There are two things every human has in common: we were all born, and one day, we will all pass away. But until now, we had no idea there were such bizarre ways to kick the bucket. These rare stories about how real people met their demise would be surprising even to funeral home owners - and they're supposed to have seen it all! So grab a notebook and take notes as we delve into the little-known dangers we never thought to look out for before.
The Accidental Tongue Bite That Proved Fatal
Allan Pinkerton was the founder of the Pinkerton Detective Agency, famous for its impact on American history and its investigative influence. Surprisingly, the investigator's demise was unrelated to his risky work as a detective. Pinkerton simply bit his own tongue by accident, the cut became infected, and the tongue bite ultimately caused his death on July 1st, 1884. Who knew that simply biting your tongue could result in your end?
You would think the line of detective work is certainly more dangerous than a bite on your tongue, but sometimes it's not.
Carrot Juice Addiction Is Real and Dangerous
Basil Brown was obsessed with finding and consuming natural, healthy foods. One of those superfoods was carrots, thanks to their massive quantities of Vitamin A. While getting your Vitamin A from carrot juice is a popular trend, it ended up being Basil Brown's downfall. During the course of ten days in 1974, the man consumed around 70 million units of vitamin A through carrot juice and Vitamin A tablets which ended up causing his demise.
Ever heard of "too much of a good thing?" That would be the case here. The amounts of Vitamin A caused Brown's liver to tap out, which led to his untimely end.
It Turns Out Long Beards Can Be Life-Threatening
In recent years, beards have become a fashion statement of their own. Some prefer to keep short, neat beards, while others go for a longer, more hipster look. This is why we must warn everyone thinking of growing their locks long: doing so can be dangerous. In 1567, a man named Hans Steininger was murdered by his 6-foot-long beard. When a fire broke out in Steininger's house, he ran for it, but his beard caused him to trip and fall.
This fall either broke his neck or caused him to fail his attempted escape from the inferno that had become his home. Either way, the culprit is obvious: the beard.
Clown Swung Child by the Ankles and Caused His Passing
Clowns are infamous entertainers that are known for their ability to create fear in both children and adults. The reason these circus icons have become terrifying creatures in the eyes of many is mostly unknown. Up until now, we thought it was just because of their creepy makeup and clothes. But apparently, the far-spread fear of clowns might be caused by actual incidents in history. For example, in 1854, a boy named William Snyder passed away after a clown swung him around in the air by his ankles.
William's end came from a rupture of his pulmonary artery, and his death was ruled accidental. However, the artery rupture was caused by the clown swinging him by the ankles.
A True Case of Spontaneous Human Combustion
Spontaneous human combustion has long been treated as a myth, but that might not be true. On July 2nd, 1952, a Floridian woman named Mary Reeser decided to have a cigarette and accidentally fell asleep with it in her hand. By the following day, Mary Reeser was a pile of ash, but the flames touched nearly nothing else in her apartment except the armchair in which she was sitting. The fireman explained it away by saying the cigarette caused her nightgown to catch fire - but her surroundings indicated something else.
While the cigarette causing her clothes to catch fire seems reasonable, it does not explain how the rest of the apartment was untouched by the flames.
Literally Dying From Laughter
Laughing is one of the purest expressions humans have. Most people laugh when they see something hilarious, but people can also respond to moments of extreme stress or sadness with laughter. And surprisingly, laughter does carry a serious risk of death and other issues. Cataplexy, fainting, and seizures can all be triggered by prolonged laughter. Plus, the extreme emotions that often cause laughter also release adrenaline into our bodies - and too much of it can be toxic.
But don't just take our word for it; there have been documented occurrences of people dying from laughter. For example, philosopher Chrysippus passed away from laughter after seeing a drunk donkey.
London's Beer Flood Claimed Eight Lives
Beer is a super trendy beverage that has been consumed and crafted for a long time. The crafting of beer isn't usually a dangerous business, but that wasn't the case in 1814. Back in the day, London's Horse Shoe Brewery had an accident that caused 1.5 million liters of beer to flood the streets. The flood caused destruction and led to the passing away of eight individuals. Talk about a surprising cause of death!
