6 May 2011

Strange Death, Anyone?

Our world is stranger than we think. Stranger still, are the stupid ways in which some clever people have died. If you aren't convinced, I'm sure the list below will make a believer out of you.

This is a guest post by Anne Lyken-Garner (left). A longstanding friend of Kuriositas (and its host!) she blogs at her relationship help blog and writing site.

Tudor entertainer

A Tudor entertainer, well-known and liked for his dramatic performances, wooed his viewers with his ‘immortality’. Every night he would perform for the crowds, plunging a knife into his chest and bleeding out on stage. His audiences loved him. He was the epitome of celebrity dukedom!

What his viewers didn't know was that he wore a stab-proof vest with little packets of animal blood stuck to it. He could ‘bleed’ all night and still live to hide from the Tudor paparazzi the next day. One night, with usual flourish, he plunged the long, shiny dagger into his chest. Only, this time, he had forgotten to wear his vest. He dropped dead on stage.

I wonder if he remembered about the missing vest just a split second before stabbing himself. Ouch.

King Edmund II
King Edmund II, known as Edmund Ironside, was king of England from 23 April to 30 November 1016. He was loved by many and managed to secure quite a large army to fight on his side. His short rule of just about 7 months would’ve probably gone on for many years, had he not needed a number 2 on that fateful day.

He’d earned his name Ironside because of his resilience and courage in fighting alongside his men. However, his story shows us that the little things we all need as humans are the very things which make us all equal. If you’ve ever had diarrhoea while on a shopping spree, you’ll know that the sight of a toilet is as (more than) welcome as a huge bag of cash. One day in the middle of battle, King Edmund needed the toilet (latrine).

Little did he know, a Viking was hiding in the one he chose to use. The Viking stabbed King Edmund II twice in the bottom from where he was standing underneath.

Franz Reichelt
Franz Reichelt was an Austrian inventor and tailor. At a time when most people had little or no idea of what a parachute was, he'd invented one. He made trial after trial - with dummies for pilots - from his second floor bedroom window and finally got his invention to work. Finally, he was going places! Everyone would know who Franz Reichelt was! He hired Max Clifford as his publicist (not really), and contacted all the reporters he could find. He was prepared to ditch the bedroom window and fly his parachute from the Eiffel tower!

The day arrived and the media gathered. It was no Royal Wedding, but it was close enough. Impressed by all the onlookers and reporters who’d come to watch him, Franz, instead of trying it on a dummy as he’d done in the past, strapped himself to his parachute and prepared to jump. He met his death jumping from the second floor (60 metres) of the Eiffel tower. The good news was (for him, that is), it was the speed of the descent which killed him (inducing a heart attack) and not the impact of the fall.

Debby Mills-Newbroughton

Ms Mills-Newbroughton was one day short of 100 years old when she was killed. She was crossing the road with her daughter to attend a lavish birthday party in her honour. Her wheel chair was hit by the truck delivering her birthday cake.

Heraclitus was a wise and well-respected Greek philosopher. Well- I say, ‘wise’. He unfortunately developed dropsy (this is an illness that causes your entire body to swell up). Heraclitus, being a very clever (ish) man, thought of a brilliant plan to alleviate his symptoms. He reckoned that since water evaporates, it would be a good idea to stay somewhere hot so that the excess water in his system could do just that. Great idea, right?

If you’re thinking he had a sun stroke from staying out in the sun too long you would be wrong. Heraclitus buried himself in cow dung up to his neck. He forgot to bring any water so he got hotter and hotter, then died of heat exhaustion. Talk about ‘up to your neck in it’!

Garry Hoy
Garry Hoy will live on in history as the most well-known, Canadian lawyer who’s ever existed. He worked on the 24th floor of the Toronto Dominion Bank Tower (pictured above), and seemed (for some reason) to build up blind faith in the strength of the Tower’s glass windows. He was known to throw his body against them to demonstrate their strength to onlookers.

One night, after having a bit to drink, Mr Hoy decided to show some new-comers to the office his usual party trick of man-meets-strong-glass routine. He threw himself against the glass twice. On his second go, he crashed right through the glass and fell to his death.

Tycho Brahe
Tycho Brahe was a Danish astronomer in the 16th century. At that time, it was considered rude to leave a table before the meal was finished. Brahe had had lots to drink as usual. Being a bit tipsy was probably why he forgot to go to the toilet before the meal started in the first place. He also had a lot to drink at dinner, and being the polite man he was, couldn’t bear to ask to be excused. His bladder burst and he died a painful death 11 days later. Better out than in, I was always told.

Draco was a popular but ‘draconian’ Greek ruler. While addressing his adoring people, in proper Greek fashion, they threw hats and coats at him to show their support. They threw so many that he suffocated under them. (You'd think they planned it all along. After all, he was a terribly harsh leader, making everything punishable by death.)

Additional Image Credits
Tudor Entertainer