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Halloween Countdown, Day 29

TastyTrix is back with the last October installment of her Halloween-friendly "Serial Killer Suppers" series. Learn some spine-chilling culinary history here: "Breakfast with the Murder Demon: the Last Meal of H.H. Holmes, America's First Serial Killer." (Check out the earlier posts in this deliciously creepy series here: "Schnitzel, Fried Potatoes, and White Wine: the Last Meal of the Dusseldorf Ripper"; "The Poisoner's Cake: The Blonde Borgia"; and "The Butcher of Rostov's Last Meal.")

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Now it's time for one last "spooky history" update for this year's countdown.

On this day in 1618, Sir Walter Raleigh -- English aristocrat, author, poet, soldier, courtier, spy, and explorer -- was beheaded in the Old Palace Yard at the Palace of Westminster on the order of King James.

220px-Execution_of_Sir_Walter_Raleigh


It was reported that he made a request of the executioner: "Let us dispatch. At this hour my ague comes upon me. I would not have my enemies think I quaked from fear." Upon seeing the axe that would behead him, he said, "This is a sharp Medicine, but it is a Physician for all diseases and miseries." According to many biographers, Raleigh's final words as he waited for the axe to fall were "Strike, man, strike!"

Raleigh's head was embalmed and given to his wife. "The Lords," she wrote, "have given me his dead body, though they have denied me his life. God hold me in my wits." According to legend, Lady Raleigh kept her husband's head in a velvet bag until her death 29 years later. Then it was returned to his tomb and interred with the rest of his body at St. Margaret's Church, Westminster.

London


Raleigh had been held in the Tower of London for 12 years, and claims that he haunts Byward Tower (shown above), Seven Tower Green, and other related areas are ubiquitous. He represents one of the most commonly reported Tower of London ghosts.

I can't say that I saw him when I visited, but the wonderful ravens ("the guardians of the Tower") made up for it!

For further reading:
* "History of the Tower" from the official Tower of London website (PDF)
* "Seven Tower Green" from "The Tower of London - Ghost Stories" at Camelot International (This is quite a detailed page! Well worth a look.)
* "Tower of London Ghosts" from Real British Ghosts
* "The Tower of London Ghosts and Legends" from ParanormalDatabase.com

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Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
gilda_elise
Oct. 29th, 2013 11:05 am (UTC)
I didn't see Raleigh, either (and I loved the ravens!) Funny how people forget that it was the Tudors and Stuarts who made the Tower of London bloody. Before that it was a royal residence.
eldritchhobbit
Oct. 29th, 2013 07:40 pm (UTC)
I love the ravens, too!

Funny how people forget that it was the Tudors and Stuarts who made the Tower of London bloody. Before that it was a royal residence.

Great point!
jan_u_wine
Oct. 29th, 2013 12:13 pm (UTC)
I suppose they thought that was a mercy, giving his head to his wife. Poor woman. God hold her within her wits, indeed! And I thought rock and roll was the only avenue in which you could actively display your insanity with impunity. Apparently the royals claimed that spot ages ago.
eldritchhobbit
Oct. 29th, 2013 07:41 pm (UTC)
Poor woman, indeed.

And I thought rock and roll was the only avenue in which you could actively display your insanity with impunity. Apparently the royals claimed that spot ages ago.

Ha! Well said.
mosinging1986
Oct. 29th, 2013 06:13 pm (UTC)
Glorifying murderers of human beings by posting their last meals?! Who cares what these monsters ate? Their names should be forgotten in history, not glamorized in this way!

Horrifying.
eldritchhobbit
Oct. 29th, 2013 07:49 pm (UTC)
I assure you that she's not glorifying them by any means. But since Trix looks at world cuisine as her profession, and these "last meals" are indicative of different time periods/centuries and culinary cultures, she's taking the "flavor" of this macabre season, if you will, and through its lens finding a way to offer some educational and thought-provoking fare.

Whether we agree with it now or not, the thought at the time of these executions was that the sheer public nature of it, the opportunity to discuss it and consider it, offered both a moral lesson and a kind of cultural catharsis.
Trix Middlekauff
Nov. 11th, 2013 08:41 pm (UTC)
I am so thrilled that I horrified someone for Halloween!! I feel like it was all worth it!
witchcat07
Oct. 29th, 2013 09:36 pm (UTC)
I didn't see any ghosts at the Tower, but I did see the ravens. Wow! I have a picture I snapped of one that happened to have a little girl standing nearby; the raven is as big as her head!
eldritchhobbit
Oct. 30th, 2013 11:00 am (UTC)
Wow! I have a picture I snapped of one that happened to have a little girl standing nearby; the raven is as big as her head!

Yikes! I recall thinking they looked huge, but that's crazy!
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )