Savoy definitely had the most romantic death. Smothered by cloaks reminds me of how people tend to pile their guests’ coats on a bed during a dinner party. “He just wanted a quick nap, next thing he was smothered by gabardine and hounds-tooth…” 🙂

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