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Strange Deaths: Middle Ages Time Period

Updated on December 16, 2020

Watch Out For Deadly Teeth

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Strange Deaths in History

Usually, I write about odd things that end up being part fiction, partly true stories. While trying to track down information on a certain legend where a strange death occurred, I found out that this strange event was absolutely true! With almost no further searching, I ended up on webpages detailing strange TRUE deaths, so I went to the "Middle Ages" section (more research on the "Buried Alive" legends...too many of which are true stories) and ended up in a bizarre collection of absolutely documented deaths that seem so strange that they sound like fictitious urban legends.

Here are a few I feel I can mention here (some are so gross and unbelievable that even I won't put them on hubpages):

Martin of Aragon Laughed Himself To Death

Martin, who held many titles, succumbed to laughter in an unusual death. Known as Martin, King of Aragon, Valencia, Sardinia and Corsica (from 1396 'til death) and as Count of Barcelona (from 1409, under the name of Martin II - until death), was born in 1356 and expired in Barcelona in the year, 1410.

Okay, there was another element present in his death but honestly, I refused to put it in the subheading, in bold here, because I didn't want to say, "Martin of Aragon Died of Abdominal Gas and Laughter," or "Marting of Aragon Died of a full belly and laughter," or something similarly silly-sounding...

But apparently, this man actually DID die of the combination of indigestion and laughter!

* Note: some others have died of laughter, too - quite a number of people both recently and in the historical past in long ago times. Apparently, laughing can be a deadly matter.

Death by Eel...Henry I Died by "Pigging Out" On His Favourite Food

It is said that King Henry I of England, born sometime between May 1068 and May 1069, loved to eat lamprey eels and these were a delicacy and favourite food. On the day of his death, December 1, 1135, he had consumed a great feast of his favourite food.

Apparently, he got food poisoning from his favourite dish and expired in 1135.

All I know about eels is that some, you can safely eat, some you cannot, but I'm still checking up on this legend of strange death to find out if the problem was that Henry I ate too much of his favourite dish, ate a wrong species of eel, that the dish was not prepared properly or just what.

Death of the 4th Earl of Hereford: Speared in the Butt! It's True!

In 1322, the 4th Earl of Hereford, Humphrey de Bohun was literally speared in the butt, causing his death.

It is believed that this 4th Earl of Hereford was born in 1276 but this date is uncertain, however, we can know the date of his death as March 16 1322.

Humphrey was engaged in military manouvres at the Battle of Boroughbridge at Yorkshire and was just getting ready to storm the wooden bridge at Boroughbridge, Yorkshire, moments before his awful demise.

I'll display the quote Wikipedia uses from the authority of historian Ian Mortimer from Mortimer's book, "The Greatest Traitor":

"[The 4th Earl of] Hereford led the fight on the bridge, but he and his men were caught in the arrow fire. Then one of de Harclay's pikemen, concealed beneath the bridge, thrust upwards between the planks and skewered the Earl of Hereford through the anus, twisting the head of the iron pike into his intestines. His dying screams turned the advance into a panic."

Okay... 'nuff said here, I think...

Gives me a pain just to think about this too much.

Sigurd the Mighty. Otherwise known as Sigurd Eysteinsson The Viking Earl of Orkney

Apparently during the tenth century, The Viking Earl of Orkney - Sigurd The Mighty - caused his own death through displaying evidence of his MIGHTINESS! Or...displaying a stupidity that would never have been recognized nor care been taken to prevent beforehand, anyway, in his culture and era (sorry - this mention of "stupidity" is an unqualified judgment based on my modern era worldview but I'm leaving it in'll understand WHY once you hear the whole story).

...Or, there's another way to look at it which is also technically correct: Sigurd was killed in a mysterious way by a DEAD MAN!

Strangely, once you take in the necessary details, you'll have to conclude that both statements are TRUE...Sigurd caused his own death. Sigurd the Mighty was killed by a dead man, too.

I know that makes little sense, so far, so let me back up just a bit...

During the times when Vikings "conquered" and battled face to face and by hand, it was not unusual for individuals to walk away from battle displaying the spoils and trophies of war. Sometimes doing so helped individuals to build reputations concerning prowess on the battlefield, so a Viking warrior might chop off then display the hand of a beaten and deceased opponent somewhere on his property - thus striking fear into the hearts of those who might challenge the victorious warrior.

Technically, our ancient friend, Sigurd the Mighty was killed by an opponent, although Mighty Sig won his battle as a leader in the Viking Conquest of the area now known as Northern Scotland. Sigurd was killed by the fallen and fully deceased Mael Brigte (a Nobleman Pict) whom Sigurd had recently and brutally slain in combat!

No, Mael was no vampire, ghost or any other "supernatural entity." Despite the brutal nature of battle of the day, Mael wasn't engaged in a vampire-like or ghost-like supernatural act of vengeance concerning his death, either. Mael was definitely, entirely, and stone-cold DEAD when he killed the Mighty Sigurd!

Dead as a door-knob, dead as a rock, dead as an overpowered Pict, dead as a... well, I'm sure you get the picture.

Technically, Mael errrrrrrrrr sort of BIT Sigurd to death. Yes, that's right, you read it right, "BIT" Sigurd...and yes, Sigurd died by the teeth of Mael ! How horrendous!

Again, believe it or not - this is not about vampire vengeance! Again, Mael Brigte was definitely already dead.

The Pictish Nobleman, Mael Brigte was more than dead...he was slain and beheaded by Sigurd the Mighty. As a symbolic gesture, Sigurd had strapped Mael Brigte's caput (head) to his saddle to display proof of the victory as Sigurd embarked upon his journey back to his homelands. At this point, Mael was obviously no more than a trophy of conquest to the Mighty Sigurd, however...

As Sigurd rode, Mael's teeth grazed against and broke the skin of Sigurd's thigh. Sigurd the Mighty endured a massive infection at the spot where Mael's teeth had grazed his leg.

Sigurd expired from the wound from Mael's teeth and the resulting infection.

Mael Brigte is also known as Mael Brigte The Bucktoothed.


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