Freaky Deaths: 25 Bizarre Ways People Have Kicked The Bucket

Jay Dawson December 22nd 2016 Entertainment
Whether you call it natural selection or divine justice, nature has a way of weeding the odd ones out. Just take a look at this motley collection of fools, who ignored every shred of common sense and prematurely ended their stay on the planet. Sure, some of them might have been just crazy unlucky, the unwitting victims of bizarre circumstances. Either way, there’s some safety lessons in here for us all.

1. Death By Laughing At A Donkey

Sure, ancient Greece might have been the height of refined culture, but that didn’t stop other forms of more lowbrow entertainment. A donkey that was eating figs, to pick a wild example, was apparently so amusing that Chrysippus, the philosopher, died of laughter while watching one. To be fair, it’d probably go viral these days too.

2. Death By Grand Canyon

In the search for a perfect holiday snap, Greg Gingrich found a real killer. All he had to do was pretend to fall over the side of the Grand Canyon, and… oops. He actually fell over the side. Sorry, we forgot to take off the lens cap.

3. Death By Carrot Juice

A healthy diet got taken one step too far by Basil Brown, who was so dedicated to his body that he drank a gallon of carrot juice every day. His eyesight might have been perfect, but he certainly couldn’t see the consequences of his ridiculous regime. Which are vitamin-A overdose, liver failure, and death, by the way.

4. Death By A Gang Of Monkeys

Let’s all say this together: monkeys are creepy. Whether it’s their close relation to us or their unpredictability, there’s nothing more frightening than facing a pack of monkeys. The Mayor of Delhi, Surinder Singh Bajwa, wasn’t exactly killed by a gang of them – he just fell to his death from a balcony while trying to fight them off. You win again, you cunning apes.

5. Death By Accidental Auto-Defenestration

You can look up the definition of that in your own time, but there’s no better example than Garry Hoy, a Canadian lawyer who was fond of showing off the strength of his office’s windows. Every week or so he would throw himself against the glass, until the finally the window had had enough and let him through. And into 24 floors of thin air.

6. Death By Beard

Those who have wished a violent end on narcissistic manscapers, have hope – eventually, they’ll do it to themselves. Like Hans Steininger, an Austrian who in 1567 tripped on his own beard and died. No joke. It must have been quite a long time between shaves.

7. Death By Her Own Stupid Rules

We can bet that Queen Kumariratana of Siam (now Thailand) was pretty pleased with her new law, where no subject was allowed to touch her. Only it seems like she didn’t quite think through every scenario, and drowned as her subjects looked on. They were completely unable to help her – and after that treatment, probably completely unwilling, too.

8. Death By Cow From Above

Dying from a cow isn’t as strange as it seems. They’re far more skittish than horses, and pack quite the kick. Dying from a cow falling on you while you sleep? That’s a little rarer. But somehow that’s what happened to Brazilian Joao Maria de Souza, who was killed in 2013 from a cow hurtling through his roof and straight on to him.

9. Death By Homemade Wings

Someone hadn’t learned his Icarus myth when he jumped from the Eiffel Tower, in 1912, with homemade wings. Someone hadn’t even thoroughly tested his invention, either, since that someone, an Austrian named Franz Reichelt, plummeted immediately to his doom. Might well be the first recorded Jackass stunt.

10. Death By His Beheaded Victim

The sweetest tale of revenge comes to us from Viking times, exacted by a newly-beheaded victim on his murderer, Sigurd the Mighty. The head didn’t have much to work with, but managed to cut Sigurd’s leg with his teeth after he had tied the head to his saddle. Sigurd died of an agonizing infection soon after, probably wishing he had asked for a carry bag.

11. Death By Poop

There’s injury, then there’s adding insult to injury. Then there’s completely humiliating every past, present, and future member of your family tree and also dying, which is what Monica Meyer did. The Mayor of Betterton, Maryland, Monica decided one day to check the town’s septic system., only to fall in and drown. In poop.

12. Death By Fake Heart Attack

In the 50s a British actor, Gareth Jones, ended his career with, well, the performance of a lifetime. His character was to have a heart attack, and have a heart attack he did. Only the attack was real, and no-one saved him because they thought he was acting. Really, really well.

