A man on the verge of death in Pompeii 2,000 years ago may have spent his final moments engaging in a little “self-love,” before becoming the victim of a raging volcano.
An image of the man’s remains was shared through Instagram via an account belonging to the Archaeological Heritage of Naples and Pompeii on June 9, and appeared to display the deceased victim of the long-dormant Mount Vesuvius touching himself sexually in an apparent last hurrah, according to Maxim.
“When Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 A.D. near the Roman city of Pompeii, a suspected 11,000 souls were buried in volcanic ash,” writers for the men’s magazine say of the historic incident, “[but] one man, however, truly went out with a bang.”
In the picture, the man from Pompeii does appear to have been caught at the most unfortunate moment by the molten ash from the volcano as the man’s right hand lays on his lap, clasping something below the belt.
By the time the interesting picture made its way to Twitter, the subject in the shot had received a new, naughty title from social media: The Masturbating Man.
Feel free to meet the “man” in question for yourself below, but beware that the image might be NSFW (more on that uncertainty in a moment):
As one might expect, the Pompeii volcano victim, indeed, received quite a bit of attention from Twitter users.
Here are just a few of the social media responses.
Interestingly, myth busting website Snopes alludes to the idea that while it is plausible that things are exactly as they appear to be in the photo of the Pompeii man, there is more of a chance that the volcano victim had no control of his movements as he succumbed to the lava (hence the uncertainty of the original image being NSFW).
“When Mount Vesuvius erupted,” they explain, “it sent a surge of super-heated volcanic material through the city of Pompeii.”
“About 2,000 people were killed and the city was buried in a thick carpet of volcanic ash. The heat was so intense that many of the victims suffered sudden muscle contractions and were left frozen in a boxer-like, crouching pose.”
Additionally, Snopes suggests that the overwhelming temperatures from the volcano could have led the man’s body to lock itself into the provocative pose through the process of early Rigor mortis, thereby adding more doubt to the claim that the Pompei victim moved his own hand to his crotch for sexual purposes.
“The contorted postures are not the effects of a long [sexual] agony, but of the cadaveric spasm, a consequence of heat shock on corpses,” Snopes adds.
For further proof, Snopes included an image from Flickr of another Pompeii volcano victim whose body also appeared to “lock” into a sexual pose prior to their death.
[Featured Image by solarseven/iStock]