Mary Todd Lincoln sure as shit thought there was, and presumably believed it for the rest of her days. This is what life was like in the past: A president dies and they're like, "Okay, do you want to try to reanimate his corpse, or just be satisfied to have him following you around all the time, running his ghost hands all over your body?"
Jamestown Descended Into A Brain-Eating Nightmare
As the first permanent English settlement in America and first British colony, Jamestown has been described as "where the British Empire began." Now, here in America we have something of a romanticized view of our colonial days, thanks to a lifetime of hearing the stories of colonists every Thanksgiving. And while we hear talk of how life was hard back then, the image that sticks with us is that of a bunch of jolly pilgrims sitting around a table and chowing down on a bountiful turkey feast while bald eagles circle overhead. In reality, the Jamestown colony was a cannibalistic disaster, complete with brain-eating.
Sidney E. King
Could've been worse. They could've eaten that dog.
The winter of 1609-1610 was particularly bad -- so bad that it is referred to as the Starving Time. Things turned so unexpectedly brutal that we have a half-dozen documented instances of cannibalism; among them is one man convicted of killing and eating his own wife. His punishment: execution, which we can only gather was swiftly followed with a feast.
And the truth is that archaeologists are only beginning to scratch the surface of this American nightmare. Only 60 of Jamestown's 214 colonists survived. The rest died in ways we can only imagine -- or, in the case of one recently excavated teenage girl, pretend we never knew about. The girl, unidentified, was found with her skull bearing dozens of cuts, its temporal bone "pried off to reach the brain."
Even her replica looks ready to roll her eyes at our history books.
Yeah. It's funny, because you've probably seen movies in which stranded/desperate people have to make the terrible decision to eat a deceased member of their party. And they have this big moral dilemma in which they finally decide that survival is more important and damn it, if Jebediah were still alive, he would want us to eat him! But when you're talking about real history, a few months of starvation is all it takes for us to reach the "BRAAAAAIIIIINNNNSSSS!!!!" stage. Never forget that, kids.
For more horror stories from the annals of history, preorder Jacopo's new novel, License To Quill, a James Bond-esque spy thriller starring William Shakespeare and Guy Fawkes during the Gunpowder Plot!
Turns out history was just as horrifying as you're probably imagining right now. For more terror from our ancestors, check out 6 Archaeological Discoveries Scarier Than Any Horror Movie and 5 Historical Figures More Terrifying Than Any Horror Villain.
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