Top 10 “Stubborn” People From History Who Just Refused To Die

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Death is a natural thing that must come to every man irrespective of status, or social standing. Below; is a list of people from history who have just refused to die as they decided to wrestle death. Enjoy!


1. Anne Greene (AD 1650)

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons


A lady; Anne Greene was sentenced to death by hanging for murdering her “bastard” child, and hiding the body in her boss’s house. Seems a really bad, but it was 1650 and what was an unmarried mother to do? In her bid to coverup the shame, she killed the innocent child and was taken to the gallows and fitted with a noose.

Her chilling last words were “Sweet, Jesus receive my soul.” The hangman kicked the stool from beneath her feet, and Anne’s body hung for half an hour.

However, Anne Greene had always proclaimed her innocence, and her friends were on her side. To quicken her death they thumped on her chest, and hung with their weight upon her legs, lifting her up and pulling her down again with a sudden jerk.

Thankfully, someone stopped the madness, they cut her down and put her in a coffin, which was to be delivered to a doctor for “research”.As the doctor began cutting her open he got quick the surprise. One touch of the scalpel on her chest and Anne’s corpse let out a groan. What happened next depends on who you ask. Some people say the doctor immediately tried to warm her body, and revived her.

Others say the doctor tried to kick her dead by stomping on her chest, the force so strong it ended up jump starting her heart.

Whichever you prefer, it doesn’t change the happy ending to this story. Anne was declared innocent of her crimes, and she lived a long life bearing three more children.

2. King Zog of Albania

King Zog of Albania
Photo Credit: historytoday

Back in 1931, King Zog of Albania was shot while leaving the Vienna State Opera House. For most kings, this might be a once-in-a-lifetime thing, but King Zog had already been shot in the early 1920s. That time, he took a few minutes to compose himself and, still bleeding, carried on to the parliament house to make a speech.

King Zog was not entirely beloved by his fellow Albanians. His tendency toward excess when most of his countrymen were dirt-poor did not always go down well. And the monarchy in Albania was relatively young, so he was not widely accepted outside his country. These factors plus his undeniable habit of murdering his political opponents left Zog a marked man.

Zog began to find life difficult. He tried not to be seen in public. He put his family in charge of the army and his mother in charge of tasting his food. However, his paranoia was justified. King Zog is said to have survived at least 50 assassination attempts, including some that occurred after he went into permanent exile in 1939.

He finally died of natural causes in 1961. Legendary!

3. Majorie McCall

Photo Credit: BBC

In 1705, Margorie McCall fell ill and died in Shankill, Ireland. During her wake, there was an undignified row among the mourners over a valuable ring the deceased was wearing. Some of them said they wanted to remove the ring to prevent the body from being dug up by grave robbers. The ring, however, would not budge.

So McCall went to her grave still wearing the ring. Sure enough, that very night, her body was exhumed by robbers. After failing to remove the ring, they produced a knife to cut off the ring finger. As soon as the knife pierced her skin, McCall regained consciousness.

The robbers fled, and McCall walked home to her shocked family.

When she finally expired, McCall returned to Shankill Graveyard for a second funeral. You can still see her tombstone which bears the inscription, “Lived Once, Buried Twice.” It is not known whether the ring went with her

4. Indian Burial Ground

Iona Scotland
Photo Credit: Spiritual Travels

It was 548 A.D and the Christians of Iona, Scotland, decided it was high time to build a chapel on an ancient burial ground. As we know from every horror film, this is a bad idea. The Christians went on anyway, but they came across a problem.

Each morning they would wake up to discover the work they had done on the chapel the previous day was destroyed. That’s when a man named Columba had a brilliant idea. They should bury someone alive in the foundation!We don’t see the logic here, but apparently Odran did. He was a monk, and Columba’s brother, so we’re assuming he volunteered to be supportive. With the promise that he’d be safe, they put Odran underground, and it worked! The chapel was finished. Now, as we know there are two sides to every story.

If you ask Columba he’d tell you he missed Odran and he freed his brother. Ordan had revealed much wisdom from his death. “There is no such great wonder in death.