Drinking beer has always come with some medical implications commonly associated with consuming alcohol, but no one expected that beer could lead to such a massive amount of destruction.
The First Robot Murder Happened Way Back in 1979
The upcoming war between humanity and robots has been a popular topic in pop culture for the last few decades. While the war between humans and robots is predicted to occur in the future, we've got surprising news: it may be happening already. In 1979 a man named Robert Williams was an assembly line worker at a Ford factory. While working, a robot arm swung around and struck him in the head, causing a fatal injury. He was officially the first man to be killed by a robot.
The man's family won a lawsuit against the company, but the fact remains that this might have been the first stone thrown in a decades-long war.
Death by Lawn Mower
Mowing our lawns is one of the Sunday activities that we constantly put off until the neighbors or the HOA (homeowners association) start to make a fuss. And after hearing this story, we feel even less motivated to touch the lawn mower than ever before. Unfortunately, this innocent activity proved fatal for a Swedish man. While mowing his lawn, he ended up on the wrong end of the lawn mower, and it killed him.
So maybe it's time to rethink those Halloween decorations of fake dolls getting over by a lawn mower. Now that we know it's been an actual cause of death, that feels insensitive.
Lightning Doesn't Strike Twice - It Strikes Eleven Times
A popular phrase regarding lightning is "lightning doesn't strike twice." And we believed that until now. Lightning struck a whopping eleven times and took out an entire soccer team during a match in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The truly odd fact about this event is that all eleven players belonged to the home team's opposition. The Basanga team members all walked away completely unscathed. Sounds unbelievable, doesn't it?
Some said that only divine intervention could create such odd circumstances. Unsurprisingly, locals agreed. But many said it wasn't the work of God, but rather witches who caused the devastating accident.
It's Raining (deadly) Cows
João Maria de Souza was a farmer in Brazil. One evening, he went to bed next to his wife after a long day of work, just like he did after every sundown. But that night was devastatingly different from any other, as the man never woke up again. João met his maker after a cow crashed through his roof and landed right on him. He was rushed to the emergency room but died of internal bleeding. The cow had climbed onto the house's roof, and the asbestos-infested roof couldn't hold its weight.
There are many different ways someone could die on a farm, especially when dealing with farm animals. However, we didn't think raining cows was a possibility until now.
Never Inject Soup Into Your Body
Everyone knows that soup is the cure-all to any illness. Are you feeling a bit under the weather? Just eat some soup, and you'll be all better. However, we should emphasize that we are supposed to "eat (or drink) soup" and not inject ourselves with it intravenously. Sadly, Ilda Vitor Maciel's doctors in Rio de Janeiro were never taught this essential distinction, and it led to her unexpected death.
The hospital nurse accidentally injected Ilda's vein with soup rather than inserting the food into her feeding tube. This triggered a pulmonary embolism that caused her to pass away.
Atomic Wedgies Can Be Fatal
Everyone who has attended school or has siblings is probably familiar with the concept of a wedgie. For those unaware, a wedgie is when someone pulls up another person's underwear to cause discomfort. An atomic wedgie is when the underwear is pulled up all the way over the head. While it won't feel good, it shouldn't be fatal. Unfortunately, that proved false when Denver St. Clair died because his stepson gave him an atomic wedgie.
Denver's stepson pulled his stepfather's underwear over his face during a fight, and the stepfather eventually suffocated and died from asphyxiation. Maybe we should just leave everyone's underwear alone.
The Bizarre Dancing Plague That Ended Hundreds of Lives
Back in the 16th century, a mysterious Dancing Plague struck the French town of Strasbourg. This plague resulted in the early demise of hundreds of people. It all began with Frau Troffea, who started dancing in the middle of the street in July. By August, hundreds had joined in. Some people expired from exhaustion due to their non-stop dancing. For others, it led to heart attacks and strokes.
