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Weird Stuff

10 Unusual Ways to Die Through the Ages

There is one certainty in life, and that is that it must end. Every living thing will eventually die; some just pass in stranger and sometimes funnier ways than others. This list is written in chronological order, moving up through time. There are hundreds of examples of strange deaths throughout history, so if you can think of any that were omitted, please share them in the comments.


Chrysippus of Soli
207 BC

Chrysippus Of Soli

Chrysippus was a Greek stoic philosopher. He spent his life thinking about the world and how it works. During his lifetime, he devised various theories on topics such as ethics, mathematics, physics, epistemology and religion. His favorite topic of thought was, without a doubt, logic. He made it onto this list because of the humorous way that he died. He fed a donkey some wine and watched it eat figs from a tree. He found this visual so funny that he started laughing and he never stopped. Laughing causes strained breathing, and continuous hard laughing can put the heart at strain and, as in this case, cause death.


Sigurt The Mighty
892 AD


Sigurt Eysteinsson was the second Viking Earl of Orkney. He was a vicious and relentless Viking leader with many enemies. Late in his rule, he challenged one of his enemies (Máel Brigte the Bucktoothed) to a 40 man-per-side battle. Sigurt was an untrustworthy Viking, and he brought 80 men to the battle; they cut down Máel and his troops effortlessly. After the battle, Sigurt decided to take a trophy of his win and tied Máel’s head to his horse. As he rode, the head knocked against his leg, causing a tooth to make a small scratch. Considering there are more bacteria in a person’s mouth than in their butt, and the poor medical knowledge of the age, it is not surprising that his leg became severely infected and he died days later.


Sir Arthur Aston


Sir Arthur was a lifelong soldier and served under King Charles I in the English Civil war. During his life at war, he lost a leg. This lost limb would eventually be his downfall; his untimely demise came as the result of thieves beating him to death with his own peg leg. They believed that he hid money in a chamber in the leg (he did not) and continued to beat him with it until it broke open to reveal nothing. By this time Arthur had died a brutal death in vain.


Henry Hall


Henry Hall was the lighthouse keeper of the Eddystone Lighthouse, in Cornwall. On the 3rd of December, 1755, a fire broke out in the wooden Rudyerd’s Tower. Henry and his two companions tried in vain, but could not put out the fire. They escaped onto the rocks outside the lighthouse, before watching the rest of the lighthouse burnt down. The next morning, all three of them were rescued off the rocks by boats. On the 5th of December, Henry suddenly died, regardless of showing signs of improvement. An autopsy performed after his death revealed that, whilst looking up at the burning light house, a piece of molten lead fell into his mouth, burning its way through his esophagus and ending in his stomach. The doctor removed a six ounce piece of lead burnt into his stomach lining.


Clement Vallandigham


Clement Vallandigham was a US congressman and political opponent of President Abraham Lincoln, and was representing a defendant in a murder trail when he died. The accused was said to have killed a man during a barroom brawl. Clement argued that it could have been possible for the man to shoot himself in the leg as he drew his pistol out of his pocket. While demonstrating with a loaded gun, Clement accidentally shot himself in the leg, severing the femoral artery, resulting in death a few minutes later. The defendant was acquitted and set free.


Phillip McClean

Cassowary Attack

On the 6th of April, 1926, Phillip McClean and his brother (16 and 13) walked into their garden to discover a cassowary (3rd largest flightless bird) relaxing on their lawn. The boys decided to kill the bird by hitting it with a bat. Phillip took a swing but missed, managing only to anger the bird. The bird jumped up and aimed a round house kick at Phillip’s neck, catching him dead on. Phillip managed to get up and run away, only to drop dead after a short distance, from severe blood loss. Cassowaries are known to be dangerous birds, but out of 221 recorded attacks, this is the only death.


Len Koenecke

55 1

Len was a Major League baseball player, who played for both the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants. During an unsuccessful season playing for the Dodgers, Len was cut due to his ever-increasing alcohol problem. On the flight home to New York he became aggressive and had to be restrained after fighting with flight attendants, other passengers and the captain. Once in New York, Len chartered a flight to Buffalo. On the flight his alcohol consumption increased and, again, he became aggressive. He decided to pick a fist fight with the pilot in mid-flight. When the co-pilot and flight attendant could not intervene in the assault, the pilot then hit him over the head with a fire extinguisher to subdue him, and made an emergency landing on a race track. Len died of a fractured skull and severe hemorrhaging of the brain.


