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The mysterious death of 6 historical figures



One might think that dying in the famous state means a well-documented death arising from an obvious cause, but nothing could be further from the truth. Throughout history, important figures spent their final hours in situations of insecurity, rumors and mistrust. Whether the deceased is an old emperor or a modern aviator, whether it is a potential arsenic or a faulty radio, the circumstances of these six strange historical deaths may never be fully understood.

. 1 Napoleon Bonaparte // May 5, 1821

Superficially, Napoleon's end seems to be clear: in his death certificate, stomach cancer was cited as the cause of death. In the last weeks of his life in exile on the remote island of St. Helena, the former French emperor had complained of stomach problems such as pain and nausea, but Napoleon himself pointed to something much darker than cancer was at work. In a will written three weeks before his death, he said, "I die before my time, murdered by the English oligarchy and its assassin."

There was some possible evidence to support his poisoning theory. When Napoleon's body was exhumed in St. Helena in 1

840 for a worthier funeral in Paris, it was reported that the body was in remarkably good condition. Some scientists have suggested that this may have been a side effect of arsenic exposure that they claim has had a conservative effect. In 1961, hair samples from Napoleon were found to have elevated levels of arsenic, leading to several decades of feverish speculation about possible arsenic poisoning. However, a 2008 analysis of hair taken in four episodes by Napoleon revealed that the arsenic levels remained constant during this time, and the concentrations that matched his son and wife's hair were slowly poisoned with arsenic because they somehow were. At the time, the stuff did not have to be administered with malicious intent to get into your system. Not only was it a common component of weedkiller and rat poison, it has also been frequently added to beauty products and medicinal tonics. It was also part of a popular green pigment that was used in paintings, fabrics, and wallpaper – including the wallpaper in the house where Napoleon died. (A sample stolen by a visitor in the 1820s survived decades in a scrapbook and tested positive for arsenic in the 1990s.)

In addition to Arsen, Napoleon was exposed to questionable medical examinations of a number of other toxic substances been treatments. His doctors gave him tartar (antimony potassium tartrate, which is toxic) for his gastrointestinal problems, and two days before his death, Napoleon received a large dose of calomel (mercuric chloride) as a laxative. The stew of questionable chemicals in his system led an international team of toxicologists and pathologists in 2004 to conclude that Napoleon's death was a case of "medical mishap" in which the drugs he was exposed to were associated with his already poor health , led to a disruption of the heart rhythm, which ultimately led to death.

However, this does not mean that the idea of ​​gastric cancer has come to a standstill. In 2007, a study based on the autopsy reports and memoirs of Napoleon's doctor and other records compared descriptions of the lesions in Napoleon's stomach during his autopsy with modern images of benign and cancerous gastric lesions. The newspaper concluded that the deaths of the dead emperor were most likely cancer that had spread to other organs. The cancer was probably a result of Helicobacter pylori bacteria that damage the gastric mucosa. The salt-conserved food that Napoleon consumed in his extended campaigns should also have contributed to this. In truth, it is very likely that a number of factors, with or without British interference, contributed to the death of Napoleon.

. 2 Amelia Earhart // 2 July 1937 (Disappeared)

Amelia Earhart is probably best known for two things: she was the first woman she flew across the Atlantic in 1932 and disappeared five years later.

On the 2nd of July. In 1937 Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan were on one of the last and most difficult stages of their round the world flight – a nonstop journey from Lae, New Guinea, to Howland Island in the South Pacific. The couple wanted to refuel before heading off to Hawaii. At about 6 am, her plane fired the Coast Guard cutter Itasca who anchored off Howland to give her instructions. However, there were communication issues: the ship used the bandwidth that Earhart could not receive, and some key radios on the Itasca had no batteries left. For hours, the ship sent news that Earhart could not hear, and her messages to her were worrisome-she mentioned that the fuel was running out and she could no longer see any land. At 8:45 am the ship and plane had lost contact.

Despite an extensive air and sea search by Itasca and the US government, neither Earhart nor Noonan were ever heard again. The official explanation is that Earhart's plane ran out of fuel and crashed into the Pacific, but since no one knows for sure where the plane crashed, finding the wreck has been difficult. However, some researchers believe that Earhart and Noonan have briefly survived as shipwrecked on a nearby island before succumbing to the elements.

