25 Most Shocking and Bizarre Deaths in History

Posted by , Updated on November 21, 2023

Some deaths are just plain memorable. Whether it’s for ironic purposes, unusual methods, or circumstances leading up to the victim’s demise, there are some deaths that are just plain weird. So, with millennia worth of human life, some of the deaths have been extraordinary.

Here are the 25 most shocking and bizarre deaths in history. Let’s dive right in!



Man Drowns at Pool Party of 100+ Lifeguards

Man Drowns at Pool Party of 100+ Lifeguards

There are ironic deaths and then there is this. At the end of the 1985 summer season, the New Orleans Recreation Department wanted to celebrate their lifeguards after no one drowned all Summer. So, a huge pool party, full of lifeguards, and one of their guests, a 31 man called Jerome Moody drowned at the bottom of the pool and wasn’t found til the end of the party.


Franz Reichelt, the Flying Tailor

Franz Reichelt

Something tells me that the inventor and pioneer behind the parachute would have a dramatic death. Well, Franz Reichelt decided to test his newer parachute suit by jumping off the Eiffel Tower. What could possibly go wrong?


Sir William Payne-Gallwey Dies by Turnip


A British MP way back in the 1800s, Sir William Payne-Gallwey was a fond hunter. One day while he was out on a hunt, he ran through a turnip field, fell over, and landed on a particularly large and misplaced turnip. The impact caused internal bleeding and he died.


Aeschylus Killed by a Tortoise


In a blow to bald men everywhere, the Greek playwright Aeschylus left his house for a walk, fearing that the roof might fall in on him, only to meet his end. An eagle spotted his shiny, bald head and mistook it for a rock. The eagle was carrying a tortoise to eat but had to crack the shell, so dropped in on Aeschylus’s head, killing him almost instantly.


Owner Of Segway Company Drives Segway Off A Cliff

Jimi Heselden

Coming back in with another ironic death, a British investor got more than his money’s worth with his purchase of a segway company. Jimi Heselden had just bought the company and tried out a test model, only to swiftly drive off an 80-foot cliff and plummet to his death.


Woman Awakes In Coffin, Panics and Dies of Heart Attack


Let’s be honest, this is a fear a lot of us have. A Russian woman in 2012 woke up in her open-casket wake after being pronounced dead by doctors and was then rushed to a hospital with a heart attack, subsequently dying. I mean at least they hadn’t buried her…


Death Row Inmate Escapes, Is Beaten To Death That Night In A Bar Fight

Bar Fight

It’s pretty impressive to escape death row and Troy Leon Gregg with three other convicts fled their prison in Georgia. They made it all the way across the border to North Carolina and went to a bar to celebrate where Gregg got into a bar fight where he was killed.


Zeuxis: Death By Laughter


Is laughter the best medicine? Not if you’re Zeuxis. He has a commission for a portrait of Aphrodite. The catch? The elderly lady who commissioned it wanted to pose for it as well. Zeuxis laughed at the finished portrait so much that he died.


Eleazar Avaran: Death By Elephant

Eleazar Avaran

A soldier in the 2nd BC Maccabean Revolt, Eleazar Avaran was fighting in his brother’s army. He successfully killed the King’s war elephant with a triumphant spear to the stomach. Unfortunately, the dying elephant had its revenge by falling on Eleazar and killing him. 


Steve Irwin Filming Ocean’s Deadliest

Steve Irwin

Most people probably know about Steve Irwin. The presenter and wildlife expert showed the world so many dangerous things, only to be killed by a stingray while filming his show Ocean’s Deadliest.


Lawyer Acquits His Defendant By Shooting Himself To Death In Court

Clement Vallandigham

Courtrooms in the 1800s in Ohio weren’t exactly as safe as they were back in the day. A lawyer called Clement Vallandigham was defending a man on a murder charge and theorized that the man actually killed himself. He demonstrated the pose and action with what he thought was an unloaded gun. It wasn’t. But he did prove his case.


Marcus Of Arethusa Stung to Death

Marcus Of Arethusa

Anyone who’s seen The Wicker Man will know how horrific this could be. Marcus of Arethusa was hung in a honey-drenched wicker basket by his enemies, where the bees stung him to death. Rough. You’ve gone to the effort of getting a basket, honey, and finding a ton of bees in a remote place – they really didn’t like this guy!


Death by your own Beard

Death by your own Beard

I’ve seen some impressive beards in my time but Hans Staininger, the mayor of Braunau, had a 4.5-foot-long beard that he normally kept in a leather pouch. When his town caught fire, he tried to escape, but tripped over his beard and snapped his neck, dying instantly.


Activist Dies Of Stroke After Reading A Premature Obituary Of Himself

Marcus Garvey

When you see someone describe you as “broke, alone, and unpopular,” in a huge newspaper, you might be slightly upset. When it’s in your obituary and you’re still alive it’s even worse. So much so, it caused Marcus Garvey to suffer two strokes and actually die.


