From Unlucky to Bizarre: 45 More People Who Met Their End in Strange Ways – Part 3

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1Coffin Crushing: Henry Taylor

Coffin Crushing: Henry Taylor

In 1872, Henry Taylor, a pallbearer at Kensal Green Cemetery in London, was crushed by the coffin he was helping carry after he tripped on a stone. According to reports, the widow of the man in the coffin nearly went into hysterics.

2. In 1924, Thornton Jones, a lawyer in Bangor, Gwynedd, Wales, woke up to find that he had slit his own throat while unconscious. Motioning for a paper and pencil, he wrote, "I dreamt that I had done it. I awoke to find it true," and died 80 minutes later. An inquest at Bangor delivered a verdict of "suicide while temporarily insane."

3. Thomas Midgley Jr., an award-winning chemist and lauded scientist, invented leaded gasoline, freon, and CFCs, indirectly responsible for the deaths of millions of people. At the age of 51, Midgley contracted polio, which left him severely disabled. He devised an elaborate system of ropes and pulleys to lift himself out of bed, but in 1944, he became entangled in the device and died of strangulation.

4. In 1902, Stanton Walker, a 20-year-old man, was holding a knife that his friend had borrowed to sharpen his pencil during an amateur baseball game in Morristown, Ohio. As Walker was holding the knife, a foul ball struck him in the hand and drove the knife into his chest next to his heart. Despite claiming that he was "not much" hurt, the wound began to bleed heavily, and he died within minutes.

5. In 1961, during an experimental nuclear reactor test in Arco, Idaho, a control rod was pulled too far, causing the reactor to go critical. The resulting steam explosion lifted the reactor and threw out components, impaling and killing one sailor and injuring two soldiers. The steam also released radioactive material, resulting in the deaths of all three men. They were buried in a lead coffin near the site, which is still monitored by the Environmental Protection Agency. This incident remains the only human fatalities from a reactor explosion in the United States.

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6Diving Bell Disaster: Truls Hellevik

Diving Bell Disaster: Truls Hellevik

The Byford Dolphin was an oil rig where, in 1983, a diving bell carrying four men accidentally depressurized. Norwegian diver Truls Hellevik and four others were killed when a clamp was opened prematurely, causing explosive decompression that dismembered Hellevik and severely injured another tender. The nine-atmosphere air pressure explosively decompressed, forcing Hellevik's body through a 60-centimeter-diameter (24 in) opening. It remains the only time in history where a human being was torn apart from rapid decompression.

7. During a 1992 vacation with his daughter at the Grand Canyon in Coconino County, Arizona, Greg Austin Gingrich, 38, fell approximately 400 feet (120 m) into the canyon and died after play-acting losing his balance on a guard wall and missing his footing.

8. The Greek painter Zeuxis died of laughter at his portrait of the goddess Aphrodite after the elderly woman who commissioned it insisted on modeling for it.

9. In 1997, Karen Wetterhahn, a Dartmouth College chemistry professor, died of mercury poisoning ten months after a few drops of dimethylmercury, one of the strongest-known neurotoxins, permeated her protective gloves and skin, despite following required procedures. Her symptoms included slurred speech, difficulty seeing and hearing, and other terrifying symptoms.

10. John Hutcherson, 21, drove drunk with his friend Francis Brohm, 23, who was vomiting out of the passenger window in 2004. Hutcherson drove off the road, decapitating Brohm with a telephone pole support wire. He then drove home and went to bed, leaving Brohm's headless body in the truck. It was discovered the next morning by a neighbor.

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11Mosquito Bite Curse: George Herbert

Mosquito Bite Curse: George Herbert

In 1923, George Herbert, 5th Earl of Carnarvon, who funded Howard Carter's search for Tutankhamun, died after an infected mosquito bite, which he had cut while shaving. Some attributed his death to the "curse of the pharaohs."

12. In 2004, Phillip Quinn, 24, from Kent, Washington, died when a lava lamp he was heating on a stove exploded, and a shard pierced his heart.

13. Vladimir Likhonos, a 25-year-old Ukrainian student, died in 2009 when his chewing gum exploded. He had a habit of dipping gum in citric acid for a sour taste, but police found 100g of unidentified explosive powder on his work table. He may have accidentally coated his gum with the explosive powder, mistaking it for citric acid. The explosive was four times stronger than TNT and may have been triggered by his saliva or chewing pressure.

14. Archduchess Mathilda of Austria, daughter of Archduke Albrecht, Duke of Teschen, died in 1867 after setting her dress on fire while trying to hide a cigarette from her father, who had forbidden her to smoke.

15. Welsh mathematician and GCHQ spy Gareth Williams, 31, was found dead and naked in a padlocked bag in the bath of his Central London home in 2010. After two investigations, Scotland Yard ruled that the most likely cause of death was that Williams accidentally killed himself by locking himself in his gym bag from the outside and placing it into his own bathtub while still being inside the gym bag.

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16Deadly Stranglehold: Arrhichion of Phigalia

Deadly Stranglehold: Arrhichion of Phigalia

Arrhichion of Phigalia, a Greek athlete, died during the Olympic finals after breaking his neck. He was held in a stranglehold by his opponent and unable to escape, so he kicked his opponent, causing him to concede defeat. Despite Arrhichion's death, he was still declared the victor since his opponent had already given up.

17. In 2011, Brian Depledge, a father of two, died in a rare accident at home. While putting wet laundry on a drying rack, he tripped over a small stool and fell onto the rack, becoming trapped. He struggled to free himself, but only made the rungs tighten around his chest and neck more. The coroner described his death as an extremely unusual occurrence.

18. Erica Marshall, a British veterinarian in Ocala, Florida, died in 2012 when the horse she was treating in a hyperbaric chamber kicked the wall, releasing a spark from its horseshoes and triggering an explosion.

19. In 2012, Ilda Vitor Maciel, 88, died in a hospital in Rio de Janeiro allegedly due to nursing technicians mistakenly injecting soup through her intravenous drip instead of her feeding tube.

20. In 2013, Takuya Nagaya, a 23-year-old from Japan, claimed he had become a snake and began slithering on the floor. He died after his father spent the next two days head-butting and biting him "to drive out the snake that had possessed him."

21Rabbit Hole Asphyxiation: Stephen Whinfrey

Rabbit Hole Asphyxiation: Stephen Whinfrey

In 2014, Stephen Whinfrey, 50, became trapped and asphyxiated while rabbiting near Doncaster, England, after his head became stuck down a rabbit hole.

22. John Cummings started swallowing knives after watching a circus knife-swallower. He swallowed 4 knives, then later 14 knives, passing them with abdominal pain. He swallowed 20 knives and a clasp knife case, but could only pass the case. He died in 1809 after 4 years of pain. Autopsy found a knife blade and spring in his intestines, and 30-40 fragments of metal, wood, and horn in his stomach.

23. In 2018, Ateef Rafiq, 24, died from cardiac arrest in a movie theater in Birmingham, England while looking for his dropped mobile phone. His head became wedged under the electronic footrest of a seat.

24. In 2016, 17-year-old Julio Macías González, from Mexico City, died from a stroke caused by an embolus formed on a neck hickey.

25. In 2019, a man from Massachusetts died after consuming a bag and a half of black liquorice every day for a few weeks. This caused his potassium levels to drop so low that his heart stopped. Black liquorice contains glycyrrhizinic acid which interferes with the body's potassium levels, leading to a condition known as pseudohyperaldosteronism in cases of overconsumption.

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