Weird History

12 Historical Figures Whose Deaths Were Outrageously Exaggerated

History is fascinating for those who thrive on stories and storytelling; after all, what is history but a series of stories woven together to create one lengthy, elaborate narrative? More often than not, however, history is exaggerated through the foggy lenses of time, bias, and lost chapters. One element of global history that is frequently aggrandized is the passing of historical figures. Morbid curiosity and false information can overdramatize – or in some cases completely fabricate – these tales, which can lead to at best inaccurate and at worst disrespectful misunderstandings of history. 

These misunderstandings are often inextricably tied to popular conceptions about the person's life. A figure known for brutality such as Genghis Khan will most likely have a legacy suffused with trauma, and this pattern will particularly manifest in stories surrounding his demise. This karmic understanding of death can also be found in the legacies of those known for more benevolent livelihoods, such as Walt Disney. The infamous urban legend of his posthumous freezing may have perpetuated for so long because, subconsciously, many wished for the possibility that he will someday be revived. 

Whether these stories are mere exaggerations or outright inventions of pop culture, the true endings of these famous figures are, for the most part, readily accessible through basic research. Perhaps these falsified tales persist because of genuine lack of knowledge, or perhaps people just like to indulge in more interesting stories than those which history often provides.