Most Outrageous Assassinations

Hollywood depicts assassins as disturbed yet methodical and intelligent. However, that is not always the case. Most assassinations do not go off like clockwork. Sometimes bombs go off in the wrong place, or the poison doesn’t work, or an ice axe to the head doesn’t work right away. World history is full of insane killings that are stranger than anything film depicts. Here are the craziest assassinations in history.

No.10 – Malcolm X

For nearly a decade, Malcolm X was the face of the Nation of Islam. However, he left the organization in 1964 due to tensions with its leaders and became a believer in Sunni Islam. On February 21, 1965, Malcolm X began to speak to a meeting of the Organization of Afro-American Unity when a man yelled, “N*gger! Get your hand outta my pocket!” Malcolm X started to quiet the disturbance, when a man pulled out a sawed-off shotgun and shot him in the chest. Two other men charged forward and shot him 16 times with handguns. The three men were all Nation of Islam members and were convicted. However, they’ve all since been paroled.

No.9 – Gustav III of Sweden

As the King of Sweden, Gustav III reinstated an absolute monarchy with himself as autocrat in 1771 and spent considerable money on anything that pleased him. Pissed off, a military officer named Jacob Johan Anckarström and two co-conspirators, Claes Fredrik Horn and Adolf Ribbing, planned to kill him. Gustav received word of the assassination attempt, but he was attending a masked ball so he figured he would be hidden. However, the king was easily spotted, due to the star of the Royal Order of the Seraphim on his cape. The masked assassins shot him. They got away and figured their masks would hide their identity. However, they were caught the next morning, flogged and decapitated.

No.8 – Juvénal Habyarimana

On April 6, 1994, the Rwandan president’s private Dassault Falcon 50 jet was shot down by two surface-to-air missiles. The plane crashed on the grounds of the presidential residence and all 12 people on board died. The killers are still unknown, but most theories blame the rebel Rwandan Patriotic Front or government-aligned Hutu extremists. Whoever is to blame, the event sparked the Rwandan genocide. Since the aircraft had a French crew, a French investigation was conducted. They blame the current president, Paul Kagame, but he claims the French are only trying to cover up their own part in the genocide.

No.7 – Julius Caesar

During a civil war, Caesar had risen from military general to political master of the Roman Republic. Many senators, including his good friend Brutus, thought he’d grown too powerful. They decided to act together, so none of them would later be singled out. Marc Anthony heard about the plot the night before and tried to head Caesar off before the killing, but the senators got to him first. Sixty or more men stabbed him 23 times. He tried to get away, but was blinded by his own blood. The assassination led to another civil war and the ascension, of Caesar’s adopted heir Octavian, as Roman Emperor.

No.6 – Abraham Lincoln

One of the most famous assassinations in history: John Wilkes Booth and his co-conspirators planned to kill not only Lincoln, but Vice President Johnson and Secretary of State Seward (the assassin assigned to Johnson wussed out and Seward’s assassin stabbed him multiple times, but didn’t kill him). Without Lincoln’s main bodyguard, to whom he related his famous dream regarding his own assassination, the president attended the play Our American Cousin on April 14, 1865. Booth crept up behind the president and waited for what he thought would be the funniest line of the play (“You sock-dologizing old man-trap”), hoping the laughter would muffle the noise of the gunshot. It didn’t, however, when Booth leaped to the stage and shouted, “Sic semper tyrannis!” (“Thus always to tyrants”), it would have blown his cover anyway.

No.5 – Alexander II of Russia

Revolutionaries wanted this ruler dead so badly that three bombers were sent after his carriage. The first assassin threw his bomb under the horses, thinking it would go off right under the carriage. However, it blew up the horses and only damaged the bulletproof carriage, a gift from Napoleon III of France.

Getting out of the carriage, Alexander was hit by the second bomber. According to a firsthand account: “The Tsar’s legs were shattered, and the blood poured out of them. Twenty people, with wounds of varying degrees, lay on the sidewalk and on the street. Some managed to stand, others to crawl, still others tried to get out from beneath bodies that had fallen on them. Through the snow, debris and blood you could see fragments of clothing, epaulets, sabers, and bloody chunks of human flesh.”

Later it was learned that there was a third bomber in the crowd, just in case.

