If there's one thing you'd think we all have in common, it's the desire to survive. Every animal on this planet evolved the way they think, experience emotions, and behave in order to satisfy the basic needs of staying alive and reproducing to keep the species going. Everything we've done as humans, whether it be fighting Neanderthals or engineering the newest iPhone, has been driven by a desire to do those things. We have debates about abortion and euthanasia (otherwise known as assisted suicide) because, at our very cores, we believe that protecting human life should come above all else.
But some people seem to be hard wired differently than the rest of us. Whereas the general population is blessed with a fight-or-flight instinct that allows us to recognize when we (or other bipedal, hairless apes) are in danger, there are those who seem unable to comprehend what it takes to stay alive. And we're not talking about people who make grave sacrifices for some grand cause or who have lost the will to live, either. As you'll see in this list of 15 deaths almost too dumb to believe, it's a miracle some people can make it out of bed in the morning without biting the big one.
15 Who Needs A Python That Badly?
Chances are, you'll never want to get any of your friends a gift as badly as Edward Archbold did. In 2012, Archbold, a 32-year-old Floridian man, wanted to get his friend a present. Rather than go to a store or look around online, he decided to enter a bug-and-cockroach-eating contest at Ben Siegel Reptile Store in Deerfield Beach which awarded the first place finisher a live python. A python Archbold wanted his friend to have. Needless to say, he crushed it. Archbold was eating so many live cockroaches that, during the competition, he had to put his hand over his mouth to keep them from crawling out. By the time it was all said and done, he had eaten more than 60 grams of meal worms, 35 larger worms, and dozens of live roaches. He died of "asphyxia due to choking and aspiration of gastric contents." AKA, he drowned in bugs.
14 A Man Of Too Much Faith
The idea of divine intervention allowing us to resurrect the dead isn't anything new. Jesus did it in the Bible (he even came back himself!). In Judaism, the prophet Elijah prayed to god and brought a young boy back to life. It's something that people have believed possible for thousands of years and continue to believe today. But even if you consider yourself a person of strong faith, you probably wouldn't have the gall to do what Muhammad Niaz did. In 2014, the 40-year-old Pakistani man volunteered to be killed by a holy man, believing the man would be able to then resurrect him. Of course, things didn't go as planned. Niaz died and the man who killed him was charged with murder the next day.
13 Good Wi-Fi Is A Necessity
Some people may call it a first-world problem, but if you're reading this, you probably know how much of a nuisance not having good Wi-Fi signal is. (If you disagree, remember this article next time you go to a friend's house and they can't remember their password.) Without it, you're either stuck with long load times, buffering videos, timed-out websites or, even worse, having to use all your precious, precious mobile data. For one 23-year-old Ecuadorian man living in Spain, none of those were suitable options. Going to the balcony of a building in Beniaján, a village in the south of the country, he lost his balance and fell. The man went over the rail of the second-story balcony and hit the ground. Maybe overage charges aren't so bad, after all?
12 After All That, An Orange Peel?
You may not know him by name, but you'd probably recognize daredevil Bobby Leach's signature stunt. In 1911, the New Zealand-born Leach became just the second in the short list of people to ever go over Niagara Falls in a barrel and live to tell the tale. He even planned to subsequently complete the "triple challenge," which consisted of barrel trips through the Niagara Whirlpool and over the falls as well as a parachute jump off the Upper Suspension Bridge into the river. Unfortunately, he was never able to accomplish the feat. The reason? He slipped on an orange peel. While the initial fall didn't kill him, the injury became infected with gangrene. He had his leg amputated, but still died later from complications. He was 68.
11 A Little Water Can't Hurt You, Right?
There probably isn't a single person reading this post who still plays on their Nintendo Wii. The game console, originally released by Nintendo in November of 2006, was innovative for its time, but the game catalogue and system itself certainly hasn't aged as well as other consoles of the same era. But even if it had, would you ever think it was worth dying over? That's what happened to Jennifer Strange, a 28-year-old Sacramento woman, in 2014. Strange entered a contest run by a local radio station called "Hold Your Wee For a Wii." The gimmick was that whoever could drink the most water without peeing won a free console. Doesn't sound so bad, right? Well, things change when you introduce the not-so-small issue of water contamination. The problem was bad enough that multiple contestants vomited during the contest before Strange finally succumbed to the tainted water. To add insult to injury, while they were competing, one of the radio hosts actually asked, with a laugh, “Is anyone dying in there?”
