Study: Falling Into Bogs Number One Cause Of Death Amongst Funny Little Men In Hats
'Tis tyme we fixed the falling into bogs pandemic.
A newe study from the Royal Academie of Bogonomics and Applied Peat hath shown that falling into bogs is the Kingdom’s number one cause of death amongst funny little men in hats.
“Despite concerted gouvernment efforts to curb the falling into bogs pandemic and help keep these silly little fellows safe, the number of strange men with pointy shoes and bycocket hats whomst fall into bogs continues to rise,” spake Moste Esteemed Lecture Philator Pumbus. “‘Tis high tyme The King took action, lest normal-sized men without hats start falling into bogs as well.”
It remains a mystery why these diminutive and sharp-dressed lads so frequently succumb to the bog. One theory sayeth that they purposely fall into the bogs so that their bodies may be preserved for study by future generations. Another reasons that many funny little men in hats suffer from “bog blindness,” the inability to see bogs.
“Bog blindness is a well-documented and deadly dis-ease,” spake Royal Sürgeon Dr. Jeclonius Sphłînt. “I mineself hath seen a bog blind bloke saunter straight into the depths of a bog without even realizing it.
“I tried to tell them him he was drowning face down in the middle of a bog, but he looked at me as if I wast crazy and shouted,
‘Fool! This is no bog! Wouldst thou not think I wouldst know a bog if I saw one? Mind thine own business and leave me be in this fyne dry meadow in which I am sauntering.’
“Then he disappeared beneath the putrid waters once more.”
What’s more, these numbers don’t even account for the many people who are ritually sacrificed and thrown into bogs on purpose, which constitute a completely different category of bog-related deaths.
For any subjects whomst happen to be funny little men in hats, the Bogonomics and Applied Peat department hath developed some guidelines to keep thee safe from bogs:
Always travel with a non-bog blind buddy.
Live in a bog free environment.
If it feels like thou art drowning but thou dost not see any bogs around, chances are thou art bog blind and are drowning in a bog.
Try to avoid being the victim of ritualistic human sacrifice.
Learn to swim.
Addendum: Bog Bodies
If you’re looking for a creepy place to die violently and have your soft tissue preserved for study by future generations, then a bog might be the perfect choice. The lack of oxygen and mild acidity caused by sphagnum moss in certain types of bogs prevents the spread of bacteria and microorganisms that would otherwise cause organic matter to break down.
Which parts of the bog body end up being preserved depends on the chemical composition of the particular bog. More acidic bogs are better at preserving soft tissue like skin, hair, and nails. More alkaline bogs are better at preserving bones.
Regardless of the type of bog they ended up in, one thing most bog bodies tend to have in common is that they died violent deaths. Most of them seem to have been the victims of human sacrifice, although it’s possible that some fell victim to just plain old murder.
And bodies aren’t the only thing found in bogs. Bog butter is a thing, and it looks like this:
There’s too many interesting bog bodies to put into a single list, but here’s a sampling, along with their causes of death.
1. Tollund Man
Among the most famous bog bodies due to his remarkably well-preserved facial features, Tollund Man died between 405 and 380 BC in modern Denmark. Recent analysis of his stomach contents shows that his last meal consisted of porridge and fish.
Cause of death: Hanging, possibly as a ritual sacrifice.
2. Elling Woman
She was found in the same bog as Tollund Man twelve years earlier, and probably died between 350 and 150 BC.
Cause of death: Hanging, possibly as ritual sacrifice.
3. Cashel Man
Cashel Man was discovered in Ireland in 2011 after bog workers ran over his body with a peat harvester (hate it when that happens!). He’s one of the oldest bog bodies ever discovered, and his death has been dated to around 2000 BC.
Cause of death: Possibly ritual sacrifice. He had multiple injuries, including a broken arm and back injuries, although his body was mangled by the peat harvester so it’s hard to tell for sure the full extent of his pre-mortem wounds. One theory holds that he was a local king ritually sacrificed due to a poor harvest.
4. Clonycavan Man
Another potential king found by a peat harvester in Ireland, Clonycavan Man died betwen 392 and 201 BC. His nipples were cut off, which is an indicator he may have been a failed king or candidate for kingship. According to Irish historian and archaeologist Eamonn P. Kelly:
"Sucking a king's nipples was a gesture of submission in ancient Ireland. Cutting them would have made him incapable of kingship."
So if you ever want to become king in ancient Ireland, be sure to hang on to your nipples.
Also notable, his hair was styled in a sort of mohawk with hair gel made from plant oil and pine resin.
Cause of death: Multiple blows to the head with a sharp object, probably a stone axe. Either ritual sacrifice or murder.
5. Old Croghan Man
Found just 25 miles from Clonycavan Man, Old Croghan man stood about six feet six inches tall, and died an equally brutal death sometime between 362 and 175 BC. Like Clonycavan Man, he may have been a failed king or king candidate, as his nipples were cut off.
Cause of death: Bound with hazel branches threaded through holes in his upper arms, stabbed in the chest and neck, decapitated, and cut in half. Ritual sacrifice or murder. It really sucked to be a king in Iron Age Ireland.
6. Yde Girl
The body of this 16-year-old girl who died between 54 BC and 128 AD was found in a bog in the Netherlands in 1897. Unfortunately, some villagers heard about her soon after the discovery and stole her teeth and some of her hair. Nonetheless, her body remained intact enough that a reproduction of her face was made in the early 1990s to show what she would have looked like when alive.
Cause of death: Strangled and stabbed in the neck/collarbone. Possibly ritual sacrifice.
7. Haraldskær Woman
Discovered in 1835 in Denmark, at first she was rumored to be the body of Queen Gunnhild of Denmark who, according to the medieval Jómsvikínga Saga, was drowned by Harald Bluetooth there around 970 AD. Radiocarbon dating later showed she died around 500 BC, about 1500 years before Gunnhild.
Cause of death: Probably ritual sacrifice. She had a lance wound to the knee, possible strangulation marks on her neck, and was pinned to the ground with branches.
8. Weerdinge Men
These two men were discovered in a bog in the Netherlands together, wrapped in an apparent embrace. They likely died between 160 BC and 220 AD.
Cause of death: One of them was eviscerated. The other’s cause of death is uncertain.
In Tacitus’s Germania, written around 98 AD, he claims that Germanic tribes punished homosexuality by pressing the victims “down under a wicker hurdle into the slimy mud of a bog.” This has led to speculation that they were lovers who were executed for their sexual preferences. However, there is conflicting evidence that homosexuality might have been accepted and customary among Germanic and Celtic tribes, and would not have been something that people were punished for. It’s possible that Roman understanding of their customs was often misinterpreted when viewed through a Roman lens. The way that one is embracing the other, and how only one was eviscerated, seems to indicate that this was not an execution, but rather something ritualistic or consensual. Perhaps they were lovers, friends, or kinsmen, and when one died in battle the other sacrificed himself rather than live without him.
We’ll probably never know for sure what happened to the Weerdinge Men, but theirs is certainly a heart-wrenching image.
9. Koelbjerg Man
The oldest bog body ever discovered, his remains have been dated to around 8000 BC. He’s unique to this list in that there were no signs of violence. Maybe this was because his remains were too old to accurately analyze, or maybe he just lived before the whole “ritualistically executing people in bogs” fad took off.
Cause of death: Unknown, possibly drowning.
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