Alan Stacey


Alan Stacey was a British Formula 1 driver for Lotus. During the Belgian Grand Prix of 1960, Alan was driving 120 mph/190 km/h, when a bird flew into his face. Alan lost control of the car and he climbed the embankment on a tight turn, which sent him flying into thick bush hedges, only to come to a stop in a field beyond the hedges. It is still unknown exactly how or when in this accident Alan died: it could have been the force of the bird that broke his neck, or the bird could have knocked him out and then he died in the colossal accident that resulted. Ultimately, it’s irrelevant when he died during the accident because, with luck like that, death could never have been very far away.


Bena Tshadi Team

A97896 Lightning 1-Soccer-Team

In October 1998, during a football/soccer match in the eastern Kasai Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo, a freak strike of lightening hit the pitch. The score was 1-1 when the lightening hit the visiting team. It killed all 11 members of the Bena Tshadi, team and burned 31 other people on and around the field. The home team (Basanga) was left completely unharmed, which called up a lot of suspicion of witchcraft. Strange as it may seem, this was not the first instance of lightning hitting a football field, as a similar incident was reported only weeks prior to this incident in South Africa, where lightning struck the field, causing several players to fall to the ground and seven to be taken to hospital. Luckily, in that case there were no fatalities.


Acton Beale


Acton Beale fell seven stories from a balcony of a flat block in Brisbane. This all happened whilst attempting to plank on the balcony railings of the 7th story. Planking is a fairly modern internet craze in which participants lie face down on various objects and upload photographic evidence of it online. Planking is known in various other countries as playing dead, extreme lying down and face-downs. Beale’s untimely death has provoked a growing concern regarding the fad, but has not stopped millions of people around the world, including Hugh Hefner, from trying it out.

  • venusbloo

    Great list, number 7 is just unbelievable.

    • karl

      Sorry dude gotta jack your comment hehe.

      Thank fuck for planking, owling, teapotting and batmanning, without these fads morons would be able to pass their stupid genes…

      • FullShrimp

        You insensitive prick. thats all i have to say to you.

        • alowishusfive

          I agree with karl. I would feel shame if I were related to that super-cool balcony kid.

        • your lord and savior, Jésus

          it’s only insensitive when the person HASN’T just put themselves in a prime spot for a Darwin award

    • Magnumto

      My father was the keeper of the Eddystone Light. And he slept with a mermaid one fine night. Out of that union there came three – a porpoise and a porgy and the other was me.

  • Theenie

    And why would someone plank on a balcony so high up? Seems pretty ridiculous for a fad that will run its course and be forgotten about soon enough.

    • Voorhees

      I think your question should be, Why would someone plank? But i agree with you as well, doing retarded stuff in dangerous places will always end in death. I was called boring once because i said planking was retarded. Goes to show that if people find laying down and having their picture taken is fun, then im glad that im thought of as boring.

      • Metalwrath

        I wouldn’t plank, but I do find some of the pictures fairly funny at times, for the ridiculousness of them (which is their intention).

        The planking on the balcony was to be “extreme”, as these people try to find the most original place for the fad. It is quite sad though that people get hurt just for an innocent internet meme.

        • alowishusfive

          I find the pictures and planking in general profoundly depressing, personally.

    • Arsnl

      Owling is the new fad

    • Baldguy

      They said he same thing about rap music. (sigh)

    • karl

      he had a very heavy drinking night and was extremely drunk

      • Patricia

        Seconded. I was ecstatic when he left last time. To me he sreves the same purpose that Jar Jar Binks did (i.e. the story would be better without him). It’s not too often it happens, but the authors have actually managed to come up with someone I genuinely wish harm upon.My excitement for GA has just been severely dampened, and I’m sorry to see it happen, since for some time now, it’s been at or near the top of my list of favourite webcomics. Fair Warning to the Authors: If this turns into the Payet Best show I can’t guarantee how much longer Guilded Age will hold my attention . . .

  • Anonymous

    Good list.

  • Wow. I love living…

  • chichirica

    i want to die in bed with george clooney.

    • George Clooney

      Oh mom, you’re such a tease.

      • lol


  • Seymour Butts

    In regards to the second one, I believe many football stadium now installed lightening rods to help prevent events like that from happening.

    • A.Lwin

      I’m still surprised, even without the lightning rod that lightning would hit the field instead of any of the higher structures around the field such as the light posts or stadium.

