Final Testimony: 40 Gripping Deathbed Incidents & Unexpected Confessions

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1Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison

When Thomas Edison was on his deathbed, Henry Ford reportedly made an odd request for his ailing friend and asked Edison’s son Charles to collect Edison’s last breath, and later 8 test tubes were discovered apparently with ‘his last breath.’

2. On July 4, 1826, while on his deathbed, former president John Adam's last words were "Jefferson Still Survives", referring to former president Thomas Jefferson, who unknown to Adams, had died hours earlier, on the same day.

3. Elias James Leach, legendary screen icon Cary Grant’s, father put his mother in a mental institution when Grant was 9 and told him his mother had died. Grant didn't find out his mother was still alive until he was 35 when his father confessed the truth on his deathbed.

4. Duane Webber is an interesting part of the whole DB Cooper case. On his deathbed, he confessed to his wife “I am Dan Cooper.” The media reported his name as DB Cooper mistakenly. The hijacker, on the note he passed to the stewardess, identified himself as Dan Cooper.

5. A silent movie actress named Margaret Gibson allegedly confessed on her deathbed of murdering Irish-American film director William Desmond Taylor, which was a famous unsolved case. It's unclear if she really did it though.

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6Nicolaus Copernicus

Nicolaus Copernicus

Nicolaus Copernicus proposed the heliocentric solar system (making the sun the center of the solar system instead of the earth) from his deathbed because he was aware of the controversy it would cause and the danger it posed to him. He was right.

7. When Polish composer Frédéric Chopin was on his deathbed, he asked that when he died his body be cut open and the heart removed to be buried in his homeland of Poland. Upon his death, his sister smuggled the heart out of France, delivering it to the Church of the Holy Cross in Warsaw.

8. Israeli Songwriter Naomi Shemer always denied she had taken the melody for “Jerusalem of Gold” from “Pello Joxepe.” Stricken with cancer, which she felt might have been caused by her deception, she confessed in her deathbed that she had, in fact, heard “Pello Joxepe” prior to writing “Jerusalem of Gold.”

9. Comedian WC Fields was “an avowed atheist [who] regarded all religions with the suspicion of a seasoned con man.” When a friend asked why he was reading the Bible on his deathbed, he replied, “I’m checking for loopholes.”

10. Peter the Great allegedly wrote a note on his deathbed saying “Leave all to...” He was too exhausted to finish the note before he died of gangrene.

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11Adam Faith

Adam Faith

Popstar Adam Faith’s final words on his deathbed were “Channel 5 is all sh*t, isn't it? Christ, the crap they put on there. It’s a waste of space.”

12. Bill Wilson, the originator of AA (alcoholics anonymous) asked for whiskey on his deathbed, but the nurse wouldn't give it to him.

13. Christian Spurling, the man who took the most memorable photo of the Loch Ness Monster confessed to it being fake on his deathbed.

14. Robert I King of Scots on his deathbed asked a lieutenant to bring his embalmed heart on a crusade. James Douglas took the heart to join the Spanish reconquista where he died during the Battle of Teba. His flesh was boiled off of his bones and the rest of him was sent back to Scotland with the heart.

15. While on his death bed, the emperor Vespasian sarcastically remarked " Oh dear, I think I am becoming a God"

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16Pope Innocent VIII

Pope Innocent VIII

When Pope Innocent VIII was on his deathbed in 1492, his doctors bled three young boys, killing them, and had the pontiff drink their blood to restore his health.

17. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was a true musical genius, composing his first piece at the tender age of five. His final piece, “Requiem”, was composed on his death bed, and he has been decomposing ever since.

18. Lewis and Clark owe their lives not just to Sacagawea, but also to the Nez Perce woman Watkuweis. On her deathbed, Watkuweis convinced her people not to kill Lewis and Clark because she had once been helped by white people whilst making a daring escape from her captors.

19. When billionaire hotelier Conrad Hilton (Paris Hilton’s grandfather) was asked on his deathbed if he had any final words, he said “Leave the shower curtain on the inside of the tub” and then died.

20. In the early 1960s, Bob Dylan traveled across the nation while Woody Guthrie lied on his deathbed in order to play “Song to Woody” to Guthrie before his death.

21Arnold Rothstein

Arnold Rothstein

Arnold Rothstein established countless rackets and casinos and was one of the richest mobsters during Prohibition. He was shot during a poker game, but on his deathbed, he refused to snitch. He said "You stick to your trade. I'll stick to mine" and "My mother did it."

22. George Washington said "Do not let my body be put into the vault in less than three days after I am dead" on his deathbed because he was afraid he'd be buried alive.

23. On his deathbed, Steve Jobs refused to wear an oxygen mask as he felt it was poorly designed.

24. The Athenaeum in Boston holds the only known copy of the deathbed confessions of a 19th Century Massachusetts highway robber James Allen who ordered those memoirs to be printed, bound in skin taken from his back, and to be presented to the only man who ever stood up to him.

25. Napoleon III's defeat and surrender at the Battle of Sedan during the Franco-Prussian War haunted him for the rest of his life. On his deathbed his last words were a question posed to his doctor: “We were not cowards at Sedan, were we?”

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