A jury later awarded $16,577,188 in damages against the station.
10 Irony Is a Powerful Force
Head injuries are bad news. With them come brain injuries. With brain injuries can come a whole host of problems including depression, memory problems, and even death. That's why kids are told to start wearing helmets from the time they first sit on a bike seat. Parents know that a bike crash is a good way to hurt yourself and that it's important to protect yourself; while helmets don't make you invincible, they do provide protection for your face, head, and, of course, brain.
While it may not be unusual for a kid to complain about needing a helmet, you'd like to think that adults wouldn't be so shortsighted or that they'd at least not whine about it. Especially when they're not riding bikes, but motorcycles. But, alas, we have people like Phillip Contos, a 55-year-old motorcycle enthusiast from New York State. During the 11th annual Helmet Protest Run in Onondaga County in 2011, Contos flipped over the handle bars of his Harley Davidson. He died from his injuries. And yet, when his brother was asked about the ironic twist of fate, he said he'd continue to protest for the right to ride without a helmet.
9 Why Did the Chicken Jump Into the Well?
Forget dogs. For at least six people in Egypt, it was a chicken that was clearly their best friend. In 1995, a chicken on a farm 240 miles south of Cairo fell into a well. Rather than letting the one chicken meet its fate, an 18-year-old farmer decided the best course of action would be to jump in after it. Sadly, he was swept up by the undercurrent and drowned in the water of the 60-foot-well. Now, that story would be sad enough, but it doesn't end there. After the farmer went in, his sister and two brothers decided to go in after him. None of them could swim very well. They all drowned. Then, two elderly farmers decided to try and save the group. Both of them drowned, too. All of their dead bodies were later pulled out of the well. The chicken was, too. The only difference was, it survived.
8 A New High-Jump Record
Cats always land on their feet. Humans, usually aren't so lucky. While there are some success stories -- Vesna Vulović, a Serbian flight attendant, survived a fall of over 10,000 metres after the explosion of a flight in 1972 -- they tend to be few and far between. One of the people who wasn't so lucky was one burglar from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, whose life of crime lead to his untimely death. In June of 1997, the man was on the balcony of Dean Garbo's apartment on the top floor of the Royal View Apartments building. When Garbo came home around 12:30 am and heard noises outside, he yelled and startled the intruder. The man jumped and fell off the balcony. He died from his injuries. Was it really worth it?
7 No TV And No Beer Make Homer Go Crazy
People tend to say that books are always better than movies and movies better than TV. But even if that's the case, there's no denying the addictive power the small screen can have on people considering what some are willing to do to make sure it doesn't go off. That was the case on Dec. 3, 1999 in Denmark. It was that day that Cyclone Anatol, a category 1 hurricane, hit the country. Unlike other parts of the country, storms this strong are very rare in the area, happening on average only once every 500 years. Winds gusted at 146 km/h and ended up causing about €2 billion in damage. But, for one woman, TV was worth braving the storm. When the picture on her set went grainy, she climbed on the roof to fix her antenna. Just like out of an episode of The Simpsons, she was then blown to the ground. Eight hundred Danes were injured during the storm, presumably none for a more benign reason.
6 It Rubs The Lotion On Its Skin
Everyone wishes they could have a super power. Whether it be super strength, invisibility, or flying, the thought has crossed all of our minds. A lot of us even think we have -- or can develop -- them when we're kids. But this post isn't about the sad case of the nine-year-old New York boy who thought he was Superman and jumped to his death in 2001. This is about Aleobiga Aberima, a 23-year-old man in Ghana, who wanted to become bulletproof. Hoping to get a leg up on rival tribes with whom his group often conflicted, in March of 2001, Aberima asked a local witch doctor to give him Superman-like skin. The man gave him a mixture of herbs to rub on his skin every day for two weeks and told him it would do the job. He was shot dead when he decided to test if the magic formula had actually worked.
