Mark Twain said, “the fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.” We are all going to die eventually. What matters, is what you do with your life. Some people know, due to long illnesses, when and how they are going to die, but for a lot of people, death shows up unexpectedly. Accidents happen everyday, no matter how careful you are.
If you have ever watched the Final Destination movies, you know there is no escaping death. It will jump through hoops, and create freak accidents to find you, if it is your time. The people in this list know that all too well. Here are 10 unbelievable, but totally true, ways people have died.
Spontaneous Human Combustion
Charles Dickens wrote about a character who died of spontaneous human combustion in his 1853 novel, Bleak House. But SHC isn’t just a product of a writer’s wild imagination. There currently exists approximately 200 reported cases of spontaneous human combustion worldwide. The definition of SHC is “the death from a fire originating without an apparent external source of ignition.” In most cases, the victim’s body has been completely incinerated, while everything around it remains intact. Alcoholism has been linked to many SHC cases, suggesting that alcohol levels in the blood could make a body more combustible. In 1986, a firefighter named George Mott was found reduced to a pile of ashes on the floor of his apartment. If a firefighter isn’t safe, than no one is.
A Soup Injection
In 2012, 88-year-old Brazilian woman, Ilda Vitor Maciel was at the hospital following a stroke, when one of the nurses accidentally injected soup into her actual vein, instead of her feeding tube. The Maciel family sued the hospital, believing the mistaken injection was what caused Ilda’s death. The hospital admitted the soup injection did happen, but they argued it wasn’t the cause of death. After an autopsy ruled the official cause of death a pulmonary embolism, which is a blood clot on the lung, it became clear that the mistaken injection was the most likely culprit.
Drowning in Molasses
On January 15th, 1919, a tank of molasses collapsed in Boston, killing 21 people, and injuring 150 more. The wave of molasses that flowed from the tank was 25 feet at its peak, and moved at a rate of 35 mph. Some people were hit by flying debris caused by the rush of air from the collapse, while others got caught in the sticky wave, and were pulled under. The bodies of the people who drowned were completely unrecognizable due to the thick film of molasses that covered them. People in the area claim that on hot days, they can still smell the faint scent of molasses in the air.
In 1993, a Toronto lawyer named Garry Hoy was demonstrating to a group of new articling students that the glass in the windows of the Toronto-Dominion building where they worked, would not break. He did this by running and throwing his entire body at the window, which was something he had done many times before. Only this time, the entire pane of glass popped out of the frame, and Garry plunged 24 stories to his death. Garry’s death was a case of accidental autodefenestration, which is the act of jumping, propelling oneself, or causing oneself to fall out of a window.
25-year-old chemistry student, Vladimir Likhonos enjoyed chewing bubblegum, but he wasn’t a fan of the bubblegum taste. So, he took matters into his own hands, and started dipping his gum into citric acid to give it a sour kick. One day, he thought he had done just that, but managed to dip the gum in gun powder instead. He ended up blowing off his entire jaw, and bottom part of his face, and although paramedics tried, they were unable to save him. Probably a good idea to pay closer attention when you have explosives around your food.
A 28-year-old woman named Jennifer Strange signed up for a contest run by a radio station, with the hope of winning a prize for her kids. The contest, entitled, “Hold your pee for a Wii” required the contestants to continuously drink water, and resist going to the bathroom for as long as possible. The body is 60% water, but too much liquid can cause the organs to swell, and the nutrients the body needs to function will become diluted. Jennifer’s family ended up suing the radio station for wrongful death, and was awarded a $16.5 million settlement.
The internet sensation “planking” involves lying face down, straight out with your arms against your body. The appeal of planking is due to the increasingly unusual, and sometimes funny, places people try to plank in order to play a prank on someone, or take a picture. It wasn’t all fun and games for 20-year-old Australian man, Acton Beale, who reportedly fell to his death while attempting to plank to the 7th floor balcony railing of his apartment building. The accident earned him a Darwin Award, which is a tongue-in-cheek honor given to those who have “contributed to evolution” by removing themselves from the gene pool via death due to their own unnecessarily foolish acts.
A Falling Cactus
In a real life case of plants turning against the human race (M. Night Shyamalan might have really had something with The Happening), an Arizona man was crushed to death by a falling cactus. David Grundman decided it would be fun to start shooting at the saguaro, a type of large cactus. But the cactus did not agree. After knocking one over, the second one he shot at ended up toppling over right onto him, impaling him with its long needles, and crushing him under its weight. Better think twice before messing with the plants.
Too Much Carrot Juice
The whole juice cleanse fad is a popular way to lose weight, but as with most things, moderation is key. 48-year-old Basil Brown from England, was a heath food advocate in the 1970s, who decided to go on a carrot juice-only diet. He ended up drinking 10 gallons of carrot juice in 10 days, which contained 10,000 times the recommended amount of Vitamin A. The extreme diet ultimately led to liver failure, and death, proving that while vegetables might be good for you, too much of anything can be poisonous to your body.
Choking on a Cockroach
They say cockroaches are so invincible that they will be the only thing left after everything on earth is destroyed in the apocalypse. Apparently 32-year-old Edward Archbold thought he was a contestant on Fear Factor when he entered a contest at a local pet shop to eat a variety of insects. After eating dozens of cockroaches, and beating out everyone else, Edward started vomiting, and collapsed. He passed away later that day, and the autopsy found the cause of death was “anthropod body parts” blocking his airway. There’s one reason not to put bugs in your mouth.
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