Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Odd Deaths as a Stall Tactic

As many of you are aware I am prone to referring to weird stories that I have stumbled upon in the news. This is mainly because I have nothing to post about. However, I think I have found a strange story that may be considered both educational and funny (in a macabre way). The full story was an article called Stupid Ways to Die by Alan Parker (yes, the same guy who did last weeks' story about the last public execution in Canada). It appeared in the Toronto Sun last year and you can link to the full story here. For those of you who don't wish to peruse the full list, I will give you the highlights below...


1751- Prince Frederick, eldest son of Britain's George II and heir to the throne, was killed when hit in the chest by a cricket ball and died of a lung abscess. As a result Frederick's son became George III (the guy who lost half of North America in the Revolutionary War).

1760- Nine years after his son suffered death by cricket ball, George II died of injuries sustained when he fell off the toilet.

1814- Nine people died in the Great London Beer Flood when 1.5 million litres of beer burst out of a Merx & Company Brewery storage facility (I fully believe that the Canadians reading this are nodding their heads sagely muttering, "but what a way to go, dude.")


1912- Paris tailor Franz Reichelt wanted to test his "coat parachute" from the top of the Eiffel Tower (I think you see where this is going...). Authorities approved his test--with a dummy--but once at the top Reichelt impulsively decided to test his invention himself. It didn't work.



1926- Englishman Bobby Leach, who was the second person to survive going over Niagara Falls in 1911, died when he slipped on an orange peel. Gangrene set in after Leach broke his leg and the limb was amputated--but he died anyway.



1983- Playwright Tennessee Williams choked to death when he swallowed the cap to an eye drop bottle.

1993- Toronto lawyer Garry Hoy was demonstrating at a party how strong the windows on the TD Centre were. He ran at the window once...and then again, at which point the window gave away and Hoy fell 24 floors to his death (pity he wasn't wearing a Reichelt coat parachute).

There were a couple of deaths that involved horses and sex...one in particular involved a "Mr. Hands". You'll have to link to the article for the gory details as I'm trying to keep this a PG rating.

13 comments:

Danielle Ferries said...

Okay, there's got to be a few stories come out of that :)

John Wiswell said...

Well these were unfortunate, particularly the barrel rider. Also funny, particularly the barrel rider.

(Typo in the 1760 paragraph "of the" instead of "off the")

Cate Gardner said...

Ha! I'm loving the fell off the toilet one. Fabulous.

Alan W. Davidson said...

Danielle- I'm taking notes for future stories...

John- Plenty of bad luck there. I read the thing over twice and still missed that. Thanks for catching that.

Cate- Glad you liked them. I wear a hockey helmet and safety goggles when using my toilet.

Aaron Polson said...

Just when I think I've come up with a rather interesting demise in one of my short stories...

K.Hinny said...

Another testament to the saying "truth is stranger than fiction." Thanks for sharing Alan. This made my day!

katey said...

That's like an even awesomer version of the "Darwin Awards"!

I particularly like the cricket ball one. Gotta tell my husband. He'll be so amused.

Karen from Mentor said...

I like the coat parachute. I did that off barn roofs when I was a kid.
It KINDA works if you land in something soft. And aren't too picky about what the something soft consists of.
Ohio is cow country. 'nuff said.

Akasha Savage. said...

Excellent stuff. I recently read a book that mentioned the London Beer Flood. Yeah...what a way to go!

Bukowski's Basement said...

Love the absurdity in these, Alan... One was funnier than the next

Alan W. Davidson said...

Aaron- I'm sure you could write volumes on horrific ways to die.

Kara- Thanks.

Katey- I had a teacher in grade 8 who played cricket and tried to catch a ball but it 'wedged' his middle and ring fingers apart to where skin was ripped open...yikes! I never thought it a dangerous sport, except for the guy swinning the giant bat.

Karen- The things us city kids missed out on...

Akasha- Ha! Great moments in history, I'm sure.

Anthony- Thanks. I'm glad I stumbled across them.

DEZMOND said...

we'll this is all better than just dying in bed, old and decrepit :)

Paul D. Brazill said...

My people, I have found my people!