How Not To Die: The Dumbest Deaths in Recorded History
Attila the Hun:
One of the most notorious villains in history, Attila's army had conquered
all of Asia by 450 AD--from Mongolia to the edge of the Russian Empire--by
destroying villages and pillaging the countryside.
How he died: He got a nosebleed on his wedding night
In 453 AD, Attila married a young girl named Ildico. Despite his reputation
for ferocity on the battlefield, he tended to eat and drink lightly during
large banquets. On his wedding night, however, he really cut loose, gorging
himself on food and drink. Sometime during the night he suffered a
nosebleed, but was too drunk to notice. He drowned in his own blood and was
found dead the next morning.
An important Danish astronomer of the 16th century. His ground breaking
research allowed Sir Isaac Newton to come up with the theory of gravity.
How he died: Didn't get to the bathroom in time
In the 16th century, it was considered an insult to leave a banquet table
before the meal was over. Brahe, known to drink excessively, had a bladder
condition -- but failed to relieve himself before the banquet started. He
made matters worse by drinking too much at dinner, and was too polite to
ask to be excused. His bladder finally burst, killing him slowly and
painfully over the next 11 days.
Pioneered the use of anesthesia in the 1840s
How he died: Used anesthetics to commit suicide
While experimenting with various gases during his anesthesia research,
Wells became addicted to chloroform. In 1848 he was arrested for spraying
two women with sulfuric acid. In a letter he wrote from jail, he blamed
chloroform for his problems, claiming that he'd gotten high before the
attack. Four days later he was found dead in his cell. He'd anaesthetized
himself with chloroform and slashed open his thigh with a razor.
One of the most influential minds of the late 16th century. A statesman, a
philosopher, a writer, and a scientist, he was even rumored to have written
some of Shakespeare's plays.
How he died: Stuffing snow into a chicken
One afternoon in 1625, Bacon was watching a snowstorm and was struck by the
wondrous notion that maybe snow could be used to preserve meat in the same
way that salt was used. Determined to find out, he purchased a chicken from
a nearby village, killed it, and then, standing outside in the snow,
attempted to stuff the chicken full of snow to freeze it. The chicken never
froze, but Bacon did.
Jerome Irving Rodale:
Founding father of the organic food movement, creator of "Organic Farming
and Gardening" magazine, and founder of Rodale Press, a major publishing
How he died: On the "Dick Cavett Show", while discussing the benefits of
Rodale, who bragged "I'm going to live to be 100 unless I'm run down by a
sugar-crazed taxi driver," was only 72 when he appeared on the "Dick Cavett
Show" in January 1971. Part way through the interview, he dropped dead in
his chair. Cause of death: heart attack. The show was never aired.
A Greek playwright back in 500 BC. Many historians consider him the father
of Greek tragedies.
How he died: An eagle dropped a tortoise on his head
According to legend, eagles picked up tortoises and attempt to crack them
open by dropping them on rocks. An eagle mistook Aeschylus' head for a rock
(he was bald) and dropped it on him instead.
Author of the best selling "Complete Book of Running," which started the
jogging craze of the 1970s.
How he died: A heart attack....while jogging
Fixx was visiting Greensboro, Vermont when he walked out of his house and
began jogging. He'd only gone a short distance when he had a massive
coronary. His autopsy revealed that one of his coronary arteries was 99%
clogged, another was 80% obstructed, and a third was 70% blocked....and
that Fixx had had three other attacks in the weeks prior to his death.
And finally there's Lully, one of our favorite 16th-century composers, who
wrote music for the king of France.
While rehearsing the musicians, he got too serious beating time with his
staff, and drove it right through his foot. He died of infection.