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Some famous people and their dead bodies/corpses and body parts. Post-mortem adventures. From Ramses II to Thomas Paine.

Updated on May 6, 2015

Contents.

Bodies were often not left to rest in peace.

The pope who stood trial after his death.

Ramses II inspects a guard of honour 3,500 years after his death.

Oliver Cromwell. Executed two years after his death.

La Grande Mademoiselle and her exploding entrails.

The clergyman who ate the heart of a king.

The queen whose lips continued to pray fifteen minutes after her death.

Napoleon's penis. Removed after his death?

St Anthony of Padua's tongue.

The Auto- Icon of Jeremy Bentham.

Where are the remains of Thomas Paine?

Some appropriate music. by Saint Saens.

Bodies were often not left to rest in peace.

When we study history we are fascinated by the things that famous, and not so famous, people did in their lives. For instance if Julius Caesar had listened to the soothsayer's warning he would have not been assassinated. If Isaac Newton didn't like sitting in orchards, we wouldn't know about gravity and Ben Franklin's propensity for playing dangerous and childish games with kites mean that I am able to type this now, as he discovered electricity and this computer runs off it.

But it is not about the things that people did when they were alive that I want to write about today, but I would rather tell you about some very interesting things that our characters got up to after they were dead. Sometimes it was the whole person and then again, occasionally, only part of the person will be featured. The circumstances that brought about some of their deaths, or the divisions that might have been made to their bodies "post mortem", have bearing on their "performances"

Pope Formosus on trial.

The pope who stood trial after his death.

Pope Formosus was Pope between 891 and 896. His was a troubled pontificate and in 897 his body was disinterred by his successor John VII, placed on a papal throne and tried for being an unworthy pope.
He was found guilty and the three fingers that he had used for blessing were cut off. His body was thrown in The Tiber but it was fished out by a monk.
He must have been innocent of the crimes imputed to him as several miracles are claimed for people who touched his corpse.

Ramses II. Definitely dead.

Ramses II inspects a guard of honour 3,500 years after his death.

Ramses II was Pharaoh of Egypt 1279 BC – 1213 BC. He was considered to be one of the very greatest of the ancient egyptian kings. When he died he was buried with great pomp in The Valley of The Kings but later his body was moved, along with many of his royal colleagues, to a cave in the hills to avoid the depredations of the tomb robbers. They were discovered in the nineteenth century and are currently in the Cairo Museum.
In the nineteen seventies King Ramses's mummy was housed in one of the tombs in the Valley of the Kings.
In 1974, Egyptologists visiting his tomb noticed that the mummy's condition was rapidly deteriorating. They decided to fly it to Paris for examination. Ramses II was issued an Egyptian passport that listed his occupation as "King (deceased)". The mummy was received at Le Bourget airport, just outside Paris, with the full military honours befitting a king.

Old Oliver's head.

Oliver Cromwell. Executed two years after his death.

When the English republican dictator Oliver Cromwell died in 1658, he was buried in Westminster Abbey, with full honours, like a king. In 1660 The monarchy was restored in the person of Charles II. It was decided to punish those who had been responsible for the execution of the late king, Charles I. Some, who were alive, were given a traitors death, but Cromwell was already dead. So accordingly his body was dug up, drawn on a hurdle through the streets of London and hanged on the gallows at Tyburn. It was then taken down and quartered and the head was struck off.
I don't know what happened to his body. His head stayed on a spike over Westminster Hall until it blew down in 1685. It then passed through a number of hands, as a museum piece, until 1960 when it was finally buried in Sydney Sussex College Cambridge, which was Cromwell's university.

La Grande Mademoiselle. In a quiet moment.

La Grande Mademoiselle and her exploding entrails.

