I once read an obituary that said that a man died while on an anniversary vacation with his wife. They had taken a trip to Florida and he ended up drowning in the ocean while taking a dip. Isn’t that HORRIBLE? Another one said that a woman had wiped out and hit her head on the ice. She suffered brain damage and eventually died, which is also HORRIBLE. To add insult to injury, the photo used in her obit showed her laughing with a giant smile on her face. I’m sure we could’ve been friends.
Most obituaries do not fully disclose how someone died, let alone disclosing some kind of weird way to die. So, in order to quench my thirst for weird death stories (I’m really not crazy, REALLY), I started digging around on the internet and found some good ones. These happen to involve famous folks (some more than others), but here is a list of some of the bizarre deaths that I found:
- Jack Daniel, 1911: Yes, THAT Jack Daniel. Apparently, he wasn’t very good at remembering the combination to his safe. He got pissed that he couldn’t open it, repeatedly kicked it and got an infection in his foot which led to his death. Maybe he should’ve had a drink and chilled out instead. It’s not like he would’ve had to run to the liquor store or anything!
- Hans Staininger, 1567: Death by beard. No, Really. This guy had a 4.5 foot long beard that he normally kept rolled up in a leather pouch that he carried. Well, a fire broke out and in his haste, he forgot to roll that thing up. He ended up tripping over it and breaking his neck. The lesson here? Don’t EVER leave the house without your beard pouch.
- Allan Pinkerton, 1884: This fella was the first appointed detective in Chicago, IL and started the Pinkerton Detective Agency, which is still in existence today. Before that, he was in charge of the Union Intelligence Service during the Civil War and spent time guarding Abraham Lincoln. After spending time warding off assassination attempts and posing as soldiers to gain intelligence, this guy hit some bad luck. He tripped on a sidewalk, biting his tongue. He developed some nasty gangrene and died. That’s it, after all he’d been through??
- Mike Edwards, 2010: Mike was a founding member of ELO and cellist who was known to play his instrument with a grapefruit (okay….?). Anyway, he eventually left ELO, changed his name and lived on a commune. Unfortunately, none of this could save him from the fact that he was killed by a runaway 1,300 pound hay bale that flew down a hill and hit his car. I mean, really? What are the chances?
- Bobby Leach, 1926: So this guy died when he slipped on an orange peel, injuring his leg. His leg got infected, had it amputated, but he died from complications a couple of months later. Ironically enough, Bobby had many other dramatic chances at death. Why, you ask? He was the second guy to go over Niagra Falls in a freaking barrel and SURVIVE. He lived when falling 188 feet through water traveling at 225,000 cubic feet per second, but couldn’t pull through an encounter with an orange peel. Oof.
- Isadora Duncan, 1927: World renowned dancer, friend of Aleister Crowley and “scandalous” woman, she met her fate when driving in a car with a friend. Her long scarf got caught in the wheel of the car, pulled her out and broke her neck. Before leaving, a girlfriend asked her to wear a cape because of the cold, but Isadora only agreed to the scarf. Tragically, she also lost her two children when their nanny lost control of the car they were in and crashed into the Seine river. Another interesting thing of note? In medicine, any death or injury that is a result of neckwear being caught in a wheel or other machinery is called Isadora Duncan Syndrome.
- Kurt Gode, 1978: This guy was a famed mathematician and logician who died of starvation when his wife was hospitalized. He refused to eat anyone else’s cooking and, apparently, was unable to use logic to deduce that this plan was a bad idea.
- Tennessee Williams, 1983: We all know Tennessee Williams, right? He was the 20th century American playwright know for such things as A Streetcar Named Desire and The Glass Menagerie, among other works. He was well-known for his alcohol and drug use, but probably less known for the way that he died. The poor guy choked on a bottle cap. The theory is that he was using eye drops with his mouth open and he somehow dropped the cap in his mouth. The cap ended up blocking his airway, causing asphyxiation. Next time you’ve got dry eyes, BE CAREFUL. I warned you!
- Edward II of England, 1327: Oh, boy, I saved the best for last. Ready for this one? Edward II was taken prisoner by his wife, Queen Isabella, and her lover Roger (of course his name is Roger). The plan was to rip Edward II from the throne and replace him with their son, Edward III. After being forced to abdicate the throne, Edward II was thrown into pits of rotting corpses and starved, but this wasn’t good enough. Isabella and Roger decided to kill him, but wanted to do it without leaving any marks. Naturally, they did it the EASY way. They had their cronies push a horn into Edward’s butt and shoved a hot poker through the horn, burning his internal organs. OH.MY.GOD. OUUUUCCCHHHHHHH.
Aren’t those crazy and horrible and just plain AWFUL? I guess the lesson here is, be careful when doing everyday, normal, mundane activities. You never know, there could be a deadly banana peel awaiting your arrival or some uneven pavement itching to harm you. Hopefully, you don’t know a couple named Isabella and Roger with a collection of trumpets in their basement.
Whaddya got? Have you heard of any other crazy stories? Comment in the space below–I would love to hear them!