April 11, 1890
Whitechapel, London, England
Joseph Merrick, known most by his human curiosity name “The Elephant Man,” dies at 27
Merrick had a condition which is still debated today, suffering from neurofibromatosis type I and/or Proteus Syndrome.
He was found dead in his bed on April 11. Officially, his death was ruled as asphyxia but during autopsy it was revealed his neck had been dislocated. Merrick’s friend and doctor Dr. Treves speculated Merrick had laid down to sleep to “be like other people,” (previously, Merrick had slept in a chair) and the weight of his head had caused the dislocation in his neck.
Merrick has no grave, and his skeletal remains are held at the Royal London Hospital, though his body is not available for public viewing. Recently, there has been a call to have his body formally laid to rest.