There is no Hell as you suppose, nor Heaven that people talk about.”Deep. However, Ordan’s side goes a little more like this:Ordan awoke to life he began to escape his grave, when Columba spotted him. Columba shoved Ordan back down into the earth, and covered the pit. Whoever you believe, we can all agree these two needed to attend family therapy.

5. Thomas Kempis

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If the name Thomas Kempis sounds familiar it’s because you know him work as the Catholic monk who wrote The Imitation of Christ (although it is a subject of much debate) In 1471 he died in Zwolle, and church authorities began to debate whether or not he would make a good saint.

They exhumed his body and had planned to go forward with his canonization, but they found scratch marks inside the coffin, and splitters underneath Thomas’s nails. This man was no saint he was trying escape his fate of death. Were they going to completely ignore the the holy miracle of his resurrection after death? Yes. Thomas was denied canonization, never becoming a saint.

6. Ferdinard Magellen (The Explorer Who Survived Mutiny, Starvation, A Poisoned Arrow, And A Spear)

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In 1521, Ferdinand Magellan, the first man to sail from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean, was killed while attempting to make the first circumnavigation of the world.

He had left Spain with five ships and 250 men in 1519 and headed for the Spice Islands. He survived an attempted mutiny. Then Magellan lost one of his ships during a reconnaissance mission. And he severely underestimated the size of the Pacific Ocean. The trip that he believed would take a few days took four long months.

Magellan and his crew began to starve. The food ran out, the water turned putrid, and the men contracted scurvy. When they finally hit land on Mactan Island in the Philippines, they were almost dead. In gratitude to God for helping him to successfully find the island, Magellan decided to convert the indigenous population to Christianity. However, he used cannons and muskets rather than hymn books.

Magellan’s cannon fire was ineffective because the coral reef around the island kept the target out of range. So the invaders waded ashore wearing upper body armor. The tribesmen realized that the crew’s legs were unprotected and aimed their arrows lower.

With his men fleeing all around him, Magellan kept on fighting. He was hit by poisoned arrows. Still, he persevered. He was attacked by spears, but he just couldn’t let it go.

Finally, Magellan collapsed into the shallow surf at the ocean’s edge. There, a native slammed a bamboo spear into Magellan’s face. You’d think that would do it. You would be wrong.

Magellan killed the assailant with his lance. The embattled explorer was trying to draw his sword with his injured arm when a dozen natives “all hurled themselves upon him. [ . . . ] They rushed upon him with iron and bamboo spears and with their cutlasses.”

Though Magellan was dead, some of his men continued the circumnavigation attempt, finally completing the trip in 1522. Only 20 of the original 250 crew members made it home.

7. John Capes

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John Capes was a stoker aboard the submarine HMS Perseus when it sailed from Malta to Alexandria in November 1941. On December 6, the submarine was struck by a mine off the coast of Cephalonia.

There were 61 crew members aboard the vessel. Only Capes made it out alive. He claimed that he had been relaxing in a makeshift bunk hidden in a spare torpedo tube when the mine exploded and that he and three others had escaped through a hatch in the engine room. Capes said that he had taken a fortifying tot of rum, helped his comrades into their life preservers, and then made for the surface 52 meters (170 ft) above.

Capes had to swim 8 kilometers (5 mi) to the shore in the cold December sea at night. He headed for the white cliffs of occupied Cephalonia and was found unconscious on the beach by fishermen the next morning. They hid him from the occupying Italian forces for 18 months, moving him from house to house to evade capture.

In 1943, Capes was finally taken off the island. From there, he went to Turkey and then to Alexandria to serve on another submarine. Though he was awarded a British Empire Medal, many people doubted his extraordinary story, particularly as submarine commanders had been ordered to bolt escape hatches from the outside to prevent them from being forced open during depth charge attacks.

Capes died in 1985. But in 1997, his story was finally confirmed. Divers examining the wreck of the Perseus discovered the compartment exactly as he had described it, with the escape hatch unlocked and open and a torpedo tube with a makeshift bunk inside.

