Halloween: Appealing to Your Dark Side: True Strange Deaths


Credit: Toby Ord – Own work, Wikipedia Commons


1919: The Great Molasses Flood, also known as the Boston Molasses Disaster or the Great Boston Molasses Flood, occurred in the North End neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts when a large molasses storage tank burst, and a wave of molasses rushed through the streets at an estimated 35 mph (56 km/h), killing 21 people and injuring an additional 150. The event has entered local folklore, and for decades afterward residents claimed that on hot summer days the area still smelled of molasses.

1923: George Herbert, 5th Earl of Carnarvon, who financed Howard Carter’s search for Tutankhamun, died at age 56 from a mosquito bite on his face, which he later cut while shaving. The bite became seriously infected with erysipelas, leading to blood poisoning and eventually pneumonia. Some attributed his death to the so-called curse of the pharaohs.

1927: Isadora Duncan, world famous dancer, died of a broken neck when her long scarf caught on the wheel of a car in which she was a passenger.

1974: Basil Brown, a 48-year-old health food advocate from Croydon, England, drank himself to death by consuming 10 gallons (38 liters) of carrot juice in ten days, causing him to overdose on vitamin A and suffer severe liver damage.1978: Kurt Godel, the Austrian/American logician and mathematician, died of starvation when his wife was hospitalized. Godel suffered from extreme paranoia and refused to eat food prepared by anyone else.

1982: David Grundman was killed near Lake Pleasant, Arizona, U.S., while shooting at cacti with his shotgun. After he fired several shots at a 26 ft (8 m) tall Saguaro Cactus from extremely close range, a 4 ft. (1.2 m) limb of the cactus detached and fell on him, crushing him.

1993: Garry Hoy, a 38-year-old lawyer in Toronto, Canada, fell to his death on 9 July 1993 after he threw himself against a window on the 24th floor of the Toronto-Dominion Centre in an attempt to prove to a group of visitors that the glass was “unbreakable”, a demonstration he had done many times before. The glass did not break, but popped out of the window frame, and Hoy fell to his death.

1994: Jeremy Brenno, 16, of Gloversville, New York, was killed on a golf course when he struck a bench with a golf club, and the shaft broke, bounced back at him, and pierced his heart.

1997: Karen Wetterhahn, a professor of chemistry at Dartmouth College, died of dimethyl mercury poisoning ten months after a few drops of the substance landed on her protective gloves. Although Wetterhahn had been following the required procedures for handling the chemical, it still permeated her gloves and skin within seconds. As a result of her death, regulations were altered.

2006: Steve Irwin, the international celebrity known as the “Crocodile Hunter”, died from being pierced hundreds of times in a few seconds by the barb of an 8-foot (2.4 m) stingray in chest-deep water, just as he and his cameraman were filming the final shot of the stingray swimming away from them

2010: Mike Edwards, 62, a founding member and cellist for the band Electric Light Orchestra, died when a large round bale of hay rolled down a hill and collided with the van he was driving.

2010: Jimi Heselden was a British entrepreneur, who in 2010 bought Segway Inc., maker of the Segway personal transport system. Heselden died in 2010 from injuries apparently sustained falling from a cliff while riding his own product.

2011: Jose Luis Ochoa, 35, died after being stabbed in the leg at an illegal cockfight in Tulare County, California, U.S., by one of the birds that was holding a knife.

2012: Edward Archbold, 32, of West Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., died after winning a cockroach-eating contest. The cause of death was determined to be accidental choking due to “arthropod body parts.”

2013: Takuya Nagaya, 23, from Japan, started to slither on the floor and claim he had become a snake. His mother took this to mean that he had been possessed by a snake, and called for her husband, 53-year-old Katsumi Nagaya. Katsumi spent the next two days head-butting and biting his son “to drive [out] the snake that had possessed him” but instead causing his death.

2013 : Roger Mirro, 56, from the Chicago suburb of Palatine, Illinois, died when he was crushed by a dumpster at the condominium complex where he lived. Mirro was looking for his cellular phone, which he thought he had dropped into a bag of garbage already discarded in the trash compactor, but the dumpster was activated and Mirro died.

