Alexander Poppyseed

Alexander Poppyseed was an allegedly criminally insane murderer hanged at the turn of the century. The endurance of his legend can be attributed to the fact that he was the last person to be hanged in wire at the Crimson Gallows, whose gorier use was briefly revived by Judge Konstantin Fenner as part of his controversial Maximum Discouragement policy (1089-1103), often referred to as his "Reign of Terror" by left-leaning historians. This is thought to have galvanised public dissent against the policy and Fenner's subsequent disappearance has been attributed to Poppyseed sympathisers.

Poppyseed's origins and indeed real name remain a mystery. He began appearing in Falkensburg around 1096, handing out pamphlets to citizens in the street. These missives generally contained extravagant claims about the demonic possession of various public figures as well as exhortations to the citizenry to rise up and behead the "Hell-Driven." He was considered just another crank for years and was often in and out of jail on charges of loitering and accosting nobles. Things came to a head in the early spring of 1102, when Alexander was observed marching through the streets with a battleaxe, allegedly frothing at the mouth, following which he approached the head of the Merchants Guild and attacked him with a cry that has been debated ever since, with various sources claiming it to be "out, unholy beast", "take that, bastard", "triumph of the lord" and "marshmallows on toast".

Alexander's defense attempted to plead insanity on his behalf, a claim supported by the man's cries of "Blood! Blood! Blood!" from his restraints in the witness box. Judge Fenner reportedly replied to this with the much-quoted statement: "Let one man claim diminished mental capacity as an excuse and we'll have every village idiot up here calling it a precedent. He wants blood, so give the man blood!"

-Captain Obermann

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