Notorious tragic figures in history
(Posh Goth) - Let it be known that I am married to a hardcore history buff. And he's not just any history buff - this is a man who will tell you everything you didn't want to know about Julius Caesar, and anything you didn't ask about Napoleon Bonaparte.
All kidding aside, I do have an innate curiosity about history - particularly tragic events and dark figureheads of times passed. I am fascinated by the morbid, by the macabre, by the psychologically mind-bending events that preceded my generation and the generations to come.
I told my husband that I wanted to write a blog post (after taking a 2 years-long blogging hiatus mind you, but that tidbit is moot) about the most tragically goth figureheads in history. Well what do you know, his eyes lit up! I had some folks in mind that I wanted to include in this list, but I needed some input from an expert. I tasked him with coming up with a handful of folks whose histories fit such criteria as sordid, mysterious, gruesome - or all of the above.
Let's just say my husband did not disappoint. Without further ado, here's our ascending list of the Top Five Most Tragically Goth Figures in History (husband's are starred because, you know, credit when credit is due):
5. Sarah Good (1653-1692), Salem, MA - Sarah Good was one of the very first women to be accused of practicing witchcraft during the Salem, MA witch trials of 1692. She was accused by two young village girls when they informed their local priest that they had suffered bodily abuse and violent spells being cast upon them at the hands of Sarah Good. The girls claimed the spells would cause them to convulse and they demonstrated this for the Reverend. Their bodies shook as their eyes rolled back into their heads. Mass hysteria ensued, and Sarah Good was eventually convicted and hanged along with 18 other people. Hundreds more were accused, but were lucky enough to escape the same fate as Sarah.
A stone commemorating the hanging and death of Sarah Good in Salem, MA.
4. Jacques de Molay (1243-1314), France * - Jacques de Molay was the 23rd and final Grand Master of the legendary Knights Templar fraternal organization. King Philip IV of France (who, according to many historical accounts was deeply indebted to the Templars) had made efforts to dissolve the order and seize upon its vast power and wealth. On October 13, 1307, all Templars across France (along with Molay) were arrested and interrogated at the command of King Philip. Molay made several forced confessions, including the admission that Templar initiation rituals involved "denying Christ and trampling on the Cross". After confessing, he was forced (under duress imaginably) to write a letter asking each and every Templar across France and beyond to own up to these blasphemous practices. Molay later recanted his confession, and Philip followed this up with having Molay burned at the stake in front of Notre Dame de Paris in March 1314. Molay's execution essentially served as the catalyst to the sudden collapse of the centuries-old Knights Templar fraternity.
Jack de Molay
3. Boudica (circa 50's-61 AD) Queen of the Iceni, Britannia * - Widely regarded as a British folk hero that rivals the likes of Robin Hood, Boudica was queen of the British Celtic Iceni tribe. She bravely led an uprising in a show of force and opposition against the occupying Roman Empire in AD 60 or 61. The uprising resulted in the deaths of an estimated 70,000–80,000 Romans and Brits. By all accounts, the uprising had failed, and Boudica died shortly thereafter, having reportedly poisoned herself to avoid capture.
2. Elizabeth Báthory (1750-1614), Hungarian Serial Killer - Recognized by Guinness World Records as the most prolific female murderer of all time, the Blood Countess reportedly had a victim count exceeding 650. She commandeered a reign of terror over the kingdom of Nyírbátor, Hungary for nineteen years. While the precise number of victims is widely and often debated, the macabre and gruesome accounts given by her former staff can not be ignored. Knowledge of these first-hand accounts began to spread throughout the kingdom, and among the rumors of her atrocities: "severe beatings, burning or mutilation of hands, biting the flesh off the faces, arms and other body parts, freezing or starving to death". Her victims of choice were the young servant girls she employed in her palace under the guise of a decent job, a roof over their head, and steady pay. When she grew tired of that practice, she orchestrated hundreds of abductions of young girls throughout the kingdom. It was alleged that she bathed in their "virgin's blood" to maintain her youth. She has long been believed to have cannibalized some of her victims. She was imprisoned in late 1610 within Čachtice Castle (in present-day Slovakia) and kept in solitary confinement in a windowless room where she died 4 years later.
1. Vlad the Impaler (1431-1476), Transylvania (present-day Romania) - Widely considered to be the muse for Bram Stoker's Dracula character, Vlad was voivode of Walachia in 1448, 1456–1462, and 1476. He is notorious for unleashing cruel methods of punishment upon his enemies across 15th-century Europe. Among his more well-known acts of brutality: impaling his enemies' bodies onto stakes firmly planted in the ground and subsequently leaving them to die. Vlad's war of terror ended when he was killed in battle in 1476.
Is there anyone from history's past that should have made it onto this list of the most tragically goth historical figures? Let us know in the comments!
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