The reason for these people dancing themselves to fatal points of exhaustion is unknown. The Catholic Church believed it to be a curse; others say it was mass hysteria caused by stress.
A Threesome Gone Wrong
William Martinez died from a heart attack while engaging in intimate activities with a male friend and a woman that was not his wife. A week before the incident, he went to his doctor to complain about pain and was scheduled for a stress test on his heart in a few weeks. However, before the test happened, he engaged in special extracurricular activities. The excitement was too much, and William died from a threesome-induced heart attack.
The family sued the doctor of William Martinez for not warning him from engaging in such activities before a complete analysis of his heart, and they won their malpractice suit.
He Died From Stressed-Induced Strokes After Reading a Negative Obituary About Himself
Marcus Garvey was a Jamaican political activist and founder of UNIA, Universal Negro Improvement Association. His goal was to help achieve and foster black success and Black Nationalism worldwide, sometimes through very odd means such as racial separation. But he didn't live to fulfill his dreams, as Garvey died from two strokes in 1940. Oddly enough, he suffered the strokes right after reading an obituary written about him that placed him in a negative light.
We often wonder what will be said about us after we are gone. However, we never imagined that those words might be able to kill us.
She Kicked the Bucket at Her Own Funeral (yes, You Read That Right)
Many of us are curious about who will show up at our funerals. Unfortunately, Fagilyu Mukhametzyanov found the answer to that morbid question in 2011. The woman was wrongly pronounced dead, and her family swiftly arranged her funeral in Russia. During the funeral processions, Fagilyu woke up to see herself at her own funeral and suffered a heart attack from the shock of the situation. After being wrongfully pronounced dead, she really passed away at her funeral.
We hope that all of Fagilyu's friends and family showed up at the woman's funeral because Fagilyu knows who didn't, and she might just decide to haunt those not in attendance.
Dad Bit "snake-Possessed" Son Until He Passed Away
Back in 2013, a Japanese citizen claimed a snake possessed him. 23-year-old Takuya started slithering across the floor and told his parents that the reptilian creature had taken over his body. Rather than seeking medical help, his father decided to exorcise the snake from his son by endlessly biting and head-butting him. Eventually, Takuya died from the wounds inflicted by his father's attempted exorcism.
Some even speculate that Takuya was joking about being possessed by a snake and his parents took his statements too seriously and too far.
The Dancer Whose Scarf Strangled Her to Death
Isadora Duncan was a famous dancer, but her career came to an abrupt end in 1927 when she was strangled to death. However, this was not a murder but a tragic accident involving her very long silk scarf (pictured below). While in Nice, France, Isabella was in a car, and her long scarf went out the window and got caught in the car's rear tire. The scarf got lodged in the wheel and strangled her to death.
This incident almost seems like a perfect assassination cover-up or something out of a horror movie. But it was a real-life accident and a tragic loss for the world.
An On-Set Curse Ended Actor Brandon Lee's Life
Bruce Lee is one of the most famous martial artists to have ever lived and remains a household name to this day. His son, Brandon Lee, is less known but still famous in his own right. Unfortunately, the martial artist's son died from a tragic incident in 1993. He was shot by fellow actor Michael Massee while filming the movie "The Crow." This film would go down in Hollywood history for having one of the most haunted sets ever.
Brandon's tragic death was accompanied by numerous other injuries and natural disasters on set, which led the cast and crew to be convinced it was haunted.
Stay Away From Piranhas
Piranhas are one of the more infamous fish of the deep, blue waters. This toothy fish lives in the fresh waters of South America and is well known for its ferocious bite. While you might be terrified of being eaten by one, you are more likely to consume a Piranha than they are likely to consume you. But for those living near piranha-infested waters, that's not necessarily the case. There are many documented cases of people passing away after getting consumed by piranhas.
Although it would take several hundred of the fish to consume an entire body, we've learned the hard way that it can be done with incredible speed.
