November 2, 2006

Death be not proud - 4

I accidentally ran into a list of unusual deaths on wikipedia today ..

Disclaimer: Everything in brown is directly cut-n-pasted from the wikipedia entry and has not been verified or even re-worded by me.

1. These entries about some really famous people caught my eye.. I did not know this!!

a) 1983 - Tennessee Williams died choking on a bottle cap.--and am surprised this tradition still continues after this..

b) 1849: Edgar Allan Poe, famous American writer and poet, was found on October 7, 1849, at a Baltimore tavern in a state of delirium and wearing clothes he didn't own. He died in a Washington, D.C. hospital early the next morning, his last words being "Lord, help my poor soul." While the official cause of death was listed as "congestion of the brain", the actual cause for his death has been a matter of debate ever since. The current prevailing theory is that he was a victim of rabies.

c) And this is big news to me....
1893: Tchaikovsky, the famous Russian composer, apparently committed suicide after being exposed in a homosexuality scandal. The means of his death is in dispute as to whether he took arsenic or drank cholera-infected water.

d) 1884: Allan Pinkerton, detective, died of gangrene resulting from having bitten his tongue after stumbling on the sidewalk.

e) 1916 : The English satirist, novelist and wit Saki was killed in France, during World War I by a sniper's bullet, having reportedly cried "Put that damned cigarette out!" to a fellow officer in his trench lest the glowing embers reveal their whereabouts.

(Another similar one, which I find both funny and sad at the same time is this one...

1915: François Faber, Luxembourgean Tour de France winner, died in a trench on the western front of World War I. He received a telegram saying his wife had given birth to a daughter. He cheered, giving away his position, and was shot by a German sniper. )

f) 1940: Leon Trotsky, the Soviet revolutionary leader in exile, was assassinated with an ice axe in his Mexico home. His killer, Spanish-born Soviet agent Ramon Mercader, acquired the ice axe in Trotsky's own office after being invited in. After receiving a brutal blow to the head, Trotsky fought and literally took a bite out of his murderer.

g) 1911: Jack Daniel, founder of the famous Tennessee whiskey distillery, died of blood poisoning from a toe injury he received after kicking his safe in anger when he could not remember its combination code. (By the way, did u know the Jack Daniel distillery in TN is in a dry county :))

2. I am going to use those last words when confronted by smart-alecs who think they know it all :)
1864: John Sedgwick, Union general in the American Civil War, was killed by a distant Confederate sniper at the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House. Among his last words to his men were "They couldn't hit an elephant at this distance!"

3. Talk about going away in glory:

a) 1927: J.G. Parry-Thomas, a British racing driver, was decapitated by his car's drive chain which, under duress, snapped and whipped into the cockpit. He was attempting to break his own Land speed record which he had set the previous year. Despite being killed in the attempt, he succeeded in setting a new record of 171 mph.

b) 1953: Frank Hayes, jockey, suffered a heart attack during a horse race. The horse, Sweet Kiss, went on to finish first, making Hayes the only deceased jockey to win a race.

4. There are a few odd-ball entries like

1834: David Douglas, Scottish botanist, who fell in a pit trap, was crushed by a bull that fell in the same pit.

1845: Josiah P. Wilbarger, a Texan pioneer, was scalped by Comanches in 1833 but survived, leaving his skull exposed. He lived 11 years until fatally striking his head against a low beam in his cotton gin....

5. 1990: George Allen, an American football coach, died a month after some of his players dumped a Gatorade bucket on him following a victory (as it is tradition in American Football), resulting in pneumonia.

6. And last but not least... this one has to be the most gruesome on the list. I had kinda read about this somewhere but had not read the details! Uggh....this will revulse you!

2001: Bernd-Jürgen Brandes was stabbed repeatedly in the neck and then eaten by Armin Meiwes. Before the killing, both men dined on Brandes' severed penis. Brandes had answered an internet advertisement by Meiwes looking for someone for this purpose. Brandes explicitly stated in his will that he wished to be killed and eaten.

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