      • Metalwrath

        Perhaps it was a simple stadium with fairly low and few wooden seats for the spectators. This was in the Congo… I don’t want to be condescending or anything but I’d wager most stadiums in poorer countries must look like these amateur stadiums in the developed world… Not a huge Colosseum.

      • TheKat

        I’d like to know why one team was basically massacred and the other was okay. Did the dead team have cleats in their shoes and the living ones not? Were they all around the point of impact – but surely some members of the opposing team would have been as well. It’s most unusual selection indeed…. but totally natural, as Darwin would say.

  • Henry Hall was either one tough mutha or no one paid any attention to his complaining. Also, there was at least one other person killed by a cassowary in North Queensland a couple of years ago. They are big aggressive birds; and finally – a young man in Townsville Australia died this year when he was seeing how far he could spit over the side of a high rise balcony – he leaned over too far.

  • Death while planking is just Darwinism.

    • Xyroze

      The entry was completely out of place on an otherwise interesting list. How is falling from a balcony considered an unusual way to die? The rest of the list wasn’t about doing unusual things and then dying in a common way in the process.

      I don’t understand the point of throwing it on there, especially as number one.

      • PungentRoll

        It’s because he was lying precariously close to the edge for no reason other than to snap a photo and gain demi-popularity on the web. It may seem usual now to you but 2 years ago, even you would’ve gone, “Wha-? Planking? WTF kinda wierd new $hit is that? What an idiot!” Obviously, you’re not phased by such a played-out meme/fad such as planking but not everyone is hip as you!

        • mrprocrastinator

          think you mean fazed..

  • fraterhater

    I’m glad I there are no Cassowaries in my corner of Australia, I’m lucky because I only have to watch out for various potentially lethal species of venomous spiders, scorpions, and snakes. Oh and Tony Abbott.

    • guyinasuit

      Sucks for you, I live in California.

      • fraterhater

        You’re right I should realise it could be much worse.

  • Heitham

    I don’t believe in destiny so these deaths to me range from unfortunate to very stupid ways to lose at the game of life.

  • DJ

    All I can say about number 1 is “the stupid shall be punished.”

  • Sid

    I’m an Australian. I just want to say that number one does not represent Australia. We are a land of cultured peoples, and great achievement. I myself am a professional wallaby catcher/stuffer, and my brother is a dingo eater. Planking is a ridiculous sport. It only has six dedicated television channels. Games like rugby are much better where players run at each other as hard as they can in a line before shaking it off and doing it again.

  • kame

    great list. lol at the viking.

  • p1t1o

    I prefer owling, myself.

  • Bethany

    Great list!

    Poor Sir Arthur Aston. Beaten to death with his own leg. What a way to go…

    • Mike Giggler

      Imagine the last words you hear being “stop kicking yourself, stop kicking yourself, stop kicking yourself…”

    • Jwynter

      Yes, especially after serving his country for so long. No veteran deserves that sort of treatment…

      • Rochelle

        the ex-marine who shot all those people from the campusclocktower in Texas all those years ago probably does. But being as it was texas, he was shot to death.

  • Techstyles

    Good list – these are all on the wikipedia page “List of unusual deaths” – and some even more weird/unlucky ones…

  • ness2k

    great fucking list! Best list of the god damn year.

  • jobs blow

    not bad, after a long time.. this list have some interesting topic, although its a tragic. big up to the writer!!

  • Will Trame

    I have heard about a number of these, but there were a few new ones here. Planking? Never heard of it before but it seems a fad to die out soon. Never screw with a cassowary. That razor sharp nail on their center toe does indeed give them a formidable kicking weapon.

    • Baldguy

      And that “helmet” ain’t nothin’ to mess with either…

  • fallenangel

    interesting list, but I can’t help but think that it’ s oddly familiar.

    • chela

      you have probably read some of the entries in other websites like cracked and mentalfloss.

      more weird ways to die in this website: Morbid Fact du Jour (warning: some entries are very graphic!)

      • Azrael

        The more gore the better!

      • Azrael

        That site is awesome by the way. I found it due to another site called I’m pretty sure that’s the site that does death of the day.

  • smudge

    How on earth did number 2 happen… can someone please clear that up for me?

    • Le tel

      Easy, Lots of rain, so pitch and players wet, metal studs and electricity = conductivity. Now all you need is a high level of amps (lightning averages 30,000 amps) and you got a lot of dead people when their hearts stop. check this out luckily noone dies :)

      Good list by the way

      • smudge

        Thanks :)… Just a bit odd that with the same circumstances it didn’t happen to the other team too. I’m a Leeds fan and I though we were unlucky! ;)

        Tis a good list too, i agree :)

  • Interesting list, some very strange deaths there.