The Shipwreck Theory has become established in part because of the efforts of a nonprofit organization, the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR). His executive director Richard Gillespie believes that Earhart and Noonan have landed on Nikumaroro, about 350 nautical miles southeast of Howland in the Republic of Kiribati. The island's location matches the airline Earhart identified in their latest radio message, and researchers believe they've found photos showing landing gears amidst the coral reefs and emergency calls from crewmembers. Several TIGHAR expeditions to the island have also uncovered plexiglass and aluminum fragments that could be part of Earhart's plane, as well as parts of a jar of freckles cream and leather shoes that could belong to a woman [PDF].

To make things even stranger, the discarded speculations are also a skull and other bones found on Nikumaroro in 1940 and lost since then. Initial analysis revealed that the bones belonged to an older man, but TIGHAR recently announced that a new analysis revealed that they probably belonged to a woman the same size as Earhart, and most likely a European. However, forensic researchers questioned the conclusions of TIGHAR in 2015. Since the skeleton is both missing and incomplete, it seems unlikely that the matter will be resolved soon. In July 2019, marine geologist Robert Ballard – the man who found the wreck Titanic in 1985 – announced that he would be on an expedition to Nikumaroro to seek clues on the island and offshore. Special titled Expedition Amelia aired in October.

If the castaway theory seems unlikely, it is by no means the most bizarre in circulation. Some say Earhart was captured by the Japanese after their plane crashed (or deliberately shot down) and then held captive. In this version of the events, her disappearance was part of a cover-up by the US government, and Earhart was allegedly released in 1945, after which she spent the remainder of her days under a different name as a banker in New Jersey. 19659002] 3. Edgar Allan Poe // October 7, 1849

In 1849, Edgar Allan Poe disappeared for six days. When he showed up near a pub in Baltimore on October 3, he was talking and wearing someone else's suit. A compassionate Samaritan noticed that Poe acted strangely and asked for help to get a friend of the writer into the tavern. But when the friend arrived, Poe was frantic and had to be taken to the hospital. He lingered there for a few more days, plagued by fever and hallucinations, occasionally calling Reynolds' name . As the attending physician, Dr. John J. Moran, trying to ask Poe what had happened before he came to the tavern, was Poe's "incoherent and unsatisfying answers," Moran later wrote. Four days after he had mysteriously arrived in Baltimore, Poe had just arrived as mysteriously dead.

The official cause of death for Poe is sometimes listed as phrenitis or brain inflammation, but no autopsy has ever taken place and medical records have disappeared. However, postmortem hair analysis has not revealed any trace of lead commonly found in wine in the 19th century suggesting that Poe was unlikely to consume alcohol at the end of his life (in fact, he had sworn to a new fiance to give it up) A 1996 article in the Maryland Medical Journal (19459006) blamed rabies that Poe had classic symptoms of the disease: trembling and hallucinations, a coma and delirium that made him fierce suspected the flu, a brain tumor, syphilis or some kind of poisoning – even murder by his fiancee's brothers, who were supposed to resist his upcoming marriage ,

One of the more-accepted explanations, however, concerns a vicious type of electoral fraud known as cooping . In nineteenth-century America, it was not uncommon for gangs to abduct men and force them to vote for a candidate on several occasions, each time wearing different clothes to disguise themselves. The place where Poe was found on October 3 gives weight to the theory: Gunner's Hall served as a polling place in the 1849 congressional election. At the time, voters also got alcohol as a reward for fulfilling their civic duty, which would explain Poe's intoxication. the stranger's cheap suit could have been a disguise provided by a gang. Poe reportedly reacted badly to alcohol. So, every time he was dragged to several polling stations and fed alcohol, beaten, as victims often did, the combination might have been too much for him. However, the Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore points to a flaw in this theory: Poe was "reasonably well known and probably recognized" in Baltimore – even in the dirty clothes of another. We may never know the whole story behind Poe's death, which does not seem inappropriate to the master of macabre.

. 4 Alexander the Great // June 323 BC

Alexander the Great, one of the most powerful conquerors in the world, claimed to be a son of the gods. Unfortunately, he was mortal and died a few months before his 33rd birthday. His last illness began during a feast in summer 323 BC. In a commander, where he allegedly had high fever and abdominal pain. He bathed for a few days, slept and sacrificed, but then the fever worsened. On the fourth day he lost his strength and on the seventh day he could not get up. His speech skills failed, and when his troops asked to see him on the tenth day of his illness, he could only follow them with his eyes. He died on the 11th day. It is said that when the embalmers began working on Alexander's body, they found the body fresh and unspoiled after six days of delay – a remarkable event in the heat of summer at the annual Historical Clinicopathological Conference at the University of Maryland, where medical experts meet. to take a fresh look at the last days of famous dead people. Philip A. Mackowiak, professor emeritus at the University of Maryland's School of Medicine, is both director of the conference (which considered Alexander's death in 1996) and author of the book Post Mortem : Solving History's Great Medical Secrets . In Post Mortem he explains that attempts to understand Alexander's death are made more difficult by the lack of contemporary accounts of the events and the descriptions we have a few hundred years later are secondary accounts. In addition, these descriptions contradict each other: Plutarch writes in the 1st and 2nd century u. Z. that Alexander had no pain and that other reports added this symptom to make Alexander's death appear as moving as possible. However, other ancient sources claim that Alexander suffered significant pain immediately after eating a massive wine cup. Some – especially the Roman historian Justin – suggested that Alexander had been poisoned.

