9 Incredibly Strange Deaths Down Through History

by Miranda Marquit

We all know that death is coming, and you never know if you'll make it another day or several more decades. For some of us, a sudden, unexpected and even highly unusual death awaits, leaving others to wonder what went wrong and maybe even have a chuckle at your demise. Here are 10 deaths just like that, some funny, others just plain weird:

1. Death By Coconut (Monkey Version)

Angry monkey
We told you not to spank your monkey. (Photo by Aaron Logan).

While the well-worn assertion that 150 people die each year from falling coconuts turns out to be a myth, people do get killed this way. And coconuts can be doubly dangerous when chucked by a pissed-off monkey.

In 2009, Leilit Janchoom was killed when the monkey he trained to pick coconuts got tired of the non-stop labor and relentless beatings and took matters into his own hands, whipping a coconut at Mr. Janchoom's gourd and killing him on the spot.

2. Death By Bottle Cap

American playwright Tennessee Williams was well known for his contributions to theater. He won two Pulitzer Prizes for the plays "A Streetcar Named Desire" and "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof." However, he was also known for his alcoholism and his drug abuse. He also appeared to be fond of using an overcap on a bottle (similar to the kind used in eye drops or nasal spray) to ingest barbiturates. Williams managed to inhale the cap, and he choked to death on it.

3. Death By Pottery

Hypatia of Alexandria was a well-known scientist and philosopher. She lived as a pagan in Alexandria at a time when Christians were becoming increasingly populous and influential in that city. She was a well-known teacher at the famous library, and had a great interest in math, astronomy and other subjects that, along with her paganism, marked her out as a witch. One day, as Hypatia walked home, a group of Christian monks attacked her. They killed her using shards of pottery and sharp tiles. Afterward, her remains were burned.

Hypatia murdered
Jesus loves you. The monks, on the other hand...

4. Death By Monkey (No Coconuts)

Alexander I, King of the Hellenes, ruled Greece after his father, Constantine I, was deposed. Alexander was fond of animals, and had pet monkeys. However, sometimes monkeys can be rather ill-tempered. In this case, one of the monkeys attacked the king's dog. Alexander moved to defend his furry friend and was bit by the monkey - and the monkey's mate - as a result. After a couple of weeks, the wounds became infected and sepsis set in. Alexander died as a result. After Alexander's death, Constantine was reinstated as king.

5. Death By Demonstration

In 1993, Garry Hoy died while demonstrating the strength of the glass in a window on the 24th floor of a skyscraper in Toronto, Canada. The lawyer was showing that the window was unbreakable, and ran up against it to demonstrate his point. Unfortunately, the glass gave way and, according to July 10, 1993 issue of The Toronto Star, Hoy fell out of the Toronto Dominion Bank Tower to his death.

In another freak demonstration, lawyer Clement L. Vallandigham died while trying to demonstrate how a victim could have shot himself, rather than being shot by his client, a defendant in a murder trial. Without realizing that the demonstration gun was loaded, Vallandigham began a demonstration that ended with him proving his point - with his life.

6. Death By Baseball

Illegal, gross and deadly.

A baseball seems like such a small thing. But in the hands of a talented pitcher, it can be lethal. Ray Chapman - and baseball fans - found this out the hard way in 1920. Chapman was a shortstop for the Cleveland Indians, and was batting against Yankees pitcher Carl Mays. Mays threw a spitball that hit Chapman in the head. Chapman died 12 hours later from injuries sustained from the blow. The death of one of who was, at the time, one of baseball's most loved players, resulted in increased wearing of batting helmets (Chapman wasn't wearing one).

7. Death By Cactus

When you live in the desert, you find interesting ways to amuse yourself - like shooting at cacti with a shotgun. One day in 1982, David Grundman and a friend decided to try their hands at shooting at a cactus. The first cactus, a small one, was demolished satisfyingly with the shotgun. Grundman decided to move onto something bigger. He took aim at a Saguaro cactus standing 26 feet tall. Unfortunately, the chunk of the cactus Grundman blasted off fell on top of him, resulting in his death.

Saguaro cactus
As you can see, they are quite large. (Photo by Stephen Lea).

8. Death By Umbrella

Artists Christo and Jean-Claude are known for their huge works that take place out in nature. They are called "environmental artists", since so much of their work takes place in landscapes. They have built a jetty and put up an exhibition at Central Park. In the U.S. and Japan, they had an exhibit called The Umbrellas that included large umbrellas placed at Tejon Pass in California. In 1991, though, a woman was killed when a gust of wind uprooted one of the huge umbrellas and sent it flying. Rae Keevil-Mathews died when the umbrella hit her and pinned her to a boulder.

9. Death By Bookcase

One day, Mariesa Weber came home and greeted her family. No one saw her for days, and became concerned. Weber's family members called the police to report her missing. Meanwhile, they began noticing a strange smell in her room. Finally, after 11 days, Weber's sister found the small, 5'3" woman wedged behind a bookcase. She had apparently been standing on a chest next to the bookcase and leaning over the top to reach the TV plug. Investigators think that she fell behind the bookcase

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Casey Markee December 10th, 2010
Great article. As a former baseball player myself I especially related to #6. I was hit by several baseballs during college. Thank God for helmets!

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