10 Crazy Attempts at Immortality Throughout History


The average person has real fears they have to deal with every day, or at least every week, about their job, their bills, their family, and everything else going on in their lives. These people tend to think very little about the ultimate fate of death that awaits all living things, as they have very little time for that kind of frivolous imagining of something that is inevitable regardless. However, those with a lot of money and time on their hands tend to get a sort of existential ennui about the end of their own existence, and some of them go to absolutely ludicrous lengths in an attempt to stave off that ultimate checkout.

10. People Want To Have Themselves Done In And Uploaded To The Cloud

The richest people in the world always wonder if they can extend their lives farther than most mortals. After all, once you have bought literally every physical thing you could want, and have all the food and financial security you need, the only thing that’s really left to do is attempt to buy more time on this earth with which to enjoy your riches. While most billionaires simply settle for having the best healthcare in the world, and live long and productive lives, some cannot settle for conventional means, and seek increasingly insane methods in the hopes of preserving themselves forever.

Silicon Valley tech entrepreneur Sam Altman has already put down a deposit of well over 10 thousand dollars to be put on a waiting list for a small startup company called Nectome, which believes that they can actually embalm and preserve the brain so they can one day upload the contents to the cloud. The process would basically be akin to assisted suicide, as embalming and preserving the brain for later use is a 100% fatal method. To make matters more insane, the method is not even perfected enough to actually digitize the memories and upload them yet, but they are already trying to embalm brains so they can do it later. If it did work, theoretically you could keep someone’s consciousness alive by preserving their brain, and then transferring it into some kind of robot body, thus allowing them to live forever.

9. Rich People Today Are Infusing Themselves With The Blood Of Young People

The vitality of a younger person’s blood has been something cultures have long believed could potentially increase the lifespan of older people, and while most people today figure that we are well beyond that kind of craziness, the truth is that there is more of a market for that kind of thing than most people realize. Some studies have shown that older mice transfused with the blood of younger mice showed rejuvenation and lived longer — although we don’t yet have studies that demonstrate that this is the same for humans.

Still, these few tests are enough to get billionaires like Peter Thiel on board, another tech entrepreneur who has been trying out every crazy elixir he can get his hands on. Apparently, he and many other rich people are low key using the grey market to purchase young blood to transfuse into their veins, in the hopes that it will extend their overall lifespans by a few more years. While there is little evidence that the quasi-illegal market for young blood involves any exploitation, it has still raised concerns from some that if it does work, it would allow rich people to basically buy vitality off of the poor — something many ethicists fear is completely and utterly unethical in every way, shape and form.

8. The Blood Countess Bathory Did Whatever Necessary To Get Younger People’s Blood

Elizabeth Bathory hardly needs any introduction. Known as the Blood Countess, she has a reputation similar to Vlad the Impaler, the inspiration behind Dracula. However, the truth is that while Vlad Tepes was quite a ruler, so the scope of his mayhem may have been larger, Bathory may have had him beat when it comes to the sheer sadism of her actions. During her reign of terror, before King Matthias II sent people to inspect her castle after many horror stories, she is rumored to have tortured and murdered as many as 650 peasant girls — she would only be convicted of killing about 80 of them in the end.

Bathory was a uniquely sadistic individual who was a problem ever since she was a child, but it was as she started to get older, and really start to play out her most sadistic fantasies, that she made a discovery that caused her to go even more full tilt into her insane habit. Legend has it that after striking a young servant girl so hard she bled, Bathory noticed later that the blood on her hand seemed to revitalize her skin. After that incident, Bathory started bathing in blood as part of her beauty regimen to keep her skin young, and began capturing, torturing and killing more and more peasant girls so that she could maintain her youthful figure. While it’s hard to say if she really thought it would keep her immortal, or simply slow down her aging, her thirst for blood quickly became unquenchable.

7. Drinking A Potion Made With Menstrual Blood To Stay Young

Blood, as you might have guessed by now, is something of a theme when it comes to attempts at immortality. While there are other ways people have attempted it, trying to use the essence of another person to expand your life is one of the most common methods people have come up with — spawning all kinds of ridiculous variations. Now, while most blood attempts involve trying to get the blood of someone younger, somehow, into your veins, this method is a bit different. There are people who believe that drinking menstrual blood is good for you, and that it can act as an elixir that expands your life and rejuvenates your cells.

