Elisabeth Demidoff's Tomb Challenge

In 1818 the Russian Princess Elisabeth Demidoff died at Paris, aged 39. A massive mausoleum was raised above her grave at Père Lachaise, in the current classical taste. But 75 years later, strange stories began to circulate about the tomb and its occupant. In Elisabeth’s last Will and testament, it was rumoured to tell of a vast fortune for anyone who could spend a year in her tomb.

According to Paris papers, a curious will contest is about to be tried in the Seine courts. Five years ago a Russian Princess died, leaving a large fortune. There was great surprise among her relatives when the testament was opened. By one of its clauses she left 5,000,000 francs to the person who would remain a year in the chapel to be erected above her grave in the Pere-la-Chaise. The body of the Princess, according to the legendary report, lies in a crystal coffin, in a wonderful state of preservation. No one of her relatives has been able to remain longer than two or three days in the chapel. What will become of the 5,000,000 francs is the question. Chicago [IL] Daily Tribune 25 October 1893: p. 4

Born February 5, 1779, into Russian Aristocracy, Elisabeth Alexandrovna Stroganoff married Nicolas Demidoff at aged 16, and gave him two sons. The couple lived in France where they were ardent supporters of Napoleon. Elisabeth was described as being quite a cheerful and more outgoing character, while her husband was more of a brooder. Elisabeth was interested in social outings; her husband was more interested in building on his financial fortune. After their second son was born the couple separated, and Elisabeth moved back to France where she lived out her days.
Elisabeth Demidoff Mausoleum

Elisabeth De Demidoff died in Paris, France on 8 April 1818, her body housed in a massive mausoleum located in the Pere-Lachaise cemetery. This Mausoleum is one of the largest in the cemetery, Elisabeth's body located in the tomb beneath.

75 years later after Elisabeth was interred into her resting place a rumour began to circulate that her will stated a challenge for anyone wanting to get their hands on some of her riches. She died quite wealthy though some say a little bit nutty.

The Will supposedly read something along the lines of – anyone of good will who agreed to spend 365 days and 366 nights locked within her tomb alone would inherit a fortune. They could not leave the tomb for any reason during this time.

Several people attempted this feat, but no one could manage to survive more than a few days before the doors would be pounded on, yelling and shrieking accompanying the din, and when released the prospective challenger would dash out, more than a little unhinged, and at least one died of a heart attack soon after.




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Elisabeth Demidoff's Tomb Challenge Elisabeth Demidoff's Tomb Challenge Reviewed by Tripzibit on September 15, 2015 Rating: 5

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