Sunday, January 31, 2010
We’re serious. Did you know a dollar bill has hidden pictures, flecks of color, and mysterious symbols? And that’s just the beginning. What do all those seemingly random letters and Latin phrases mean, anyway?
The Basics: How much is a dollar worth?
The question seems simple, but the answer is quite complex. Since 1973, the dollar bill has had no value tied to it. You cannot trade in a dollar to the
It is also vital for the nation's citizens to agree that the bills have value. If the members of a society decided that they did not believe in the currency, it would quickly be worth no more than the paper it is printed on. For the record, each bill costs the government 6.4 cents to print.
What kind of paper are the bills made from?
Bills are made from a blend of linen and cotton, which is why they don't fall apart in the wash the way paper does. If you look closely, you can see red and blue silk fibers woven throughout the bill. The threads are thought to be an anti-counterfeit measure.
Hint: Look in the white spaces on the face of the bill for little bits of the colored thread. They look like lint but you can't scratch them off!
On the face of a dollar, what does the letter inside the circular seal mean?
The letter also corresponds to the black number that is repeated four times on the face of the bill. For example, if you have a bill from Dallas with the letter K, then the number on the bill will be 11 because K is the eleventh letter in the alphabet.
Can you find any tiny owls or spiders hidden on the front of the bill?
More than likely, the markings are nothing, just a point where the webbed design of the border varies. That won't stop some people from associating the peculiar detail with Masonic symbols, or with more practical things, like anti-counterfeit measures.
The Great Seal of the United States
The green back of the dollar bill features the two sides of The Great Seal of the United States. The founding fathers approved its design in 1782. Ben Franklin,
What does Annuit Coeptis mean?
The first of three Latin phrases on the back of the bill is translated as "God has favored our undertakings." Many founders, Franklin and
These Latin words mean "New order of the ages." Charles Thomson, a statesman involved in the design of The Great Seal of the United States, proposed the phrase to signify the beginning of what he called "the new American Era," which he said began in 1776 with the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
Why is MDCCLXXVI on the bottom of the pyramid?
The letters are Roman numerals for 1776. M is 1,000, D is 500, CC is 200, L is 50, XX is 20, VI is 6. Add the numerals on the pyramid together and you get the year 1776, when the Declaration of Independence was signed, and when the Novus Ordo Seclorum began.
Why is there an unfinished pyramid with a glowing eye?
Thomson explained the sturdy pyramid as a symbol of "strength and duration". He did not explain its unfinished state, but many believe it signified that our nation remained unfinished. The pyramid also stops at 13 steps, the number of the original colonies.
The "Eye of Providence" is a visual representation of the words Annuit Coeptis, and reinforces the founders' notion that God looked upon the endeavor of the new nation with favor. Many theorists mistakenly believe the symbolism of the eye is related to the Freemasons (a secret society whose members believed they were under the careful scrutiny of God), but the symbolism of the glowing eye is far older than any Freemason thinking. Scholars have traced versions of the symbol as far back as the ancient Egyptians.
What does E Pluribus Unum mean?
"Out of many, one." The 13 disparate colonies came together to form one nation.
Why a bald
Fun activities you and the kids can do with a dollar bill
Track your bills. Go to the website Where's George? and enter the serial number of the bill. If the bill has been in circulation long enough, you might be able to see where your bill has been as it travels from wallets to registers and back. After you enter your bills, check back later to see where they have gone.
Play dollar-bill poker. Each of you takes a dollar bill and examines the green serial numbers as if they were a hand of playing cards. Make your best poker hand and see who wins.
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Friday, January 29, 2010
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Monday, January 25, 2010
Dear Madge, For the love of God, lay off the plastic surgery. You're not a virgin anymore. Be careful, because at the rate you're going, you'll definitely end up like this. Please. Stop. Please.
xo Your Concerned Fans
I also feel like she's aged tremendously in the past few years alone. She went from this in 2008:
To this (and, FYI, this is an outtake from a recent photo shoot, so uh, is this WITH or without airbrushing?!??!?):
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Within the sublime Salt Lake City Cemetery, there is indeed a gravestone which has aroused interest and curiosity over the years, and has recently, with the advent of the internet, become the object of intrigue and fascination, amateur and oftentimes apathetic sleuthery. The stone is modest- a small, flat marker; the inscription is anything but: "VICTIM OF THE BEAST 666"
Cemetery legends abound. These stories, more often than not, especially when pertaining to specific gravestones and their inhabitants, tend to take on the attributes of the urban legend, mirroring societal fears, horror, and capitalizing on mystery; they usually have an associated thread of religious intrigue, including 'devil worship'. The legends also tend to arise from the most benign origins.