Most practitioners of this bizarre practice don’t even use proper medical methods to get the blood into their body — such as a transfusion, they just drink it. Now, there is some limited evidence that shows there may be some stem cells in menstrual blood, which could potentially be partly restorative, but the problem there is that even if it did provide some benefit, you would be very unlikely to attain that benefit simply by drinking blood. In the example a couple entries above where we talk about stem cells revitalizing mice, the fact is that those mice were carefully injected with the substance by trained medical professionals — it wasn’t just slipped into their water bottles one day.

6. Some Scientists Believe Studying Box Jellyfish Is The Key To Immortality


Humanity has been searching for immortality for as long as we have recorded history; however, while we have been looking all this time, deep beneath the ocean, there was already a creature that had achieved what many thought impossible. This creature is a species of jellyfish often called the box jellyfish colloquially, and has incredible regenerative powers that are still baffling scientists to this day. This jellyfish, under stress or pain, will start to reverse its aging until it goes back to its earliest stage, and then it starts to age forward again — this has led researchers to dub it the “Benjamin Button Jellyfish.

Unfortunately, while it may hold the key to immortality, we currently aren’t really any closer to figuring out how we could apply that to ourselves. Despite the jellyfish in question being discovered back in the ’80s, research for it simply has had very little funding or interest. There are not many scientists who specialize in that kind of tiny marine creature, and on top of that, our understanding of it in terms of applying immortality to ourselves is so limited that we simply haven’t had any major funding interest from big players. If a rich tech billionaire threw some money at the problem, perhaps we would start getting some quicker results on how, and if we could somehow apply the immortal jellyfish’s benjamin button magic to our own lives.

5. Gilgamesh Tried To Become Immortal And Learned A Great Lesson

The epic of Gilgamesh is an ancient set of poems from Sumeria, about a demi-god king who ruled a land called Uruk. Gilgamesh was a very successful leader, as he managed to rise up great cities, and many bountiful harvests. However, he was also known to be a cruel despot who enslaved his people, and raped any woman he fancied whenever he wanted. The gods felt that he was too cruel, and created and sent a giant, demi-god wild man named Enkidu to stop him. After fighting together, the two actually became best friends, and decided to team up to destroy a terrifying forest demon named Humbaba in order to solidify their place in legend.

While they were successful in this, they continued to attract more attention from the gods, and eventually drew enough of their ire that the gods killed Enkidu. Gilgamesh was distraught, and decided that he must find a way to avoid death itself, so he would not have to suffer the same horrible fate as his best friend. He began a quest to seek out a man who had survived a great flood, the Noah of ancient Sumerian tales, and a man who was said to be the only one gifted with immortality by the gods. The old immortal told him that he was only an exception, and that the gods did not create men to live forever. Overcome with pity, before he left, the old immortal’s wife convinced him to tell Gilgamesh of an herb that could make one young again. Gilgamesh did manage to find this amazing herb, the very last one of its kind in existence, but it was snatched out of his hand by a snake, who ate it and immediately became young again before Gilgamesh’s very eyes. After this, he resigned himself to death, but also realized that as a human he could attain immortality in a certain sense — by the deeds and works he had left behind.

4. Qin Shi Huang Tried To Become Immortal By Drinking Mercury, Among Other Things

Qin Shi Huang was the first emperor of unified China, and for that reason, he kind of started to get a big head about things. After all, he had all the money, power, prestige, and influence that anyone could possibly ever hope for in life — he ruled a gigantic country, and this was back in the days before the internet when other world leaders could more easily make you feel insecure on the world stage. Yes, Qin Shi Huang had it all, but he decided that what he had just wasn’t enough. The only thing he didn’t have was the ability to live forever, so he figured he might as well see if he could figure that one out.

So, he started sending scouts out to various places rumored to know something about immortality, but he never got any satisfactory results back. While he was impatiently waiting for any kind of new information, he was making use of alchemical elixirs made by Chinese medicine man of the olden days, whose knowledge of medicine was about as sophisticated as Western medicine at the time — not very — and who thought that drinking mercury, was a pretty great idea. This created a rather ironic problem, because the great emperor drank so many mercury based concoctions — mercury being the base for many different elixir attempts in ancient Chinese alchemy — that he actually died much younger than such a rich man probably would have, even back then. The first emperor of unified China died at the age of only 49, greedily swilling poison in the hopes of tyrannically lording it over all of China for the rest of the days that the sun still shines on the earth.

