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Morbid Fascination January 14, 2008

Posted by Doriano "Paisano" Carta in Fun, Reference.
Tags: ,

I don’t know how or when this started, but I’ve always had a strange morbid fascination with the famous last words of people and I’ve always wanted to know whether certain celebrities or historical figures were dead or alive. Yes, I know, very weird. Thanks to the web, satisfying these odd curiosities have become extremely easy! There is almost nothing you can’t (pardon the pub) dig up on the internet!

Read on if you dare! Here are the best sites that will quench anyone’s morbid fascination.

Dead or Alive has the largest and most accurate database of famous people’s health status, if you will. It has been around since 1998 so it has built a solid reputation and deep collection of information.
It lists the recent passings of famous people on the front page in chronological order as it happens. The site also have a wide array of categories to view this data. Here is just a taste of some of them:

Died on this Date, Died Before 30 and Lived to 100 . There are many more, some of them creepier than others such as how they perished and even, get this, an Dead of Alive RSS feed ! No thanks.

There are even some quizzes such as the Dead or Alive game where you guess who’s alive or dead.

Who’s Alive and Who’s Dead is similar to Dead or Alive but it has a very unique method of displaying its information. For example, if you click on the name of TV show it will list everyone from the cast and display each individual’s health status along with birthdate, date of death and their age. Checkout their morbid icons in a sample listing below for the cast of All in the Family:

What a Character is unique because its niche is simply character actors, not the big name stars. Their slogan is “The Names you don’t remember, the Faces you can’t forget!” How true is that! I think it’s cool that there is a site for all of these unsung heroes. It reminds of a wonderful movie I love called memories of me starring Billy Crystal and Allan King who played his dad who boasted about being the “King of the extra’s”. Obviously, it was a funny movie, but it was also a very touching story of a father and son. The ending is one that you will never forget.

FindaGrave does exactly that, finds the final resting places of famous or infamous people. Many times it will include a photo of what it looks like too. Why would you want to see this? Once again, morbid fascinations. Here is an example grave listing for Jim Morrison from the Doors. Visitors of the site can actually leave virtual flowers and a note!
FindaDeath is similar to FindaGrave but with a greater sense of humor about things and lots of YouTube videos of the dearly departed in much better times, of course.

Famous Last Words started their huge library of the final utterings of famous people in history in 1997. I’ve always been interested in this topic for some reason, even as a kid. I’ve always wanted to know what so and so might have said in their final moments on Earth. Did they say something profound? What did they do? Well, this place will share not only that information but many other interesting tid bits as well such as their obituaries and epitaphs (favorite is Emily Dickenson’s which simply says “Called Back” on her grave). They also have things like Famous Farewells where you can read how these people left their respectful careers and Last Stands which recounts famous final moments in history such as the Alamo or General Custard’s last stand.

This site always reminded me of a book by the late Malcolm Forbes called “They Went That-a-Way: How the Famous, the Infamous, and the Great Died

Whatever Happened To? is a bit more cheerie and upbeat than the other sites because most of the celebrities are still with us, perhaps not working in entertainment anymore but still alive and kicking. If you just want to know whatever became of someone famous or infamous, then this is a good place to look. You can even contribute to it if you happen to know anything.
InfoPlease offers an excellent catalogue of biographies and obituaries. Here is their special Deaths section listing the passings of all famous folks in chronological order.

Life in Legacy is another site that lists the deaths of famous and not so famous individuals, but what makes them different is their massive collection of photographs and detailed obituaries of those people.

Wikipedia naturally has an incredible biography section that contains a tremendous amount of information that grows every day.

Last Rites..er…I mean Final Thoughts: Yes, I understand that all of this is kinda creepy and morbid, but so it life! There is nothing wrong with learning the truth, no matter how sad or unsettling it might be. Sure, we learn about the lives and times of famous historical figures in history classes, but we rarely get much information or facts about the actual endings of their amazing journeys here in this world. Some of these sites will shed light on many of those mysteries as well as allow us to honor their lives by remembering what they contributed to the world while they were here.


1. IAAdmin - January 14, 2008

LOL………I think as we age, we begin to ask ourselves the question, “Are they still living?” I know I have. Heck, I watched old movies as a child, and I can’t remember who had died and who’s living. Thanks for the links………:)

2. PurpleCar - April 7, 2008

There is a whole industry here. I’m sure someone could make a website with your directory here and get paid for it! I love the term ‘death tourism’ – a new one I’ve heard only in the past decade or less. These sites are death tourism on the web.

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