Friday, May 05, 2006

High Octane Stuff!

A Real Rum Deal

From Reuters, Oddly Enough News pages comes this tidbit.

BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Hungarian builders who drank their way to the bottom of a huge barrel of rum while renovating a house got a nasty surprise when a pickled corpse tumbled out of the empty barrel, a police magazine website reported.

According to online magazine (some translation might be required), workers in Szeged in the south of Hungary tried to move the barrel after they had drained it, only to find it was surprisingly heavy and were shocked when the body of a naked man fell out.

The website said that the body of the man had been shipped back from Jamaica 20 years ago by his wife in the barrel of rum in order to avoid the cost and paperwork of an official return.

According to the website, workers said the rum in the 300-liter barrel had a "special taste" so they even decanted a few bottles of the liquor to take home.

The wife has since died and the man was buried in a proper grave.

Ewwwww! Sounds Gross Huh! But your intrepid prying1 had a little bell go off in his head. Don't worry. It didn't hurt. I'm used to it. I'm always hearing bells and whistles and voices and such.

Anyway, has a whole page devoted to the Urban Legend about imbibers drinking the liquor from a barrel used to preserve a dead body. Once again Barbara and David Mikkelson have a webpage that shows up the mainstream media and proves itself to be a source they should run to before printing stories like this.

From (dated 1978)

Some years ago, the father of a friend of mine brought a fairly enormous house in the middle of Bodmin Moor, a sort of Georgian/Regency house built on the site of an older farmhouse.

In the capacious cellars they found half a dozen very large barrels. 'Oh, good!' said mother. 'We can cut them in half and plant orange trees in them.'

So they set to work to cut the barrels in half, but they found that one of them was not empty, so they set it up and borrowed the necessary equipment from the local pub. The cellar filled with a rich, heady Jamaican odour.

'Rum, by God!' said the father. It was indeed, so they decided to take advantage of some fifty gallons of the stuff before cutting the barrel in half.

About a year later, after gallons of rum punch, flip and butter had been consumed, it was getting hard to get any more rum out of the barrel, even by tipping it up with wedges. So they cut it in half, and found in it the well-preserved body of a man.

The source for these tales goes back quite a few years. The thirteenth century

Snopes sez: "In the days before refrigeration and embalming, folks who died far away were sometimes transported home preserved as best they could be in a barrel of alcohol. (Embalming as we know it came into being at the time of the American Civil War, when the efforts of mortician Thomas Holmes, the first American to develop and use embalming fluid, resulted in the preserved bodies of fallen soldiers being returned to their families for burial. Prior to Holmes, all one could do was pack a body in ice and hold the funeral as soon as possible.)"

prying1 sez: I can't blame Reuters for getting stung on this one. By surfing about Urban Legends I still find stories I heard as a kid and assumed to be true. I asked Barbara and she can't tell me how my name got onto one of her pages. Check out the story about Grace Slick naming her kid God.

Leave a comment and tell the world what your favorite Urban Legend is...

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