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June 27, 2010

List of people who have claimed to be immortal

Please note, this list does not reference purely spiritual entities (spirits, gods, demons, angels), non-humans (monsters,extraterrestrials, elves), or artificial life (artificial intelligence, robots).

Historical, mythological, or religious immortals

Because the categorization of many of these people as historical, mythological and/or religious figures is dependent on an individual's worldview, no distinction is made in this list.

This list does not contain those people who are supposed to have attained immortality through the typical means of a religion (eg. aChristian in Heaven).

The list is in chronological order (some dates are approximate, see individual pages for relevant discussion).

  • Achilles of the Iliad; dipped in the river Styx by his mother, he is blessed with imortality until slain by Paris of Troy
  • The Seven Immortals according to Hindu Mythology - "Sapta Chiranjeevi"
  • Enoch (antediluvian), taken bodily to heaven. Some accounts show him transformed into the angel Metatron.
  • Utnapishtim and his wife (antediluvian), granted immortality after surviving the Great Flood.
  • Gilgamesh (possibly reigned during the 26th century BC) after the death of his companion, Enkidu, Gilgamesh pursues immortality to avoid Enkidu's fate. Gilgamesh fails two tests and does not become immortal, realising instead that mortals attain immortality through lasting works of civilization and culture. Appropriately, Gilgamesh's story is considered the oldest story recorded.
  • Melchizedek (18th century BC) In Genesis 14:18-20, Melchizedek brought bread and wine to Abraham (then called Abram) after Abraham's victory over the four kings (led by Chedorlaomer) who had besieged Sodom and Gomorrah and had taken Abraham's nephew Lot prisoner. Heb. 7:3 states, "Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, like the Son of God he (Melchizedek) remains a priest forever." Some Christians believe he was a type of Christ. He is also a character in The Alchemist.
  • Heracles (1286 or 1251 BC - ca.1226 BC) Heracles ordered a funeral pyre built for him so he could escape the agony that a poison was causing. The fire burned away his human nature, leaving only the divine. He then ascended to Mount Olympus.
  • Tithonus, granted eternal life but not eternal youth.
  • Elijah (9th century BC), taken to heaven in a fiery chariot.
  • The Eight Immortals (b. between the 6th century BC and the 11th century AD), eight people who ascended to godhood, worshiped in religious Daoism.
  • The Wandering Jew (b. 1st century BC) a Jewish shoemaker who taunted Jesus on his way to crucifixion. Jesus cursed him to "go on forever till I return." Thus, the Wandering Jew is to live until the second coming of Jesus.
  • Jesus Christ (8-4 BCAD 29-36), resurrected from death and ascended into heaven. It should be noted that most Christian traditions consider Jesus to be the second person of the Trinity, as such, his divine nature is generally considered to be preexistent to his incarnation (see Christian views of Jesus for further information).
  • John the Apostle (6 AD-101), Mormons in conjunction with their own scriptures interpret the biblical scripture found at John 21:21-23 to mean that John will tarry or remain on the earth until the Second Coming.[1]
  • The Three Nephites (Between 34 AD and 35 AD), The Book of Mormon describes three men who are given power over death in order to fulfill their desire to minister among men until Jesus comes again.[2]
  • Sir Galahad (dates for his life fall between the 2nd century and the 6th century), one of three Arthurian knights to find the Holy Grail, Galahad is the only one to have achieved immortality by it.
  • Merlin (dates for his life fall between the 2nd century and the 6th century), some accounts have Merlin trapped by an enchantmentunder a rock, in a cave, or in a hidden palace, where he may still be alive.
  • Nicolas and Perenelle Flamel (15th century AD), alchemists who acquired immortality through the use of the Philosopher's stone
  • Count of St Germain (d. 1784) a mysterious gentleman and alchemist, he claimed to be centuries old. Various occultic and religious organizations have adopted him, with some claiming he is alive today, or has been in the recent past.
  • Meivazhi Salai Andavargal (1854-1976?) the preceptor of Meivazhi, "who is untouched by the tentacles of Yama (Death God), the one who wards off the terror of death, the one aged 120 years and without sleep and food..."[3]
  • Alex Chiu (born February 8, 1971) Developer of the magnetic Immortality Device. He purports that his magnetic rings, if worn correctly every night, will allow anyone to live forever.
  • Nikola Tesla (10 July 1856 – 7 January 1943) It is said that the well known inventor, physicist, mechanical engineer, and electrical engineer had his death faked and was placed in charge of the Montauk Project which would make him over 120 years old.

Fictional immortals

This list does not contain references to vampires or immortals in the Highlander setting, as these are both discussed in detail elsewhere, and would easily dominate the entire list (see Vampire fiction and List of Highlander characters).

The list is in chronological order for the first appearance of the fictitious character.