Part of the fascination with the Lilly E. Gray mystery could be due to its "legend in reverse" quality. The impetus is its blatant-ness, its in-your-face refence to satan, then an unravelling reveals "nothing". The strange lack of any story associated with Lily Gray's gravestone is its biggest mystery and also the not very festive centerpiece its own developing, unique legend. The stone's astonishing, provocative inscription begs for interpretation and meaning; where are all the suppositions? They are few, certainly. There are a couple websites that allude to the use of stone's image within a report by investigators of satanic ritual abuse hysteria. There are a few jokes in a thread about Lilly's husband perhaps being the 'beast.'
Salt Lake City is home of the massive LDS-operated Family History Library, and the world's geneaological research mecca--since the stone's erection in 1958 no one has dug deeply enough to uncover even a minimal account of Lily Gray's life and the origins of the inscription? When confronted with apparent true lunacy, evil, religious ferver, abuse, or implausible as it may be, ultimate victimhood at the hands of satan (as the stone literally implies) do we collectively turn our heads?
The hall dates from the 17th century, and has been in the hands of the Townsend family from that time. In some stories the apparition of the Brown Lady once haunted Houghton Hall, but came to Raynham with sister of Robert Wallpole, who married Viscount Townsend in 1713.
There have been a huge number of sightings of the so called Brown Lady since her death in 1726. She is believed to be Dorothy Walpole, the sister of Britain's first ever Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole of Houghton Hall.
Those who have had the unfortunate experience of meeting her ghost describe it a more than frightening, it is understood that during her life she was a well liked, charming lady. Although this is so, it is believed that it was her obsession with flamboyant attire caused a rift between herself and her husband the second Marquess Townshend, (known fondly as Turnip-Townshend as it is he who introduced the vegetable to England.
The details of the pairs relationship beyond this are sketching and in fact two very different stories are often told.
It is known that Dorothy's father was made guardian of Charles Townshend, when he was only 13 years old, so having grown up in each others company, when Dorothy was 15 and Charles 27 he fell deeply in love with her and wanted to marry her. Dorothy's father refused to give his blessing and put a stop to the whole affair, as he feared he would be accused of wanting to gain the Townshend fortune and property.
It is at this point that two versions of Dorothys life are told, and no-one is certain which is the more accurate.
The least favourable version implies that Dorothy did not share Charles' feelings towards her, but in fact found him repulsive!
However, the more romantic slant and far more interesting story claims her to have thrown herself into a life of wild parties and scandalous behaviour at a young age, and ultimately becoming the mistress of the well known, Lord Wharton.
During this time, Charles Townshend had married, but his wife sadly passed away in 1713, when he and Dorothy were united at last.
After a time the marriage became unhappy, and Charles deprived Dorothy of the care of her children who were put in hands of his mother.
Miserable without them and treated very poorly by Charles Dorothy is said to have been confined to her own quarters rooms, and within a while died at the age of 40.
Various versions of her death are quoted, including starvation, falling (or being pushed) down the grand staircase at Raynham Hall, the most popular location for the sighting of her ghost.
Lucia C Stone recorded the first reference to the ghost in 1835; the sighting took place at Christmas of the same year. Lord Charles Townsend had invited a number of guests to the hall for the Christmas festivities. Among them was a man called Colonel Loftus, who, with another guest called Hawkins, witnessed a figure in a brown dress. He also ran into the apparition on the main stairs. He described her as an aristocratic looking lady with one horrific feature: where her eyes should have been there were only empty sockets, highlighted in a face that glowed with an unearthly light. The captain drew a sketch of the apparition, and others also said that they had witnessed the ghost.
The next sighting was by a Captain Marryat (1792-1848), an author of sea novels, although no firm date is given for this encounter. In most accounts the captain has asked to stay in the haunted room because he believes that the haunting is the result of local smugglers. He is returning to his room with two companions, when they see a figure with a lantern coming towards them. They take refuge in a doorway, and the figure turns and grins at them in a "diabolical manner". The captain, who is armed, looses off a shot, which passes straight through the figure and becomes lodged in the opposite wall. Fortunately for the Captain the figure is not a guest with a sense of humour in disguise, and the apparition vanishes.