    Makes you wonder how many people did something similar to number one and didn’t fall off/die or just injured themselves.

  • moopersoup

    I think that in #6 a hyphen would be useful in the word barroom between ‘bar’ and ‘room’

    • bigski

      you are so helpfull……

  • List Police

    All copied word for word from Wikipedia. Five points from Gryffindor for being an insufferable knowitall.

    • Mira Bel

      LMAO!! Cool reference there!

  • Armadillo

    Drunk donkey eating figs. This has to be the most hilarious thing I’ve ever heard xD

  • oouchan

    The Darwin Award goes to the entry at number one. Interesting topic. I felt bad for the guy getting beat by his own leg, even though I can see the humor in it…..which makes me feel bad again. Oh well.

    Great list.

  • Mira Bel

    LOL “bizarre” was definitely the right category for this list! #2 was just sad! This was a great list, thanks :)

  • fendabenda

    I’m so glad nobody has mentioned Mr. Hands. Oh, wait…

  • skeeter

    What about the ancient Greek who had the tortoise dropped on his head from an eagle thinking it was a rock?

  • George G.

    Chrysippus of Soli was possibly on some sort of LSD.

  • Azrael

    This one makes me laugh every time. Husband and wife were arguing in their trailer about who should take their dog out for a walk. Eventually the wife ended up taking the dog out, the husband went back to watching tv on the couch. Then a huge boulder proceeded to fall and crush the entire trailer =)

  • The opening statement is wrong. There is actually 2 certainties in life according to Daniel Defoe and later Benjamin Franklin… “Death and Taxes”

  • Gabryel

    this list is Good ! , the only thing that i found humorous was 10 , 9 and 6 . the others are brutal and quite will make yoy thing and be curious .. i wonder what will be on tomorrows list :D

  • Hercules321

    Great list, funny yet sad..

    I’ve always felt planking is just plain stupid, I’m glad people have got tired of it!

    • Iwan

      oh oh oh! and laughter and a dailnrg picture of a sweet hissing raccoon! and pansy safe (we’re calling jack pansy?) and can’t wait to see pictures of your house project in detail!your comment on glasses at 4am makes me think of that commercial for glasses where she invites the raccoon to come in and sleep with mama thinking its her cat. lollove,tammy j

  • Armadillotron

    Osborne the Blacksmith? Molten gold poured down his throat as a reward?

  • Bloo

    What happened to #3 also happened to me once, except it didn’t kill me. The magpie didn’t hit me but I got rear ended so hard, my helmet came off.

  • daxxenos

    As far as #6, it couldn’t have happened to a more deserving guy.

    Clement Vallandigham was your standard slavery loving Democrat.

    He was the loudest mouth against when Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, spent months trying to start a rebellion in the (At that time.) Northwest. (Wisconsin, Illinois, Indians, Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio)

    Ran for president from Canada, was arrested and deported to the Confederacy. (who didn’t want him.) I

    f he hadn’t been such a bigot, he would have really fit in with the modern Democrat’s party.

    • guyinasuit

      You’re stupid, the only slavery lovers left are in Alabama and almost all conservative.

  • bholatempuwala


  • Gentlemoron

    #5: Australia, don’t fuck with it.

  • P5ychoRaz

    No 1 = Ha!

  • Darren

    Nice list. I absolutely laughed my ass off at number seven. (No I don’t hate lawyers.)

  • David Hopkins

    Chryssipus of Soli literally died laughing! That’s very funny!

  • seang

    Something he left out of number two was that the teams that died was wearing metal cleats and the home team wasnt. Thats why they died

    • CatintheBox

      Actually, Mythbusters already debunked this myth (with golfers, not footballers but the same principle applies). They did not find that the dummy wearing metal cleats got stroke by lighting more often than the one wearing plastic cleats.

  • Swapie

    Respect. Good list.

  • Praji

    There is a mistake in no.2…actually Basanga was the VISITING team and Bena Tshadi was the HOME team during the match..:)

  • grendel

    What’s about Steve Irwin? Getting stabbed through the heart by a stingray would seem to be a very unusual way to die.

    • p1t1o


  • Napalm

    Good list. Never heard of planking so I looked it up. Wow, can’t you morons find anything better to do in your bankrupt lives than laying down? You all need to die and stop having retarded children. The human race has already turned this planet to garbage, go get a job and do something worthy for a change. And owling? Get real.

