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From the Archives: Substitute wanted for beheading
Status: 19th-century urban legendI've decided to start a regular "From the Archives" feature on the blog. This will involve occasionally posting about something in the archives of the Museum (as opposed to the archives of the blog). I'm hoping it will help direct attention to some of the obscure things lurking in out-of-the-way corners of the museum.
Since Baron Rothschild died earlier this month at the age of 90, I thought an appropriate first choice would be a rumor that circulated during the late nineteenth century in Bosnia that involved either Rothschild's father or his grandfather (probably his grandfather).
The substance of the rumor was that Baron de Rothschild had been sentenced to death, but he was offering one million florins to anyone who would take his place. This led to the creation of numerous death clubs among Bosnian peasants in which "each member bound himself to sacrifice his life for the benefit of his fellow-members if he should draw the fatal lot that designated one of the club as the victim. The money, of course, was to be divided among the rest as a prize."
Of course, Rothschild hadn't been sentenced to death, but that didn't stop the rumor from spreading.
I think it would make office lottery pools much more interesting if, should the pool win the jackpot, one person would have to volunteer to die in order for everyone else to get their money.
Link: Bosnian Beheading Rumor in the Hoaxipedia.
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I've a better one Alex, after each election and before any politician can take office, one must volunteer to die.Posted by Christopher Cole in Tucson, AZ on Tue Aug 21, 2007 at 01:13 AM
I was about to write that this would be a great concept for a reality show, but Christopher has an even better suggestion....Posted by LaMa in Europe on Tue Aug 21, 2007 at 03:08 AM
I love the idea of pulling and posting from the archive. I am just reading Museum of Hoaxes for the first time. Even the few references to places on the site to find more information make me realize how much is here that I haven't seen yet.Posted by Tah in Idaho (Yes, Idaho) on Tue Aug 21, 2007 at 04:10 AM
Believe it or not, my sister-in-law was born a Rothschild. She lived very well when she was a baby. Her Dad abandoned the family when she was very young and her Mom remarried, though, so there's no money for us to fight over. Grrrrr.Posted by Cranky Media Guy on Tue Aug 21, 2007 at 04:26 AM
Brilliant innovation! Funny story, too...Posted by outeast in Prague, Czech Rep on Tue Aug 21, 2007 at 09:24 AM
*seconded*Posted by oppiejoe in Michigan - USA on Tue Aug 21, 2007 at 10:35 AM
Great idea Alex
Great idea Alex
"obscure things lurking in out-of-the-way corners of the museum". You're referring to Rrrraoul, I assume, as opposed to yours truly, no?Posted by Hairy Houdini on Tue Aug 21, 2007 at 10:45 AM