Are you afraid of dying? Chances are if someone were to ask you that question you would probably say yes. Most people are, and the only thing that most people fear even more than dying is public speaking. Still, death is right up there with our most primal fears, and we are perhaps the only known species in the universe that is fully aware of our own mortality.
Sometimes self-awareness can be a burden. Maybe that's where the infamous saying, "Life's a b*tch, and then you die" came from. Regardless, it’s an inevitable part of life, along with taxes of course, and we have decided to make that actuality hit home that much harder with our 13 Worst Ways to Die compendium.
Here, you will learn about some of the most gruesome and psychologically scarring ways to kick the bucket. You can also check out the tongue-in-cheek alternative to this list, "The 1000 Worst Ways to Die" television show if your blood-lust for the macabre has not been satsified after going through our list. The only caveat left to mention before we get into the nitty gritty is to have a couple of Xanax capsules handy while reading this list, because it ain't for the faint of heart. You have been warned...
Some of you may be wondering why dying via a disease is so low on the list. Well, to be honest, we feel that while dying due to a disease can be painful, there are many medications available on the market that can numb pain and help relieve anxiety and depression as a person slowly fades away into the ether.
Still, the very realization that one has contracted or has been afflicted with a fatal disease with no cure is devastating in of itself. Imagine being diagnosed with Aids or a terminal form of cancer and being told you have months to live. Some diseases annihilate their victims in even more gruesome ways. For instance, the Ebola virus kills its victims through unstoppable hemorrhaging, while a flesh eating virus will slowly eat away at its host as the body begins to rot and decompose in rapid succession.
12 Devoured by Animals
We’re not sure what would be worse. Being devoured by animals or being eaten alive by zombies. Well, considering the latter does not (yet) exist, we’ll go with the former. Look, we know that animals can be cute and cuddly and can also serve as companions, but the truth of the matter is many of these domesticated animals do have their feral and animalistic side and will eat their owners under the “right” conditions. Just read up on all the cases of dogs and cats eating their owners’ faces and you may think twice about owning a pet.
In addition, if we're to look at wild cats, we would have to take the grisly up a notch. For instance, while tigers and lions usually break the necks of their prey before devouring them, jaguars will actually use their extended canines to incise the temporal bones of their victims. In other words, they will bite directly into the brains of their victims. CRUNCH!
11 Being Electrocuted
Let’s be honest: when most people think of being electrocuted they’ll probably conjure up images of a convicted serial killer being barbecued alive in the electric chair in Texas. That having been said, the electric chair has been deemed “too barbaric” by most civilized folks in the West, and, as such, has been banned as a means of capital punishment in most of the developed world. As for how being electrocuted actually kills a person, the volts of electricity will actually pass throughout the body, causing fatal damage to both the brain and the person’s vital organs. Made worse is the fact that death is not usually instant, as the initial surge of current will usually not cause an immediate cessation of brain functionality. To date, only the Philippines and the United States use the electric chair as a means of capital punishment, but there are certainly other ways to die via electrocution; such as by a nuclear power plant voltage station, or being near faulty wiring, or committing suicide in a tub where the a person dumps a toaster in the water.
Talk about a slow and untimely demise. How many people would choose starvation as their way to go if given the choice? Not many, we would presume. Think about it: your body starts to go through an accelerated state of atrophy as your vital organs, and your mental facilities, start to betray you one by one. Furthermore, if you really think about it, eating is one of the best parts about being alive. Whenever you feel depressed you can always turn to comfort food to soothe what ails you.
Imagine being deprived of your favorite munchies and the very basics needed for survival as you slowly...and surely, begin to fade away into oblivion. For the survivalists out there that are preparing for the impending apocalypse, studies have shown that the average person can live up to 60 days without any solid food, although it must be noted that you will still need to consume liquids - particularly water - in order to even make it through a week.
9 Adrift At Sea
Let’s get something out of the way right away. When we are talking about being adrift at sea we are not referring to being lost at sea on a lifeboat or other vessel. No, we are actually talking about being adrift at sea on your own…bobbing aimlessly in a seemingly infinite sea. Think about it: not only are you all alone, and probably shivering from the cold, or being boiled alive by scalding temperatures, but there is also a chance that you will be devoured by sharks, or simply starve to death. And, if marine wildlife and starvation don’t kill you, and you somehow manage to stave off hypothermia, then there is always the chance that you will get torn to shreds by a tsunami. Pick your poison, but in the end, the result will be the same.
8 Falling Into A Volcano
Ok, so this one seems a little bit out there, but it can theoretically happen to someone being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Suspend your disbelief for just a second and imagine actually falling into a volcano and imagine how brutal it would be to die this way. Now, if the volcano actually contained Orange-Aid like in the Simpsons episode where the Simpsons went to Japan, it wouldn’t be so bad. But imagine falling onto a soft bed of lava, followed by bursting into flame. That’s right. To most people, falling into a volcano would trigger images of being instantly incinerated, but that isn’t really the case. Due to the relative density of volcanic lava you would likely not be engulfed in molten hot lava if you were to fearlessly leap into a volcanic abyss, Geronimo style. Food for thought…
7 Human Sacrifice
Oh boy. Talk about grisly and sadistic. Unfortunately, throughout the ages, Man’s inhumanity to Man has been a constant reminder of the sadistic workings of the human psyche. Still, you got to admit that being scarified to an imaginary Sky-God is a double whammy on the death-o-meter. For those of you who were born yesterday, the ancient Incans used to sacrifice hundreds of thousands of people to appease their Gods eons ago. Even worse, innocent children would often be sacrificed.