La Grande Mademoiselle. Anne Marie Louise d'Orléans, Duchess of Montpensier was the cousin of King Louis XIV of France and one of the most interesting characters in seventeenth century France. She was always "her own woman", and was consequently frequently in trouble with her cousin the king. She never married, because no man of sufficient rank to marry her really took her fancy, and it would have been unthinkable for her to marry beneath her.
She died in 1693.
It was customary to embalm royal corpses and to place the entrails in an urn separately from the coffin.
During the funeral of Mademoiselle the urn exploded. The entire royal family and all the courtiers had to flee the church because of the smell.

Reverend William Buckland. The original dinner guest from Hell.

The clergyman who ate the heart of a king.

Devon geologist and clergyman William Buckland was a noted eccentric whose ambition was to eat at least one of every animal there was. He frequently served up baked mice and rats to his guests. Once on a visit to the Archbishop of York he was shown the preserved heart of King Louis XIV, which the bishop had bought from grave robbers. The Reverend Buckland immediately grabbed the heart and had it sauteed and then slow roasted. He ate it for his supper with a serving of broad beans.
He said it tasted fine, but a bit chewy.

Mary Queen of Scots continued praying after her death.

The queen whose lips continued to pray fifteen minutes after her death.



When Mary Queen of Scots was suffering a martyr's death in 1587, she was not allowed the ministrations of a catholic priest before having her head taken off. On the scaffold, she was constantly being berated by her executioners to prevent her praying. After her execution, when the executioner held her head up to display to the company, it was noticed that her lips were still moving. They continued in that manner for another fifteen minutes.

The execution of Mary Queen of Scots.

Napoleon Bonaparte. I think he was intact when this was painted.

Napoleon's penis. Removed after his death?


When Napoleon Bonaparte died on St Helena, in eighteen twenty one, an autopsy was performed. It has been alleged that the doctor who performed the examination removed the "imperial" penis and gave it to a priest. The artifact, alleged to be Napoleon's willy has been passed around various museums and collectors ever since. It is very tiny and shrivelled and has been described as being like a maltreated shoelace, or a shriveled eel.
So far nobody has done DNA tests to discover if it is authentic.

Napoleon's penis. An appraisal.

Reliquary of St Anthony's tongue.

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St Anthony of Padua's tongue.

St Anthony of Padua was a franciscan friar, noted for his great eloquence in preaching.
When he died in 1231 his body was buried in the little Franciscan Church of St. Mary in Padua. By 1263 a great basilica was built so that the saint's remains could be buried beneath the high altar.
When the coffin was opened to inspect his remains, the entire body was skeletonised, apart from his tongue which was perfectly preserved.
It is now on display in St Anthony's Basilica in Padua.

Visit Jeremy in London.

Thomas Paine. In bits somewhere.

The Auto- Icon of Jeremy Bentham.

If you vist the south cloisters of University College London, you will see a glass cabinet with the stuffed remains of English reformer and philosopher Jeremy Bentham, sitting on a chair "looking at" you. When he died in 1835 he left instructions that his body was to be stuffed and put on display. He has a wax head. The real one was not very successfully embalmed. It used to sit at the front of his cabinet, between his feet; but because people were always stealing it, it is now kept hidden in a secure place. The last time the head was stolen, it was being used as a ball at a rather rowdy student football game.

Where are the remains of Thomas Paine?

When English renegade, or American patriot, (whichever you prefer), Thomas Paine died in 1809, his body was buried in La Rochelle in New York State. The English radical politician, William Cobbett, exhumed the remains in 1819 and shipped them to England, as he considered that Paine was not being suitably treated in America. He wanted to bury him in England with an elaborate memorial.
The English government refused permission, as Thomas Paine was a notorious republican. His remains were kept in a chest in Cobbett's attic until that man's death in 1835. His son is said to have sold the remains in pieces. Part of him is even said to have been made into buttons.
Americans have been trying to trace the bits ever since.

These are just a few of the stories of the adventures of the body parts, and sometimes the whole bodies, of the famous dead. If anyone knows of other similar tales, please post them in the comments.

Some appropriate music. by Saint Saens.

