(NOTE) – This blog post by no means attempts to trivialize death. Please don’t misinterpret this poor blogger’s intentions.
I’ve had this blog post laid out for several months now after Baron Carson sent me this link: List of Unusual Deaths.
Death is a very, very difficult thing to wrap our minds around. Nothing causes more agony, confusion, regret, and anger than death.
We all have questions about how we’re going to go. Will I live a long life and die of old age? Will I be taken by a horrible disease? Will I die in a tragic car accident or plane crash?
These are morbid questions, but we all think them from time to time. We all want to know if we’ll “go out with dignity,” or if we’ll do it with a bit of flare (often involving less dignity).
The following people (taken from the linked article) chose flare…
430 BC: Empedocles, Pre-Socratic philosopher, secretly jumped into an active volcano (Mt. Etna). According to Diogenes Laërtius, this was to convince the people of his time that he had been taken up by the gods on Olympus.
Lesson: When you think you’re sealing your place in history, you might actually be sealing your place on Wikipedia’s List of Unusual Deaths page.
Also, couldn’t you have just moved?
207 BC: Chrysippus, a Greek stoic philosopher, is believed to have died of laughter after watching his drunk donkey attempt to eat figs.
Lesson: Don’t get animals drunk unless you are prepared to reap the consequences.
Also, videotape it so you can put it on YouTube.
64 – 67: St Peter was executed by the Romans. According to legend, he asked not to be crucified in the normal way, but was instead executed on an inverted cross. He said he was not worthy to be crucified in the same way as was Jesus.
Lesson: Peter might have been loud, brass, and opinionated, but he also had great respect for his Savior. Thumbs up to “The Rock (apostle, not the wrestler).”
892: Sigurd the Mighty of Orkney strapped the head of a defeated foe to his leg, the tooth of which grazed against him as he rode his horse, causing the infection which killed him.
Lesson: The untold part of the story is that Sigurd didn’t die until after he had arrived back home and tossed his enemy’s head into a crowd, where they kicked the ball around and celebrated.
Amazingly enough, this was (according to the sports documentary The History of Football (Soccer)) the beginning of the Kirkwall Ba Game, which some regard as a precursor to the modern game of soccer.
1556: Humayun, a Mughal emperor, was descending from the roof of his library after observing Venus, when he heard the mu’azaan, or call to prayer. Humayun’s practice was to bow his knee when he heard the azaan, and when he did his foot caught the folds of his garment, causing him to fall down several flights. He died 3 days later of the injuries at the age of 47.
Lesson: Other bad places to randomly kneel for prayer include train tracks, black asphalt during a Louisiana summer, and tightropes.
1649: Sir Arthur Aston, Royalist commander of the garrison during the Siege of Drogheda, was beaten to death with his own wooden leg, which the Parliamentarian soldiers thought concealed golden coins.
Lesson: he should have actually put gold coins in there. Maybe they wouldn’t have gotten so angry.
1771: Adolf Frederick, king of Sweden, died of digestion problems on 12 February 1771 after having consumed a meal consisting of lobster, caviar, sauerkraut, smoked herring and champagne, topped off with 14 servings of his favourite dessert: semla served in a bowl of hot milk. He is thus remembered by Swedish schoolchildren as “the king who ate himself to death.”
Lesson: One dessert will suffice. Two pieces of cake, maximum.
1862: Jim Creighton, baseball player, died when he swung a bat too hard and ruptured his bladder.
Lesson: Should’ve used steroids instead. Alex Rodriguez did it, and he was an MVP.
1923: Martha Mansfield, an American film actress, died after sustaining severe burns on the set of the film The Warrens of Virginia after a smoker’s match, tossed by a cast member, ignited her Civil War costume of hoopskirts and ruffles.
Lesson: Smoking kills (in so many ways). Also, Civil War-era big skirts were ridiculous enough; this just makes it worse..
1927: Isadora Duncan, dancer, died of accidental strangulation and broken neck when one of the long scarves she was known for caught on the wheel of a car in which she was a passenger.
Lesson: if you’re going to develop a vain trademark, make sure it doesn’t “flow.”
Also, I wonder if some idiot blamed the driver?
1932: Peg Entwistle, actress, leapt to her death from the “H” of the Hollywood Sign, following her perceived rejection from the industry for which the sign stood.
The day after her death, a letter arrived from the Beverly Hills Playhouse, in which she was offered the lead role in a play about a woman driven to suicide.
Lesson: A lack of patience can kill you…while also providing one of the most ironic deaths in history.
1941: Sherwood Anderson, writer, swallowed a toothpick at a party and then died of peritonitis.
Lesson: Toothpicks do not make you look cool. They also are not meant to be swallowed.
Also, please don’t name your kid after Robin Hood’s home.
1963: Thích Quảng Đức, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, sat down in the middle of a busy intersection in Saigon, covered himself in gasoline, and lit himself on fire, burning himself to death. Đức was protesting President Ngô Đình Diệm’s administration for oppressing the Buddhist religion.
Lesson: Suicide apparently > killing a cow.
1978: Kurt Gödel, the Austrian/American mathematician, died of starvation when his wife was hospitalized. Gödel suffered from extreme paranoia and refused to eat food prepared by anyone else. He was 65 pounds (approx. 30 kg) when he died. His death certificate reported that he died of “malnutrition and inanition caused by personality disturbance” in Princeton Hospital on January 14, 1978.
Lesson: Cinnamon Toast Crunch will not kill you. They’re actually quite good.
1981: Kenji Urada, a Japanese factory worker was killed by a malfunctioning robot he was working on at a Kawasaki plant in Japan. The robot’s arm pushed him into a grinding machine, killing him.
Lesson: Robots are out to kill us. Stop making them!
1998: Every player on the visiting soccer team at a game in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was struck by a fork bolt of lightning, killing them all instantly.</blockquote
Lesson: The whole “home field advantage” thing is true.
2005: Lee Seung Seop, a 28-year-old South Korean, collapsed of fatigue and died after playing the videogame StarCraft online for almost 50 consecutive hours in an Internet cafe.
Lesson: He should’ve spent more XP on leveling up his “stamina” points.
2007: Surinder Singh Bajwa, the Deputy Mayor of Delhi, India, was kicked by a Rhesus Macaque monkey at his home and fell from a first floor balcony, suffering serious head injuries. He later died from his injuries.
Lesson: If this week’s news wasn’t enough to prove to you that monkeys (and apes) don’t make good pets, then perhaps this helps.
2008: Gerald Mellin, a U.K. businessman, committed suicide by tying one end of a rope around his neck and the other to a tree. He then hopped into his Aston Martin DB7 and drove down a main road in Swansea until the rope decapitated him. He supposedly did this as an act of revenge against his ex-wife for leaving him.
Lesson: I guess he showed her who’s boss, eh?
2008: James Mason, of Chardon, Ohio, died of heart failure after his wife exercised him to death in a public swimming pool. Christine Newton-John (born John Vallandingham) was seen on video tape pulling Mason around the pool and preventing him from getting out of the water 43 times. Newton-John (who had changed her name following gender reassignment surgery) has plead guilty to reckless homicide.
Lesson: Guys, don’t date a “woman” who was born a man. There clearly might be some issues there.
Life is short enough already, people. Don’t make it shorter by doing something stupid.
Cherish your loved ones, and live every day as if it’s your last. Also, pretend you’re sick whenever your soccer team has an away game.