L'Inconnue de la Siene.
This is an eerie, weird, and somewhat twisted tale where reality proves once more that it can be stranger than fiction.
The story of L'Inconnue de la Siene (translated from French, "the unknown woman from the Sienna") started in the late 1880s, when the body of a young girl was found floating on the River Sienna. Her identity remained a mystery but the Parisian pathologist in charge of the body, awe-struck at her beauty, decided to make a plaster-cast death mask. And so, where the earthly life of the unknown girl finished, the bizarre, immortal existence of L'Inconnue began.
Soon, more plasters were made of her and the bust became a fashionable, morbid fixture of bohemian Paris. The beauty of L'Inconnue inspired world-renown artists and writers, such as Albert Camus and Richard LeGalliene. People wondered, based on the mask's tranquil features, what in death the girl had found and who she might've been in live. Whole generations of women shaped their images on the young girl's (dead) face, and she became the Mona Lisa of the time.
Creepy much? Wait, it gets better.
In an ironic twist the pathologist could have never foreseen, in 1958 the first CPR doll, Rescue Annie, was created using the drowning victim's cast as a model. These days L'Inconnue is also known as "the most kissed face of all time."
Books inspired by this story: The Worshiper of the Image by Richard LeGalliene, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge by Rainer Maria Rilke, The Recognitions by William Gladdis, The Drowning Girl by Caitlin R. Kiernan, and Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk, among many others.
But the question is, where will inspiration catch you?