Above image is Death on the Pale Horse by Gustave Doré (1865). It is linked to Revelation 6:8 "The Lamb of God opens the seven seals of a book "written within and on the backside". After the opening of the fourth seal, Death rides into the world. He is the fourth knight of the apocalypse. Hell follows him." This work is in the public domain.
There is a Reaper whose name is Death
And, with his sickle keen,
He reaps the bearded grain at a breath,
And the flowers that grow between.
— From the poem The Reaper and the Flowers by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. First published 1839, in his collection of poetry entitled Voices of the Night.
Melaten Central Cemetery
Aachener Strasse 204
Cologne, Stadtkreis Köln, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Home of one of many famous statues of the Grim Reaper (shown in our photos above). This particular statue features him holding an hourglass, but he has no scythe.
When you hear the name, "The Grim Reaper," a very familiar image probably pops into your head. With the black robe and cowl, skeletal face and hands or the visage of a dour corpse, a threatening scythe, and hourglass at its last sands, this is the image the modern, western person thinks of when we personify death. But where did this visual come from? How do we know what death looks like? And since death has always been with us, isn't this image as old as that finality itself? One might think so, but that doesn't seem to be the case. Surely since there have been humans, we have wondered what becomes of us once we die, where do we go when we shuffle off this mortal coil, and how do we get there? What we have found is that yes, we have always created myths and put a face on death in order to help comprehend such an abstract and mysterious concept, but that face has morphed through the ages and varies by culture. In the ancient western world, the concept of a Grim Reaper was more of a psychopomp, a guide that takes the freshly departed to their place in the afterlife. But since we have doubts nowadays when it comes to a more universally accepted idea of an afterlife, perhaps the notion of a ghastly specter that merely extinguishes our spark when our time has come is more relatable. And he's just a mythic character, right? A cartoon? Well not if you ask some folks who claimed to have seen him and lived to tell about it. Whatever the truth, in one sense, in the end, it doesn't matter if you believe at the moment of death that we are whisked away to another realm or it's just "lights out." As the saying goes, whether king or pauper, a Grim Reaper comes for us all.
Special Offers from our Special Sponsors:
Bombas – “Bombas are the most comfortable socks in the history of feet!” Bombas has totally re-engineered socks with comfort innovations that add up to a way more comfortable pair of socks. Two years of research & development led to multiple improvements of the sock design, performance and comfort. Things like an Arch Support System that provides extra support where you need it most and feels like a hug around your foot; a Cushioned Footbed, reinforced for comfort without added bulkiness; Stay Up Technology – 133 tension levels were tested to find the perfect tension that's comfortable, stays in place while not being too loose, and never leaves a mark; a seamless toe – they got rid of that annoying bump on your toes – just wiggle your toes around and you’ll feel the difference; super soft cotton that you’ll never want to take off! And 1 Pair Sold = 1 Pair Donated. Socks are the #1 most requested item in homeless shelters, but you can’t donate used socks. That’s why Bombas donates 1 brand new pair of socks for every pair they sell. To date, they’ve sold and donated over 9 million pairs. Start treating yourself right from the ground up, and make every step a comfortable one! Go to Bombas.com/AL and then use Promo Code AL at checkout and you’ll get 20% OFF your first order!
The Great Courses Plus – Learn about virtually anything, now with over 10,000 lectures on almost any subject you can think of – from history and science to learning a new language, how to play an instrument or explore topics like food, the arts, travel, business, and self-improvement! And now their app lets you listen to just the audio from the courses or watch the videos, just like a podcast! Available for iOS and Android. See for yourself with this special offer: go to TheGreatCoursesPlus.com/LEGENDS to get UNLIMITED ACCESS to their ENTIRE LIBRARY of courses with a FREE ONE MONTH TRIAL! Sign up today and have endless fun improving yourself!
Charlotte’s Web Hemp Extract – Charlotte’s Web Broad Spectrum Hemp Extract by the Stanley Brothers is the revolutionary way to ease discomfort from exercise-induced inflammation as well as experience benefits like relief from everyday stresses, help improve sleep cycles, and all while achieving a sense of calm and focus. Available in capsules, as an oil or balm, Charlotte’s Web hemp extract is sustainably farmed, US-Grown Hemp with no pesticides, herbicides or fungicides, and utilizes the natural powers of CBD. What is CBD? “CBD is short for cannabidiol. It is a critical phytocannabinoid found in hemp and known for supporting the body and mind in many ways.” Check out the website for more information, and while you’re there, enter Promo Code AL at checkout to get 10% OFF your order! Some exclusions apply, so see the website for details.
Robinhood – Robinhood is a new type of financial services company, that strives to make stock trading and investing accessible and easy for everyone, not just the rich! Take the mystery out of financial trading and learn by doing! Buy and sell stocks, exchange traded funds, options, and “Cryptos” – all commission-free with Robinhood. Commission-free trades allow you to trade stocks and keep ALL of your profits and with the Robinhood app, you can place a trade with just 4 taps on your smartphone. And their Web Platform also lets you view stock “collections,” like “100 Most Popular” and sectors like “Entertainment” and “Social Media.” There are also curated categories like “Female CEOs” and analyst ratings of buy/hold/sell for every stock. Discover new stocks and track favorite companies with a personalized news feed and custom notifications for price movements so you never miss the right moment to invest! And now, Robinhood is giving our listeners a FREE stock like Apple, Ford, or Sprint to help build your portfolio! Sign up today at legends.robinhood.com.
Episode 120: The Grim Reaper. Produced by Scott Philbrook & Forrest Burgess; Audio Editing by Sarah Vorhees Wendel; Ryan McCullough and John Bolen Sound Design; Research Assistance by Tess Pfeifle and the astonishing League of Astonishing Researchers, a.k.a. The Astonishing Research Corps, or "A.R.C." for short. Copyright 2018 Astonishing Legends Productions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.