Death By Clown: 5 People Who Had The Worst Birthdays
How did you celebrate your birthday last year? Were you holed up at home alone, assuring yourself that next year had to be better? And did next year arrive, ushering in no immediate relief, just more vague promises for the future? Do not despair. Realize that you at least had a better birthday than the following ones experienced by the following very unlucky people.
World's Worst Birthday Clown
If you watch Narcos: Mexico, you might be familiar already with the drug lord known as Francisco Rafael Arellano Felix. The leader of the Tijuana Cartel, Felix had a life full of wacky adventures. Like the time he opened his own disco, featuring live lions. Or the time he took a fancy to the high school student who had recently been crowned queen of Mazatlan Carnival, so he kidnapped her and made her his wife. (The queen, Rocio Del Carmen, later declined to label this as a kidnapping, but it sure sounds like one.)
In October 2013, Francisco Rafael turned 64. He hosted a celebration in Los Cabos. Rocio Del Carmen was there of course, along with the rest of the family, and so were a bunch of celebrities who were either paid to be there or just figured drug lords throw the sickest parties. When a black SUV pulled up, and a clown got out, security let him pass through. The guest list said nothing about a clown, but this was presumably an entertainer hired for the evening. The clown wore a blue suit, a pink wig, and a red nose. He walked up to Francisco Rafael and shot him in the head.
The guests dove for cover, except for one of Francisco Rafael's sons, who chased the fleeing clown. The clown shot at his pursuer a few times and so threw him off, and he managed a clean getaway. Today, police have quite a few decent ideas about who ordered the killing, rivals who thought the man got what he deserved. Police even arrested one of the other founders of the Tijuana cartel. But the clown himself escaped, never to be seen again.
According to one theory, Francisco Rafael's own security detail had been tipped off about the assassination and let it happen. The evidence for this: They let a clown into the party. Assassin or no assassin, any honest person would have shot the clown on sight.
A Birthday Card From Hitler
When the Nazis came a callin' in 1940, Denmark figured immediate surrender was the best course of action. If they resisted, Germany would surely mow them down, but if they gave in, Germany would occupy the place while still largely letting Denmark run their own country. For the next couple years, Denmark got to keep its government intact. Every day, King Christian X rode his horse, in public and often without guards, to let the people know everything was going to be okay.
The above photo is of Christian's birthday in September 1940. On his 72nd birthday in September 1942, Adolf Hitler sent him a formal birthday telegram. The King sent a telegram of his own in reply. It consisted entirely of these words: "Giving my best thanks, King Christian." Telegrams were traditionally very concise, and charged by the word, but had Christian felt some affection for Hitler, you might expect him to write slightly more at length.
Hitler, who could be a bit of a Nazi when it came to etiquette, flew into a rage when he saw the message's brevity. How angry was he? That famous “Hitler reacts” meme, from the movie Downfall, was originally about Hitler's reaction to the Telegram Crisis.
Okay, that's not true, but he really did get mad. He recalled an envoy from Denmark to discuss what to do with the disrespectful nation. When Christian heard he's had fallen out of Germany's favor, he tried to set up a state visit by his crown prince, and Germany left this request unanswered. Then a couple weeks later, after two and half years of occupying Denmark but letting it govern itself, Germany replaced the current military guy with Hermann von Hanneken, who announced that he was dissolving the Danish constitution, abolishing democracy, and installing Hitler's own German-appointed government.
Damn, your grandmother was right: Always say thank you properly, or you are worse than Hitler.
Doomed By A Fire Hydrant
Florida man Bob Dreyer made it to 89 years old, so he gets a free pass on whatever happened after that. If he made a mistake on his 89th birthday, we're not going to blame him for that, the guy was 89 years old. And if he became the victim of absurd circumstances on his 89th birthday, there's no need to mourn. He lived 89 years; we should all be so lucky as to last that long and then get swallowed by an angry earth.
Bob's 89th birthday was May 10, 2017. He was driving his Mercedes in the town of Viera close to Orlando when he ran into a fire hydrant. If you're picturing water blasting out of the struck hydrant, as you've likely seen in a movie, well, funny thing: Most fire hydrants don't do that. "Dry barrel" fire hydrants are designed so if a car hits it -- very much a foreseeable outcome -- the hydrant snaps away, but a valve keeps the water sealed off.