The process would usually involve feeding the victim a small amount of liquid to help them deal with the elements and with some of the pain that was about to be inflicted on them. The ritual itself would then take place on an Andes Summit. Fortunately, due to some archeological findings exposing skull fractures on victims, it has been presumed that victims were knocked out before they were ripped of their still-beating hearts, fatality style. Who’s next?
6 Plane Crash
Ok, so maybe to some of you being sacrificed is worse than dying in a plane crash, but we would go with plane crash for the reason that you would likely not be anesthetized before dying in a plane crash, not to mention there would be very little to no prep time before being torn to shreds. Essentially, during the initial decent to hell you would likely deal with hypoxia (lack of oxygen due to high elevation); essentially knocking you out. Unfortunately, you would likely wake up a few minutes later as you get closer to terra firma. At this point you would realize that you’re still plugging downward at a rate of about 120 miles per hour and are about 3 full minutes away from hitting the ground with a massive explosion of shrapnel, jet engines, human bodies, and flames galore. And you wonder why aviophobia is a real thing…
5 Being Crushed to Death
Being eaten by animals is definitely not the best way to go, but imagine actually being killed by an animal that has been commanded to destroy you? To elaborate, elephants were used to execute people in the 19th century. To do so, the criminal would be tied to the elephant’s leg via his waist and then trotted around the city as he got sliced and diced by the rugged terrain. Next, as he lay on the ground, agonizing in a pool of his own blood and viscera, the elephant would perform the coup de gras by crushing his head with its foot. Even worse, imagine having an animal crush another appendage of your body instead and having malevolent toxins from the crush site build up and eventually lead to renal or cardiac failure after the object of your demise has been removed…
When it comes to dying via burning we actually have first-hand accounts of the excruciating pain of being burned alive by third degree burn victims. Most burn victims describe the pain as “sheer agony”. Imagine being burned alive, as your skin begins to blister and eventually char. The excruciating pain will only intensify, as the scorching heat makes its way to the internal organs, and begins to turn them into liquefied goo. Then, the victim shall find “peace” as their body begins to be incinerated to ash bit by bit, chunk by chunk, and the brain will shut down for good due to not being able to function because of the intense, insufferable heat. As to why death via burning is our number four pick instead of being our number one? Well, some “lucky” victims will die from the carbon monoxide poisoning of the fire before the actual flames reach them and fry them to a crisp. Toasty.
The word hypothermia essentially means freezing to death. Now, being shattered into a thousand itty bitty pieces after being uppercutted by Subzero actually sounds kind of instant…and cool, but imagine dying a slow and painful death via hypothermia instead? While a normal human body has a baseline temperature of 98 degrees Fahrenheit, the cooling of said body will initially lead to shivering. The next step is having the muscles becoming wooden and stiff, leading to loss of motor control and coordination.
Soon, as you are flopping around like a marionette trying to warm your body up your brain's capacity to work goes downhill; as you won’t be able to hold a clear, coherent thought. At this point, the shivering will stop altogether, which may seem like a good thing, but it isn’t. When your body stops shivering it means it has lost the ability to create cursory heat, and your temperature will plunge even further. At this point, your organs and their responses will slow down as you drift away into an eternal, frozen slumber…
Have you watched the movie Hostel? If you have, you know just how sadistic and demented human beings can be to other people. Since the dawn of human civilization, humans have devised creative and gruesome ways to execute criminals and the like. While drawing and quartering has become synonymous with medieval torture practices during the Dark Ages, we feel that the Persian Empire takes the crown of thorns when it comes to macabre torture methods.
For instance, the Persians would throw criminals into a room of ash and leave them there for days. After passing out from exhaustion, the victims would suffocate to death by inhaling copious amounts of ash. Not gruesome enough? How about having a victim sit in a wooden tub where only their heads would be exposed. The victim’s face would then be smeared in honey and milk in order to attract swarms of flies. Moreover, the victim would be fed often, so that they would eventually be sitting in a tub of their own urine and excrement…leading to maggot formation. The maggots would then slowly feed on and devour the victim for several days…
1 Death by Embarrassment
Bet you didn’t see this one coming. Why did death by embarrassment take the top spot? Well, for the very fact that unlike the aforementioned means of demise it can actually be prevented. Oh, and to the naysayers, it is actually physiologically possible to die from embarrassment. To do so, anxiety and stress levels would need to rise high enough to send a surge of adrenaline to the bloodstream, leading to a fatal heart attack. Moreover, people can die from embarrassment in a more indirect manner by simply feeling too ashamed or embarrassed to seek medical attention. A seemingly innocuous illness or disorder can mutate into something far deadlier if left untreated. In sum, we believe that the absolute worst way to die is to die due to something that could have prevented all together with some forthcoming pro-activeness.