5 A Little Water Goes A Long Way
How deep do you think a body of water would have to be for you to drown in? As deep as an ocean? Maybe a river? A pool, at least? If you think it would be impossible to lose your life in anything shallower, think again. That's because in 2004, a man in Austria found a way to drown to death in his own kitchen sink. Although it may seem impossible, it's not. After a night of drinking and drug use, the man tried to climb into his Wolfsburg home through his kitchen window. He slipped and fell face-first into the sink (most of which only measure about eight to 10 inches deep), turning on the faucet on the way down. His corpse was found by the manager of the apartment house who saw his legs sticking out of the kitchen window. Police couldn't figure out why he wasn't able to turn off the water or drain the sink. They also didn't understand why he climbed in through the window when he had his house keys in his front pocket.
4 Mo' Money, Mo' Problems
Insurance scams are the set up for lots of pieces of popular culture. They make it seem so easy: create a believable scenario about your car or house getting damaged and rake in that cold, hard payout. While most of us realize those scenarios are too good to be true and best left in the world of fiction, some people are dumb enough to try and make it happen. That was the case with Thierry Blues, a 37-year-old Belgian man who tried to game the system in 2010. Two years after he failed to get any insurance money from when his restaurant burned down, Blues decided it was time to get his. He asked his friend to meet him in a parking lot off a highway exit with a weapon and a jerry can one day on his way home from work. He cut himself, set fire to his car, then called the police. Unfortunately, one of his self-inflicted wounds was to an artery. He bled out before police made it to the scene.
3 Chim Chimney Chim Chim Cher-ee!
Chimney sweeping as a profession is often romanticized in popular culture. The most obvious example is in the 1964 classic, Mary Poppins. In the movie, there's an entire number where chimney sweeps dance and sing on rooftops after a hard day of clearing out soot. While that may not be the way most people in the world do the job, there is at least one man who would've been safer avoiding his method and trying cartwheels on a roof. It was in 2005 that a Croatian man named Marko decided to try something a little more explosive than usual. Realizing the chimney was too high to clean with a broom, he figured he would be able to complete the task by attaching a brush to a weight and feeding it through. What did he decide to use as a weight? A live grenade, of course. He died after the device exploded when he tried to weld it to a chain.
2 Keep Your Hairy Palms On the Wheel
In most places around the world, you're not allowed to text and drive. Hell, you should really just know better than to text and drive. And there's a reason for that: in the United States alone, over 3,000 people were killed and 431,000 injured in accidents involving distracted driving. Statistics for 2013 and 2012 tell a similar story. But in 2016, one Michigan man took distracted driving to a whole new level. On Jan. 25, 2016, the Michigan State Police were called to investigate a one-car crash at a ramp on the I-75 highway. A car had rolled over and the driver was dead. Cause of the crash? The man had been watching pornography and masturbating while driving. He was partially ejected from the sunroof during the accident. Well then... guess it couldn't wait.
1 The Worst Drink Of His Life
It's not uncommon to hear someone say that a cheap alcohol is so bad, that it burns so much, it tastes like gasoline. But how would they know? Most people have never let gasoline touch their faces, let alone tasted it. But Gary Allen Banning did. Unfortunately, he won't be able to tell you about it. Banning, a 43-year-old North Carolina man, was visiting a friend in 2012. He found a jar filled with a mysterious, clear liquid next to the kitchen sink and decided to take a swig. It was gasoline. His friend, who is a mechanic, kept it there to clean grease off his hands. Realizing his mistake, Banning spit the gas out immediately. Unfortunately, he decided the best way to get over the ordeal would be to light a cigarette. He died from the resulting burns.
Sources: dailymail.co.uk, darwinawards.com, cnn.com, nypost.com, news.bbc.co.uk