Death is a pretty serious subject… most of the time. It may feel pretty dark to admit it, but sometimes things happen and we end up with deaths that are funny. Call it cruel, call it morbid humor, or just call it macabre, but it’s hard to deny that sometimes people die in ways that are so ironic or absurd, it’s hard not to stifle a chuckle.
To be clear, we’re not suggesting that these deaths are not sad. People are left grieving, a life is cut short, and there is a period of mourning. But if a person does something especially absurd, stupid, or ironic, you’d think we’re allowed a laugh or two, at least when no one’s looking.
Lucky for us, we’re on the Internet, and that means no one can hear us giggle-snorting over some of these stories. So, don’t feel too bad as you read over these deaths that are so ridiculous they’re (almost) funny. We promise, you’re not the only one laughing.
A Man Took So Much Viagra, His Heart Exploded
Sergey Tuganov probably didn’t think he could die from sex. Generally, he’d be right – the circumstances surrounding his death sound like something out of an urban legend. It begins with Sergey making a bet with two female acquaintances in 2009 that he could continue to satisfy them sexually for 12 hours straight. They took the bet, and a wild night began.
In order to be sure he would win, Sergey downed a bottle – yes, a whole bottle – of Viagra pills before he set to work. Needless to say, he was up and at ’em for the full 12 hours. He won the bet, but as soon as he stopped, he dropped dead. The paramedics were called, but it was too late. His heart had stopped working due to an overdose of the pills, as well as the strain of non-stop sex for 12 hours. Hey, there are worse ways to go!
A Man Shot a Cactus – Then the Cactus Got Its Revenge
In 1982, a pair of friends were wandering the deserts of Arizona. The two men decided it might be fun to start shooting at the Saguaro cactuses that littered the landscape around them. One of the friends, David Grundman, began blasting the cactuses with a shotgun so many times the cactuses fell over. However, one cactus had had quite enough of all that. As he shot the cactus from ten feet away, one of the arms of the cactus broke off and went flying. It fell on Grundman, stabbing and crushing him to death. It just goes to show, don’t mess with Saguaros. Not to mention, destroying the protected plants is illegal in Arizona, so he kinda had it coming.
A Teen Died from Too Much Deodorant
When you’re a teen, body odor is a pretty serious problem, but one teen took it way too seriously for his own health. The 16-year-old boy in Folkestone, England, had become obsessed with smelling good and was hoarding spray-on deodorant for that purpose. He would use cans and cans of the stuff every day, until eventually it took its toll on him. The boy’s body was found in his room, collapsed against his bed, dead from butane gas inhalation. In short, he sprayed his body with so much deodorant that he couldn’t get enough oxygen and it killed him. It’s true that hygiene is important, but taking it that far is just ridiculous.
Two Friends Decide to Play Catch… With a Rattlesnake
We all do stupid things when we’re drunk, but these two took it to the extreme. In 1995, a pair of friends in Alabama were drinking heavily. Junior Bright and Joe Buddy Caine came across a four-foot rattlesnake and, in fit of brilliance, decided to pick the poor creature up. But their genius didn’t stop there. They then began tossing the snake back and forth in an ill-conceived game of catch. The snake, not liking this, bit Bright on the hand, and then when Caine tried to kill it, it bit him as well. When paramedics arrived, they were both semiconscious and Caine went into cardiac arrest. He died on the way to the hospital, and, from what we know, the snake slithered away to bite another day.
King Charles II of Navarre Was Accidentally Burned to Death by His Nurse
Noblemen are expected to die from heart problems, beheading, assassination, and maybe overeating. But King Charles II of Navarre is a rare exception. As his health waned in the late 1300s, Charles turned to a physician for help, and that doctor wrapped him from head to toe in linen cloth and then coated him in brandy. He was sewn into the bandages, but the nurse who was sewing him in had forgotten her scissors. Not to be deterred, the nurse took a candle and tried to use it to cut the thread. Instead, she lit the king ablaze, due to the brandy and very flammable linen covering him. He was burnt alive in his own palace as the nurse fled for her life. Maybe this is the reason some royalty don’t trust doctors.
Two Elderly Sisters Suffocated in a Hotel Fold-Out Bed
You know those beds you sometimes see in movies, the ones that fold out of the wall? Well, you wouldn’t usually think of those as anything other than goofy-looking, and that’s probably what Mildred Bowman and Alice Wardle thought at well. The elderly pair were on holiday in 2009, and were resting in their bed when suddenly tragedy struck. In a cartoony bit of misfortune, the bed part attached to the wall collapsed and the bed folded itself up, crushing them inside. They were trapped there for four days before their bodies were eventually found. You may never watch that one I Love Lucy scene with the Murphy bed the same way ever again.
A Video Game Addict Played Star Craft Until He Died of Thirst
We’ve all met someone who’s super into video games, but this gamer took his love of Star Craft to a whole new level. In South Korea in 2005, a 28-year-old man collapsed at an Internet cafe during a marathon session of the game. He had not been sleeping or eating, and he only paused the game to go to the bathroom and to take occasional naps. It was found upon examination that he was severely dehydrated and malnourished, as well as intensely exhausted. His heart had just given out, and his body had been so devoid of fluids that he couldn’t compensate. In other words, he’d been so into his game that he’d died of thirst rather than hitting pause.