They even found his bottle of rum.

8. Leon Trotsky

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For Leon Trotskyassassination was always in the cards. Locked in a bitter feud with Stalin, Trotsky had already survived several attempts on his life when Stalin approved a two-pronged plan to rid himself of his rival in 1939.

The first attempt came in May 1940 when a team of hit men crept up on Trotsky’s hideaway in Mexico and fired over 200 bullets into the house with high-powered weapons. Both Trotsky and his wife survived.

However, a much subtler backup plan was already being prepared. Sylvia Ageloff, an ardent Trotsky supporter and member of his staff, had been targeted several years earlier and introduced to a handsome diplomat named Jacques Mornard. In fact, Mornard was neither a diplomat nor was he named Mornard. He was Ramon Mercader, and he was a Stalinist.

Each day, he dropped Ageloff off at Trotsky’s compound, gradually getting on friendly terms with the guards. When Mercader told them that he had written an article that he would like Trotsky to read, they let him in. Mercader was carrying an ice axe with him.

As soon as Trotsky sat down to read, Mercader hit him with the pick end of the ice axe, penetrating his skull 5 centimeters (2 in) deep. Trotsky managed to scream to attract the attention of the guards and hold Mercader fast until they arrived.

Trotsky finally died the following day, and Mercader was imprisoned for almost 20 years before dying in 1978. His last words were said to be: “I hear it always. I hear the scream. I know he’s waiting for me on the other side.

9. Keith Caldwell

Keith Caldwell
Photo Credit: cambridegeairforce

Keith Caldwell was a fighter pilot on the Western Front during World War I. He was the “highest-scoring” New Zealand air ace with 25 successful missions.

After a failed attempt to enlist at the outbreak of war when he was just 18, Caldwell raised the £100 tuition and entered the New Zealand Flying School. He gained his “ticket” in December 1915 and sailed to England to join the Royal Flying Corp in early 1916. By the time he headed to the front in July 1916, Caldwell had logged only 35 flying hours over both continents.

At age 22, he was promoted to flight commander and was said to be a fearless, aggressive pilot. By the following October, Caldwell had increased his tally of downed aircraft to nine. He was awarded a military cross and was mentioned twice in dispatches.

He was known for his daring feints, including a tail-spin dive during a duel with the German flying ace Werner Voss. Caldwell pulled out of the dive just before the plane was due to hit the ground.

In the final weeks of the war, it seemed as if Caldwell’s luck had run out when he was involved in a midair collision. The impact damaged the plane’s wing struts and sent him spinning downward for several thousand feet. To control the descent, Caldwell crawled onto the lower wing, removed the obstruction, and held the wing strut with one hand while operating the joystick with the other.

Caldwell managed to control the descent enough to be able to crash-land behind British lines. He leaped to safety just seconds before the plane hit the ground. Caldwell survived World War I without a scratch and returned to New Zealand to become a farmer.

He returned to active service during World War II, which he also survived.

10. Jim Bowie

Photo Credit: Pinterest

Jim Bowie, the designer of the Bowie knife, fought in the Texas Revolution and made his last stand at the Battle of the Alamo. He first cheated death in 1828 when he killed a man in a duel.

It would be fair to call Bowie a hard-living man. He was known to have a sizable drinking problem and almost certainly had yellow fever. In addition, he may have had typhoid, pulmonary tuberculosis, or both. He fell from a roof while drunk, breaking several ribs and leaving him with impaired breathing. He was also bedridden at the beginning of the Battle of the Alamo.

Witnesses stated that they saw enemy soldiers enter Bowie’s sickroom and attack him with bayonets. He was still alive when they carried him into the square where they “tossed him up and caught him on their bayonets.”

Though sick with fever, Bowie fought on. When he was wounded again, he was carried to a bed. From there, he continued to fire his rifle at the enemy until they closed in on him.

As they made their final rush, Bowie rose up from his sickbed and stabbed one man in the chest with his eponymous blade and shot another before finally expirin

About Jayamma Abanobi

Jayamma Abanobi is a youth blogger passionate about writing. He can be reached via email

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