Some of The Most Unusual Ways People Have Died In History
What is considered “strange”? Well, something that is unusual or unexpected, that is difficult to comprehend or explain. This is why the following deaths qualify as strange because these deaths are difficult to explain. There have been over a hundred reported strange and unusual deaths in the 20th and 21st century alone. Strange deaths have been occurring since before the middle ages in the time of the Greek and Roman Empires. A strange or unusual death could be either ironic, such as an inventor being killed by his own invention, it can be poetic such as the ‘stop’ sign thief who died in a car accident, or it can simply be a weird and bizarre death such as the man who tripped over his own – record breaking – beard and broke his neck.
Death is a morbid affair that no one can escape, and what’s even more true, is that no one can predict how they will die.
Weird and Humorous Deaths
Although death is not a laughing matter over time there have been certain cases of fatal casualties where one cannot help but giggle or chuckle at the manner of their deaths. Some deaths are ironic, whilst others are simply puzzling and laughable.
The Owner of Segway Inc.
The multi-millionaire owner of the Segway Company Jimi Heselden was a passionate user of the Segway electronic device. The device is a two-wheeled, electric motorized scooter, with mud guards and extra-wide tires that separated it from the regular scooters.
One fine day Mr. Heselden, who would normally ‘off-road’ with the Segway, literally went off the road in the English countryside and drove off an eighty-foot cliff and to his death.
The Convict and the Electric Toilet
Michael Anderson Godwin was a convicted murderer in 1989 and was sentenced to death via the electric chair. Whilst his case and final sentence was continuously being postponed and prolonged, Michael was involved in an awkward accident when he tried to fix his television whilst being seated on a metal toilet. In an attempt to fix the TV Michael bit on the wire and was immediately electrocuted, with the wet metal toilet being used as a conductor.
‘Psycho’ Film Body Double
If you’re a thriller movie fan, you’re surely a fan of Alfred Hitchcock, and if you’re a Hitchcock fan you must have seen Psycho the hit thriller film of the 60’s.
The famous shower scene is one of the most thrilling scenes in Hollywood history. What many people don’t know is that a young actress by the name of Myra Jones was the stand-in for Janet Leigh – the actress who played the lead role. In 1988, Myra Jones was the victim of a brutal rape and murder by a man who re-enacted the shower scene due to his obsession with the film.
The final twist in the story is that due to confidentiality agreements in the production Myra Jones was not the actual body double used for that scene. In fact, another actress was used for that particular scene. Myra Jones had the unfortunate fate of being killed in the manner used in a film of which she was not even a part of.
Demonstration of Accidental Death
Clement Vallandigham was a lawyer during the 19th century who was defending a man who was charged with murder during a bar fight. Clement’s case going forward was to convince the jury that the deceased had accidentally shot himself whilst drawing his weapon from his pocket. In order to prove this theory, Clement re-enacted the entire scene to every detail including the part where he accidentally shot himself. Clement managed to shoot himself and as a result died from his injuries.
On the bright side, he managed to acquit his client, since the jury was thoroughly convinced that a man can accidentally shoot himself.
Proof of Yellow Fever Disease
Jesse William Lazear was an American physician during the end of the 19th century. He hypothesized that Yellow Fever – an acute viral disease responsible for fever, yellowing of the skin, etc. – was being transmitted by mosquitoes. To prove his theory Lazear let infected mosquitoes bite him repeatedly. In the end, he was proven right when he died of the disease eventually.
Sister See, Sister Do
In 1991, Yooket Paen, a 57-year-old native of Thailand who lived in Angthong, a rural area 60 miles north of Bangkok, was walking across her farm one day when she slipped on some mud, and reached out to grab an unprotected live wire, and was electrocuted to her death.
Days later, her 52-year-old sister Yooket Pan, was showing some neighbors how the unfortunate affair took place when she herself slipped, grabbed the same wire and was instantly electrocuted to her death as well.
Lifeguards’ Pool Party
The lifeguards of New Orleans had gone an entire year in 1984 without any drowning incident, which was a huge achievement for them. To celebrate they hosted a pool party which was a great success and enjoyed by over 200 guests.
At the party, there were four lifeguards on duty and there were at least one lifeguard for each guest excluding the active duty ones. In spite of the sheer number of the lifeguards at the party, 31-year-old Jerome Moody – a guest at the party – drowned in the deep end of the pool.
Infection After Death
Sigurd the Mighty was a Norse warrior during the Viking Era and was especially known for his brutality on the battlefield. In one particular battle, Sigurd decapitated his enemy’s head and attached it to his saddle as a victory prize of the battle.
On the ride home the teeth of the severed head continuously grazed Sigurd’s open leg and as a result, Sigurd was infected and later died from the infection.
There are much more ridiculous deaths both recorded and unrecorded in history, however, we feel the sheer strange and ridiculous nature of these deaths warrants enough attention. The weird ways people have died can be attributed to either sheer stupidity, unfortunate circumstances or even simple karma or fate if one believes in that sort of thing.
Whilst these deaths have had some sort of reasonable explanation surrounding the deaths there have been cases where the deaths have remained a mystery to the world even to this date. The list strange ways people have died does not limit itself to humorous and ironic cases only. Rather there has been serious mind boggling and brain puzzling cases where even the police have had no luck explaining the mystery surrounding the death.
