Throughout human history, billions of people have faced death. Many have died from natural causes, but occasionally, weird deaths will occur. Today we will explore some of the strangest deaths (from almost 2,200 years of history) of the famous (starting from 210 BC, to 2009). We must mention that some of the deaths are more than just odd. Due to the circumstances, you may also find some to be humorous. They are definitely not the common deaths you hear about every day.
Today, scientists are on a constant mission to find ways to stop (or at least slow down) the aging process and extend the life of humans. Although death is inevitable, many people have hope that one day, we will be able to live forever. Not long ago, the average lifespan was decades lower than it is today. The human lifespan has increased significantly in just the last couple of centuries or so. This may be a sign of hope that one day we can live to be hundreds of years old (if not thousands).
Let’s first start with the unusual death of Qin Shi Huang in 210 BC (the first Emperor of China).
List Of Strange Deaths: The Famous From 210 BC-2009
Qin Shi Huang (260–210 BC) was the very first Emperor of Qin dynasty from 220 to 210 BC. His personal name was Ying Zheng. Huang had an extremely bizarre belief. He believed that he would be given eternal life by just ingesting several pills of mercury (made by his alchemists and court physicians) . Instead of becoming an immortal man, his so-called magic pill plan ended his life.
206 BC: Chrysippus
Chrysippus (died in 206 BC) was a well-known Greek Stoic philosopher. According to one ancient account of his death, he died of laughter. After seeing a donkey that was eating his figs, he ordered a slave to give the donkey neat wine to drink and wash them down. He found this to be funny, to say the very least. Due to him laughing too much, he passed away. What an unusual way to die.
258 AD: Saint Lawrence
Saint Lawrence (Lawrence of Rome) was just one of seven deacons of ancient Rome (under Pope Sixtus II). The man was literally roasted alive on a giant grill. This occurred during the persecution of Valerian (a Roman Emperor from 253 to 260). According to Roman Christian poet Prudentius, Lawrence joked with his tormentors. He asked them to turn him over and move on to the other side (just like roasting a chicken). Today, Lawrence is the patron saint of cooks and firefighters.
1327: Edward II of England
Edward II of England (25 April 1284 – 21 September 1327) was the King of England from 1307 until he was overthrown in January of 1327. He was deposed and imprisoned by Isabella (his wife) and Roger Mortimer (her lover). It is said (a story that may just be pure propaganda) that Edward II was murdered in a very unusual way. He had a horn that was pushed into his anus. Then, a hot iron was inserted into his anus. The iron burned out his internal organs (without marking his body).
1567: Hans Steininger
Hans Steininger was the burgomaster of Braunau, which is now Austria. He broke his neck, which lead to his death. So, how did he break his neck? Steininger broke his neck from tripping over his own beard. He had an extremely long beard that was 4.5 feet long. It was so long that he would usually keep it rolled up in a leather pouch. Too bad it wasn’t rolled up when he broke his neck.
It is interesting to point out that a man with the same first name holds the world record for the longest beard of all time (at 17 feet 6 inches long). His name was Hans Langseth (1846-1927).
1771: Adolf Frederick, King of Sweden
Adolf Frederick (1710-1771) was a King of Sweden from 1751 until his death in 1771. He is remembered by Swedish schoolchildren as “the king who ate himself to death.” His strong appetite lead him to his grave. He consumed an enormous meal that included lobster, caviar, sauerkraut, smoked herring and champagne. Frederick then had 14 servings of his most favorite dessert, which was semia (traditional sweet roll that’s made in various forms) served in a bowl of hot milk.
1926: Harry Houdini
The famous Hungarian-American illusionist and stunt performer “Harry Houdini” (March 24, 1874 – October 31, 1926) died from an amateur boxer’s punch. He was performing a stunt that was nothing new for him. But this time, Houdini wasn’t prepared for it. The punch is believed to have caused complications that lead to his death just days later. Doctors discovered that Houdini died from a ruptured appendix. Though it is believed that the boxer’s punch is what lead to his death, it is still contested as to whether or not it was the genuine cause of inflammation in his appendix.
