Death by Long Beard

Death by Long Beard

Hans Steininger was an Austrian man who became famous for having the world’s longest beard. One day he accidentally tripped on his long beard and fell. His neck was broken, and he died.

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Hans Steininger was the mayor of Braunau am Inn back in 1567, and a popular one at that. Though not much is known about his life, besides the fact that he was well-liked by his people, there is one thing about him that has survived through the centuries – his impressive facial hair. Steininger was well known for his beard, a four and a half foot long spectacle that hung from his face in one long tendril complete with a forked tip.

On September 28, 1567, a fire broke out in the town of Braunau am Inn. As is usually the case, the fire caused a fair amount of panic, and being the mayor of the town, Steininger was at the center of it. At some point, as he attempted to quell the commotion, his beard came loose from his little beard pocket.

Of course, as the town was on fire, he didn’t take the time to roll it back up and simply pushed it out of the way. That was his downfall. While standing at the top of a flight of stairs, in the midst of the chaos he stepped on his own beard and tripped. As he slipped, he tumbled down the entire flight of stairs, breaking his neck in the process.

Upon his death, the city erected a monument to their fallen mayor in the form of a large stone relief on the side of St. Stephen’s Church, so that his legacy could never be forgotten. Then, as if the giant stone statue of him wasn’t enough, the town went a step further.

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