Comments

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    • christopheranton profile imageAUTHOR

      Christopher Antony Meade 

      10 months ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

      They are always worth looking at.

    • profile image

      Skyler 

      10 months ago

      Awesome, I love seeing famous people's dead bodies!

    • christopheranton profile imageAUTHOR

      Christopher Antony Meade 

      7 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

      Hi lisadpreston.

      That might be a fun thing to do. I'll have a go in a week or so. Thanks for your support.

    • lisadpreston profile image

      lisadpreston 

      7 years ago from Columbus, Ohio

      You have me in stitches laughing. I can't get over how both informative and entertaining this hub is. You seem to have many more stories on this subject, so please, give us a part 2. You must!

    • christopheranton profile imageAUTHOR

      Christopher Antony Meade 

      7 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

      Hi lisadpreston. Thanks for your kind words.

      There was a french author once, I think it might have been Emile Zola, who made an arrangement with a criminal who was about to be guillotined, to question his head straightaway after it was cut off. The decapitated head was instructed to answer by blinking,"one blink for yes, two for no" etc. The conversation went on for several minutes, until the head died.

    • lisadpreston profile image

      lisadpreston 

      7 years ago from Columbus, Ohio

      This is a truly interesting hub. I hadn't heard any of this before. I'm trying to decide which dead body story is my favorite. I really can't decide. Okay, it has to be Mary Queen of Scots. The visual in my mind has me laughing. Women just can't stop talking, even after they're dead!! Really, this is probably my favorite hub that you've written. Great job.

    • christopheranton profile imageAUTHOR

      Christopher Antony Meade 

      7 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

      Hi ruffridyer.

      This is about Alaistair Cooke, who died of cancer a few years ago.

      On 22 December 2005, the New York Daily News reported that the bones of Cooke and many other people had been surgically removed before cremation by employees of Biomedical Tissue Services of Fort Lee, New Jersey, a tissue-recovery firm.[12] The thieves sold the bones for use as medical-grade bone grafts.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alistair_Cooke#Later_...

      Pretty disgusting really.

      Thanks for commenting.

    • profile image

      ruffridyer 

      7 years ago from Dayton, ohio

      I had heard about the pope on trial after his death before. I read somewhere that Alister Cooke, the british actor that hosted Masterpiece Theatre, After his death he was supposed to be cremated but instead someone stole his lower skeleton. Does anyone remember this? Apparently the famous dead are still being misused.

    • christopheranton profile imageAUTHOR

      Christopher Antony Meade 

      7 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

      Hi Petra.

      You are right there. I think you might find some of your answers here, and I might reveal more soon.

      https://hubpages.com/politics/The-escape-of-Bin-La

      Wesman.

      Thanks for your kind words, and for all those postings on "Facebook". I really appreciate them.

      You should not run down your own efforts. You do some really brilliant Hubs, especially on nature. I try not to miss any of them.

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

      Wesman Todd Shaw 

      7 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

      I imagine that I've shared every one of your hubs that I've read on facebook. It's just something that I do automatically for the people that I try to stay up on the reading with. . . anyway, one of my favorite female friends, that I've not met - is a biologist, and has an internet radio show out in California. She's like, an emerging public personality, as she's very pretty, very bright, and uses all of her gifts. . .anyways, she was just going nuts over this Hub, she loved it. Now, I wasn't thinking about her seeing it - and I disagree with her quite a lot about things like her atheist, humanism, etc. . . .but I like telling people who are fairly brilliant, "Oh yes, Christopheranton, he's a friend of min on the web - everything he writes is very smart, yes yes. . ."

      I do not believe that I knew of a single of the many instances here every before. I might have read ONE of them somewhere before - but it had been forgotten. This is truly one of your best pieces - at least since I've been reading you. I'm still nuts about that Joseph Stalin Hub. This one probably would make James A. Watkins (one of the super hubbers. . .if you believe in that sort of thing) stomp his feet, and think that you are competing with him.

