From time to time, however, the circumstances of someone’s death are so hilarious or unpredictable that we really just have to step back and laugh. Go easy, though, because that laughter could get the best of you. Case in point with the number 10 crazy way to die.
10. Insane fit of laughter
Like I said – one should avoid laughing too hard or too long. Whoever told these people that laughter was the best medicine should have warned them about overdosing.
Several historical figures deserve mention. The Stoic philosopher Chrysippus reportedly got his donkey drunk and then died laughing at its attempts to eat figs. Italian playwright and satirist Pietro Aretino apparently suffocated due to excessive mirth, and Scottish aristocrat Thomas Urquhart chuckled himself into oblivion upon hearing that Charles II had taken the throne.
An interesting modern-day case is that of Alex Mitchell (snopes.com), an English bricklayer. On March 24, 1975, Mitchell laughed for 25 straight minutes after watching an episode of The Goodies entitled “Kung Fu Kapers.” His widow later thanked the program for providing her husband with such a delightful death experience. image source: http://www.juhaszillustration.com/
9. Throwing yourself at a window to show how strong the glass is(n’t)
You are on the twenty-fourth floor. You probably shouldn’t try to prove how strong that window is by charging up to it and throwing your body against it. Because then the group of colleagues observing your demonstration might become horrified witnesses of your untimely death.
Introducing Garry Hoy (Snopes.com), a Toronto lawyer who pulled that stunt on July 9, 1993. Apparently, Mr. Hoy had performed the same feat in the past without incident – he always just bounced right off the glass as the onlookers chuckled and glanced at each other nervously.
His final demonstration certainly made an impact, although it wasn’t the kind of impact he was hoping for. This time, when Hoy’s accelerating body struck the glass, it popped out of the frame and Hoy fell to his death. This unfortunate event was partly responsible for the closing of Holden Day Wilson, the lawyer firm he worked for.
8. Your husband’s coffin
When you’re on your way to bury your dead husband, you probably don’t think death will be striking again anytime soon. But such was life for a Brazilian woman named Marciana Silva Barcelos.
On November 10, 2008, a funeral procession was on its way to a cemetery in Alvorada. Barcelos, 67, was a passenger in the hearse carrying the body of her husband, Josi Silveira Coimbra, who had died the day before. Suddenly, a speeding car struck the back of the hearse. Dislodged by the accident, Josi’s coffin hurtled forward and smashed into the back of Marciana’s neck, killing her instantly (MSNBC Article).
So what do you do when something like that happens? Tell the gravediggers to start another hole when they finish Josi’s?
They’re supposed to save you time and energy that would otherwise be devoted to actually using stairs. They aren’t supposed to kill you. But accidents happen. In fact, a 2006 Center for Construction Research and Training report indicates that about 30 people are killed in the U.S. every year by elevators and escalators, and thousands more are injured.
For example, take the sad case of Dr. Hitoshi Nikaidoh, a doctor at Christus St. Joseph Hospital in Houston, TX. As he was stepping into a hospital elevator one Saturday morning, the doors closed too early and pinned his shoulders. The safety system that prevents elevator doors from trapping passengers failed, and as the elevator ascended, Dr. Nikaidoh’s body went one way and his head went the other (Houston Press).
And I will be avoiding elevators for the rest of my life.
Wait, I thought sex was supposed to be fun, you say. It can kill you?
Yes. Just ask Sergey Tuganov, a 28-year-old Russian who suffered a severe case of death after betting two women he could have sex with them for 12 straight hours. He won the $4,300 bet and then promptly died. Doctors determined that his death was caused by the entire bottle of Viagra pills he ingested before attempting the feat of sexual endurance. At least the last 12 hours of his life were happy hours. (Fox News)
You could also ask Kenneth Pinyon. He died from injuries suffered while… umm… having anal sex with an Arabian stallion. Pinyon regularly engaged in bestiality and had his performances videotaped and distributed under the name “Mr. Hands.” On July 2, 2005, however, Mr. Hands made love to one last horse before succumbing to “acute peritonitis due to perforation of the colon.” Translation: Mr. Butt couldn’t take Mr. You-Know-What. (Wikipedia)
There are some other sick sex-death stories out there, too. Be careful. Having sex could be the last thing you ever do.
5. Video games
They’re supposed to be fun and entertaining, but seriously people. There’s a time to take a break from the video games. And that time is before they kill you.