This time, however, for reasons investigators couldn't immediately explain, water did spring forth from the hydrant, at an enormously high pressure. It was not otherwise a serious accident. The car was only slightly damaged and Bob himself was unhurt. Bob opened the door and stepped out of the vehicle. He fell into a five-foot hole created by the collision and by the torrent of water.
Bob tried to climb out, but he found himself fighting against the flow of the water. Then when a passerby tried to help, it turned out the water was blasting in multiple directions, also keeping anyone from getting close enough to give Bob their hand. It took nearly half an hour for the fire department to come and switch the hydrant off, by which time Bob had become likely the first person to drown via fire hydrant. Given that this was his birthday and the cascading bizarre circumstances, it's entirely possible that this was the result of some pact with the fae folk.
Birthday Kisses. What Could Go Wrong?
When George Millitt was 14, he had a job as an office boy with the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company in Manhattan. Maybe 14 is too young to get a job, bus as jobs went in the year 1909, working in an office in Madison Square wasn't a bad one to have. Why, it wasn't like he was picking cotton or driving a mine cart or rolling cigarettes in a factory, like other kids. He had a safe job.
February 15 that year was a Monday, so it was the first work day after Valentine's Day fell that weekend. It also happened to be George's 15th birthday. The ladies in the office's secretarial pool told George that they had a present for him: Kisses! When the workday ended, they'd give him fifteen kisses, one for each year of his life. Wow, what teenage boy would say no to that?
Answer: George, for starters. George was a teenage boy who said no to that. So when 4:30pm came and half a dozen adult secretaries faced him with lips puckered, the poor boy turned and fled. Have you ever been warned of the dangers of running with scissors? Well, George wasn't carrying scissors with him that day, but in his pocket was an implement known as an ink eraser, with a blade. He tripped, and the blade entered his chest. "I'm stabbed!" said George.
One secretary approached him to help then fainted at the sight of the blood. Though the others got him to the hospital, it was no use -- George was dead. Police arrested one of the secretaries for murder (the one who fainted, clearly out of guilt), then they let her go when they put together exactly what had happened. George had not been murdered, but he had fallen to a cause of death that made for one of the most remarkable epitaphs ever to be engraved onto stone: “LOST LIFE BY STAB IN FALLING ON INK ERASER, EVADING SIX YOUNG WOMEN TRYING TO GIVE HIM BIRTHDAY KISSES IN OFFICE METROPOLITAN LIFE BUILDING.”
Jack Nicholson's Terrifying Surprise From Hunter S. Thompson
During one of Jack Nicholson's birthdays in the '80s, his friend Hunter S. Thompson decided he'd give him a present. Well, maybe what Hunter S. Thompson would call a "present," other people would call a "prank." And maybe what those people would call a "prank," more reasonable people would call "just scaring the shit out of someone, with no clear punchline that could make it a joke." But Thompson thought this was perfectly in line with the pair's relationship, so that April night, he came to Nicholson's isolated California house and started firing his gun.
He fired both his 9mm semi-automatic (he left a box of ammo on Jack's steps when he was done) and also a flare gun, for the best combination of light and sound. For additional light and sound, he set up a high-powered spotlight -- Thompson would refer to this as a "megawatt" light, which was probably an exaggeration -- and a speaker that played the sounds of a bear killing pigs. He hoped this would be enough to get a reaction of Jack. But with Jack stubbornly refusing to come out of the house and confront his benefactor, Thompson realized he needed to up the ante. So he fetched the bloody elk's heart.
Exactly how he obtained a bloody elk's heart, history does not record, but everyone involved in the story agrees that yes, Thompson finished the prank by placing a bloody elk's heart by Jack's door. Perhaps he went to the woods midway through the prank and slaughtered an elk with his bare hands. Still, Jack did not leave his house. It turned out that Jack was hunkering down in the basement. Though Thompson didn't know it, Jack Nicholson had been dealing with a stalker, so he thought someone had genuinely arrived to kill him.
Twenty years later, at Hunter S. Thompson's funeral, when his friends shot his remains out of a cannon to the sounds of "Spirit in the Sky" (if you haven't heard of this famous funeral already, we should clarify that we are not making this up), Jack Nicholson was in attendance. Jack drew sketches of his deceased friend. He included the following universally applicable words coming out of the man's sketched mouth: "How'd ya like the elk heart?"