12 of the Most Eccentric and Unusual Last Wills in History
Death is something that awaits all of us. As the saying goes, “You can’t take it with you when you die”. That’s why most people make last wills, bequeathing their wealth to their relatives. But that is not always true — some people choose to leave their money and belongings to their pets and even complete strangers.
At Bright Side, we’ve prepared a list of the strangest wills and testaments around. Some of these wills are creepy and some, total genius. But either way, they’re all one of a kind. Prepare to be amazed!
Comics book containing the ashes of its creator.
Marvel’s late editor, Mark Gruenwald, who had a huge impact on Captain America and Iron Man comic books, loved his job very much. He loved it so much that he wanted to continue being a part of the Marvel universe even after his death. In his last will, Mark asked to publish a comic book that contained his ashes.
The Star Trek creator that went “Where No Man Has Gone Before”.
It is not surprising that Gene Roddenberry, the creator of one of the most iconic comic sagas ever, was a huge space admirer. What is surprising, however, is the fact that Gene was the first man in history who was buried in space. But what else would you expect of the father of Star Trek?
Shakespeare left only his second best bed for his wife.
William Shakespeare who is known all over the world as one of the most romantic playwrights ever, turned out to be not so romantic in real life. In his last testament, he left only his ‘second favorite bed’ to his beloved wife, Anne Hathaway. The majority of his wealth went to his daughter.
The Dead Dinner Will
John Bowman, a wealthy gentleman from Vermont, strongly believed in life after death. He unfortunately lost his wife and two daughters during his lifetime. But John was convinced that after his death he would rejoin with his family — something we all hope for after we die. But Bowman took it a step further.
In his last testament, John Bowman provided a $50,000 trust fund which was created in order to maintain his 21-room mansion to make sure that the dinner was served every night, just in case John and his family showed up one day and felt hungry. The dead man’s will was carried out till 1950.
Drums made out of a dead man’s skin
S. Sanborn, an American hat maker, lived an ordinary life. That is why when he died in 1871, he shocked everyone who knew him. In his last will Sanborn asked friends to make two drums using his skin as a membrane. Those drums were to carried out to Bunker Hill every June 17th where “Yankee Doodle” had to be played on the drums as a celebration of the famous Revolutionary War battle’s anniversary.
The most romantic last will ever
True love never dies. When Jack Benny, a popular comedian had perished, he made sure to include in his last will that his widow received a rose daily, until her last day.
A spiritual séance for Harry Houdini
In his last years, the famous magician and escape master Houdini, had gone mad at the idea of an afterlife. Harry made a promise to his wife, Bess to contact her after he was dead. For this purpose, Houdini made up a secret message that was known only to her. In his last testament the magician also stipulated that each anniversary of his death should be accompanied by a spiritual séance.
The longest will in history
Frederica Stilwell Cook is known as the author of the longest will in history. She died in 1925 and left a testament that contained 1066 pages with 95,940 words. For comparison’s sake, Hemingway’s iconic novel, The Old Man and the Sea is eight times shorter.
The millionaire dog
Leona Helmsley, the notorious “Queen of Mean”, was a huge dog lover. When she died in 2007, she left close to 12 million dollars to her Maltese dog, Trouble. Leona wasn’t the first person who bequeathed her wealth to a pet, but hers was the most massive, making Trouble one of the richest dogs ever.
Truly lucky numbers
When Luis Carlos, a wealthy aristocrat from Portugal, died in 2007, he left all of his money to 70 strangers from Lisbon. The beneficiaries were chosen randomly out of a phone directory.
At least one man will regret Heinrich Heine’s death.
Heinrich Heine, a poet from Germany, left his widow Mathilde all of his money under one condition: she could inherit it only if remarried. Heinrich explained his strange stipulation by saying “Because then, at least one man will regret my death.”
A legacy of bitterness
Wellington Burt, a magnate from Michigan, died in 1919 leaving a very unusual testament. He stipulated that his massive wealth would be inherited by his descendants only 21 years after his last grandchild dies. Why Wellington left such a strange request is a mystery.
Burt’s last surviving grandchild died in 1989. 21 years later in 2011, 12 far-removed relatives of the eccentric merchant have finally been paid out. Each of them got about $110 million.
Which of these wills surprised you the most? Tell us in the comments bellow!
Preview photo credit CBS Television / Wikipedia