Historical Deaths You Can’t Help But Laugh At
We all hope that when our time comes, we go out gentle into that good night. Or perhaps we go out into that good night on a flaming motorcycle, unsuccessfully trying to jump a fireworks factory. Either way is good. But that's assuming we have any control over our own deaths. But we need to remember that the Universe is a raging asshole with a flair for the dramatic and precisely zero chill. Look at how ...
An Unnamed Man Was Eaten Alive By A Mouse
In 1875, a factory worker spied a mouse running across her worktable, causing her to scream (which, fair play, we'd all do). Her cries caught the attention of an unnamed gentleman who stepped forward and caught the mouse in his hands. But he didn't have a great grip, so the mouse escaped and scurried up and around his body ... and into his agape mouth, whereupon it slid down his throat.
With no place to go, the mouse then did what all mice do when they're trapped: It began to dig. The mouse shredded the man's insides, causing him to expire several hours later "in horrible agony." It isn't reported what happened to the mouse, but if we had to guess, it came out looking a lot fatter than when it went in.
Edwin Katskee Overdosed On Cocaine For Science
In 1936, Edwin Katskee was a proctologist in Lincoln, Nebraska with a side gig studying anesthetics. One day he decided he wanted some firsthand experience with the side effects of the local anesthetic he used in his practice. So he injected a whole bunch and waited for the high to kick in. The anesthetic in question? Cocaine.
Judging by his first note, things started out well. "Eyes mildly dilated. Vision excellent." As time wore on, however, his notes -- which were scrawled on the wall of his office -- became more and more frightening. In his haste to party on down, he'd given himself an overdose.
Although he briefly recovered long enough to enjoy a cigarette, he then quickly spiraled. "Results will be recorded in Rx books," said one of his last notes. "Have a university and college give you an opinion of my findings. They better be good because I am not going to repeat the experiment."
He certainly wasn't. After one last note wherein he advised his colleagues to "lay off this stuff," he was found dead in his office. The medical examiner ruled that he'd died by suicide, because really, what kind of dumbass injects that much cocaine and intends to keep on living? If he'd waited a half-century, however, he would've had his answer: Guns n' Roses.
A Diplomatic Conference In 1184 Ended With People Drowning In Shit
In the 1180s, the godfathers of the Holy Roman Empire -- Ludwig III of Thuringia, Konrad I of Mainz, and Henry VI of England -- were in the midst of a minor squabble over their respective land holdings. This continued until 1184, when the group decided to meet up and talk things out. The three met at Erfurt Cathedral in Germany, where they ascended to an upper-level hall to do business, accompanied by their respective entourages, which were comprised of nobles, bodyguards, and (we imagine) a few groupies.
Now, a fair few of this crowd were wearing their finest body armor, in expectation that things might get a little stabby. As a result, the ancient building's floorboards gave way and sent most of the room plummeting onto the floor below ... which then in turn gave way, sending the group plummeting further into a disused latrine pit containing "a most horrible filth."
Between the shock and the weight of their armor, a significant number of people drowned in this literal swamp of sadness. Weirdly, the three principal characters in this story -- Ludwig, Konrad, and Henry -- survived, because they decided to conduct their negotiations next to the room's windows. When the floor gave way, they hopped onto the sills and sat there until someone could fetch a ladder and rescue them. It was either history's worst diplomatic conference or ballsiest assassination attempt.
A Circus Band Played A Gig Atop A Lion Cage, With Inevitable Results
In June 1870, James Robinson's Traveling Circus and Animal Show pulled into Middletown, Kansas. In an effort to get the locals keyed up for what promised to be a spectacular amount of animal cruelty, the show's management decided to promote the event by having their house band play a small gig ... while perched on top of a cage full of lions ... which itself was on the back of a truck being driven through the streets. Against all odds, it worked. Until one day it didn't.
While driving through Middletown, the truck driver lost control and crashed, damaging the supports of the cage. The cage's roof collapsed, sending the entire band into the literal lion's den.
For an instant the vast crowd were paralyzed with fear, but for a moment only, and then arose such a shriek of agony as never was heard before. The awful groans of terror and agony which arose from the poor victims who were being torn and lacerated by the frightful monsters below was heartrending and sickening to a terrible degree.
A group of locals quickly raided a nearby hardware store and, armed with everything from pitchforks to crowbars, opened the doors of the cage. Of the 10 band members who fell into the cage, three escaped with minor injuries, four were seriously injured, and three were killed, "as the bodies were so frightfully torn and lacerated as to be unrecognizable by their most intimate friends." Play stupid games with death, win stupid prizes.
Isadora Duncan Died Fast And Furiously
"Affectations can be dangerous." On the face of it, it's easy to interpret these words from famed author Gertrude Stein. It's a fancy way of saying "Stop being a pretentious ass, or everyone will hate you." Only Stein wasn't being metaphorical. She was casting shade on the then-recent death of dancer and socialite Isadora Duncan, who was killed by her massive scarf. Yes, you read that sentence correctly.
On September 14, 1927, Duncan took delivery of a brand-new convertible sports car. As she didn't know how the car handled, she enlisted a driving instructor to take her for a spin and show her the ropes while she sat in the passenger side while wearing her trademark extra-length silk scarf. The scarf became tangled in the car's rear wheels. She was then yanked bodily out of the moving car and into the road, whereupon she died. Thus, "affectations can be dangerous." Or as Edna Mode put it decades later, "No capes!"
For more, check out How Humans Will Eventually Beat Death:
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