The next publicised sighting was in 1926, when Lady Townsend admitted that her son and his friend had witnessed the ghost on the stairs. They identified the figure with the portrait of the lady hanging in the haunted room.
Ten years later in 1936, the most famous event occurred in the dubios history of the haunting. Two professional photographers, Captain Provand and his assistant Indre Shira, were taking photographs of the hall for 'Country Life' magazine. The date was the 19th September, and at 4.00pm that afternoon they were photographing the Hall's main staircase. They had completed one exposure, and were preparing for another, when Shira saw a misty form ascending the stairs. He shouted to the captain that there was something on the stairs, and asked if the Captain was ready, he replied "yes" and took the cap off the lens, while Shira pressed the trigger for the flash light.
After this the captain came up from under the protective cloth, and asked what all the fuss was about. Shira explained that he had seen a shadowy, see-through figure on the stairs. When the negative was developed it showed the famous image. There were three witnesses to the negatives development, as Shira had wanted an independent observer to verify the event. He ran and got a chemist called Benjamin Jones, who managed the premises above which the development studio was located. A full account of the experience was published in Country Life magazine on the 26th of December 1936.
The photo was later examined by experts at the Country Life offices, where it was declared unlikely to have been tampered with. There have been a few detractors saying that Shira hoaxed the image by smearing grease on the lens or moving in front of the camera, but there is unlikely to be a definitive explanation for the photo. It is still held in the offices of Country Life.
There have been more recent stories suggesting the haunting has moved to a road between South and West Raynham, but this has not been verified. The spirit has not been reported at the hall since the photograph was taken.
Friday, January 22, 2010
So, apparently Mr. Smarty Pants attacked this poor guy at some fashion show and then was like "oh, my bad, I thought you were a woman." Then they hugged and laughed it up and took this photo. Okay, so no, that didn't happen, but I'm going to let you formulate your own story as to what this picture is all about. Have fun!
[Image via Fame]
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Little Girl: Dadda? Dadda? Dadda? Dadda? Dadda? Jude?
Jude: Mermaids don't exist. It simply looked like a mermaid. And mermen don't exist, either!
Sienna: What? Is that true? If it is, then who in the world did I have Thank You sex with?!
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Friday, January 15, 2010
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
One of the most intriguing tales of the discovery of ruins of a lost civilization is the story of Dr. Ray Brown. In 1970, while diving near the Bari Islands in the Bahamas, Dr. Brown claimed to have come across a pyramid "shining like a mirror" that he estimated was 120 feet tall, although he could see only the top 90 feet. The pyramid had a colored capstone and was surrounded by the ruins of other buildings. Swimming into a chamber he found a crystal held by two metallic hands. Over the crystal hung a brass rod from the center of the ceiling, at the end of which was a red multifaceted gem of some kind. Brown said he took the crystal, which allegedly has strange, mystical powers.Brown's story sounds fictitious - it's just too spectacular. But it excites the imagination and wonder about all the mysteries that could be down there - lost worlds awaiting rediscovery.
A 'lost city', that could turn out to be the fabled city of Atlantis, has been located by a Canadian scientific research team. In a press release dated Havana, 14 May 2001 Reuters of London informed the world that Soviet-born ocean engineer Paulina Zelitsky, the president of Canadian-based company Advanced Digital Communications, had detected 'a sunken city' in deep waters off the west coast of Cuba, the largest island of the Caribbean. Satellite-integrated ocean bottom positioning systems, echo sounders and high precision side-scan double-frequency sonar have detected the presence of what are being described as 'shapes' that 'resemble pyramids, roads and buildings'. Their regularity seems consistent with the idea that they represent an 'urban development' composed of 'symmetrical architecture'. Reuters reported that the deep-sea city is located on a huge land plateau lying in around 2,200 feet (700 metres) of water. Furthermore, that in Paulina's opinion the complex belongs to 'the pre-classic period' of Central American history, and was populated by 'an advanced civilization similar to the early Teotihuacán culture of Yucatán'. 'It is stunning,' she said during an interview with the Reuters representative at her office at Tarara, on the coast east of Havana. 'What we see in our high-resolution sonar images are limitless, rolling, white sand plains and, in the middle of this beautiful white sand, there are clear man-made large-size architectural designs. It looks like when you fly over an urban development in a plane and you see highways, tunnels and buildings. 