      You are competing with James though, someone asked "who's your favorite hub author?" in the q and a. I said, "Christopheranton," and left your profile url.

      James A. Watkins. . .is much more predictable in content and style than you are; but all of his hubs are very high quality content. I don't feel like I've produced many as good as this one, or the typical Watkins piece.

    • Petra Vlah profile image

      Petra Vlah 

      7 years ago from Los Angeles

      So now we know; you did serious research to find out what happened to those people; next project should be Osama and whatever is left of him (you don't believe for a minute the "official version, do you?!). Keep on digging and let us know

    • attemptedhumour profile image

      attemptedhumour 

      7 years ago from Australia

      She ended up a basket case, that's for sure.

    • christopheranton profile imageAUTHOR

      Christopher Antony Meade 

      7 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

      Hi Keith.

      She was probably saying, "Has anyone got a paracetemol. I'v suddenly got this blinding headache".

    • attemptedhumour profile image

      attemptedhumour 

      7 years ago from Australia

      Well i never realised how naïve i've been until perusing this hub. I'm definitely getting cremated just in case. Or i could end up in a pepper pot or a tea caddy. It might add a bit of flavour though. I'd like to know what Mary queen of scots was saying too. Cheers Chris.

    • christopheranton profile imageAUTHOR

      Christopher Antony Meade 

      7 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

      Thanks austinstar, and drbj.

      Dead bodies are strange alright. I remember finding a dead man in Hyde Park one night.

      I called the police and ambulance, but when the ambulance men lifted him to put him on the stretcher, he gave a very audible sigh.

      I almost fainted with the fright. All the emergency people fell around laughing at me. It seems dead people do that all the time, because of trapped air in their lungs. I thought he was coming to life again.

      Rev Buckland might have been the inspiration for Hannibal Lector, but I don't know of him killing anyone.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      7 years ago from south Florida

      What great stories, christopher. Each one is a conversation piece on its own. Rev. Buckland could well have served as the model for Hannibal Lecter in 'Silence of the Lambs.' Maybe he did.

      Voted up.

    • Austinstar profile image

      Lela 

      7 years ago from Somewhere near the center of Texas

      Dead bodies do some very strange things. I witnessed one body in the e.r. once that had been declared dead a little too soon. She came back to life and pressed the 'help me' button!

      Nice hub!

    • christopheranton profile imageAUTHOR

      Christopher Antony Meade 

      7 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

      Hi Nell.

      Thanks for reading.

      I think everyone has their favourite. Mine is "Mademoiselle". But then, she is one of my favourite characters from history as well.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      7 years ago from England

      Hi, this was brilliant! lol it totally appealed to my sense of the macabre! sitting in a cabinet with his head between his feet? gotta be a joke in there somewhere! ha ha and having your head chopped off but still nattering on! spooky! great stuff! cheers nell

    • christopheranton profile imageAUTHOR

      Christopher Antony Meade 

      7 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

      They have plenty of oddities in America as well Wesman, so don't feel left out.

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

      Wesman Todd Shaw 

      7 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

      Europe. . . .who is it that thinks America is where to be when Europe has such stories?

    • christopheranton profile imageAUTHOR

      Christopher Antony Meade 

      7 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

      Thanks melpor.

      I think we are safest, if we live our lives in obscurity

    • melpor profile image

      Melvin Porter 

      7 years ago from New Jersey, USA

      A very interesting hub. I enjoyed reading these fascinating stories of what happened to the corpse or parts of the corpse of famous people after they died.

    • christopheranton profile imageAUTHOR

      Christopher Antony Meade 

      7 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

      Hey there Dusty.

      Thanks for reading. That pun is brilliant. Wish I could have thought it up myself.

    • 50 Caliber profile image

      50 Caliber 

      7 years ago from Arizona

      Hats off! A great and original hub that I found particularly funny at Napoleon Bone-apart,Ha! Bravo voted all up, dust

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