Thursday, December 10, 2009

Top 8 Die-Hards in History ( Part 1)

Fidel Castro: survived 638 assassination attempts and counting

The infamous Cuba's Dictator is probably the hardest man to kill on planet, or at least the one of the most number of attempts. Fabian Escalante, who was long tasked with protecting the life of Castro, estimated the number of assassination schemes or attempts by the CIA to be 638. Some such attempts allegedly included an exploding cigar, a fungal-infected scuba-diving suit, and a mafia-style shooting. Some of these plots are depicted in a documentary entitled 638 Ways to Kill Castro. One of these attempts was by his ex-lover Marita Lorenz, whom he met in 1959. She allegedly agreed to aid the CIA and attempted to smuggle a jar of cold cream containing poison pills into his room. When Castro realized, he reportedly gave her a gun and told her to kill him but her nerve failed. Castro once said, in regards to the numerous attempts on his life he believes have been made, "If surviving assassination attempts were an Olympic event, I would win the gold medal." One such assassination attempt before the Bay of Pigs invasion involved Johnny Roselli and Al Capone's successor in the Chicago Outfit, Salvatore Giancana and his right-hand man Santos Trafficante.

Retired at the age of 83, with poor health, it's hardly probable that Fidel will suffer the 639th attempt.

Grigory Rasputin: was poisoned, shot four times, and beaten until he finally died from drowning

Rasputin has been tied in the immortality of history to the ill-fated Romanov family. Some may even say that he was the cause of their destruction. Whatever you may think about him: powerful mystic or drunken fruitcake, he wormed his way into the heart of the imperial family and he just didn't want to go. The legends surrounding the death of Rasputin are perhaps even more mysterious and bizarre than his life. The first attempt on Rasputin's life failed; on June 29, 1914, after either just receiving a telegram or exiting church, he was attacked suddenly by Khionia Guseva, a former prostitute. The woman thrust a knife into Rasputin's abdomen, and his entrails hung out of what seemed like a mortal wound. Convinced of her success, Guseva supposedly screamed, "I have killed the antichrist!". After intensive surgery, however, Rasputin recovered. It was said of his survival that "the soul of this cursed muzhik was sewn on his body”.

On December 16, 1916, having decided that Rasputin's influence over the Tsaritsa had made him a far-too-dangerous threat to the empire, a group of nobles, led by Prince Felix Yusupov and the Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich and politician Vladimir Purishkevich, apparently lured Rasputin to the Yusupovs' Moika Palace basement, where they served him cakes and red wine laced with a massive amount of cyanide. According to legend, Rasputin was unaffected, although Maklakov had supplied enough poison to kill five men. Determined to finish the job, Yusupov became anxious about the possibility that Rasputin might live until the morning, leaving the conspirators no time to conceal his body. Yusupov ran upstairs to consult the others and then came back down to shoot Rasputin through the back with a revolver. Rasputin fell, and the company left the palace for a while. Yusupov went to check up on the body. Suddenly, Rasputin opened his eyes and lunged at him. When he grabbed Prince Yusupov he ominously whispered in Yusupov's ear "you bad boy" and attempted to escape. Yusopov and his co-conspirators chased Rasputin out into the yard, shooting him two more times and beating him with a rubber club. To ensure he didn't rouse again, the men tied Rasputin in a blanket and dumped his body into the Neva River. His body was found with his right arm outstretched, presumably to make the sign of the cross, indicating that he was still alive when he hit the water and managed to partially free himself. An autopsy established that the cause of death was drowning. His arms were found in an upright position, as if he had tried to claw his way out from under the ice (the Neva Riva freezes between November 25 and December 5, and the ice is gone only by mid-April). It was found that he had indeed been poisoned, and that the poison alone should have been enough to kill him.

Hussein of Jordan: survived 12 attempts of assassination and was saved once by a medal in his uniform

Hussein bin Talal was the King of Jordan from the abdication of his father, King Talal, in 1952, until his death, in 1999. During his life, he suffered at least 12 attempts of assassination, mostly during the 1950s and 1960s and once wrote 'that sometimes I have felt like the central character in a detective novel'. The first attempt occurred in 1951. He was with his grandfather, the King Abdullah. A Palestinian extremist opened fire on Abdullah and his grandson on July 20 of that year as the pair walked into the mosque for Friday prayers. Abdullah was killed, but the 15-year-old Hussein pursued the gunman. The assailant turned his weapon on the young prince, who was saved when the bullet was deflected by a medal on his uniform given to him by his grandfather. In 1970, King Hussein survived an assassination attempt after gunmen opened fire on his motorcade as it was driving near his summer palace. The king was said to be unharmed but it is understood his driver was wounded in the attack, which took place in the town of Sweileh, 12 miles (19km) northeast of the capital, Amman. The king jumped out of his car and fired back at the attackers.

Adolf Hitler: suffered over 50 murder conspiracies including a porn-mad plan
Leader of the Nazis, Hitler was responsible for the killing of approximately six million Jews (overwhelmingly Ashkenazim), as well as two million ethnic Poles and four million others who were deemed "unworthy of life" (including the disabled and mentally ill, Soviet POWs, homosexuals, Freemasons, Jehovah's Witnesses, among others) as part of a program of deliberate extermination. It's no surprise then that he appears as number one in our list, having suffered over fifty intents of murder. The first of them was in 1921 when shots got fired at him after a speech. In Warsaw 1939, October 5, the Polish army wanted to blow up Hitler's car, when it crossed the (now called) Square Charles de Gaulle. A human error prevented the bomb from exploding. There was another crazy plan of some American soldiers to throw down a lot of pornographic material on Hitler's mountain to make the puritan Hitler go mad. The colonel the soldiers discussed the plan with, said that they were maniacs with an insane plan.

None of the plans succeeded and it's believed that Hitler finally died after committing suicide along with his wife, Eva Braun, by gunshot and cyanide poisoning.

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