2013: An unnamed Belarusian fisherman, 60, was killed by a beaver while attempting to grab the animal to have his picture taken with it. The beaver bit the man, severing a large artery in his leg.

2013: 45-year-old Joao Maria de Souza was crushed by a cow falling through the roof of his home in Caratinga, Brazil (the cow having climbed onto the roof from an adjacent hillside). His wife (who was lying in bed next to him) and the cow were both unharmed. The death was labeled as “bizarre”.

2013: Kendrick Johnson, 17, American student at Lowndes High School, Georgia, was discovered trapped upside down in a rolled-up gym mat in his high school gymnasium. Police had originally ruled that the cause of Johnson’s death was accidental positional asphyxiation after he climbed in to retrieve a shoe and became trapped. The case has since been reopened and investigated as a possible homicide.

2013: Miguel Martinez, 14, from Lubbock, Texas, was impaled through the chest by the horn of a bull statue. He had been playing hide and seek at night in front of the National Ranching Heritage Center.

2014: Peng Fan, a chef in Foshan, Southern China, was bitten by a cobra’s severed head, which he had cut off 20 minutes earlier. Fan had set the head aside while using the body to prepare a soup.  According to investigating police, the case was “highly unusual”. The chef might have had a severe reaction to the bite.

2015: Chelsea Ake-Salvacion, 24, from Henderson, Nevada, U.S., working as a salon employee died when she used a cryotherapy machine alone without assistance. The report states that she did not have the level setting at the proper height, did not get enough oxygen, and suffocated and froze herself to death. The coroner who examined Ake-Salvacion’s body described her death as a “freak accident.”

2015: Robin Wahlgren, 28, a Swedish student at the University of New South Wales and his Swedish friend rode a shopping cart, down a steep road in Randwick, Sydney with a speed limit of 60 km/h (37 mph), reaching speeds of up to 80 km/h (50 mph) before hitting an oncoming car and getting flung out of the trolley. He died at the scene while his friend was seriously injured.  It was labelled as a “freak accident”.

2015: James Shay, 58, from Browns Mills, New Jersey was found partially lodged in the donation bin outside the Country Farms Convenience Store on Pemberton Browns Mills Road. Police said their investigation revealed that he was trying to get items out of the bin when he lost his footing and got trapped in the opening. The Burlington County Medical Examiner ruled the death accidental and determined that the cause of death was compression of the neck.

2015: Ravi Subramanian, an Air India technician, died in an accident during aircraft maintenance at Mumbai airport. He was sucked into one of the aircraft’s jet engines and killed instantly.

2016: V. Kamaraj, a 40-year old Indian bus driver, died from his severe wounds after he and three others were injured by what investigators described as a meteorite which struck the grounds of Bharathidasan Engineering College, in Vellore, Tamil Nadu. Evidence collected from the 2-foot (61 cm) wide crater contained samples of carbonaceous chondrite.

2016: Caitlin Clavette, 35, a Boston-area school teacher driving near the Thomas P. O’Neill Jr. Tunnel, was struck and killed by a dislodged manhole cover, which crashed through the windshield of her car. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker called the incident “bizarre.”

2016: Irma Bule, 29, an Indonesian Dangdut singer known for performing with live snakes, died in the middle of a concert after being bitten by a king cobra and refusing treatment.

2016: Anton Yelchin, 27, a Los Angeles actor known for portraying Pavel Chekov in the Star Trek reboot series, and for several other prominent roles, was found pinned between his car and a brick wall. His driveway is on an incline and his car was found still running and in neutral.

2016: Robert Mwaijega, 47, a fisherman in Southern town of Kyela, Mbeya Region in Tanzania, died after one of the live fish that he had caught flip-flopped and jumped into his mouth, squeezing itself down his throat, into his chest and killing him.

2016: A seven-year-old girl died after being struck by a stone thrown by an elephant from its enclosure at Rabat Zoo in Morocco.



A traditional Irish turnip Jack-o’-lantern from the early 20th century. Photographed at the Museum of Country Life, Ireland by Rannphairti Anaithnid of English Wikipedia



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