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Forum Home > Words from the Dead. > Last Words.

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Posts: 1409

Some people leave this world without a whimper, some leave it with regrets, some, and there are quite a few, leave with a bit of sarcasm, wit, or like this one, rage.

I wish the whole human race had one neck,

And I had my hands around it.

They are the words of Carl Panzram, who was executed in Mississippi in 1930, after killing twelve people. He was far from being a model prisoner, and totally unrepentant at the end. Two years before, George Appel, a corrupt and murderous senior Police Officer, had been executed in the electric chair at Sing-Sing Prison, New York, for killing a fellow policeman. His last words, addressed to the witness'es at the event, turned out to be quite humourous.

" Well folks, you'll soon see a baked Appel."

These were both set in the period of America's great depression, as was the next one, and a time which also saw the rise of the famous F.B.I, and other desperate characters. Francis " Two - Gun " Crowley, an armed bank robber and murderer, together with his girlfriend, was cornered in New Yoks west side. He then proceeded, to hold off almost the entire city police force, for two days. Convicted and sentenced to death, as they were strapping him down in the electric chair at Sing-Sing,in 1931, he yelled out the following.

" You sons of bitches, give my love to Mother!".

Some have gone to their maker, if that is what you believe in, with not an enemy in the world, or so it seems. Ramo Maria Narvaez, a Spanish Army General, who rose to the rank of Prime Minister, under Queen Isabel II, lay dying in Madrid, in1868. Ask by the attending priest to forgive his enemies, this was his reply.

" I do not have to forgive my enemies.

   I have had them all shot ".

Going back in time, we have recorded tha last dying words of the second wife of Henry VIII's, the unlucky Anne Boleyn. Dragged from her cell, in 1536, and then led to the block, just before they hacked off her head, she said.

" Oh God have pity on my soul.

   Oh God have pity on my soul."

She had previously, the day before, said that she believed that the executioner was very expert, ( he wasn't ) and that her neck was very slender. ( not slender enough that the man wielding the axe missed it ) She obviously didn't want to go, a trait that was carried on by her daughter, Elizabeth I. Her time came in 1603, when she was recorded as saying just the one sentence.

" All my possessions for a moment of time ".

That wouldn't be the first time someone had expressed the same sentiment, nor will it be the last either. It's a subject, Death that is, that most of us never like to think about. Hopefully, we shall all die peacefully in our sleep, never having to worry about what we will say at the end. The last one in this post, though dying from gunshot wounds, did give it some thought. Doroteo Arango, otherwise known as Pancho Villa, the infamous Mexican bandit, was finally caught by his many enemies, in the Mexican province of Chihuahua. Shot many times, he just about managed to say this to his aid.

" Don't let it end like this.

   Tell them I said something."

So they did.


A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

August 27, 2012 at 3:26 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Site Owner
Posts: 1409

Executions have alway been a favourite place to add a last few words. The infamous poisoner, Doctor Palmer, was no exception, when faced with the last walk he would ever make. " Are you sure ", he asked George Smith the Hangman at Stafford, " that these steps are safe ".  He should have been more more worried about the trap door, standing on could be lethal, and in his case, it was.

Archimedes, the famous Greek thinker problem solver, was working on a problem when the soldiers of the Roman Army arrived at his door. They had been ordered to kill him, and his last recorded words were, ( according to the Romans who were notorious for spinning everything ) " Wait till I have finished my problem ".  He may have been working on another engine of War, that could have been of use to them. He never finished it, he was dragged outside and had his head cut off.

Sir Thomas Moore, sentenced to death for treason, was as calm as they come, well as calm as can be expected just before they cut his head off. When offered a helping hand up the Scaffold steps he said, " See me safe up, for my coming down, let me shift for myself ".

Just to throw in a bit of humour, that great comic, W.C.Fields, was found reading a Bible, the first time in his long life. When he was asked why he had waited untill he was on his death bed, his reply was a classic. " I'm looking for a loop-hole ".


