Since I am on my strange kick (see Strange But True Stories), I thought I would have a post today on some rather strange and quite unusual deaths. Of course, I have no way to verify the veracity of the stories. I have gathered them haphazardly from around the internet. Make of them what you will. Some of the stories defy belief. I approach all with a huge grain of salt. I recommend you do likewise as well. So, without further delay, lets start in 210 BC...
In 210 BC, Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China, died after ingesting several pills of mercury in the belief that it would grant him eternal life.
762: Li Po (Li Bai), Chinese poet and courtier, supposedly tried to kiss the reflection of the Moon beside the boat in which he was travelling, fell overboard and drowned.
1478: George Plantagenet, Duke of Clarence, was executed by drowning in a barrel of Malmsey wine at his own request.
1518: In the Dancing Plague of 1518 a woman (and eventually a league of 400 people) uncontrollably danced for a month causing dozens of participants to die of stroke and exhaustion. The reason for this occurrence is still unclear.
1794: John Kendrick, an American sea captain and explorer, was killed in the Hawaiian Islands when a British ship mistakenly used a loaded cannon to fire a salute to Kendrick's vessel.
1816: Gouverneur Morris, an American statesman, died after sticking a piece of whale bone through his urinary tract to relieve a blockage.
1923: Frank Hayes, a jockey at Belmont Park, New York, died of a heart attack during his first race. His mount finished first with his body still attached to the saddle, and he was only discovered to be dead when the horse's owner went to congratulate him.
1944: 74 men died when the US Submarine Tang (SS-306) accidentally torpedoed itself during a combat patrol off the coast of Taiwan.
1955: Margo Jones, theater director, was killed by exposure to carbon tetrachloride fumes from her newly cleaned carpet.
1960: In the Nedelin catastrophe, more than 100 Soviet rocket technicians and officials died when a switch was accidentally turned on, causing the second stage engines of a rocket to ignite, directly above the fully fueled first stage.
1979: Robert Williams, a worker at a Ford Motor Co. plant, was the first known human to be killed by a robot, after the arm of a one-ton factory robot hit him in the head.
1983: American author Tennessee Williams died when he choked on an eyedrop bottle-cap in his room at the Hotel Elysee in New York. He would routinely place the cap in his mouth, lean back, and place his eyedrops in each eye.
1993: Garry Hoy, a 38-year-old lawyer in Toronto, fell to his death on July 9, 1993, after he threw himself against a window on the 24th floor of the Toronto-Dominion Centre in an attempt to prove to a group of visitors that the glass was "unbreakable." The glass did not break, but popped out of the window frame
2004: Francis "Franky" Brohm, 23, of Marietta, Georgia was leaning out of a car window and decapitated by a telephone pole support wire. The car's intoxicated driver, John Hutcherson, 21, drove nearly 12 miles (19 km) to his home with the headless body in the passenger seat, parked the car in his driveway, then went to bed. A neighbour saw the bloody corpse still in the car and notified police. Brohm's head was later discovered at the accident scene.
Finally, in 2010: 20 crew and passengers died in a plane crash near Bandundu, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, when a crocodile, being smuggled by one of the passengers in a sports bag, freed itself and panicked the passengers who all ran towards the flightdeck. The tiny Filair L-410 Turbolet became unbalanced and crashed, despite the lack of any technical failure. One passenger and the crocodile survived.