50 Peculiar and Unusual Deaths Throughout History

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26Alex Mitchell

In 1975, after watching the "Kung Fu Kapers" episode of "The Goodies", a man named Alex Mitchell laughed continuously for 25 minutes and then fell dead on his sofa from heart failure.

27. In 1131, Crown Prince Philip of France died while riding through Paris when his horse tripped over a black pig running out of a dung heap.

28. In 2016, the death of a 40-year-old Indian bus driver named V. Kamaraj was recorded as one of the rarest deaths ever in the world. The odds of this death is 1 in 1,60,0000. He was killed by a meteorite which left a 2-foot (61 cm) crater.

29. In 1982, a man named David Grundman who was shooting at cacti with his shotgun near Lake Pleasant, Arizona, was crushed when a 4 foot (1.2 meters) limb of the cactus detached and fell on him.

30. In 1998, Jonathan Capewell, at the age of 16, died from a heart attack brought on by the buildup of butane and propane in the blood after excessive use of deodorant sprays. Capewell was reported to have an obsession with personal hygiene. An autopsy showed that Capewell had 0.37 mg of butane per liter in his blood, and the same amount of propane, whereas 0.1 mg per liter can be fatal.

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In 1258, Al-Musta'sim, the last Abbasid Caliph of Baghdad, was executed by his Mongol captors by being rolled up in a rug and then trampled by horses.

32. In 1983, a bouncer named Jimmy Ferrozzo died in Condor Club, San Francisco while engaging in sexual intercourse with his girlfriend Theresa Hill on a grand piano that was lowered from the ceiling by a hydraulic motor. Ferrozzo accidentally activated the lifting mechanism which pinned him against the ceiling leading to his suffocation. Hill survived the accident.

33. In 564 B.C., Arrichion of Phigalia, a Greek pankratiast, caused his own death during the Olympic finals. Held by his unidentified opponent in a stranglehold and unable to free himself, Arrichion kicked his opponent, causing him so much pain that the opponent made the sign of defeat to the umpires, but at the same time breaking Arrichion's neck. Since the opponent had conceded defeat, Arrichion was proclaimed the victor posthumously.

34. In 2016, 27-year-old Russian actor Anton Yelchin, living in Los Angeles, known for portraying Pavel Chekov in the Star Trek reboot movie series, was found pinned between his car and a brick wall. His driveway was on an incline and his car was found running and in neutral.

35. In 2001, Bernd Brandes, a German engineer from Berlin, was willingly slaughtered so that he could be butchered and eaten by aspiring cannibal Armin Meiwes. Brandes had responded to an internet advertisement which Meiwes had placed for this purpose. In prison, Meiwes became a vegetarian.

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36Hans Staininger

In 1567, Hans Staininger, the burgomaster of Braunau (then Bavaria, now Austria), died when he broke his neck by tripping over his own beard. The beard, which was 4.5 feet (1.4 meters) long at the time, was usually kept rolled up in a leather pouch.

37. In 258 A.D., the deacon Saint Lawrence was roasted alive on a giant grill during the persecution of Valerian. Prudentius tells that he joked with his tormentors, "Turn me over—I'm done on this side". He is now the patron saint of cooks, chefs, and comedians.

38. In 1771, Adolf Frederick, the King of Sweden died of indigestion after having consumed a meal of lobster, caviar, sauerkraut, smoked herring, and champagne, topped off with 14 servings of his favorite dessert: semla served in a bowl of hot milk, called "hetvägg". He is thus remembered by Swedish schoolchildren as "the king who ate himself to death.

39. In 455 B.C., according to Valerius Maximus, Aeschylus, the eldest of the three great Athenian tragedians, was killed by a tortoise dropped by an eagle that had mistaken his bald head for a rock suitable for shattering the shell of the reptile. Pliny, in his Naturalis Historiæ, adds that Aeschylus had been staying outdoors to avert a prophecy that he would be killed by a falling object.

40. In 2013, a man named Denver Lee St. Clair was asphyxiated by a wedgie administered by his stepson during a fight. After St. Clair had been knocked unconscious, the elastic band from his torn underwear was pulled over his head and stretched around his neck, strangling him.

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41Gloria Ramirez

In 1994, a 31-year-old woman named Gloria Ramirez, died from kidney failure related to her cervical cancer. While treating her, several of the hospital staff became ill, suffering from loss of consciousness, shortness of breath and muscle spasms. Shortly before dying, Ramirez was allegedly covered with an oily sheen, which smelled of fruit and garlic. When drawing her blood with a syringe, nurses noticed it had a smell similar to ammonia and there were unusual particles floating in it.

42. In 1978, Kurt Gödel, the Austrian–American logician, and mathematician died of starvation when his wife was hospitalized. Gödel refused to eat food prepared by anyone else.

43. In 1979, Robert Williams, a worker at a Ford Motor Co. plant, became the first person to be killed by a robot when the arm of a factory robot struck him in the head.

44. In 1977, Tom Pryce, a driver in the 1977 South African Grand Prix, was killed alongside fire marshal Frederick Jansen Van Vuuren after being struck on the head by a fire extinguisher when his car, travelling at 170 mph (270 km/h), hit Jansen Van Vuuren as he was running across the Kyalami race track to extinguish a burning car.

45. According to one account given by Diogenes Laërtius, the Greek philosopher Heraclitus was said to have been devoured by dogs after he smeared himself with cow manure in an attempt to cure his dropsy.

46Phillip McClean

In 1926, while 16-year-old Phillip McClean and his brother were clubbing a cassowary on the family property in Mossman, Queensland, the bird knocked him down and kicked him in the neck, and opening a large cut, killing McClean instantly.

47. In 2004, 24-year-old Phillip Quinn from Kent, Washington, was killed when a lava lamp he was heating on a stove exploded and a shard pierced his heart.

48. On 31 May 1410, Martin of Aragon died from a combination of indigestion and uncontrollable laughing. According to legend, Martin was suffering from indigestion on account of eating an entire goose when his favorite jester, Borra, entered the king's bedroom. When Martin asked Borra where he had been, the jester replied with: "Out of the next vineyard, where I saw a young deer hanging by his tail from a tree, as if someone had so punished him for stealing figs." This joke caused the king to die from laughter.

49. In 2013, João Maria de Souza at the age of 45, was crushed by a cow falling through the roof of his home in Caratinga, Brazil. The cow was unharmed.

50. In 1974, Basil Brown, a 48-year-old health food advocate from Croydon, England, died from liver damage after he consumed 70 million units of Vitamin A and around 10 gallons (38 liters) of carrot juice over 10 days, which had turned his skin bright yellow.


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