Alexander had ] made many enemies, not least with his whole cause "I am the son of the gods". Mackowiak writes that Alexander also insulted his Macedonians by dressing like the defeated Persians, and that the recent campaign he had planned through the Horn of Arabia and North Africa must have been "alarmed by his exhausted army." When it comes to who dared to poison the great Alexander, Mackowiak notes that some suspects Antipater, an ambitious Macedonian regent, or even the philosopher Aristotle, who had once taught Alexander the Great – and apparently feared for his life, after a relative had been implicated in an assassination plot. Once again, arsenic was named as a possible culprit; Mackowiak writes that it is known to cause abdominal pain and progressive weakness. In some forms, it is water-soluble and virtually tasteless, making it easy to hide in wine or food. However, fever is not usually a sign of arsenic poisoning, and most historians doubt that arsenic was used as a poison during that time.

A tropical disease seems more likely. According to Mackowiak, a particularly malignant malaria type caused by the parasite Plasmodium falciparum could have caused Alexander's fever, weakness, stomach pain and death, but not his speech loss or the fresh appearance of his corpse. Others have suggested West Nile Virus Encephalitis, which can cause paralysis but is usually not fatal. In Post Mortem Mackowiak suggests typhoid fever as the most likely killer with ascending paralysis. Before understanding the importance of clean water and sanitation, typhoid fever was a plague, as food and drink were often contaminated with feces that carried the typhus-causing bacteria Salmonella typhi . Typhus usually involves a gradual increase in fever and weakness, abdominal pain and other horrible symptoms, but in rare cases, it is accompanied by an ascending palsy that begins with the legs and moves up to the brain. Known as Guillain-Barré syndrome, it is almost always fatal in typhoid fever. Mackowiak suggests that Alexander, if he had suffered from Guillain-Barré, would have lost his ability to speak as a result of the paralysis as soon as he reached his higher nerve centers. Worryingly, Mackowiak also suggests that the paralysis might also have caused the fresh look of Alexander's corpse – because he may not have been dead so long when they arrived, and was paralyzed. In this case, it is good that the embalmers are late.

. 5 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart // December 5, 1791

Was Mozart's death caused by a pork chop, a sexually transmitted disease, poisoning by a jealous rival – or none of the above?

The famous composer first showed signs of his death in the fall of 1791. Overworked, underfunded and depressed, he worked on the Requiem commissioned by a mysterious benefactor when he began in July what some have called stomach and joint pain. On November 20, he went to bed. His body swelled up and gave off a foul smell. His wife and sister-in-law made him a special piece of clothing with an opening at the back to make it easier to change. On the evening of December 4, he began to show signs of delirium. His doctor was called, and when he arrived he bled Mozart (then common practice for almost all ailments) and put a cold envelope on his forehead. The composer became unconscious and died five minutes to one on the morning of December 5th. He was 35 years old. The last sounds he ever made were an attempt to imitate one of the drum voices from his unfinished requiem. 19659004] The official diagnosis was: Acute Miliary Fever ( Miliary refers to a rash with spots the size of millet seeds). Within a week, a Berliner Zeitung reported that Mozart may have been poisoned. In fact, Mozart's wife said that her husband complained months before he died, "I know I have to die, someone gave me Acqua Toffana [a compound of arsenic and other toxins] and calculated the exact time of my death for which they ordered a requiem, I write that [for] itself. "

The main cause of the alleged poisoning scheme is often called the composer Antonio Salieri, one of Mozart's rivals. Although the theory faded after Mozart's death, it emerged in the 20th century thanks to Peter Shafer's drama of 1979 Amadeus and the 1984 film adaptation. In some versions of the story Salieri is said to have commissioned the Requiem himself, with the intention of issuing it after the murder of Mozart as his own. But Salieri emphatically denied any involvement and said to a disciple of Beethoven's dying bed, "I can assure you on my word of honor that this absurd rumor contains no truth, you know that I should have poisoned Mozart." Others have charged the Masons, who allegedly poisoned Mozart – one of their own – for revealing their secret symbolism in his opera The Magic Flute .

