It is said that life is stranger than fiction, but when reading about these strange deaths caused by random, everyday objects, one realizes that this saying also applies to death. Each item on this list is normally a completely innocuous, harmless object. Yet, in the right circumstance, they’ve become instruments of absolute doom. Prepare to be fascinated by these unusual deaths caused by mundane items… and never look at a condom the same way again!
In 2016, a 24-year-old woman in Russia died after falling into a vat of molten chocolate. According to news reports, the woman worked at the Sergiev Posad confectionery factory in Fedortsovo. One person said she dropped her phone and was trying to retrieve it when she fell in, while another witness said she was pouring flour into the mixture when the bag got caught.
Whatever the reason, Svetlana Roslina fell into the vat and was minced to death by the mixing blades. The only thing left of her was her dismembered legs.
16-year-old Jonathan Capewell of Oldham, England, died in 1998 after suffering a heart attack brought upon by his over zealousness for personal hygiene. Capewell became obsessed with smelling fresh and covered his entire body in deodorant at least twice a day. At the time of his death, the teen had 10 times the lethal dosage of propane and butane in his blood. It is believed the gases built up in his body following months of repeatedly spraying himself in the bedroom of his home.
The coroner reported ” He was not indulging in any form of substance abuse. He was simply overcome by excessive use of anti-perspirants.”
Strangely enough, 10 years later, the same thing happened to 12-year-old Daniel Huxley of Nottingham.
A Fire Hydrant
In 2007, Humberto Hernandez, a 24-year-old Oakland, CA resident, was killed after being struck in the face by an airborne fire hydrant while simply walking down a city street. A passing car had struck the fire hydrant and the water pressure shot the hydrant at Hernandez with enough force to kill him.
Source: The Oakland Tribune
Ilda Vitor Maciel of Rio de Janiero, an 88-year-old Brazilian woman, entered the hospital in 2012, having a stroke. She was killed, dying of a pulmonary embolism, when hospital workers injected her with soup, rather than putting it in her feeding tube. Chicken soup might be good for a cold, but one of the local nurse technicians took it a little too far.
Source: Huffington Post
Bale of Hay
An accidental meeting with a bale of hay in 2010 proved to be the swan song of Mike Edwards, founding member of the prog rock band Electric Light Orchestra (aka ELO). Edwards was killed when a large, round bale of hay rolled down a hill and smashed through a wire fence and a hedge and collided with his van while he was out driving.
Source: The Guardian
Hipsters beware. Beards can be deadly! Austrian Hans Steininger was famous for having the world’s longest beard at four and a half feet long. Unfortunately, he is also famous for dying because of it.
Steininger normally kept his beard rolled up in a leather pouch, as it trailed after him and could be a hindrance. However, when a fire broke out in 1567, he neglected to roll it up properly and, in the process of fleeing, stepped on his beard, lost his balance and fell down, breaking his neck.
Source: Cabinet of Curiosities
In a golf game to end all golf games, 16-year-old Jeremy Brenno of Gloversville, NY really got the shaft. Literally.
When Brenno missed a shot on the sixth hole at the Kingsboro Golf Club, he took out his frustration on a nearby bench, giving it a good whack with his No. 3 wood. This would have just been the usual golfer’s vent, had the shaft not broken, bounced back at Brenno and pierced his heart, killing him.
Source: The New York Times
You know all of those horror stories featuring a creepy, bloodthirsty scarecrow? Well this isn’t one of them, even though a scarecrow did bring about a man’s demise.
58-year-old Argentinian shepherd Jose Alberto’s body was found naked in bed with a scarecrow. Said police spokesman Rodolfo Moure. “I initially thought there were two bodies but then I realized one was a scarecrow wearing lipstick and a long-haired wig.” Alberto had attached a prosthetic penis to the oversized Halloween staple. “The man died during sex with the scarecrow,” Moure explained.
Source: NY Post
One minute 34-year-old Atasha Graham was letting her hair down and blowing off steam at a club, and the next, she was dead because of her hair.
In May 2011, Graham had been dancing all night at a club where her boyfriend was DJ. Upon arrival at home afterward, she immediately collapsed, then died a short while later. The pathologist determined that Graham was likely killed due to a reaction caused by her latex hair extensions and the glue used in their application. Traces of glue could have seeped into her bloodstream after she started perspiring on the dance floor, poisoning her.
Source: Daily Mail
In a circumstance that can only be described as “crappy,” soccer enthusiast Paulo Ricardo Gomes da Silva was killed just weeks before Brazil hosted the World Cup in 2014. Rowdy fans tore out three of the stadium’s toilet bowls and threw them from the stands. Gomes da Silva was hit by one and killed instantly.
Source: Fox News
You couldn’t write a stranger story than that of the death of American novelist Sherwood Anderson in 1941.