3. People Are Being Cryogenically Frozen After Death, Hoping One Day It Will Work

For years, rumors have abounded that Walt Disney put himself on ice, and not just in the metaphorical sense when it comes to the ice skating show that Disney does on a regular basis. Now, there actually aren’t any truth to these rumors at all — Walt Disney did not cryogenically preserve himself, and he certainly didn’t cryogenically preserve himself with the orders to only unfreeze him when all Jewish people were gone. However, while these wild rumors may be entirely apocryphal, it does not mean that there aren’t people who have taken that insane step and gone to the trouble to have their body cryogenically preserved when they died.

Multiple people have signed up for this dubious process over the years, and all of them are banking on some kind of technology possibly being a thing in the future, that can properly unfreeze and revitalize themselves. Like those who are trying to upload their brains, the technology isn’t there, may not be there for a long time, and may simply never be possible. This of course, has not stopped people who are obsessed with staying alive, but there are complications.

Most states in the United States, and most countries in the world, do not allow assisted suicide, and for the updated version of the process — that has the most success of perhaps preserving you in some way — it is akin to assisted suicide, much like the method used for embalming your brain for future uploading. This means the rich person looking to cryogenically freeze themselves may have to go through quite an ordeal when it comes to their living situation before they can properly and legally get a company to attempt to freeze them for posterity.

2. The Monks Who Mummify Themselves To Death In The Hopes Of Achieving Immortality

Throughout history, going back perhaps before we even had records, Buddhist monks of various sorts have taken to the remote mountainous regions in cloistered monasteries in order to ponder the mysteries of the universe and try to achieve some form of religious transcendence. While many Buddhist philosophies do not care much about the physical form, there have and still are some sects that not only care about the physical form, but believe that with the right process, they can make their physical bodies live forever.

In order to achieve this, they take part in a practice known as self-mummification. This gruesome practice begins with a special diet and training process that takes many years. Once the date gets closer to the mummification, the aspirant eats a special diet that is supposed to help preserve their body, including a disgusting embalming solution that they drink. They then seal themselves up inside a chamber, and are buried inside with just the slightest air hole. They continuously ring a bell to signal that they are still meditating, and when the bell stops ringing the chamber is sealed. After a few years, the chamber is opened and the body is checked for decay. If they don’t see any visible signs then they consider the self-mummification a success. Some people believe that these monks could one day wake up, in hundreds or even thousands of years, when their wisdom is once again needed.

1. The Man Who Injected Himself With Extracts From The Testicles Of Guinea Pigs And Dogs

Back in 1889, a scientist named Brown-Sequard who, up to that time, had been considered prestigious, called people together for a shocking announcement about a new discovery he had made. He started off by warming up the crowd of mostly old men by complaining about his back pain, impotence, old age and general misery from such. He told the shocked crowd that he had figured out not only a cure for impotence, but an elixir of youth that would bring the vitality back to anyone of any age. He explained that he had been experimenting on himself, by crushing up the testicles of a dog he had killed and cut open, and then straining it and making a solution with water than he then injected in his thigh. He claimed that after doing so, he was able to perform for his wife, and that he felt way stronger and more vital almost immediately. As the startled crowd listened in horror, he explained that he had tried the same thing with the testicles of a guinea pig, which had worked just as well as the dog testicles.

Unfortunately, being a time when scientific knowledge was still limited, and him being a fairly prestigious scientist, a fair number of people started to try out his crazy method. Some people would claim that it worked, but medical experts even at the time were very skeptical, especially of the claims that it could truly restore your life or youth. They tested the solution which Brown-Sequard had patented and was making some money off of, against a solution that was a placebo, and it turns out that his method actually didn’t do anything at all. Even if there was some theoretical way that it was, at least temporarily alleviating erectile dysfunction, tests on the solution showed it didn’t even contain enough of the significant ingredients to make any real difference anyways. Completely shamed, and run out of business, he lived the rest of his life in quiet anonymity — unfortunately for Brown-Sequard, injecting the crushed up balls of animals in his thigh was not actually a ticket to immortality.

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