Europe

Praha

One of ancient Bohemia’s gifts to the language of the world was the concept of “defenestration”–the throwing of political enemies out of multi-story windows.

The practice got underway in 1419 with the tossing of 15 local political leaders through the windows of this castle. The Second Defenestration of 1483 disposed of eight Prague Aldermen. In the Third Defenestration of 1618, three Catholic hardliners were tossed. The Virgin Mary apparently interceded that time–the victims survived the 21-meter fall–but she failed to prevent the Hundred Years War that ensued. In 1948, the Czech Communists threw the world-reknowned patriot Jan Masaryk out of another Prague window in his pajamas (the Soviet NKVD swore it was a suicide, until it wasn’t).

The standard practice requires lots of noise and broken glass–unlatching the windows beforehand is apparently frowned upon. But the death of the victim isn’t a prerequisite, and more than a few have survived.

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