Sent: Friday, May 11, 2007 10:03 AM
Death by Embracing the Reflection of the Moon
Chinese poet Li Po (701-706) is regarded as one of the two greatest poets in
One night, Li Po fell from his boat and drowned in the
Death by Beard
Austrian Hans Steininger was famous for having the world's longest beard (it was 4.5 feet or nearly 1.4 m long) and for dying because of it.
One day in 1567, there was a fire in town and in his haste Hans forgot to roll up his beard. He accidentally stepped on his beard, lost balance, stumbled, broke his neck and died!
Death From Holding a Pee In
Danish nobleman and astronomer Tycho Brahe [wiki] was one interesting fellow. He kept a dwarf as a court jester who sat under the table during dinner. He even had a tame pet moose.
Tycho also lost the tip of his nose in a duel with another Danish nobleman and had to wear a "dummy" nose made from silver and gold, but that's another story.
It was said that Tycho had to hold his pee during one particularly long banquet in 1601 (getting up in the middle of a dinner was considered really rude) that his bladder, strained to its limits, developed an infection which later killed him!
Later analyses suggested that Tycho died because of mercury poisoning but that's not nearly as interesting as the original story.
Death by Conductor's Cane
While conducting the hymnal Te Deum for French King Louis XIV in 1687, Jean-Baptiste Lully was so focused in keeping the rhythm by banging a staff against the floor (this was the method before conductor's baton came into use), that he struck his toe hard but refused to stop.
The toe developed an abscess, which later turned gangrenous, but Lully refused to have it amputated. The gangrene spread and killed the stubborn musician.
Ironically, the hymn he was conducting was in celebration of the recovery of Louis XIV from an illness.
Death by Dessert
King Adolf Frederick [wiki] of
The "King Who Ate Himself to Death" died in 1771 at the age of 61 from a digestive problem after eating a giant meal consisting of lobster, caviar, saurkraut, cabbage soup, smoked herring, champagne and 14 servings of his favorite dessert: semla [wiki], a bun filled with marzipan and milk.
Death by Jury Demonstration
After the Civil War, controversial
In 1871, he defended Thomas McGehan who was accused of shooting one Tom Myers during a barroom brawl. Vallandigham's defense was that Myers had accidentally shot himself while drawing his pistol from a kneeling position.
To convince the jury, Vallandigham decided to demonstrate his theory. Unfortunately, he grabbed a loaded gun by mistake and ended up shooting himself!
By dying, Vallandigham succeeded in demonstrating the plausibility of the accidental shooting and got his client acquitted.
Death from Biting One's Tongue
Allan Pinkerton (1819-1884)[wiki], famous for creating the Pinkerton detective agency and developing investigative techniques such as surveilling a suspect and doing undercover work, died of an infection after biting his tongue when he slipped on a sidewalk!
Death from Stubbing One's Toe
Moral of the story? Don't go to work early.
Bobby Leach [wiki] wasn't afraid to court death: in 1911, he was the second person in the world to go over
One day while walking down a street in
Death by Overcoat Parachute Failure
In 1911, French tailor Franz Reichelt decided to test his invention, a combination overcoat and parachute, by jumping off the
There's even a YouTube clip of his fatal jump.
Death by 1) Poison, 2) Gunshot Wound (4x), 3) Beating by Clubs, 4) Drowning.
According to legends, Russian mystic Grigori Rasputin (1869-1916) was first poisoned with enough cyanide to kill ten men, but he wasn't affected.
So his killers shot him in the back with a revolver. Rasputin fell but later revived. So, he was shot again three more times, but Rasputin still lived. He was then clubbed, and for good measure thrown into the icy
Rasputin was finally dead for good.
Death by Baseball
Cleveland Indians shortstop Ray Chapman [wiki] was killed by a baseball pitch.
Death by Scarf
"Mother of modern dance" Isadora Duncan [wiki] was killed in 1927 by her trademark scarf she loved to wear:
As the New York Times noted in its obituary of the dancer on 15 September 1927, "The automobile was going at full speed when the scarf of strong silk began winding around the wheel and with terrific force dragged Miss Duncan, around whom it was securely wrapped, bodily over the side of the car, precipitating her with violence against the cobblestone street. She was dragged for several yards before the chauffeur halted, attracted by her cries in the street. Medical aid was summoned, but it was stated that she had been strangled and killed instantly."
Death by Garbage
Homer and Langley Collyer [wiki] were compulsive hoarders. The two brothers had a fear of throwing anything away and obsessively collected newspapers and other junk in their house. They even set up booby-traps in corridors and doorways to protect against intruders.
In 1947, an anonymous tip called that there was a dead body in the Collyer house, and after much initial difficulty getting in, the police found Homer Collyer dead and Langley no where to be found. About two weeks later, after removing nearly 100 tons of garbage from the house, workers found Langley Collyer's partialy decomposed (and rat-chewed) body just 10 feet away from where they had found his brother.
Jerome Irving Rodale [wiki] was a proponent of healthy eating. He was an early advocate for organic farming and sustainable agriculture, founder of Organic Farming and Gardening magazine and Rodale Press.