However, Mackowiak considers a Masonic involvement to be unlikely because others who participated in The Magic Flute lived for decades and because Mozart's Lodge held a ceremony for him after his death and supported his widow. Furthermore, the most likely poisons used then did not cause the kind of severe generalized swelling that Mozart experienced, known as anasarca. Others suggested syphilis, which in Mozart's times and sometimes an epidemic, contained a mild fever and rash. This disease also affects the kidneys and was often treated with mercury, which would have led to further deterioration of the kidneys and could have caused anasarka. But Mozart was a workaholic who had no time to play around and loved his wife Constanze in every way. According to Mackowiak, there is no credible evidence that a partner has ever had an affair. A less violent theory is that Mozart was killed by an insufficiently cooked pork schnitzel, or more precisely by a trichinosis. It is known that Mozart took pork shortly before his illness. But trichinosis – which derives from the parasite Trichinella – usually causes muscle aches, to which the family members Mackowiak recalled and which were mentioned in their descriptions of the last days of the composer.

Whatever the illness was, Mozart was not & # 39; Mackowiak notes that at that time there were a number of similar cases. A plausible diagnosis, argue Mackowiak and other researchers, is streptococcal glomerulonephritis, an inflammatory glomeruli disease (a network of kidney capillaries) that follows infection with the streptococcus bacterium . It can occur as part of an epidemic and cause the kind of swelling that Mozart suffered. Glomerulonephritis, following infections with Streptococcus equi and usually affects horses and sometimes cows, can lead to kidney failure and death. People often get it when they consume milk or dairy products from infected cows, which explains the epidemic nature. Kidney failure would also explain Mozart's stench, probably caused by the waste products that accumulate in the blood, sweat and saliva when the kidneys stop working. Unfortunately it is once again probable that a complete understanding of Mozart's death will be forever unattainable, as both medical records and Mozart's skeleton (well, most of it, probably) have been lost.

. 6 Christopher Marlowe // May 30, 1593

The loner, English poet, playwright and spy Christopher "Kit" Marlowe is said to have been murdered at the age of 29, having eaten and drunk with some friends in a dining house. According to the report of the forensic doctor, there was a dispute between Marlowe and one of the men present, Ingram Frizer, to pay the bill. "Various malicious words" were spoken and as things got hot, Marlowe grabbed Frizer's dagger and injured him twice on the head. Then Frizer reached back, stabbed Marlowe in the eye and killed him immediately.

That was the story of Marlowe's death for years, but the story seemed suspicious for a long time. In fact, one of the most dangerous things about Marlowe may not have been his espionage, his street brawls or his alleged affairs with men. It could have been his religious faith – or the absence of it. Shortly before his death, an arrest warrant for Marlowe had been issued for atheism, after a former roommate and playwright had claimed under torture that heretical papers found in his room belonged to Marlowe. Some, like David Riggs of Stanford University, say that Frizer was not motivated by anger over a bill, and the real force behind the dagger was Queen Elizabeth I, who was enraged enough about his heretical religious beliefs that she was murdering commanded. Those who believe this theory find that Elizabeth Frizer pardoned only a month after Marlowe's death.

This is just one of the many theories that affect Marlowe's untimely end. Others claim he embarrassed powerful members of the Elizabethan espionage world. MJ Trow, author of Who Killed Kit Marlowe ?: A Murder Agreement in Elizabethan England believes that Marlowe used his play Edward II. to point out that four members of the Queen & # 39; ; s Privy Council (Their top advisers were also atheists.) Trow claims the councilors had decided to silence Marlowe with a hit and they had promised immunity to his friends in the dining house, in fact Trow said The Guardian "all were cleared after a short process and were given titles and positions of wealth and influence shortly thereafter."

Frizer and friends are not the only ones who have done so, however, suspected of murder kits – some think, Sir Walter Raleigh, who had heard of Marlowe's arrest, worried about what might come out of his trial and ordered him killed rather than a free-thinking Employees to be burdened. Another theory points to Audrey Walsingham, whose husband Marlowe hired and who appeared to be jealous of her (possibly sexual) relationship. Others, of course, think Marlowe faked his own death to avoid trouble. Then they continued to write plays from a safe place and possibly sent them back to England with Walsingham's help. The person who received recognition for these new creations? Of course William Shakespeare.


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