From tripping on beards to being pushed over cliffs by hoards of hungry sheep, these are the 25 weirdest ways that some of history’s most unfortunate people died.
Death by belly slam
British pro wrestler Mal “King Kong” Kirk was squished to death under the belly of Shirley “Big Daddy” Crabtree when Crabtree performed his signature “belly slam”
Death by necklace bomb
When pizza deliveryman Brian Wells was stopped by the police in the middle of a bank robbery no one believed his story that he had been forced to do it by some people he had delivered pizza to. He kept on pleading with the officers saying that the necklace he was wearing was a bomb. Unfortunately for him though, the bomb squad didn’t show up early enough.
Death by bookcase
When Mariesa Weber was reported missing by her family no one thought she would be discovered 11 days later, upside down, behind a bookshelf in her room. Apparently her and her sister would try to adjust the TV plug by crawling up on top of the shelf. When she slipped and fell, however, she couldn’t free herself and allegedly somehow suffocated with her family in the next room.
Death by sheep
In 1999, Betty Stobbs, 67, of Durham, England, took a bale of hay to feed her flock of sheep on the back of her motorcycle. Her hungry sheep, however, charged her bike and knocked her into a deep ravine. She survived the fall but was killed when her bike landed on top of her.
Death by re-creation
In 1991, a 57-year-old Thai woman named Yooket Paen was walking on her farm when she slipped on some mud, grabbed a naked live wire, and was electrocuted to death. Soon after, her sister was showing some people how it had happened when she also slipped, grabbed the very same wire, and died.
Death by robot
When Robert Williams tried to retrieve a faulty part at a Ford Motor’s casting plant, the malfunctioning machine reactivated and its arm slammed into his head, killing him instantly. Robert is the first man in history to have been killed by a robot.
Death on the toilet
Although several notable people died on the toilet, one of the most famous is probably Elvis Presley. Doctors attributed his death to too many prescription drugs.
Death by garbage
Homer and Langley Collyer, two compulsive hoarders were actually found buried beneath all of the things they had stored in their house over the years.
Death by Scarf
Isadora Duncan, known as the mother of modern dance, was pulled from the vehicle in which she was a passenger and violently slammed against the road when her long scarf got caught in the wheel. Her neck was broken and she died on impact.
Death by Baseball
On August 6, 1920 in a game between the Cleveland Indians and the New York Yankees, Carl Mays pitched a ball towards Ray Chapman that fatally hit his skull. Apparently pitchers in those days dirtied the balled so the batter would have trouble seeing it. Chapman is one of the only major league baseball players to be fatally injured during a game.
Death by overcoat parachute failure
In 1911, French tailor Franz Reichelt decided to test his invention, a combination overcoat and parachute, by jumping off the Eiffel Tower. It didn’t work.
Death by Orange Peel
Bobby Leach was one of the greatest dare devils to ever live. He would regularly perform death defying stunts and was only the second person in history to go over the side of the Niagara Falls in a barrel. One day, however, while walking down a quiet street in New Zealand, Leach slipped on an orange peel, broke his leg, and died due to complications that he developed afterwards.
Death by dessert
King Adolf Frederick of Sweden became the “King Who Ate Himself to Death” in 1771 after a meal consisting of lobster, caviar, saurkraut, cabbage soup, smoked herring, champagne and 14 servings of his favorite dessert. To be fair, he did have digestive problems.
Death by beard
Austrian Hans Steininger was famous for having the world’s longest beard. One day there was a fire in town and being in a hurry he forgot to role up his beard. He accidentally stepped on it, fell down, and broke his neck.
Death by jury demonstration
Ohio lawyer Clement Vallandigham shot himself in a court room in 1871 while showing the jury how his client’s alleged murder victim had actually shot himself. Apparently no one checked the gun.
Death from biting one's tongue
Allan Pinkerton, famous for creating the Pinkerton detective agency died of an infection after biting his tongue when he slipped on a sidewalk.
Death at a talk show
A famous proponent of healthy eating and organic farming, Jerome Irving Rodale died of a heart attack while being interviewed on the Dick Cavett Show in 1971. Some of his last words were that [he] would “live to 100, unless [he was] run down by a a sugar-crazy taxi driver”. Appearing fast asleep during the show, Dick Cavett joked “Are we boring you, Mr. Rodale?” before discovering that his 72-year-old guest had indeed died.
Death by cactus
In 1982, 27-year-old David Grundman and his roommate went out into the desert to shoot cacti. Unfortunately for David, his last victim was a 26-foot-tall Saguaro cactus that subsequently fell and crushed him to death.
Death by bottle cap
American playwright Tennessee Williams died in 1983 after he choked on a bottle cap in his hotel room. Apparently he had been drinking.
Death while telling a joke
In 1987 comedian Dick Shawn was on stage making fun of politicians by saying campaign cliches ending with “I will not lay down on the job!”. He then proceeded to lay down face first. At first the audience thought it was part of the joke but it was quickly determined that Dick Shawn was actually dead.
Death by giant umbrellas
In 1991 several artists installed a huge array of yellow umbrellas out in the California desert. Not long after, a tourist named Lori Matthews was killed when the wind uprooted one of the umbrellas, drove it straight towards her, and smashed her into a boulder.
Death by stingray
After wrestling crocodiles, sticking his hand in the mouths of lions, and doing just about anything and everything that you could possibly do to have your face bitten off, Steve Irwin unfortunately died when a stingray stabbed him through the heart.
Death by eagle
Although its most likely fiction, Valerius Maximus wrote that Aeschylus, the great Athenian author of tragedies, was sitting outside when an eagle mistook his head for a rock and dropped a tortoise on it, probably to shatter its shell. Furthermore, legend has it that Aeschylus was staying outdoors to avert a prophecy that he would be killed by a falling object.
Drowning at a life guard's party
In 1985, New Orleans lifeguards decided to throw a pool party celebrating their first drowning free season ever. Ironically, after a party filled with hundreds of lifeguards, local Jerome Moody was found dead at the bottom of the pool.
Death by embracing the reflection of the moon
Chinese poet Li Po (701-706) is regarded as one of China’s greatest. He was well known for the poems he came up with while drunk. Unfortunately on one of his late night drinking sprees he fell from his boat and drowned in the Yangtze River while trying to embrace the reflection of the moon in the water.