No.4 – Leon Trotsky

After leading the Left Opposition that challenged Joseph Stalin in the 1920s, Trotsky was deported from the Soviet Union. He lived in Mexico, continuing to write, teaching Marxism and speaking out against Stalin. On August 20, 1940, an undercover Stalinist agent, Ramón Mercader, met with Trotsky in his home to discuss an article he had written. When Trotsky looked down to read the article, Mercader pulled out an ice pick and plunged it into his skull. Hearing the commotion, Trotsky’s bodyguards burst into the room, and Trotsky yelled: “Do not kill him! This man has a story to tell.” The famous Marxist died a day later of severe brain damage.

No.3 – Tiberius Gracchus

A Roman politician of the 2nd century B.C., Tiberius Gracchus caused political turmoil in the Republic by his attempts to legislate agrarian reforms. On election day, he appeared in the Roman senate with armed guards and in a mourning costume, implying that his defeat would mean his prosecution and death. What he didn’t plan for was being straight-up beaten to death right then and there. That’s exactly what happened. The senators picked up their chairs and beat him with them. After that, they tossed him into the Tiber River. Several hundred of his followers were waiting outside the senate for him. For good measure, they were all also killed.

No.2 – Grigori Rasputin

A Russian mystic, the “Mad Monk” had already survived one assassination attempt. A man thrust a knife into his abdomen, causing his entrails to hang out, but it didn’t manage to do him in. As a result, Prince Felix Yusupov and his co-conspirators knew they needed a lot to kill him. In 1914, they reportedly poisoned him with enough cyanide to kill five men. However, when it did nothing to him, Yusupov shot him three times.

Everyone assumed Rasputin was dead, but he suddenly grabbed Yusupov and said, “You bad boy,” and tried to strangle him. Others fired on him and then they threw him into an icy river. A lot of rumor and legend surrounds this tale. Whatever truths lie in it, all of the stories make this one of the craziest assassinations in history.

No.1 – Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria

Danilo Ilić, an organizer with a Serbian secret society called The Black Hand, recruited six young assassins to kill Archduke Ferdinand. He placed the six killers along Ferdinand’s motorcade route through Sarajevo. The first two assassins, armed with bombs and a pistol, wimped out. The third assassin threw his bomb, but it bounced off the folded-back convertible cover and blew up the car behind them. He swallowed a cyanide pill and jumped into the Miljacka River. However, the cyanide only induced vomiting and the Miljacka was only four inches deep. A crowd dragged him out of the river and beat him severely. Ferdinand’s car sped away and he managed to make a scheduled public speech.

After his speech, Ferdinand headed to the hospital to visit those wounded by the bomb. One of the six assassins, Gavrilo Princip, was getting a sandwich and saw Ferdinand’s car reversing after the driver had taken a wrong turn. He ran up and fired two shots into the open car, killing Ferdinand and his wife. The killing triggered World War I and Princip was only 19 years old. What kind of world-changing act did you perform by the time you were 19?

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About Chase Morgan
Chase Morgan is just your average, ordinary All-American writer. Chase began writing several years ago, but never published anything until the "Are You Friggen' Kidding Me?" blog launched in August of 2009. Chase simply got tired of standing around and just observing all of the craziness in the world, so this anxious writer sat down and wrote the first "Are YOu Friggen' Kidding Me?" article on August 19th, 2009. Now, any time something makes Chase say, "Are You Friggen' Kidding Me?", the issue get's transformed into an article. Chase is currently single, homeless and living under a bridge in South Florida.

2 Responses to Most Outrageous Assassinations

  1. Gina says:

    I'm a history buff, so I loooved this column! And I have one for you: Tillie Ziegler was just a market vendor. Her lover stabbed her 26 times with a hatchet, because he thought she was having an affair. Coincidentally, this is the murder case that ended up using Thomas Edison's invention: the electric chair. And….why did he dream up the electric chair? Well, Westinghouse's electricity, AC, was threatening the future of his generators, which were all DC. He designed the chair to run on AC (Westinghouse's brand of electricity) because he wanted to prove that AC current was deadly, while DC wasn't. William Kemmler was the first man executed by electrical execution in 1891.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Interesting Comment Gina!

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