While on a South American cruise, Anderson developed a sour stomach, which eventually led him to disembark from the ship and seek medical treatment. Upon arriving at the hospital, he was diagnosed with advanced peritonitis, which was caused by accidentally swallowing a toothpick sliver, which damaged his organs and caused his death. He was thought to have swallowed it in the course of eating the olive of a martini.
Source: Narrative Magazine
A Dessert Spoon
It’s a tough idea to swallow knowing the dainty spoon one would use to shovel Ben & Jerry’s into one’s mouth could be the instrument of one’s demise. However, in 2004 in Hertfordshire, UK, a man named Richard Clare got into an altercation with one Timothy Magee over a cell phone. Clare, annoyed, popped Magee on the back of the head with a dessert spoon which had been lying on a nearby table.
The spoon’s impact ruptured an artery and caused fatal bleeding in the area between his skull and brain. Magee died, making history as one of the only reported human beings to be spooned to death. Clare was exonerated of wrongdoing in the death, but was sentenced to seven days in jail for taking the cell phone that had started the argument.
It should also be noted that Clare, seven years later, upgraded utensils and hacked someone to death with an axe, drawing a 27 year prison sentence.
Source: BBC News
People have been murdered with guns, bats, knives, and poison, but rarely are undergarments used as a means of taking out a foe. In 2013, however, a man in Oklahoma did just that when he ended his stepfather’s life by way of “Atomic Wedgie.”
Brad Lee Davis, 34, admitted to killing Denver St. Clair “in the heat of passion while defending myself in a fight that got out of hand and went too far.” Davis said he knocked St. Clair unconscious and then pulled the elastic waistband of St. Clair’s underwear over his head and around his neck, asphyxiating him.
Source: CBS News
Basil Brown was a health fanatic from Croydon, UK, who went down in history for destroying his own liver in 1974 by drinking gallons of carrot juice daily. He subsequently poisoned himself by overdosing on vitamin A. He was reportedly yellow when he died.
Source: Ottawa Citizen; February 15,1974
A Taco Bell Sign
Taco Bell claims to crush its competition in the battle of the best fast food burrito, but that’s not all: Taco Bell literally crushed 49-year-old Nebraska resident, Diana Durre, when a 75 foot tall sign fell on top of her vehicle in 2009.
Officials said Ms. Durre and her husband agreed to meet another couple in North Platte, NE “right underneath the big Taco Bell sign” to sell them a pair of terriers.
Source: North Platte Bulletin
Legendary American dancer Isadora Duncan’s fondness for flowing scarves contributed to her death in an automobile accident in Nice, France, in 1927, when she was a passenger in an Amilcar. Her silk scarf, draped around her neck, became entangled around the open-spoked wheels and rear axle, breaking her neck.
If you grew up in Boston in the late 1910s, you’d probably never want to see another molasses cookie again. In a truly sticky situation, The Boston Molasses Disaster of 1919 killed 21 people and injured 150 when a tank holding over 2 million gallons of molasses exploded. The blast sent a wave of the sweet, viscous substance through the city at a speed of about 35 miles per hour.
For many decades after the flood, the cloying scent of molasses stuck around the city’s North End neighborhood each summertime.
Source: Boston Globe
In 1982, David Grundman was killed near Lake Pleasant, AZ, while shooting at cacti with his shotgun (referred to as “cactus plugging”). After he fired several shots at a 26 foot tall Saguaro Cactus from extremely close range, a four foot limb of the cactus detached and fell on him, crushing him.
His last words, according to his roommate and cacti slaughtering partner, were, “The first one is easy!”
Source: Arizona Republic
A Cell Phone
Talk about poor reception… a 20-year-old man in Guangzhou, China, was killed in 2009 when his cell phone exploded, severing a major artery in his neck. Authorities speculated that the man had just finished charging his phone and was carrying it in his shirt pocket when the explosion happened.
If that isn’t weird enough, it isn’t the first time. In 2007, Xiao Jinpeng, 22, died from chest wounds when his own mobile phone exploded while at work at a mill, supposedly due to the high temperatures at his workplace.
Source: Daily Mail
In a not-so-bright move, Santiago Alvarado, 24, was killed in Lompoc, CA, after he fell face-first through the ceiling of a bicycle shop he was burglarizing. Death was caused when the long flashlight he had placed in his mouth (to keep his hands free) lodged in his throat severing the second verterbrae in his neck. It is believed he died instantly from the injury. Lights out!
A Bottle of Eye Drops
If only he could have seen it coming! Esteemed American author Tennessee Williams made a habit of holding the cap of his eye drop bottle between his teeth while he inserted his eye drops. This ritual ultimately caused his death on February 25, 1983, in a suite at the Elysee Hotel in New York, when he accidentally inhaled the cap and choked to death on it at the age of 71.
Others have stated that it may have actually been a bottle cap from a prescription bottle that Williams choked on, and that his gag reflex was likely impaired by his intoxication at the time. Regardless, the official cause of death still listed as being due to a cap from a bottle of eye drops.