  • steeveebee

    they were just talking about number 6 on QI

  • Hestie

    Great list! I also found it oddly familiar up to no 6, thereafter it was very entertaining. We had a scenario in South Africa 5 years ago where a man took his mistress for a trip in his Microlight (very small aircraft). During the flight they got a bit frisky and took each other’s clothes off. For some bizarre reason the man flew over his house and mysteriously crashed in the backyard in his aroused state, killing both him and his mistress.
    I’ve always thought that was one of the weirder ways to go :)

  • bunnylee

    uh this is a totally plagiarized list! aside from number one i either read it here or on cracked….full investigation in effect of the true source

    • guyinasuit

      Wikipedia, list of unusual deaths. All of them were plagiarized.

  • guyinasuit

    A Jewish warrior from antiquity charged into battle, and threw his spear at the belly of an elephant that he believed carried the enemy’s king. The elephant collapsed on him and died. I believe the man’s name was Maccabus or something.

  • pussy galore

    suck my dick and call me daddy…. biaaatchq

  • Name2

    The list has been reproduced here and Listverse is given as the “Sumber.” What the hack does that mean? I didn’t see Christine’s name anywhere, but maybe I just missed it.

  • gory anus

    bunnylee and guyinasuit get the fuck outta here. who cares if its a collection of info from some website as long as itstrue and interesting. every list on the site have to come from something. its researced and put in a list. dumbfucks like you should know that. plagiarized my ten inch dick. douche.

  • Name2 says the list is by admin. They do have a link to Listverse, along with several other sites. I kind of thought Listverse was more exclusive than this.

    • Name2 doesn’t give the author’s name OR a link to Listverse. It says it was posted on September 24th, so they must be across the date line?

      • Christine Vrey

        Ok, So I have actually been on holiday in SA for a few days, and only got internet now… So I only saw this now!! I did not write any lists for other sites, yet the list is mine…. Maybe they stole it… I dont know…. but I rather leave the matter in Jamies capable hands.

  • Noah

    Death by fad, hahahaha.
    That’s what you get for being such a try hard.
    Pathetic ass people hahahaa

  • Maggot

    I can’t believe the Plant Girl didn’t list an unusual death by plant.

    • YouRang?

      Well, it nearly killed me when I found out Robert Plant stole all those songs… Wait, I did this same joke on another list.

      Never mind.

  • eduardo jaramillo


  • Gregory

    Strong candidate to Darwin’s award 2011. Having your planking picture taken by a coroner – priceless.

  • alowishusfive

    #4 – Don’t you mean, “stewardesses?”

  • listverse junkie

    I think Clement Vallandigham was a distant cousin of Art Vandelay.

  • Bob

    Not much of this is fact.

  • iThinkImBob

    #9 was on 1000 ways to die :D

  • YouRang?

    In Oregon we have intensely strong winds coming in off the ocean. And we have tall rocks offshore. Sometimes the kids get on these rocks and lean into the strong winds until they are literally being held up by nothing but the wind. If the wind dies your friends have to grab you fast and haul you back upright or you fall and die. I suppose you could call it “wind-planking,” but I don’t know of any pictures that have shown up on the net yet. Maybe this is a fad that’s passed.

  • Amber

    Sorry, the list was interesting but I didn’t think the tone was quite right considering it was talking about tragic and untimely deaths.

  • Lizz

    There are way too many grammatical errors in the article. Interesting read though.

  • Cherrie Contee

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  • Girckano

    omg i remember when Acton died! it was all over the news here in Brisbane. I found it so funny that all the schools (at least around me) were suspending and even sometimes expelling students caught planking, whether they did it in school or outside of school in their uniforms. I think that stopped now. I dont see or hear teachers yelling at kids when they plank anymore :P

  • WeeTotyFing

    My Reactions

    10. Hahaha!
    9. Ouch!
    8. Bad luck!
    7. Worst case of indigestion ever.
    6. Ooops!!! – Funny thing is I just watched a video recently of a cop demo-ing the dangers of guns to some students and accidentally shooting himself in the foot….D’oh! >>>

    5. Lesson:- Cassowary 1 V Boy with sadistic tendancies 0
    4. One way or another, alcohol will kill ya!
    3. Bird: 0 V Driver: 0
    2. Basanga: Lucky V Bena Tshadi: Not :S
    1. Proof that stupidity has no limits.

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  • DW

    Number 4 – what a loser