By Taylor Leonard
Humanity’s quest for immortality is as old as the human race itself. We now see a Renaissance of new transhumanist ideas that make it seem like technology will be the cure to mortality. What once belonged to the realm of gods and magic is now in the hands of researchers and science – results pending, of course. Though society as a whole may still be on the hunt for ways to live forever, some claim the feat has already been achieved by a small number of people. Here’s a list of these so-called immortals believed by some to be walking the Earth this very moment:
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.
Image by Gustave Dore
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 weren’t referenced until the 17th century, believers point to a Church conspiracy to eradicate records of their existence as reason for the historical discrepancy.