13. Death By Shaving

Michael Farley was a New York congressman back in the early 1900s who died from an anthrax-infected shaving razor. What sounds like a perfect KGB hit was actually just poor health practices – 11 people in NY alone died around that time from infected animal products. So that’s why they call it a safety razor.

14. Death By Beer

Across the nation, frat boys are reading this and nodding to themselves, saying “yeah. That’s how I’d like to go”. Well guys, a couple more hazings and you’ll be close. In the meantime, check out these eight people who were far more macho than you’ll ever be. They drowned in beer in 1814 when a giant vat exploded in their London brewery. Maybe give that one a try next kegger?

15. Death By Blood

Mad Russian doctor Alexander Bogdanov was obsessed with playing God, especially with his own life. He tried to extend it by administering blood transfusions to himself (hopefully against a backdrop of lightning and thunder), although he hadn’t quite worked out the whole – kinda essential – blood type thing. His body didn’t like the new blood one bit, and let him know by ceasing to function.

16. Death By Segway

Like motorized Zimmer frames, you can’t imagine anyone could ever be harmed by a Segway. The owner of Segway himself, James Henselden, spectacularly proved the doubters wrong when he drove one off a cliff and died. Hopefully it was an accident, because if it was a very expensive marketing stunt, it didn’t work. They’re still very uncool.

17. Death By Robot

Every year we hold out hope for the robot uprising, but those dumb machines keep letting us down. They showed such promise back in ’79 when they drew first blood, killing Robert Williams with a robotic arm in a Ford Factory. Since then, nothing but Xbox crashes and Siri. Maybe they’re hoping we’ll murder ourselves.

18. Death By Dancing Forever

A long, long time ago, before the internet, people had to amuse themselves in the strangest ways. Like dancing, for instance, which was so insanely popular in the 16th century that they would hold competitions to see who could dance the longest. Once such competition had 100 dancers that lasted so long – an entire month of almost non-stop dancing – that several people died.

19. Death By Chemicals

Chefs sometimes like to think of themselves as chemists, but Carl Scheele was the reverse – a Swedish chemist who thought he was a chef. He often had a little taste test of the chemicals he was concocting, until some turned out to be poisonous and prematurely ended the degustation. There also wasn’t enough salt.

20. Death By Foolish Arrogance

If there’s one thing to learn in life, it’s that whatever you predict won’t happen, will happen. A Civil War general by the name of John Sedgwick found this out the mortal way. Talking about a far off enemy formation, he said that “they couldn’t hit an elephant at this distance”. He was then immediately shot and killed by a sniper. If only he was an elephant.

21. Death By Research

Convinced that mosquitos transmitted yellow fever from victim to victim, yet clearly not willing to use a lab monkey, American doctor William Lazear decided to test his hypothesis on himself. His theory was right and he was dead within days from the disease. Not sure if that counts as success.

22. Death By Molasses

Such a terribly tragedy that it got its own capital letters, the Boston Molasses Disaster occurred when – you guessed it – a huge vat of the stuff exploded in 1919 and sent a deadly wave of goo through the city. 21 people died a (bitter)sweet death. The thing about escaping from molasses is that it’s very slow going.

23. Death By Winning

If you think Cool Runnings was inspirational, wait ‘til you hear the tale of Frank Hayes, who won a horse race in 1923. Which is usually unremarkable, except Frank suffered a heart attack during the race and was dead before his horse crossed the line. Franka, you dead? Yeah mon.

24. Death By Badly-Designed Submarine

Not taking failure after failure for an answer, Civil War engineer Horace Hunley kept trying to design a submarine that wouldn’t sink. At long last he thought he had hit on a winner, and he set off in his new toy as its captain. Guess what? It sank.

25. Death By Courtroom Evidence

Some lawyers will do anything to win a case. Like Clement Vallandigham, who, while showing a courtroom how a victim could have accidentally shot himself, accidentally shot himself with the gun in question. He died instantly, but proved his point and won the case from beyond the grave.


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