The German word Schadenfreude refers to taking pleasure in another person's suffering. That is absolutely not what here for today. Instead, a more apt German word to invoke would be Feuermausefallegenitalien, which means a burning mousetrap has somehow attached itself to one's genitals. Because that's the sort of awful thing experienced by the people you're about to read about.
1. Adolph Beck
Beck spent five years in jail, misidentified as a thief. Finally, he was set free -- detectives learned Beck's lookalike was circumcised, while he was not. But then this lookalike, Wilhelm Meyer, stole again, Beck was again wrongly convicted, and he spent five more years in prison.
2. Joseph Swain
After a colostomy, Joseph Swain had surgery to reattach his colon. The doctors made a mistake and attached it to his bladder. The result: Joseph started farting then pooping out of his penis.
3. The Pennsylvanian
A woman was in a hospital in Pennsylvania, then a bullet entered the abdomen. Not from a shooter in the hospital. From some unknown origin an unknown distance away.
4. Paul Trinder
Paul thought there was something strange about the passenger who British Airways had sat beside him on his London flight. It took a while to realize they had partnered him with a corpse.
5. Jason and Jenny Cairns-Lawrence
This couple happened to be in New York on 9/11. Then they were in London on 7/7, the biggest terrorist attack in that city's history. Then in Mumbai for 26/11, that city's biggest terrorist attack. (The couple were not responsible for any of the attacks.)
6. Joao Maria de Souza
7. Aikichi Kobayama
In 1954, Aikichi and a couple dozen other fishermen went to sea aboard a boat called Lucky Dragon 5. It was not an accurate name. The boat got showered in radioactive coral from a hydrogen bomb the US tested. Everyone got sick, and Aikichi died.
8. The Bra Syringe
For a while, Walmart customers kept finding syringes someone had been slipping into packs of clothes. Syringes turned up in socks, and one buyer found a syringe in the toes of footie pajamas, but worst may have been the woman who got stabbed by a syringe hidden in a bra.
9. Bill Isles
Walking back to his car after buying a huge lottery ticket, Bill Isles noted he likely would not win, quipping, "I've got a better chance of getting struck by lightning." Well, guess what happened to him that night.
10. Roy Sullivan
No, you aren't likely to get struck by lightning. Yet Roy Sullivan got struck seven different times.
11. Tsutomu Yamaguchi
Tsutomu thought he'd hit rock bottom, deaf and temporarily blind, when an atomic bomb struck the city he was visiting, Hiroshima. But then it was time to return home. To Nagasaki, in time for bomb two. He survived. Again.
12. Dog Lovin' Jane
This woman attempted to have sex with an acquaintance's German shepherd. She died; as it turned out, she had a severe dog allergy.
13. Jim Creighton
14. Robert Todd Lincoln
Robert was fortunate enough to know three presidents. His father, Abraham Lincoln, was assassinated, of course. James Garfield, under whom Robert was Secretary of War, was gunned down right before the two were to meet in New Jersey. William McKinley got assassinated while Robert was in the room.
15. Juliet Prowse
Hollywood dancer Juliet Prowse was unfortunate enough to get mauled by a leopard named Sheila. Later, she was doubly unfortunate to get mauled again by the same leopard.
16. Stephen Dennison
Stephen Dennison spent 34 years in prison for stealing candy when he was 16. Just stealing it meant an automatic 10-year sentence back in 1925, but the errors that added another couple dozen years, well, those were just bad luck.
17. Sigurd Eysteinsson
This ninth-century Viking killed a bunch of enemies, including Mael Brigte, and his men strapped the foes' decapitated heads to their horses as trophies. On the journey home, Mael's head bounced and punctured Sigurd with its buckteeth. The wound got infected and killed him.
18. Ann Hodges
A meteorite smashed through Ann's roof and hit her in the lap. No one else has ever been hit by a meteorite. The odds are astronomical.
19. Dirk Schroeder
Stories abound of surgeons accidentally leaving items in patients. But we have to emphasize the case of Dirk Schroeder because surgeons left 16 items in him, including an entire roll of bandages, a needle, and half a mask.
20. Bat Man
21. Raymond Wang
In 2019, an ambulance driver had a stroke while driving. A second ambulance came to the scene, driven by Raymond Wang. Raymond had an aortic aneurysm, losing consciousness as well.
22. Mohammed Abu Ali
On August 9, 2014, Mohammed woke as normal, watched a movie on TV, and tinkered with an AC under repair. Only in the evening did he realize ISIS had taken over his town, and he was the last person left.
23. Jerome Moody
Jerome drowned at a pool party hosted by New Orleans lifeguards. More than half the people at the party were lifeguards. They'd hosted it to celebrate completing a season without a single drowning.
24. Toilet Snake
In 2013, a man in Israel spent Friday night at his parents' house. As though that weren't bad enough, a snake crawled out of the toilet and bit his penis.
25. Alice Roth
Alice, the wife of the Philadelphia Bulletin's sports editor, got hit by a foul ball on August 17, 1957. Paramedics loaded her into a stretcher and took her away. Then a second foul ball hit her, launched by the same batter who'd got her the first time.