Mysterious and Unexplained Deaths
A mysterious death is one where the circumstances and facts surrounding the case do little to help understand the cause or reason of the death. In fact, certain evidence may only confuse the case even more. There have been numerous cases of such deaths all over the world. Perhaps the most infamous case is the mystery behind the death of Edgar Allan Poe.
The Death of Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe was a famous literary writer known for his works on mystery and the macabre.
On September 27th, 1849, was traveling from Richmond to New York via Philadelphia when he missed his train to New York and instead headed for Baltimore. On the third of October Poe was found at Gunner’s Hall in a state of deliriousness and distress and was reportedly taken to the hospital.
Although straying in and out of consciousness Poe did not fully explain to the physicians what happened to him. He died the following Sunday with great mystery shrouding the cause of his death.
To complicate matters Poe’s attending physician Dr. Moran was the only one to see the author in his final days and was not a credible source of information as he altered the timeline of events and other incidents after Poe’s death. Moreover, all the death certificate and relevant documentation regarding Poe’s death was lost so no one knows the actual cause of death.
That, however, has not stopped the conspiracy theorists and other with coming up with their versions of his death. They include alcoholism, being mugged, suicide and depression and other numerous theories. Nevertheless, to this day, his death remains a mystery.
The Car Fire Murder
Alfred Rouse, a man with a problematic situation attempted to fake his own death by hitting a random stranger with a mallet, placing him in his car and burning both body and car. However, Rouse was caught at the scene and hanged for murdering the random man in the first place. The identity of that man was not known to either Rouse or anyone else.
The prime candidate in the missing identity case was a William T. Briggs who went missing close to where the incident took place. Being of similar built and appearance to Rouse he was considered to be the random man placed in the car.
However, the mystery became more complex when Briggs’s family arranged a DNA test in 2014 to gain some closure. The result was not what they were expecting. The DNA did not match to the random man in the car which further posed two mind-boggling questions. Who did Alfred Rouse kill and burn with the car, and what ever happened to William T. Briggs if he was in fact not the man in the car?
Elisa Lam and the Cecil Hotel
If ever there was a testament to the strange ways people have died or the strange circumstances surrounding the death of someone it was the case of Elisa Lam in 2013.
After complaints of some odd smell and color of the water at the Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles, the staff investigated the water tanks to find the decomposing body of Elisa Lam in the water tank. As if the death of a hotel resident in the hotel’s water tank was not weird enough here are the facts that make this even more mysterious.
CCTV footage of the elevator showed that prior to going missing at the hotel Elisa was seen on the footage and appeared to be hiding from someone every time the elevator doors opened and was displaying erratic and unusual behavior. What’s more is that the roof can only be accessed by staff with key and pass codes, and if that was not troubling enough, the water tank is 2.4 meters tall, more than half the height of Elisa, who somehow managed to climb the tank without a ladder, shoved herself in and closed the heavy lid on herself again.
Her death has been ruled as an accident but needless to say it’s still a modern mystery.
Morgan Harrington and the Concert
Morgan Harrington was a 20-year-old Virginia Tech student who attended a Metallica Concert with her friends in October 2009. During the performances of the opening acts Morgan needed to use the bathroom and excused herself from her friends. However, when she did not return after a long time her worried friends called her to check up on her. She told them that the concert management had a ‘no re-entry policy’ and she could not come in since she had left the concert grounds to use the bathroom. This was surprising in itself since there were bathrooms inside the concert stadium.
Nevertheless, Morgan told her friends she would make her way home and that they should enjoy the concert without her. Morgan who was constantly seen with friends was witnessed leaving the concert alone and walking alongside the road later in the night, again alone.
After several weeks of being reported missing, the remains of Morgan were found on a farm not far from the concert area. The post-mortem showed that Morgan had been violently beaten and raped before being killed.
The mystery surrounds the curious nature of Morgan that night. A girl who was always seen with friends decides to hike alone in the middle of the night.
There is no rational explanation to the strange ways people have died. Cultists attribute it to satanic works or the works of demons and ghouls. More religious men have claimed that some deaths that have a hint of poetic justice can be attributed to divine intervention. Karma, Fate, the Supernatural it does not matter what you believe in, a strange death is a strange death. There are some cases where some deaths may seem strange to the average human being but are in fact normal in certain parts of the world. Satti – an outdated Indian ritual – would see the widow of the recently deceased place themselves in the funeral fire and offer themselves as a sacrifice. This presents a learning experience about different cultures no matter how crude or uncivilized.
However, the weirder deaths such as the electrocution on the metal toilet and accidental shooting have a different lesson altogether. The first lesson is to use common sense wherever applicable. The second lesson is to not risk your life for the sake of science or a court case as it was with Mr. Clement Vallandigham.
After reviewing all the weird ways people have died, the unusual deaths, the weirdest death stories and the mysterious deaths as well we can safely say this number will continue to grow. As mysteries and strange occurrences take place in our daily lives it stands to reason there will always be a case of a strange death somewhere in the world, whether it be weird and humorous or mysterious and unexplained.