A glimpse at the lives and deaths of some who have come before us.
James Otis Jr
Manner of Death: Struck by lightning – as requested
James Otis Junior was a lawyer in Massachusetts and one of the earliest supporters against British rule. Some call him one of the founding fathers of America, and America’s earliest patriot– in fact, in 1761 he gave a 5 hour speech against the ‘Writs of Assistance’ – which united the American revolutionary movement and eventually led to the war of independence.
So yes, he was a very important man for America... but how did he die?
Otis apparently once told his sister that when it was his time to die, he hoped the God Almighty would take his life in a flash of lightning...
Ironically, in May 1783, while standing in the doorway of a friend’s house, he was indeed struck by lightning, killing him instantly.
Manner of death: Didn’t get to the toilet in time.
Tycho Brahe was an alchemist who was also famous for his astronomy. His pioneering observations noted the planetary motion which created the background for Sir Isaac Newton’s theory of gravity.
As I know, from working with scientists, bring smart and having common sense are not mutually exclusive.
Tycho had a very weak bladder. One drink and he was a goner. During this period of time, it was very bad etiquette to leave a banquet table before the host and the end of the festivities. Therefore, during one particular feast, Tycho held on… and on… and on…
To try and pass the pain in his bladder, he decided to just keep drinking – the product of which caused his bladder to strain to the point where either his bladder burst or he had hyponatremia (low levels of sodium in the blood) – or possibly mercury poisoning.
His path to death was agonising and lasted 11 days in total before finally succumbing.
Cause of Death: Allegedly assassinated by having a red hot poker thrust into his anus.
Edward II ruled as King of England for twenty years. He is well known for having a reign filled with disaster – there was political distrust and complete military failure.
Edward II ended up abdicating, but his political enemies realised they could not afford to keep him alive, for as long as a Monarch lived, rebellion was foremost on peoples’ minds.
He was locked up in Berkeley Castle, and it is said that one night a group of assassins broke into the castle and murdered him by forcibly inserting a red hot iron poker directly into his rectum. Talk about “Ring of Fire”! This may have been a red-herring – history is not positive about this cause of death. But interesting all the same.
There was a public funeral held in that same year, which confirmed his death with the people of England, squashing any rebellious thoughts.
It is said that if you visit Berkeley Castle today, you can still hear the screams of agony Edward made, when being tortured with that poker.
Put together by Ashley Hall 2013