Man Who Faked His Blindness Didn't See the Ditch in Front of Him
At first, this story seems truly heartbreaking: a blind man out for a walk in New South Whales who fell into a ditch and, left unfound for hours, ultimately passed away. But a few missing key details might change how you feel about this. Of course, it's still a tragedy, but the man in question, Geoffrey Haywood, was allegedly faking his blindness. Apparently, he pretended to be blind to gain sympathy and care from others.
If Geoffrey Haywood had used his functioning eyes, then he would have probably seen the hole. Instead, he fell into it and kicked the bucket down there alone.
Lawyer Proved Client Innocent by Accidentally Shooting Himself in Court
Everyone needs to have a good lawyer on speed dial in case they ever need one. However, finding great lawyers such as Clement Vallandigham is difficult. Clement was called upon in 1871 to defend his client against a murder charge. Clement's defense for his client was that the victim must have accidentally shot himself. During his demonstration of how the accidental shooting could have occurred, Celemnt's actually accidentally shot himself and left our world.
Fortunately, Clement won the case for his client. We hope he was up there somewhere, seeing how his tragic passing was not for nothing.
Man Met His Demise After Breaking His Office Building's "Unbreakable" Glass
If you have ever been on one of those glass bridges, then this one will get to you. Garry Hoy was a lawyer from Toronto. One day he was in a skyscraper downtown showing his visitors that the glass at the 24th-level office was unbreakable. He demonstrated the unbreakable nature of the glass window by throwing his body against it. It was far from the first time he did this. Unfortunately, this time was one too many - the glass broke, and he fell through the window.
We should always read the fine print and act on the side of caution. Frequently when items are sold as unbreakable or fireproof, they actually mean they are only resistant.
His Wife Couldn't Cook for Him, so He Starved to Death
Kurt Gödel was a Czech mathematician in the United States of America who is considered one of history's great logicians. Unfortunately, his genius was also accompanied by an acute case of paranoia. Specifically, he was concerned that someone was attempting to poison him. Therefore, he would only eat food prepared by his wife. When she became hospitalized, he didn't have any source of food and ended up starving to death.
There are many questions accompanying this story. Such as, why didn't he just prepare his own food? But we cannot begin to understand the levels of his genius or paranoia.
The Snake Preacher Who Met His Maker Thanks to a Snake Bite
Pastor Mack Wolford was a speaker who became famous for his sermons and use of real-life snakes while he addressed his congregation. After years of handling snakes and placing them on his congregants, the pastor was bitten by a timber rattlesnake during an outdoor service. His refusal to go to a hospital and his congregation's belief that their pastor's fate was in God's hands led to his demise eight hours later.
The lesson would seem quite clear: don't mess around with snakes. While the pastor was obviously familiar and well-rehearsed with his snakes, that did not stop him from getting bitten.
The Duke Who Was Sentenced to Drown to Death in Wine
George Plantagenet was the Duke of Clarence and brother to the English King Edward the Fourth. The King's brother led a troubled life filled with rebellion and exile. His ambition led him to rebel against his brother, the King, and set in motion several attempts to usurp the throne from him. Throughout the years, George engaged in conspiracies against the King and was eventually tried for treason. He met his maker after being executed. But he didn't face the average execution: George was drowned in a barrel of wine.
Even though George was rebellious, he was still the King's brother, which allowed him to have an abnormal execution. Now, George's treasonous acts will always be remembered.
Chemistry Professors Passed Away From Mercury Poisoning
Karen Wetterhahn was a famous chemist and professor at Dartmouth College. While working in her lab, she accidentally dropped a few droplets of a neurotoxin on her glove. The substance soaked through her glove and went into her system - but it didn't take effect right away. Ten months later, she died from dimethylmercury poisoning from the lab accident. Her tragic death led to an evolution in lab protocols and safety measures to ensure nothing similar ever happens again.
