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Visit a Beard That Killed Its Owner

In humans, there's a certain length that hair will grow before it reaches the end of its life cycle and falls out, to be replaced by new growth. That limit varies widely, and most people cut their hair before its terminal length is achieved, but there are always outliers. One such outlier was Hans Steininger, who was the mayor of the Austrian town Braunau am Inn in the 16th century. He had a beard that was over four and half feet long! Sadly, Steininger's pride and joy ended up being the cause of his death in 1567. But it wasn't the end of his beard. The town kept it when they buried their mayor.   

The full-body illustration at the church shows Steininger’s beard bifurcated into two scraggly strands, stretching down past his feet. And tucked away in the local district museum is the town’s most hirsute artifact: the 450-year-old beard of Steininger.

After his death, Steininger was honored with the aforementioned epitaph, but that’s not all. Lest the years of work it must have taken for him to grow his beard be lost, the long length of facial hair was cut off and preserved separately, becoming an important town heirloom.

There's a good reason the town of Braunau am Inn wants to be known for Hans Steininger's beard. Read the story of the man killed by his own beard at Atlas Obscura.

(Image credit: Markus Metz)


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I believe (but don't have a link to confirm) that one way these super-long beards, braids, etc are achieved is not that the hair follicle continues to provide new growth, but that the hairs are interwoven or become matted with body oils and after one hair dies it just stays in the braid/beard supported by the others. Anybody know?
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