26. Roseland Public School
The kids at Roseland Public School received great news: They were going to Disney World. The school produced brochures and then put on a presentation to explain travel arrangements. They the school revealed that, haha, no, the kids were actually going on a trip to a bowling alley.
27. The NHS victim
28. Michael Moylan
Florida man Michael Moylan wasn't exactly sure why blood was streaming out of his ears when he woke up one day. He assumed he'd had an aneurism. He didn't believe doctors when they told him someone must have shot him in the head.
29. Andy Hill
Andy Hill was riding a tube down the Clark Fork River in Montana. Then some guy jumped off a bridge and landed on him, putting him in a wheelchair for the rest of the summer.
30. Peter Hamkin
DNA evidence sent Peter Hamkin to jail for a murder that had taken place in Italy. That was pretty hard on him, seeing as he'd never been to Italy. DNA matching can be a bit of an inexact science.
31. Muriel McKay
Kidnappers targeted Rupert Murdoch's wife. They got the wrong woman -- the wife of an employee borrowing Murdoch's car. No one ever found the body.
32. Andree Marshall
Not only was Andree Marshall in the North Tower of the World Trade Center on 9/11 -- she had also been on the ground floor during the building's 1993 bombing. She escaped both unscathed. Then, later in 2001, an American Airlines flight crashed next to her house, killing 265.
33. Archie Roosevelt
Archie Roosevelt, son of Teddy Roosevelt, was marked 100% disabled in World War I from a knee injury. But he returned to fight in World War II, where he was again 100% disabled ... by a second blast to the same knee.
34. Michael Millhouse
35. The Chairwoman
A British woman got stuck so hard in her lawn chair that the fire department had to come and free her.
36. Melchor Diaz
This Spanish conquistador of the 16th century saw a wild dog running at his sheep, so he threw a lance to kill it. He threw so poorly that he managed to fatally stab himself with its blunt end.
37. Cub Scouts
If a couple gets naked in the wilderness in a movie, the most obvious but least realistic joke would be to have a troupe of scouts stumble on them. That actually happened when San Diego scouts came upon some nudists. It's unclear which party suffered more.
38. Inside Edition
A news crew set up a sting, filming a car with a sound system and a purse to catch crooks breaking in. Crooks did break in. They also broke into the news van and stole thousands of dollars in equipment, which was never recovered.
39. The Uniball
This Arkansas man awoke one day to discover one of his testicles was missing. The culprit responsible: The hungry stray dog he'd recently adopted.
40. The Other Uniball
There's really no downside to getting a cancerous testicle removed. The remaining gonad will end up picking up the slack. Unfortunately, when one British man went in for his operation, the doctors yanked out the healthy ball by mistake (and later had to pull the bad one too).
41. Will West
42. The Rat Trap
Rats climbed up a British toilet and bit a woman's hindquarters. No one believed her.
43. Violet Jessop
Violet was a stewardess about the Olympic when it collided with a British warship. Then she was stationed aboard the Titanic during its sinking. In 1916, she became a nurse aboard The Britannic. It sank too.
44. Daniel Webster
Daniel Webster really wanted to be president, but he turned down a chance to be vice president to William Henry Harrison. Then Harrison died just weeks into his first term, making his VP president. Zachary Taylor also asked Webster to be his VP, and Webster again turned the offer down. Taylor died in office too.
45. The Finnish Twins
In 2002, a truck hit and killed a Finnish biker. Two hours later, on the same road, a different truck hit and killed the first victim's twin brother. The second man didn't even know his brother had died; the two lived in different cities.
46. Andre and Korisha Shipley
A New York high school took its students on a field trip to the morgue. That wasn't the bad part. The bad part was when the kids looked at the jars there and saw one brain labeled with the name of their recently deceased friend.
47. Hurshell Ralls
Doctors were supposed to remove Hurshell's bladder, which had cancer. Without permission, they also removed his penis and testicles in case the cancer had spread. Later tests proved that, no, the cancer had not spread.
48. Wall Lady
49. Peter Leach
Peter Leach liked trainspotting. Nothing to do with drugs -- he actually liked sitting and watching trains go by. One chucked out a piece of coal, which hit him and split his leg in two.
50. Vishal Thakkar
Vishal Thakkar wanted a nose job. It should have been simple. But after the first surgery went wrong, and one error followed another, he ended up getting 20 different operations. He ended with a single nostril he has to prop open with a straw.
51. Ye Meng Yuan
Ye Meng Yuan was fortunate enough to survive the crash of Asiana Flight 214, but then most passengers survived. She was less lucky right after when rescuers ran over her, killing her. Then ran over her again.
52. The Alaskan Patient
The good news for this man was that he got a bone marrow transplant. The bad news was that the donor was the brother of a rapist, and the new DNA in his system put the patient on the hook for the crime.
53. Jeanne Rogers
Not only did Jeanne Rogers get struck by lightning twice, but she once fell off a cruise ship and lost consciousness in the water. Another time, out of nowhere, a bat appeared and refused to let go of her scalp.
54. EgyptAir Flight 648
Things seemed bad when hijackers took over the flight. But things were worse when the rescuers blasted their way into the plane, killing 60 passengers.
55. Christopher Crist