Death is the only inevitability in life. Mankind’s quest for immortality is as old as the human race itself. What once belonged to the realm of gods and magic is now in the hands of researchers and science, but, of course, we haven’t reached immortality yet. Though society as a whole may still be on the hunt for ways to live forever, some claim that has already been achieved by a small number of people.
Ziusudra was an ancient Sumerian king identified as the hero of the Sumerian flood myth upon which the biblical story of Noah is based. Meaning “life of long days” the name Ziusudra reflects aspects of his legend, which show the king being granted immortality by the gods – a gift for his brave actions during the great deluge. With no records of his death or documented site of burial some believe King Ziusudra continued to live long after his reign ended.
The Wandering Jew
During the 13th century a legend began to rise throughout Europe regarding a “Wandering Jew” cursed with earthly immortality after taunting Jesus during his carrying of the cross. Believed to have either been a shoemaker or a doorman for Pontius Pilate, the Wandering Jew will allegedly continue to live until the Second Coming of Christ. Though exact details vary, most depictions and documentation suggest this man, if alive, continues to visibly age without significant physical decay.
Nicholas and Perenelle Flamel were husband and wife alchemists of the late-14th century said to have discovered the legendary philosopher’s stone and thus achieved immortality.
Though the couple wasn’t referenced until the 17th century, believers point to a Church conspiracy to eradicate records of their existence as reason for the historical discrepancy.
Count of St. Germain
Count of St. Germain was a highly educated and wealthy 18th-century European aristocrat whose mysterious origins were a source of intense speculation during the Age of Enlightenment.
When pressed, the Count would claim to be over 500-years-old and, according to legends, his vast knowledge and range of expertise didn’t do much to discredit the idea. Voltaire didn’t buy it, and neither do most historians, but some believe the Count of St. Germain continues to live to this day.
Of course, a lot of ancient cultures had their myths and legends about immortal rulers, shamans, priests and gods. This theme actually runs through the whole history of mankind. What if people were meant to live forever and some have already found out how? But as for now, we will have to rely mostly on science to complete this seemingly impossible quest.