Today's archival tidbit comes from Cocktail Party Cheat Sheets:
Soon after Catherine the Great's death, someone—probably her enemies in the Russian aristocracy—started floating the story that Catherine died of being crushed after attempting to have sex with a horse. It's just not true. Although Catherine did take many lovers and had a secret room built in her palace that she filled with raunchy paintings and sculptures, she did not die anywhere near a horse. But the true story is nearly as embarrassing: She had a stroke while on the toilet and died a few days later.