  • John Melmoth (Melmoth the Wanderer, 1820) Melmoth sells his soul to the devil in exchange for an extra 100 years of life.
  • Dorian Gray (The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1890) Gray was granted immortality after praying his painting would receive the marks of his age and of his sin. Died after attempting to destroy the portrait.
  • Elrond the Half-elven (The Hobbit, 1937) Due to his half-elven ancestry, Elrond is given the choice to be mortal like men, or immortal like the elves. He chooses immortality.
  • Anton York (Conquest of Life, Thrilling Wonder Stories August 1937 by Eando Binder) Anton York was injected with a chemical formula that would halt his aging until the universe was double its current age. At that point he could presumably produce and drink a second dose, if he so desired. A series of Anton York stories were written which were later collected in the anthology Anton York, Immortal in 1965.
  • Woodrow Wilson Smith, also known as Lazarus Long, Methuselah's Children 1941 by Robert Heinlein. Smith is the completion of a centuries-long eugenics experiment in breeding for longevity. He is mentioned in four other Heinlein novels, most notably Time Enough for Love.
  • Vandal Savage (Green Lantern vol. 1 #10, Winter 1943) Caveman Vandar Adg was bathed in the radiation of a mysterious meteorite, granting him intellect and immortality. In subsequent years, he claims to have been or advised dozens of world leaders.
  • Immortal Man (Strange Adventures #177, June 1965) Gaining immortality from the same meteorite that granted longevity to Vandal Savage, the Immortal Man instantaneously reincarnates when he dies.
  • Conrad Nomikos (...And Call Me Conrad, 1966 by Roger Zelazny. Later expanded to the novel This Immortal)
  • Ra's al Ghul (Batman #232, 1971) Ra's maintained an unnaturally long life through the use of natural phenomena known asLazarus Pits
  • Casca Longinus (Casca: The Eternal Mercenary, 1979) Casca is the Roman soldier who plunges his spear into the side of Jesus on the cross at Golgotha and is cursed to wander the world forever until the two should meet again.
  • Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged is an alien from Douglas Adams's Life, the Universe and Everything (1982) who was made immortal by "an unfortunate accident with an irrational particle accelerator, a liquid lunch and a pair of rubber bands". He has devoted his eternal life to the impossible task of insulting everyone in the Universe alphabetically.
  • Mr. Immortal (Avengers West Coast (Vol. 2) #46,1989) Mr. Immortal (A.K.A. Craig Hollis) is a mutant (possibly an Omega-level mutant) whose power is (as his name suggests) immortality. He is the leader and founder of the Great Lakes Avengers. Unlike other mutants, who are known as "homo superior", he has evolved beyond death, and become "homo supreme". His apparent destiny: to outlive everyone as the one true immortal until the end of the universe, to be revealed its final secret. Other immortal characters from Marvel Comics include Apocalypse,the Silver Surfer and Deadpool.
  • Tory Alexander (The Ancient Future, 1996) Through an elixir of sorts given to her by Taliesin, she achieves immortality thanks to the god-like gene in her DNA.
  • Mitchell Shelley, the Resurrection Man (Resurrection Man #1, May 1997) Shelley was an unwilling nanotechnology test subject, who gained effective immortality since, although he can be killed, his "death" lasts no longer than a few minutes, whereon he is revived by "tektites" with a different superhuman power. (Similar powers to Immortal Man, whom Shelley was thought to be for a while.[4])
  • Lord Voldemort (Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, June 1997) Voldemort has been maintaining his life unnaturally and is obsessed with achieving immortality.
  • Enoch Root (Cryptonomicon, 1999) Root, an alchemist, possesses an elixir which allows him to resurrect after death.
  • Orochimaru (Naruto, 1999) Orochimaru is a specialist in forbidden techniques pertaining to everlasting life. He is able to transfer his mind into the bodies of other people, causing them to assume his appearance. However, there is a limit to his abilities: he may only do so once in three years.
  • Hidan (Naruto) Hidan is a member of the organization of villains in the Naruto universe (Akatsuki) and can never die, due to a curse that was set upon him. He was once beheaded by Asuma Sarutobi, but still alive and able to talk. His partner, Kakuzu, then sewed his head back onto his body, giving him back the control over his body. He was, although, neutralized by Shikamaru Nara, but has since sworn revenge.
  • Kane A character of the sword and sorcery genre written of by Karl Edward Wagner. Kane is a left-handed man with red hair; cursed by a mad god he wanders the Earth for millennia adventuring.
  • Kane (Command & Conquer) Not truly immortal, but Kane never dies. Even after a GDI Ion Strike, Kane appeared in the next game in the series, where he gets stabbed by a large spike. Once again, he survives.
  • Prince Arthas Menethil, from the Warcraft Universe, was a human prince, until losing his soul to the Lich King and becoming semi-undead. Arthas also stated, after a fellow Paladin told him he hopes there's a special place in Hell for him: "We may never know, I intend to live forever."
  • Jack Harkness from Doctor Who (2005) and Torchwood, who became immortal after being resurrected by the power of the vortex.
  • Tom Bombadil a mysterious figure of unkonwn origin, who lives in the Old Forest of Middle-Earth.
  • The Nine. Although mortal Men at the beginning, the Nine Rings of Power, given to them by Sauron the Deceiver granted them immortality forever.
  • The Tuck family in Tuck Everlasting
  • Lo Pan. 800 year old warrior played by James Hong in John Carpenter's Big Trouble in Little China.
  • Mr. Tiny in the Cirque Du Freak Series he is also known as Destiny and spends his time munipulating time and altering the universe. his children Evanna and Hibernius are also thought to be immortal.

This list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it.


  1. ^ The Immortal by JJ Dewey
  2. ^ 3 Nephi 28
  3. ^ International Foundation of Meivazhi cult(Spiritual Organization)
  4. ^ Cosmic Teams!. Accessed March 3, 2008
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