History In The Iron Mask

Since I was a child, I’ve always found the story of The Man In The Iron Mask quite interesting, not only because it was a fun story, but also because it’s based on a small piece of history. There was in fact a mysterious unnamed prisoner in the Bastille (though presumably with his face covered in a black hood, not an iron mask) and while it’s unlikely he was the king’s twin, there are lots of crazy theories about who he was and what he did while in prison. Knowing how such a small piece of history has spawned so many stories and obfuscated the truth to the point where we’ll never know who the prisoner was, it makes me wonder what events from my lifetime will be similarily popularized in fiction 100 years or more from now. Certainly our ability to keep track of history has improved, but just consider all the conspiracy theories around the horrors of 9/11– will people in the future believe that it was caused by someone other than fundamentalist terrorists? Will there be a “man in the iron mask” in Gitmo, according to conspiracy theorists in the year 3000?

It also makes you wonder about a lot of other historical “facts” and their status as such, for it’s not inconcievable that lies have been repeated so much over that time that they’re now accepted as fact. This all came to me when watching the nineties adaptation of Man In The Iron Mask, so perhaps it confirms that I’m incapable of relaxing and enjoying films these days.

Any other historical legends you can think of that’ve grown as the mysterious Bastille prisoner story have grown? Perhaps some current historical events you feel will be equally popularized?

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