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9 Historic People Whose Bodies May Be Missing

I have a somewhat strange obsession with visiting cemeteries when I travel, typically ones with people of interest resting within their hallowed walls. But there are some rather important figures whose graves I will never get to visit—not because they were cremated, but because we simply don't know what happened to their bodies. 

1. Davy Crockett.

Almost everyone knows Crockett died defending the Alamo. But what no one really knows is what happened to him after that. Santa Anna had the Alamo defenders' bodies burned until they were nothing but ashes, and although there's a marble box at the Cathedral of San Fernando that purportedly contains the ashes of Crockett, Jim Bowie, and William B. Travis, most historians believe it's unlikely the dust inside is actually theirs.

2. Vlad the Impaler.

This might be one grave best left unknown. The Wallachian ruler's head was displayed on a stake for some time after his death to prove the tyrant was no more, but the whereabouts of his body is a topic that's up for discussion. It's generally agreed that it's probably buried in one of two monasteries: Comana or Snagov.

3. Genghis Khan.

Speaking of tyrants, here's another one who has gone missing. Unlike Vlad, Genghis has disappeared at his own request. He asked to be buried in an unmarked grave, and even in death, Genghis got what he wanted. Legend has it that slaves buried the body somewhere in Mongolia, possibly Khentii Aimag, Khan's birthplace. After the body was buried, the slaves were killed. And then the soldiers who killed the slaves were killed. Another tale has an entire river being diverted to cover the grave. Whatever trick Khan's pallbearers used, it was effective--nearly 800 years later, we still don't know where he is.

4. and 5. Cleopatra and Mark Antony.

Cleopatra may be lost in the sands of Egypt forever. Ancient historian Plutarch wrote that she was buried with Mark Antony in an undisclosed location, and if we didn't have that vague piece of information, the scavenger hunt for the Queen of the Nile would be even more impossible. Some evidence suggests that she had a tomb built for herself prior to her death by asp, and that tomb is now resting on the ocean floor with the rest of ancient Alexandria. On the other hand, recent excavations at the Taposiris Magna temple in Abusir, Egypt, may point to the famous couple being buried there.

6. Mozart.

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It is generally accepted that after his 1791 death Mozart was buried in a mass grave, as was common at the time. In 1801, a gravedigger unearthed a skull he claimed belonged to the famous composer. The man claimed he had helped dig the grave and that he knew for a fact the head was Mozart's. Tests on the skull have been inconclusive, with some even finding the skull was that of a woman. Should you want to visit the bones that may or may not belong to Mozart, you can visit the International Mozarteum Foundation in Salzburg.

7. Alexander the Great.

When Alexander died, he was buried in a tomb made of pure gold. As you can imagine, a final resting place like that was pretty much destined to be looted. The real surprise is that the looters may have been notable figures like Roman emperor Caligula and Egyptian king Ptolemy IX Lathros. Caligula was said to have taken Alexander's breastplate, while Ptolemy allegedly melted the coffin down for coinage. Because of the disrespect to Alexander, Roman emperor Septimus Severus had the tomb closed sometime around 200 CE, and it's been missing ever since. Theories have speculated the missing ruler could be anywhere from Australia to Venice.

8. Leonardo da Vinci.

Leonardo has a grave marker, but nobody is completely positive that it's the artist himself who is buried under it. There are records that show da Vinci was buried in a church called Saint-Florentin, part of the Chateau Amboise in France's Loire Valley. But the church fell to ruin sometime during the French Revolution and it was decided that demolishing it and starting over was the best bet. It was more than 60 years later that excavations turned up some bones and a bit of stone that contained a couple of letters in da Vinci's name. This was apparently enough to declare that the remains belonged to the great artist and he has been a tourist attraction ever since. Guidebooks and the notice at the Chateau Amboise refer to them as the "presumed" remains of da Vinci.

9. Hitler.

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For many years, the location of the corpses of Hitler and Eva Braun were kept top secret for fear the site would become a Neo-Nazi place of worship. It wasn't until 1970 that what was left of the dictator was burned, then dumped into the Biederitz River. The Russian State Archives allegedly still contain a fragment of his jawbone that the archive says it keeps as evidence that Hitler really did die. Other historians and researchers question the authenticity of the jawbone, however.

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Bleat Along to Classic Holiday Tunes With This Goat Christmas Album
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Feeling a little Grinchy this month? The Sweden branch of ActionAid, an international charity dedicated to fighting global poverty, wants to goat—errr ... goad—you into the Christmas spirit with their animal-focused holiday album: All I Want for Christmas is a Goat.

Fittingly, it features the shriek-filled vocal stylings of a group of festive farm animals bleating out classics like “Jingle Bells,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and “O Come All Ye Faithful.” The recording may sound like a silly novelty release, but there's a serious cause behind it: It’s intended to remind listeners how the animals benefit impoverished communities. Goats can live in arid nations that are too dry for farming, and they provide their owners with milk and wool. In fact, the only thing they can't seem to do is, well, sing. 

You can purchase All I Want for Christmas is a Goat on iTunes and Spotify, or listen to a few songs from its eight-track selection below.

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Food
Cheese Wheel Wedding Cakes Are a Funky Twist on an Old Tradition
Nom & Malc, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Nom & Malc, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

If there’s ever a time you have permission to be cheesy, it’s on your wedding day. What better way to do so than with a pungent wedding cake made of actual wheels of cheese? According to Elite Daily, cheese wedding cakes are a real option for couples who share an affinity for dairy products.

One of the trailblazers behind the sharp trend is Bath, England-based cheese supplier The Fine Cheese Co. The company offers clients a choice of one of dozens of wedding cake designs. There are bold show-stoppers like the Beatrice cake, which features five tiers of cheese and is priced at $400. For customers looking for something more delicate, there’s the Clara centerpiece, which replaces miniature wedding cakes with mounds of goat cheese. Whether your loved one likes funky Stilton or mellow brie, there’s a cheese cake to satisfy every palate. Flowers are incorporated into each display to make them just as pretty as conventional wedding cakes.

Since The Fine Cheese Co. arranged their first wedding cake in 2002, other cheese suppliers have entered the game. The Cheese Shed in Newton Abbot, England; I.J. Ellis Cheesemongers in Scotland; and Murray’s Cheese in New York will provide cheese wheel towers for weddings or any other special occasion. Of course, there’s nothing stopping you from clearing out the local fromagerie and assembling a cheese cake at home.

[h/t Elite Daily]

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