After bragging that he would "live to 100, unless I'm run down by a a sugar-crazy taxi driver", Rodale died of a heart attack while being interviewed on the Dick Cavett Show in 1971. Appearing fast asleep, Dick Cavett joked "Are we boring you, Mr. Rodale?" before discovering that his 72-year-old guest had indeed died. The show was never aired.
Death by Suicide During a Live TV News Broadcast
Christine Chubbuck [wiki] was the first and only TV news reporter to commit suicide during a live television broadcast.
On July 15, 1974, eight minutes into the broadcast, the depressed reporter said "In keeping with Channel 40's policy of bringing you the latest in blood and guts, and in living color, you are going to see another first: an attempted suicide. " With that, Chubbuck drew up a revolver and shot herself in the head.
There are several examples of death on the toilet, but that of Elvis Presley (1935 - 1977) was the most famous.
The King of Rock 'n Roll was found lying on the floor of his
Doctors attributed his death to a heart attack from weight gain and taking too many prescription drugs.
Robert Williams [wiki] was the first man ever killed by a robot. On January 25, 1979, Williams climbed into a storage rack at the Ford Motor's Flat Rock casting plant to retrieve a part because the parts-retrieval robot malfunctioned. Suddenly, the robot reactivated and slammed its arm into Williams' head, killing him instantly.
The second death by robot happened just a couple of years afterwards in 1981. Kenji Urada [wiki], a 37-year-old Japanese maintenance engineer was working on a broken robot at a
Actor Vic Morrow [wiki] died on the set of Twilight Zone: The Movie when a helicopter spun out of control due to special effect explosions, crashed, and decapitated him with its rotor blades.
In 1982, 27-year-old David Grundman and a roommate decided to do a little "cactus plugging," by shooting the desert plant with a shotgun.
The first one, a small cactus, went off without a hitch and Grundman was encouraged to try a larger prey: a 26-foot-tall Saguaro cactus, probably a 100-year-old plant. Unfortunately, Grundman blasted off a large chuck of the cactus that fell on him and crushed him to death!
To date, this was probably the only known instance of revenge killing by a plant.
Death by Bottle Cap
American playwright Tennessee Williams [wiki] died in 1983 after he choked on a bottle cap in his hotel room. Yes, he had been drinking.
Death by Drowning at a Lifeguards' Party.
In 1985, to celebrate their first drowning-free season ever, the lifeguards of the
When the party ended, a 31-year-old guest named Jerome Moody was found dead on the bottom of the recreation department's pool.
We suppose when it's your time to go, then it's your time to go: there were four lifeguards on duty and more than half of the 200 party-goers were themselves lifeguards!
Death on Stage, While Telling a Joke
Dick Shawn (1924-1987) was a comedian who had a heart attack and died during a joke that seemed strangely appropriate:
He was making fun of politicians by saying campaign cliches ending with "I will not lay down on the job!" Shawn then laid down on the floor face down. At first, the audience thought that it was all part of the show, until some time later a theater employee checked him for a pulse and began administering CPR.
Death by Belly Slam.
British pro wrestler Mal "King Kong" Kirk died underneath the big belly of Shirley "Big Daddy" Crabtree.
Crabtree was cleared after it was revealed that Kirk had a serious heart condition prior to the match. However, Crabtree blamed himself for Kirk's death and retired from pro wrestling.
The giant umbrellas, which measured about 20 foot (6 m) in height, 28 foot (8.7 m) in diameter and weighed about 500 lb, became a huge tourist attraction.
Less than two months after the installation opened, Lori Rae Keevil-Mathews, a 33-year-old woman drove out to see the umbrellas in
Christo immediately ordered all of the umbrellas taken down. The umbrellas, however, took another life - this time in
Death by Re-creation
In 1991, a 57-year-old Thai woman Yooket Paen was walking in her farm when she accidentally slipped on a cow dung, grabbed a naked live wire and got electrocuted to death.
Death by Sheep
In 1999, Betty Stobbs, 67, of
Apparently, the sheep were very hungry. About forty of them rushed the hay and knocked her off a cliff into a 100-feet deep quarry. Stobbs survived the fall only to be killed when the motorcycle, which was also knocked off the cliff, tumbled down after her.
Death by Necklace Bomb
On the afternoon of August 28, 2003, pizza deliveryman Brian Wells [wiki] tried to rob a bank with a home-made shotgun disguised as a cane.
Update 3/12/07: Case solved, said the authorities, with indictments expected soon: Link
Death by Stingray
In 2006, Australian wildlife expert and TV personality Steve "The Crocodile Hunter" Irwin [wiki] died when he was stabbed in the heart by a stingray spine while filming a documentary Ocean's Deadliest.
Death by Bookcase
Mariesa Weber was reported missing by her family for nearly two weeks before they found her in her bedroom, wedged behind a bookcase.
"I'm sleeping in the same house as her for 11 days, looking for her," her mother, Connie Weber, told the St. Petersburg Times. "And she's right in the bedroom."
Both Weber and her sister had previously adjusted the television plug by standing on a bureau next to the shelf and leaning over the top. Her family believes Weber, who was 5-foot-3 and barely 100 pounds, may have fallen headfirst into the space.