Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Bizarre Deaths in History

Steve Irwin (1962 - 2006): Death by Stingray

Irwin was an Australian wildlife expert and a well-loved TV personality, who gained worldwide fame from his internationally broadcast wildlife documentary program "The Crocodile Hunter," which he co-hosted with his wife Terri. While filming the documentary "Ocean's Deadliest" at the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, Irwin swam too close above one of the stingrays with the cameraman directly right in front of it. Threatened by their presence, the ordinarily harmless stingray instinctively responded by flexing upward its razor-sharp, barbed tail which pierced Irwin's chest and into his heart, an injury that brought about his untimely demise at only 44 years of age.
Francis Bacon (1561 - 1626): Death by Stuffing Chicken

One of the leading figures of the English Rennaisance, Bacon was a statesman, philosopher, scientist and author, whose celebrated works "Novum Organum" (1620) and "The New Atlantis" (1626) contributed significantly to the European scientific revolution. During a particularly heavy snowstorm in 1626, Bacon suddenly came up with the thought of possibly using snow to preserve meat. Desirous of finding out, he went to nearby marketplace to buy a fowl and had its internal organs removed. Standing outside in the snow, he immediately began stuffing the fowl to freeze it. However, the fowl never froze, but he did. He contracted pneumonia and died a few days after.
Gregori Rasputin (1869 - 1916): Death by Poison, Gunshot, Beating and Drowning

Rasputin was a Russian mystic and monk who gained considerable influence on Tsar Nicholas II due to his unusual ability to use hypnosis to control the hemophilia suffered by Alexei, the heir to the throne. Rasputin survived being fed cakes laced with potassium cyanide and being shot through the heart. He was shot three more times by his assassins who found him to be alive and struggling to get up as they drew near to his body. He was then beaten with clubs and thrown into the freezing Neva River. When his body was recovered, an autopsy revealed that the cause of death to be hypothermia.
Jean-Baptiste Lully (1632 - 1687): Death by Conductor's Staff

Lully was an Italian-born French composer who worked most of his life as the appointed musician in the court of Louis XIV of France. While conducting the Te Deum in honor of Louis XIV's recent recovery from sickness, Lully was so deeply engrossed on keeping the tempo by banging his long staff against the floor (as was the custom of the time before the baton came into common usage) that he struck his toe so hard that the would developed into an abscess. He refused to have his toe amputated even if the wound had turned gangrenous and had spread, leading to his death two months after the incident.
Sherwood Anderson (1876 - 1941): Death by Toothpick

Anderson was an American author best known for his collection of short stories "Winesburg, Ohio" (1919) and the novel "Dark Laughter" (1925). He died in Panama of peritonitis that developed after accidentally swallowing a toothpick embedded in a martini olive at a party held on an ocean liner bound for Brazil.
George Allen (1918 - 1990): Death by Gatorade

Allen was an American Football coach, who was showered by some of his Long Beach State players with an ice cold bucket of Gatorade in celebration of their season-ending win over the University of Nevada, Las Vegas on November 17, 1990. Afterwards, he even granted media interviews for some time under the cold weather with a piercing wind and boarded the bus back to Long Beach State still in his drenched clothing. Since then, he acknowledged that he had not been feeling completely well. He finally succumbed to pneumonia on December 31, 1990.
Alexander Litvinenko (1962 - 2006): Death by Radiation Poisoning

Litvinenko was a former officer of the Russian State Security Services, who fled his country to the United Kingdom where he was granted political asylum in 2000. Litvinenko was hospitalized on November 1, 2001 when his health unexpectedly deteriorated. It was later discovered that he had been poisoned with significant amounts of the rare and extremely toxic radioactive element polonium-210. He died three weeks later, thus becoming the first known casualty of deliberate radiation poisoning. His murder marked the start of a new era of nuclear terrorism.
Jack Daniel (1850 - 1911): Death from Stubbed Toe

In 1905, Jack Daniel, founder of Tennessee whiskey distillery, had trouble opening his safe early one day at work as he always had difficulty remembering the right combination. He kicked the safe in frustration resulting in a toe injury that later became infected; and eventually died (six years later) from blood poisoning attributable to the mishap. He could have just dipped his toe in his famous whiskey to ward off infection.
Isadora Duncan (1877 - 1927): Death by a Scarf

Duncan was an American dancer, considered by many to be the mother of modern dance. Her extreme fondness for long flowing scarves was the cause of her death in a freak automobile accident in France at the age of 50. Duncan was strangled by her own scarf when it got caught in the rear wheel of a moving car.
Claude François (1939 - 1978): Death by a Light Bulb

François was a French pop singer, best known for writing "Comme d'habitude," which was adapted for the English public by Paul Anka into the celebrated hit "My Way" famously sung by Frank Sinatra. François noticed a broken light bulb while standing in a bathtub filled with water in his Paris apartment. But being a stickler for orderliness and cleanliness, he cannot help but try to change the bulb, resulting in his death by electrocution.


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