Next time we are in the chemistry lab, we will be sure to listen to the instructor when they say to wear lab coats, gloves, and protective eyewear.
This King Literally Ate Himself to Death
There are very interesting methods to achieving death amongst the nobility, but this was got to take the cake. Literally, it would seem. King Adolf Fredrik, the ruler of Sweden, apparently ate himself to death in 1771. In preparation for the period of Lent in the Christian tradition, the King gorged himself on sweets and foods that he would be giving up during the fasting period of Lent. This massive meal created digestive problems that caused his death.
In the end, the King of Sweden was able to avoid the period of Lent that year by eating himself to death. Nothing says luxury as much as his self-manslaughter.
The Knight Who Was Bludgeoned to Death With His Wooden Leg
Sir Author Aston was an English soldier who fought for King Charles in the English Civil War. During his service, he eventually became governor of Oxford and lost his leg in an injury involving a horse. He was then moved to Drogheda, where, as governor, he repulsed an enemy's army advancement three times from his governorship in Ireland before he eventually lost and was beaten to death with his wooden leg in 1649.
Death is a common theme in times of war, and Sir Aston was very familiar with it during his career, but this death seems oddly personal and crosses a line.
The 1919 Molasses Flood of Boston
This disaster, known as The Great Molasses Flood, occurred in 1919 when a container holding eighty million liters of molasses collapsed and sent a flood of the substance into the North End neighborhood of the city of Boston. The flood of the sticky substance caused the death of over twenty people and injured dozens of individuals. The sugary, earthy scent of the molasses stayed in the city for years afterward.
If you didn't know, molasses' stickiness is comparable to, if not stickier than, honey, which makes this necessary component of brown sugar impossible to swim through.
Seeking Immortality Led Him to a Deadly Blood Transfusion
Immortality is the dream of the beggar and the king and is inaccessible to both. Humanity's quest for eternal life has taken many, many lives. One among them is Alexander Bogdanov, a leader in Russia's politics during the 1900s. His quest for immortality led him to investigate and understand the types of blood and blood transfusions. Falling under the delusion that blood transfusion could be the key to eternal life, he ended up causing his perishing.
His research had him do a blood transfusion with a student who had malaria and tuberculosis in his blood. The transfusion caused Bogdanov to become ill and caused his early demise.
Dying by Toilet Seat Is More Common Than You'd Think
Toilet seat deaths are extremely concerning since we feel so vulnerable while we are on the toilet. Our verdict is that it would be pretty bad if we were to be murdered while we were "using the facilities." Unfortunately, this has happened several times throughout history. In fact, three Kings were murdered on the toilet: King Edmund the Second, King Vaclav the Third of Bohemia, and King George the Second. That isn't even the entire list.
Who knew that toilets were such a dangerous location for royalty and the ruling class? Perhaps that is why the President goes to the bathroom with twenty secret service members.
Another Case of Spontaneous Human Combustion
For a phenomenon that is supposedly not possible, it sure does seem to happen. Spontaneous human combustion occurs when a flame ignites from within a person and consumes them from the inside out, and scientists would assure us that this is a fictional event. However, our second victim of this impossible event is Danny Vanzandt, who died in Oklahoma in 2013. His body was found burned, but the flames torched nothing else in his home.
They ruled Danny's death a heart attack and attributed his odd appearance to his smoking and drinking habit. It feels like the coroner's office is attempting a cover-up.
Sigurd the Mighty of Orkney Died by Decapitated Head
Sigurd the Mighty, also known as Sigurd Eysteinsson, reigned for nearly twenty years as the second Eral of Orkney. During his reign, he led the Vikings in their conquest of present-day Northern Scotland. During his conquests, he battled and won against Máel Brigte and took his opponent's severed head as his trophy. During his ride back from his battle, his enemy's head's teeth scratched his thigh, which later caused an infection and, eventually, his death.
Máel Brigte might have lost the battle on the day that Sigurd the Mighty removed his head, but he won in the end in this ridiculous posthumous murder of his killer.