William the Conqueror’s exploding corpse
William the Conqueror was a great and ruthless military leader who came from Normandy and conquered England in 1066. His life may have been glorious but his death certainly wasn’t. It led to a power vacuum and as nobles rushed home to safeguard their land in the chaos that ensued his death, William’s body was forgotten.
Looters stole his clothes and left him naked on the funeral parlour floor. His body began to rot as it wasn’t properly preserved until, out of pity, a passing knight paid for the body to be properly embalmed.
At the funeral the pallbearers tried to put William’s body into a sarcophagus but it wouldn’t fit. He had put on weight in his final years, plus the dead body had swelled. In trying to force the body into the sarcophagus the pallbearers accidentally caused his stomach to explode. The smell was so bad that the funeral had to be cut short so people could escape into the fresh air.