|Curious and Unusual Deaths
Three of the Strangest Deaths History has ever Recorded and the Science that Explains Them
Every episode presents three of the strangest deaths history has ever recorded –– and the science that explains them.
Curious and Unusual Deaths is a half-hour series that presents some of
the strangest, most grizzly, tragic or simply avoidable deaths from
across the globe and throughout time.
Each episode is themed by location
(At Work, At Home, On The Water, etc.) and brings noted experts to
explain the science behind the deaths.
From the bible salesman who is struck by lightning under a cloudless sky to the pet lover who falls into a cat dish with less than three-inches of water, from a bricklayer who is provoked to laugh for 25 minutes straight to a French tailor who tests an experimental glider off the Eiffel Tower and a couple who endure 86 hours of holding each other close - all with fatal results.
Dish Drowning: In 2003 New Zealander Peter John Robinson slipped
outside his home, lost his balance and tumbled into a cat dish, where he
drowned in 4cm of water.
Lava Lamp Explosion: In 1998 Phillip
Quinn attempted to make his lava lamp more efficient by heating it on
the stove. This put the contents of the lamp under intense pressure
thereby creating a bomb that eventually exploded and killed him.
Himself To Death: In 1975 Richard Mitchell sat down for an evening with
his favourite comedy series, “The Goodies”. One sketch made him laugh
for over 25 minutes continuously, eventually stopping his heart and
From the Water
Pill: Bando Mitsugorio was one of Japan's most revered Kabuki actors
from the 1930s until his death in January 1975. However, for all his
fame during his life, Bando is probably best-known for his legendary
At age 68, he visited a Kyoto restaurant with friends and ordered
four livers of the fugu fish, which is widely-known to be extremely
toxic. Claiming that he could survive their poisons, he ate the livers
and, after seven hours, died of paralysis and convulsions.
Judy: In the Florida Keys, giant eagle stingray flew 6 ft. out of the
water and landed on the face of a female sailor, killing her instantly.
However, it was not the poisonous sting that took her life, but in fact
the blunt force trauma of the eagly ray's hit.
Over a Barrel: In
1920, 58 yr old part time daredevil, Charles Stephens, constructed what
he believed was a foolproof vessel to carry him over Niagara Falls. He
accounted for buoyancy, oxygen and impact, and made it safely over the
falls. However, Stephens was remiss in devising his exit strategy and
drowned inside the barrel.
By Their Own Invention
Flying Tailor: On 4 February 1912, Franz Reichelt tested a prototype of
a potentially revolutionary invention - his combination
overcoat/parachute. He decided to try it out from the Eiffel tower and
plunged to his death.
The Glowing Scientist: In 1903 Marie Curie
pioneered the discovery of radioactivity and even coined the term. She
went on to discover Polonium and Radium and became the first person to
win the Nobel Prize twice. However, after experimenting with radium for
over three decades, Currie succumbed to its devastating effects -
radiation poisoning - in 1934.
Hoarding To Death: Homer Lusk
Collyer and Langley Collyer were two American brothers who had became
famous because of their compulsive hoarding. Langley had built intricate
booby traps and tunnels around their home in Harlem, New York, to keep
invaders from stealing the 100 tonnes plus of rubbish they had amassed
over several decades. 1947 both were found dead in their brownstone
under the thousands of items they were attempting to protect.
Against the Clock
Time Bomb: In 1905, Jack Daniels, the founder of a Tennessee whiskey
distillery, was trying desperately to remember the combination to his
office safe. Daniels became increasingly frustrated over the morning and
eventually kicked the iron safe. This led to an injured left toe,
causing an infection, which in turn resulted in gangrene and then six
years later perotinitis, (blood poisoning) which he eventually died
from. On 10 October 1911 this incident was a subject of a marketing
poster with the line "Moral: Never go to work early."
50 Hours To
Die: In 2005, Lee Seung Seop, a 28 year old South Korean, achieved
global notoriety when he visited a nearby internet cafe and proceeded to
play StarCraft for almost fifty consecutive hours. Ultimately, from
both exhaustion and dehydration he induced heart failure and went into
cardiac arrest. He died shortly thereafter at a local hospital. A friend
commented: "He was a game addict. We all knew about it. He couldn't
Frozen Fall from Jet: In 1993 two men in red
coats dropped from the undercarriage of an Air France Boeing 777 as the
plane approached Shanghai airport after a flight from Paris. One of the
men smashed through the roof of a house, leaving a large gash in the
ceiling. The two, described as Caucasians in their 30s, had apparently
suffered from frostbite, leading investigators to the conclusion that
they were airplane stowaways.
Down: On what appeared to be a clear day in Southern Florida, Mateo
Ortiz Ayala set out to sell his bibles door to door. Marian was suddenly
struck by a bolt of dry lightning, seemingly from nowhere.
Mistake: In 1945 scientist Harry K. Daghlain was working on the
Manhattan Project to develop the first atomic bomb. During one of his
experiments Daghlain accidentally dropped a brick of tungsten carbide
onto a sphere of plutonium. The two struck one another producing a
nuclear reaction resulting in the first ever “criticality” death.
Lawyer: In July of 1993 Canadian senior lawyer, Garry Hoy, ran into a
tempered glass window on the 24th floor of the Toronto Dominion Tower.
He did this to prove it was “unbreakable”. Unfortunately he crashed
through it, falling to his death in front of a room full of interns.
In a Contest
It In: Californian 28 year old Jennifer Strange entered a radio station
contest to see who could drink the most water without peeing. The prize
- a Wii console. Within 24 hours she died of water intoxication.
Contest: Standing on the 11th floor balcony of his apartment, Ameer
Jinah, an engineering student from Ottawa, calculated he would need a
running start to win a spitting contest. He underestimated his momentum,
flew over the balcony and died.
Dancing Death: In 1923 Homer
Morehouse participated in a popular dance marathon. After enduring 87
hours on his feet, Morehouse collapsed and died, placing him fifth in