In 1981, a 19-year-old gamer named Jeff Dailey became the first official video game victim. After racking up an impressive 16,660 points while playing the game “Berzerk,” Jeff toppled over and died of a heart attack.(Gamespy)
Less than two years later, 18-year-old Peter Burkowski also died of a heart attack while playing the same game.
Want even more?
August 2005 – South Korean Lee Seung Seop died of exhaustion after playing Starcraft online for 50 hours straight in an Internet café.
January 2007 – A 28-year-old woman named Jennifer Strange died of hyponatremia (water intoxication) after participating in a contest at a local radio station. In order to win a Nintendo Wii, the contestants competed to see who could drink the most water without taking a potty break. Strange ingested enough water to severely dilute the sodium levels in her bloodstream and bring about her death.
4. Floods – but not the water kind
Usually when we hear “flood” we think “water,” and usually we are right to think this. However, there are at least two famous flood incidents that had nothing at all to do with water.
The London Beer Flood, October 1814 – nine people died after a 22-foot high, 130,000-gallon vat of porter burst at the Meux & Co. Brewery. The enormous volume of beer caused other vats to rupture as well, and more than 300,000 gallons of beer smashed its way through brick walls and blasted into the slums of St. Giles, a London parish. The sound of the explosion was reportedly heard up to five miles away. (BBC Article)
You can imagine the reaction of Londoners who weren’t immediately overwhelmed by a beer tsunami. Yes, exactly what you would have done – run outside with pots, pans, and anything else that can hold beer. Drink as much as possible, save the rest. (Technically speaking, only eight of the nine casualties were because of the actual flood. The ninth guy died from alcohol poisoning a few days later!)
The Boston Molasses Disaster, January 1919 – 21 people expired when a 50-foot high storage tank full of molasses exploded and unleashed a crazy wave of sticky death through Boston’s North End. (Bizarre Tragedies) The warm weather apparently helped build pressure inside the poorly-constructed tank, eventually causing an explosion. Several city blocks were flooded, and the wave was high and strong enough to lift a freaking train off the Elevated Railway tracks.
They say it still smells like molasses there on hot summer days.
3. Your own wooden leg
This one is probably a little less common in the current day and age. Unfortunately for Sir Arthur Aston, an English soldier best known for supporting King Charles I during the English Civil War, it was the seventeenth century and he was the proud owner of a wooden leg.
In 1649, Aston was serving as governor of Drogheda, Ireland. In an attempt to help establish Ireland as a power base for the English Royalist cause, he had joined forces with the Marquis of Osmond, the Commander-in-Chief of Royalist forces in Ireland.
In September of that year, Oliver Cromwell and his troops stormed the city and proceeded to massacre most of its inhabitants. When Parliamentary soldiers captured the governor, they had two main priorities: 1) kill this guy, and 2) check for gold coins inside his wooden leg. There weren’t any coins, but Aston was literally beaten brainless with his own leg in the process of not finding any gold. (Berkshire History)
2. Exploding lakes
How about getting killed by an exploding lake? It doesn’t happen too often, but that’s exactly how Lake Nyos decided to off nearly 1,800 people in 1986. Thanks to a pool of magma 50 miles below the surface, dangerous gases had been collecting at the bottom of the crater lake. On August 21, a rare natural phenomenon known as limnic eruption unleashed a murderous bubble of carbon dioxide upon the surrounding villages.
Most lakes have water layers that mix or “turn over” frequently, allowing gases to escape slowly into the atmosphere. Limnic eruption occurs when a deep water layer becomes saturated with dissolved gases over a long period of time. These gases are then released by some sort of trigger – for example, a landslide, heavy rainfall, or an earthquake – that displaces the saturated water and allows the gases to come out of solution. All at once, the lake overturns with a huge explosion. It’s like shaking up a soda can and spraying it, except with a lot more death and destruction.
When Lake Nyos blew up, a geyser of gas and water shot more than 250 feet into the air, set off an 80-foot tsunami, and spewed out a killer cloud of carbon dioxide that asphyxiated people as far as 15 miles away.
1. Your enemy’s severed head
Sigurd the Mighty, the ninth-century Viking Earl of Orkney, died a particularly ironic death after returning from a successful battle. Having defeated his foe Máel Brigte, Sigurd strapped the Pict’s severed head to his saddle and headed home. As he was riding, however, Máel’s tooth scraped against Sigurd’s leg and caused a sore that later became infected in a fatal sort of way