Day #39: The White Stripes – “Death Letter”
My favorite Internet find of the week is Wiki’s list of unusual deaths, which, as described on the webpage, contains a chronology of “unique or extremely rare circumstances of death recorded throughout history. This list also includes less rare, though still unusual, deaths of prominent people.” It’s a fun read (morbid as that may sound), and is certainly fodder for any future Cracked lists, should they be looking for ideas.
A few of the highlights:
- The one who seemed to rate as the most unusual was the famous Black Nationalist, Marcus Garvey, who was said to die from two strokes after reading his own premature obituary. There was a Golden Girls episode about something like that, but Blanche Deveraux handled it much better.
- In 1771, the King of Sweden literally ate himself to death. His meal included 14 servings of dessert.
- The Athenian law-maker, Draco, was crushed to death after being showered with cloaks from his admirers.
- Remember the weasel in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? that died from laughing too much? That actually happened to some people. Apparently, uncontrollable laughter can cause cardiac arrest. One guy died after laughing non-stop for 25 minutes because of something he saw on a British TV show called The Goodies.
- I think the famous Russian guru, Rasputin, was probably the inspiration for Boris the Blade in Snatch, since he was equally unstoppable. By one account, he was poisoned, shot in the head, shot three more times, then bludgeoned and tossed in a frozen river where he died of hypothermia. Others say he was poisoned, shot, and then stabbed. He was still able to flee, but then fell in a frozen river and drowned.
- Rasputin wasn’t the only Mr. Invincible. In 1933, five men tried to murder Michael Malloy, a homeless man, to collect on an insurance policy. They poisoned him, tried to get him to freeze to death, and even hit him with a car. They were finally successful when they tried a good old fashioned poisoning. (Malloy is mentioned in Cracked‘s article, “The 6 Most Poorly Thought Out Attempts at Insurance Fraud“).
- The Collyer Brothers were compulsive hoarders living in New York. They both died in 1947 when one brother was crushed to death by a stack of newspapers and the other, a paraplegic dependent on him for everything, died of starvation a week later. (They are mentioned in the Cracked article, “6 People Who Turned Their Homes Into Death Traps.”)
- Belgian dissident, Georgi Markov, was assassinated James Bond style when somebody modified an umbrella to fire a small pellet full of Ricin (it’s a toxin found in the castor oil plant).
- Tennessee Williams is on the list because he died from choking on the cap of an eye dropper bottle. He had the habit of putting the cap in his mouth when putting drops in his eyes.
- A lawyer in Toronto fell out of a 24th floor window as he was demonstrating to a crowd that the glass was unbreakable. He was right. Unfortunately, the window just popped out instead, and he plummeted to his death.
- A 28-year old Russian man bet two women more than 4 grand that he could have sex with them for 12 hours straight. He won! Then he suffered a fatal heart attack from all the Viagra he ingested. He may have died a happy man, though I wonder if the women did any faking.
- In another weird case of sexually-related incidents, a guy in Seattle died from a ruptured organ after having sex with a stallion. It resulted in the criminalization of bestiality in the State of Washington. I’m not sure there are many people who would want to be remembered for any of that.
- And finally, a Ukrainian student died while making homemade chewing gum. He went to dip the gum in what he thought was citric acid, but was actually a container of explosive (I am assuming all of this was in a chemistry lab). You can guess how that ended when he tested the product.