1927: Isadora Duncan
Angela Isadora Duncan (May 27, 1877 – September 14, 1927) was a famous American dancer. She wore a long silk scarf (draped around her neck). Her scarf had became entangled around the wheel and rear axle of a car in which she was a passenger. This caused her to die from a broken neck.
1971: Jim Morrison
Even today, the cause of death of the famous American singer, poet and songwriter James Douglas “Jim” Morrison (December 8, 1943 – July 3, 1971) is still in uncertain. On July 3, 1971 (age 27), he was found dead in a Paris apartment bathtub. Due to the medical examiner stating that there was no evidence to support foul play, no autopsy was conducted. This left a lot of unanswered questions regarding his sudden death. But according to an account made by Danny Sugerman (the second manager of The Doors), Morrison’s long-term companion Pamela Susan Courson (December 22, 1946 – April 25, 1974) stated that he died of a heroin overdose. Courson said he inhaled it mistakenly thinking it was cocaine. Sugerman also claimed that his death was caused by Courson.
What Is The 27 Club Phenomenon?
Morrison is part of “The 27 Club.” The 27 Club is a term that is used to refer to the several famous musicians who had died at the young age of 27. Their typical result of death includes drug and alcohol abuse. It also includes violent deaths that are caused by homicide or suicide. The following famous people all died at age 27 (between 1969 and 1971) and are all part of The 27 Club: Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison all died at the age of 27 between 1969 and 1971
1973: Bruce Lee
As you are probably already aware, Bruce Lee (November 27, 1940 – July 20, 1973) was a famous Hong Kong American martial artist, an action film actor, amazing martial arts instructor, philosopher, filmmaker, and founder of Jeet Kune Do (eclectic and hybrid style fighting art). Today, there is still a debate about what caused Lee’s death. But according to Wikipedia, he suffered from seizures and headaches after collapsed during an ADR session for the 1973 Hong Kong film called Enter the Dragon. Lee was diagnosed with cerebral edema (excess accumulation of fluid in either the intracellular or extracellular spaces of the brain). At the young age of just 32, Bruce Lee was found unresponsive by Raymond Chow (his producer). Before he made it to the hospital, he passed away.
The above image shows a patient with edema (darker areas) surrounding a secondary brain tumor.
According to physicians, Lee had no visible external injury. But, the autopsy reports state that his brain has swollen from 1,400 to 1,575 grams, causing a 13% increase in size. The autopsy also reported one substance that was found in his system. Equagesic is a central nervous system drug that contains a combination of analgesic (aspirin) and a sedative (meprobamate). The drug is used for short-term pain treatment. Chow stated that Lee’s death was caused from an allergic reaction to a muscle relaxant called Meprobomate. This happens to be the main ingredient in Equagesic.
Even today, Bruce Lee’s death is still considered to be very controversial. His doctor by the name of Donald Langford doesn’t believe that just one tablet of the drug Equagesic is was killed him.
1993: Brandon Lee
Brandon Bruce Lee (February 1, 1965 – March 31, 1993) was the son of Bruce Lee. Like his father, he was an American actor and a fantastic martial artist. On March 31, 1993, Lee passed away from an accidental gunshot wound during the making of the movie The Crow (released in May of 1994).
The scene called for Lee’s character to be shot by a .44 Magnum revolver. Though the gun was only supposed to have blanks in it, he was unaware that a real bullet was lodged in the prop gun. The bullet struck Lee in his abdomen. Though he was immediately rushed to the nearest hospital and received a long 6 hour surgery, he passed away. He was buried right next to his father in Seattle.
2009: Taylor Mitchell
Taylor Mitchell (August 28, 1990 – October 28, 2009) was a Canadian folk singer and songwriter. She died from an attack by 3 coyotes. Mitchell is the only adult on record for being killed by coyotes.
Video On The Top 25 Mysterious Celebrity Deaths
There you have it. Our list of the famous who had died in an extremely unusual way. Do any of these deaths remind you of the popular American television series called 1000 Ways to Die?
Out of our list of famous people, which death seemed to be the most bizarre of them all? Was it Chrysippus who died from laughter, or maybe Hans Steininger who died by tripping over his own beard? One thing is certain, all of the people on our list had experienced extremely weird deaths.