In Elisabeth’s last Will and testament, it was rumoured to tell of a vast fortune for anyone who could spend a year in her tomb...
Elisabeth Alexandrovna Stroganoff
Well this story is a little similar, but the difference is it is not a mansion – it is a mausoleum – and it is not a stay of a week, but rather a full year, to unlock the riches... or so the rumours go.
Born February 5, 1779, into Russian Aristocracy, Elisabeth Alexandrovna Stroganoff married Nicolas Demidoff at aged 16, and gave him two sons. The couple lived in France where they were ardent supporters of Napoleon. However, with tensions building between Russia and France, the Demidoff’s moved back to Russia, where the marriage broke up.
Elisabeth was described as being quite a cheerful and more outgoing character, while her husband was more of a brooder. Elisabeth was interested in social outings; her husband was more interested in building on his financial fortune (which he did through modernising infrastructure and mining).
Elisabeth De Demidoff died in Paris, France on 8 April 1818, her body housed in a massive mausoleum located in the Pere-Lachaise cemetery. This Mausoleum is one of the largest in the cemetery, Elisabeth's body located in the tomb beneath.
Internment and the Challenge!
The Will supposedly read something along the lines of – anyone of good will who agreed to spend 365 days and 366 nights locked within her tomb alone would inherit a fortune. They could not leave the tomb for any reason during this time.
It is not entirely sure how legitimate this Will was, but quite a few people took it seriously enough to give the challenge a go. The person who wanted to make a go of the challenge would be guided into the tomb containing the body of Elisabeth Demidoff, and the doors would be shut and locked (barred) behind them. Should they wish to leave, they could do so at any time. They could access food and water which would be slid through the door, as would their waste bucket be removed and emptied.
It is not entirely certain what these people experienced in the tomb, but one survivor muttered that he felt his very life leaving him, he thought he could hold out but was unable too.
Just What Might Be Going On Here?
As is stated, a lot of this is rumour and no one is absolutely certain of the facts. Many places say the challenge is for a person to survive just one week, but the earliest mentions of this state it lasts a year.
There have been a few suggestions as to what may have been taking place at the time the challengers felt their life leaving them. It was rumoured that Elisabeth Demidoff may have been some sort of vampire, symbols carved about the mausoleum are believed to point to this fact – the knot a symbol of uniting life and death, the carved wolf heads the daytime guardians over her body and Elisabeth's body faces the direction of the setting sun.
What do you think?
Maybe it was all rumour, there is no challenge?
Or perhaps the challenge was to provide Elisabeth unwitting prey, their essences feeding her?