A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

September 11, 2012 at 4:47 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Site Owner
Posts: 1409

Many great men have resorted to the bottle over the years, among them the great Irish Poet and Playwrite, Brendan Behan. A life long rebel, he soon discovered, that he could write better drunk than he could sober. A by-product of all this drinking though, was the early onset of Diabetes, and which eventually killed him in 1964. As he lay dying in a Dublin Hospital, a kindly older Nun mopped his brow. After a life time of ignoring and poking fun at his native religion, he couldn't resist a last dig. " Bless you Sister, may all your sons be Bishops. "

Mind you, Dylan Thomas, his Welsh equivilant, was just as bad. During his American speaking tour in 1953, he was taken ill and ended up in Hospital, where he continued to mis-behave. Announcing to his medical attendants, that he had just set a new record, he promptly expired. " I have just had 18 whiskeys in a row. I do believe that is a record " , was what he said, although whether they were singles or doubles is anyones guess, as they never got to ask him.

On a lighter note, an Historian, long noted for his quick wit, lay dying, and appeared to be in a coma. The Nurse, well used to this kind of event, announced that she would feel his feet, as nobody ever died with warm feet. To everyones amazement there was an instant reply, " Joan of Arc did "

There are many ways of coming to terms with one's own imortality, and I do like the reported last words of a Wild West Legend, William. F. Cody, better known as " Buffalo Bill ". On being told he only had 36 hours to live, his response was typical of the man. " Thirty six hours? Thats all? Let's forget it about it and play high five ". ( A Poker game ) A bit of humour at the end, now thats not a bad way to go.


A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

December 17, 2012 at 4:00 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Site Owner
Posts: 1409

Its usually the more famous, who get recorded as having spoken some outstanding thoughts, or just pure jibberish. Emily Jane Bronte may have been one of foremost women authors of her day, but she was also a bit stupid. Wuthering Heights, written while she was suffering from Tuberculosis, was the peak of her short 30 year life. Only when she was confined to her bed, did she make what turned out to be her very last request.

" If you will send for a Doctor, I will see him now ".

Far too late of course, for she snuffed it a few minutes later. Later that year, it was the turn of Anne Bronte, author of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, to slip off this mortal coil, and from the same desease. Altogether, it claimed 4 Bronte sisters, and their mother. Adressing her older sister Charlotte, she encouraged her to bear up and be brave.

"Take courage Charlotte. Take courage ".

It must have worked, for Charlotte Bronte, the noted author of Jane Eyre, somehow escaped the sourge of the dreaded Tuberculosis. Well at least until she got married in 1854, and fell pregnant in early 1855. It wasn't the desease that got her then, it was something one of our modern royalty was recently hospitalised with, Pernicious Morning Sickness. She must have had more faith in the medicine of the day than I do, for her last words were.

" Oh, I am not going to die, am I? He will not seperate us, we have been so happy ".

Lady Astor, well known as the first woman to take her seat in the Houses of Parliament, lived for much longer. She my have put it down to all the arguments for womens rights she had, and the many slanging matches she had with Winston Churchill. Always a Lady with wit, when she awoke from a doze while awaiting the grim reaper, she found her bed surrounded by her relatives. Casting an eye at the assembled throng she uttered just a few words.

" Am I dying or is my Birthday?".

At 85 years old, sadly it was the former. Now everyone of a certain age remembers Laurence Olivier, for in life he played many parts, both on the stage, and the silver screen. He wasn't alaways easy to work with, and could, at times, display a biting wit. He died in 1989, with a ready quip, aimed at the nurse who was tending him in his last dying minutes. In her haste, she spilled some water on his face, which drew this response.

" This isn't Hamlet you know. It's not meant to go in my bloody ear ".

She was reported to be very upset. Olivier was unavailable for any further comment. Another famous name, Oscar Wilde, playwright and novelist, the man who served time in prison for so called " homosexual  offences, and the father of two sons, was well known for his wit. He is credited with two lots of last words, the first being " Alas, I'm dying beyond my means ", suposedly while drinking champagne, and the second, with which I will end this post.

" I am in a duel to death with this wallpaper, One of us has to go."

He died in 1900, and the wallpaper was still there many years later.


A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

March 20, 2013 at 4:59 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Sarah Keigh
Posts: 1

Thank you, through my tears. I am a fan from the rust belt (Hanging Rock Iron Furnace region) of Ohio in the US. I am also, with my daughter, a fan of graveyards, especially European (oh the happy days spent in London's Brompton Cemetery. Thank you so much for all this - check out for info on my area's formor Mordor days.

November 24, 2016 at 10:22 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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