Snoring Yourself To Death


Snoring is annoying and many of us try different things to fix it. One man decided to try and fix it by putting two tampons up his nose. You read that right. Unsurprisingly, he suffocated to death. Just in case you didn’t know, don’t sleep with stuff rammed right up your nose. 


When Dogs Fly

When Dogs Fly

We’ve heard all about when pigs fly, but in Buenos Aires a dog fell out of a 13th-floor window and landed on an elderly woman on the street below, killing her. If that wasn’t enough, a couple of the onlookers were hit by a bus, killing one of them. Not a good day all around. 


A Coffin Avalanche


Good storage systems are important for any business. Tell that to coffin maker, Marc Bourjade, who was killed when a whole stack of coffins fell on him. Luckily, one of the coffins that fell on him became his eventual resting place. 


Antiphanes Killed by Pear


When Galileo had an apple fall on his head, he discovered gravity. When the Greek poet Antiphanes had a pear fall on his head, he died. Go figure. Although I’m not sure how tall a tree has to be or how hard a pear has to be to cause fatal impact…


Royal Gluttony

Adolf Frederick

Palaces are well known to be full of extravagances but Adolf Frederick, King of Sweden, took it to a whole other level. In the late 1700s, the King had a feast unlike any other with caviar, lobster, herring, champagne, and 14 portions of dessert. He literally ate himself to death.


Death By Gift Suffocation

Gift Suffocation

Some people love to be surrounded by adoring fans, but sometimes that can be lethal. Draco of Athens was an Aeginian lawmaker, loved by the citizens. So much so, he was actually suffocated by the gifts they lauded on him at one event.


Prisoner Escapes Electric Chair, Accidentally Electrocutes Himself

Electric Chair

Ironically, Michael Anderson Godwin, a convicted murderer and sexual assaulter, had appealed his sentence down from the electric chair to a life sentence, only to electrocute himself on his metal toilet. Wet from a shower, with fraying headphones that he was biting, and the metal of the toilet? Recipe for disaster.


Death By Remote-Controlled Plane

Remote Controlled plane

Plane crashes often have a lot of victims, but remote-controlled planes? Not usually. That is unless you’re Roger Wallace from Arizona. He was flying his remote-controlled plane and lost sight of it. Suddenly, it hit him in the head going 40mph, killing him almost instantly.


Killed By A Beheaded Man

Sigurd the Mighty

It might sound like a fantasy story to be killed by a beheaded man but it actually happened to Sigurd the Mighty, a ninth-century Norse earl of Orkney. After a ferocious battle where he decapitated an enemy, he rode home with the head attached to his saddle as a prize. Unfortunately, one of the dead man’s teeth grazed his leg, giving him an infection that would eventually kill him. He definitely had his revenge!


Health Fanatic Killed By Carrot Juice

Carrot Juice

We all go on a health kick from time to time, jumping on the next big wellness fad. Well, a man named Basil Brown took this to the next level by drinking a gallon of carrot juice every single day, believing it was making him healthier. It actually killed him. And no, there are no rumors of him being able to see in the dark either!


The Great Beer Flood

Shocking and Bizarre Deaths

To some people, dying by drowning in beer might sound like the best way to go, but in London in 1814, it actually happened. When a huge vat burst in a brewery, 3,500 barrels worth of beer spilled out onto the streets of London creating a hoppy flood. All in all, eight people died by either drowning or slipping and falling. Definitely not a good way to go out!

Photo: 1. Unknown author - Brewers’ Journal, 15 February 1906, p 55, The Great Beer Flood (Public Domain), 2. Salix, Carrot Juice, CC BY 3.0, 3. Shutterstock, 4. Shutterstock, 5. Shutterstock, 6. Shutterstock, 7. Lorens Pasch the Younger, Royal Gluttony (Public Domain), 8. britannica, Antiphanes (Fair Use: Illustrative Purposes Only), 9. , A Coffin Avalanche (Fair Use: Illustrative Purposes Only), 10. Shutterstock, 11. Shutterstock, 12. George Grantham Bain Collection, Marcus Garvey (Public Domain), 13. Von M.M,, Hans Staininger (Fair Use: Illustrative Purposes Only), 14. Shutterstock, 15. , Clement Vallandigham (Fair Use: Illustrative Purposes Only), 16. Shutterstock, 17. Phillip Medhurst, Eleazar Avaran (Public Domain), 18. Boccanera G., Zeuxis (Public Domain), 19. Shutterstock, 20. Shutterstock, 21. nbcnews.com, Jimi Heselden (Fair Use: Illustrative Purposes Only), 22. Rijksmuseum, Tortoise (Public Domain), 23. thebittenword.com, Turnip, CC BY 2.0, 24. wikicommons, Franz Reichelt (Public Domain), 25. Shutterstock