Source: The Medical Bag
A Hockey Puck
Brittanie Cecil, an American 13-year-old hockey fan, died two days before her fourteenth burthday after being struck in the head by a hockey puck shot by Espen Knutsen at a game between the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Calgary Flames at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, OH, on March 16, 2002. A shot by the Blue Jackets’s Knutsen was deflected by the Flames’s Derek Morris and went over the glass behind the net, striking her in the left temple. She died nearly 48 hours after being struck. It was the first, and remains the only, fan fatality in the NHL’s 97 year history.
A lawsuit brought by Brittanie’s family against the NHL and the arena was settled out of court for $1.2 million in April 2004. The Brittanie Nichole Cecil Memorial Scholarship Fund has since been created, which collects donations at every Blue Jackets home game.
Source: CBC News
In the case of the safest sex ever, a 31-year-old man named Gary Ashbrook suffocated to death after he pulled a condom over his head.
The East Sussex, UK, man was discovered naked on his bed alongside three empty cans of nitrous oxide he used to blow up the contraceptive. Friends told officials, “He had been putting a condom on his head for two to three months.” To call this a “death by misadventure” is an understatement.
An Orange Peel
“Knock, knock. Who’s there? Orange. Orange who? Orange you glad you’re not dead?” The same can’t be said for the original extreme daredevil, Bobby Leach, who defied death several times, including surviving a ride over Niagara Falls in a barrel in 1911.
While Leach frequently performed feats that made Evel Knievel look tame, he was apparently challenged when it came to dealing with mundane objects like citrus fruits and perfecting simple motor functions, like walking. In 1926, during a publicity tour in New Zealand, he slipped on an orange peel, which led to a broken bone, a botched amputation, and subsequent infection which killed him.
A Lava Lamp
In November 2004, Philip Quinn, 24, was found dead in his Kent, WA trailer home. In an attempt to create a groovy, mellow atmosphere in his kitchen, Quinn had placed the lava lamp on a hot stovetop burner. Shortly thereafter, the lamp exploded, sending shards of glass through his chest and into his heart.
“Why on earth he was heating a lava lamp on the stove, we don’t know,” Kent Police spokesman Paul Petersen said. Indeed.
An Air Conditioner
And to think most people complain about dying from the heat! In 1988, a man walking down East 23rd Street in New York City was fatally injured when an air conditioner slipped from the window of a building, plunged seven stories and struck him on the head. Vito DeGiorgio, 37, of Dobbs Ferry, was taken to Bellevue Hospital Center where he was pronounced dead.
Although many have their share of stories of air conditioner-related peril, a la the famous Seinfeld episode, the chance of being killed by one is almost completely non-existent, and the honor of the only recorded death by cooling unit seems to belong to DeGiorgio.
Source: The New York Times
They say the pen is mightier than that sword, and a 57-year-old window cleaner named Jeffrey Burton proved this when he died by repeatedly stabbing himself in the leg with a giant souvenir pencil in 2010. His body was found in a blood-soaked room at his home in St Leonards, UK, with a gash to his upper right thigh and the oversized writing apparatus covered in blood next to his ankle.
Mr. Burton’s sister stated that the pencil was a souvenir of their mother’s, who died in 2008. She also stated that Mr. Burton had used the pencil when doing yoga, which is almost as much of a mystery as why he killed himself with it.
Source: The Argus
A Deck of Cards
On October 20, 1930, William Kogut, an inmate on San Quentin’s death row, fashioned an ordinary deck of playing cards into a pipe bomb, which he used to take his own life. Kogut removed a hollow steel leg from his bed, tore the cards into tiny pieces, and stuffed these bits into the pipe. He plugged one end, and poured water into the other end to soak the torn cards. He then placed this “bomb” on the heater in his room, and laid down with his head next to the handmade explosive device.
The heater turned the water into steam, and when the pressure built up to a high enough level, the resulting explosion shot the bits of playing cards out of the pipe with enough force to penetrate Kogut’s skull. His suicide note stated that he felt he should pay for the life he had taken (he was a convicted murderer) so he dealt himself the final blow.
A 37-year-old Florida man died in February 2016 after lighting a “blue angel” to entertain his wife. What’s a blue angel, you ask? According to the man’s wife, it’s when “…you put a lighter up to your butt and fart on it, making it catch on fire.” The thing is, when you do this inside your own meth lab, things get explosive, especially if you’ve just eaten Chipotle, apparently.
The man’s wife plans to sue the Mexican food chain, as she and her husband were unaware that his farts would contain increased levels of methane.
Who knew something so incredibly comfortable could be so perilous? When Virginia Tech student Jessica Ewing arrived to “date night” in a dress, she was “disappointed” to find her partner, 21-year-old Samanata Shrestha, clad in sweatpants and a casual shirt. To express her displeasure with her date’s fashion sense, Ewing strangled her to death.
Source: Huffington Post