A Man Died from an Atomic Wedgie
Many of you have probably heard of the legendary “atomic wedgie.” According to kid lore, this type of wedgie is achieved when you pull someone’s underwear up from the back of their pants, then put the waistband all the way over their head, all while the underwear is still being worn. Youch!
In 2013 in Oklahoma, a man and his adult stepson were doing some drinking (big surprise, alcohol is involved again) when things got weird. The son, Brad Davis, got the idea in his head that he should give his dad an atomic wedgie. They were arguing, and when Davis saw the opportunity, he jumped on it. Unfortunately, the underwear became wrapped around his stepfather’s throat, and he strangled to death before anything could be done. Davis was sent to jail for manslaughter, even though he claims the whole thing was an accident.
A Man Tripped Over His Own Beard and Died
Before the days of the Guinness Book of World Records, there was a man named Hans Steininger who claimed to have the world’s longest beard. It was over a meter and a half long and he showed it off with pride. Unfortunately, it was also his undoing. One day there was a fire and he realized he had to flee his home. In his rush, however, he had trouble wrangling his beard and tripped over it. He lost his balance and fell to the ground, breaking his neck. He died instantly and became the first recorded case of a man dying by beard. If the Guinness Book of World Records had been around in his day, it turns out he would have had two records.
A Drunk Donkey Was So Funny, a Greek Philosopher Died Laughing
Yep, it’s another story involving booze, but this time we have to go back to ancient Greece. Chrysippus was usually a pretty calm philosopher in 279 BC, but he had a love for wine. He was drinking one day when he saw a donkey approaching and trying to eat his figs. He told a slave to give the donkey some wine, which the slave did. The drunk donkey then continued to try eating figs, but didn’t do so well. Chrysippus, tickled to death by watching this drunk donkey failing at eating, began to laugh. He laughed and laughed so hard that he either had a heart attack or could not breathe, and managed to die. In other words, he actually died of laughter in a drunken giggle-fit.
A Health Nut Killed Himself with Carrot Juice
Carrot juice is pretty good for you, but anything in huge quantities is generally harmful, even water. One health enthusiast, Basil Brown, found this out the hard way. He drank tons of carrot juice every day, and supposedly drank ten gallons in the period of a single week, thinking it would even give him X-ray vision and other superhuman abilities. Unfortunately, this was enough to give him some pretty bad Vitamin A poisoning, a thing that can kill you through liver cirrhosis. He died from trying to be too healthy, a lesson we hopefully all will learn from. Now, where’s that spray cheese?
Eight Died in the London Beer Flood
This unfortunate event took the lives of eight people in 1814, but it’s still hard not to laugh at it at least a little bit. In October of that year, the Horse Shoe Brewerybegan to have problems with a 22-foot-high fermentation tank they were using. The vat held the equivalent of 3,500 barrels of ale, and when one of the rings holding the tank together snapped, the beer came pouring out into the factory and eventually into the street. The river of beer swept into the street, killing several people in its wake. It caused property damage as well, and cost London thousands of dollars in repairs. The brewery was later demolished, but its legend still lives on even today.
A Man Was Buried in One of the Coffins That Killed Him
This man may have died doing what he loved, but that doesn’t make this 1982 story any less funny. The tale goes that a French coffin builder by the name of Marc Bourjade was in his workshop when a stack of coffins suddenly became unsteady. They fell on him, crushing him to death underneath. After he was fished out, he was quickly prepared for burial. As if being killed by his own handiwork wasn’t enough, Marc was then buried in one of the very coffins that had crushed him! Hopefully the man would have looked down upon his burial with laughter rather than indignation.
A Greek Politician Was Loved to Death
It’s very rare that a politician is well-loved, especially nowadays, but there was a time where it did happen. Draco was the first recorded legislator of Athens back around 600 BC, and he was incredibly well-liked, even though his laws were intensely harsh (thus the term “draconian”). On one trip to a theater on Aegina, thousands of citizens were so thrilled to see him they began throwing gifts. They kept throwing cloaks and hats, and they wouldn’t stop, even as the gifts began to pile up. The cloaks covered his body to the point where he could not even breathe. Before long he had been completely smothered by the gifts, and died. It just goes to show that even being nice to politicians in ancient Greece ended badly.
A Poet Drowned When He Tried to Kiss the Moon
They say that love makes you stupid, but this is kind of absurd. Li Bai was a prolific Chinese poet from 701-762 who paid particular attention to romance. But while romance was his talent, it also ended up being his downfall. The story goes that Li was in a boat on the river, drinking and celebrating life. He spotted the moon’s reflection in the river and instantly fell in love with it. After calling to his new love, he reached out over the side of the boat to embrace and kiss the moon’s reflection. Unfortunately, drunk people have crummy balance and he toppled overboard. He drowned in the river while trying to give the moon a kiss, which sounds romantic as heck, but also sounds like something only a drunk poet would do.