'We don't know what it is, and we don't have the videotaped evidence of this yet, but we do not believe that nature is capable of producing planned symmetrical architecture, unless it is a miracle,' she added. Paulina is cautious about what lies beneath the glistening blue waters of the Yucatán Channel, admitting only that she is 'excited but reluctant to speculate until a joint investigation with the Cuban Academy of Sciences and the National Geographic Society takes place early this summer.' The discoveries were made last summer during deep-sea surveys made by Paulina and a trained scientific research team aboard the Cuban research vessel Ulises. Sonar images revealed 'an extensive series of structures' over a several-mile area in darker and lighter shades. The site is close to the edge of the underwater geological feature known as the Cuban shelf, which falls off sharply in a series of shelves which drop down to several thousand metres, and it is on one of these shelves, in around 600-700 metres of water, that the structures are to be found. The mass of rectilinear features are said to be located in the proximity of an 'extinct volcano, geological faults and a river bed'. This last fact alone shows that the land shelf, which rises to a height of around 40 metres, was once above water. 'Whenever you find a volcano, there is often a settlement associated with it,' Paul Weinzweig, Paulina's husband and a director of ADC, observed. 'I don't know the exact relationship, but it is in the same vicinity as the volcano, the fault lines and the river. They're quite close to one another.' On the matter of whether the sonar imagery really does show 'pyramids, roads and buildings', Paul stated: 'We had been looking at the images for some months, and keep a picture on the wall showing pyramids in the Yucatán, and let's just say they kept reminding us of these structures. They really do look like an urban development.' As to whether the light and dark areas of the sonar imagery appear to be three-dimensional features or not, he answered: 'There's a lot of symmetry, apart from actual shapes, and some suggestion of structure. Some American geologists have looked at them and said that the darker shadings are suggestive of metal roofing.' In order to explore the site more closely, ADC are currently planning to send down remote robot video cameras and a one-man submersible. We therefore look forward to further news of these discoveries in the coming months.
The Search for Sunken Vessels
ADC's intentions had never been to search for sunken cities. Their scientific operation to survey the deep waters off the Cuban coastline forms part of a joint venture set up between the Canadian company and the Cuban government, in particular its state partner Geomar. One of their principal aims is the location of the billions of dollars of bullion and lost treasure disgorged from sunken ships since the time of the Conquest. As Paul said: 'Cuba has the richest galleon cemetery in the world.' Over the past 500 years it is estimated that hundreds, if not thousands, of vessels must have been lost in Cuban waters due poor navigation, piracy on the high seas and the violent Caribbean storms that plague the region on a frighteningly regular basis. Visa Gold, a Toronto-based low-tech company which operates out of Havana's Marina Hemingway, claims already to have found some 7,000 objects from sunken vessels. They include jewellery, diamonds and pistols, said to have come from a brigantine called Palemon, lost off Cuba's northern coast in 1839. Visa Gold's next target is the Atocha y San Jose, a Spanish vessel. It sank in Havana Bay in January 1642 after fleeing storms at sea. The renewed interest in treasure salving in Cuban coastal waters comes in the wake of Fidel Castro's government recognising the fact that it does not have the ocean expertise or the inclination to conduct scientific operations of this nature. Its divers, who are considered to be among the best in the world, have been diving off Cuba's coast treasure hunting for decades. Yet Cuba lacks expertise and technology for deep-ocean search and science, which is why they have invited ADC to take up the challenge. Their 80-metre oceanographic reseach vessel, the Ulises, uses high-tech equipment and a highly trained scientific team to survey the ocean bottom up to a depth of several thousand metres. It was their high-skilled sonar software analysts who detected the reported underwater remains in the Yucatán Channel. 'These projects are very important in helping us rescue things from history, which contribute to our national patrimony,' said Eddy Fernandez, vice president of Geomar. 'As you know, we have financing problems. This is a very expensive activity. They give us technology and financing. We provide historical and ocean expertise'.
THE CUBA-ATLANTIS ARGUMENT
The implications of ADC's discoveries off Cuba's western coastline are far reaching and quite extraordinary. In an on-line pole, conducted by the NBC home news service MSNBC, of the 1827 people who had voted by the end of 26 May 2001, no less than 73 percent believed that the find 'could be something big: Next stop, Atlantis'. It means that already NBC are considering the possibility that the sunken city could be linked with Plato's account of the lost city of Atlantis. This is good news for me, as my book GATEWAY TO ATLANTIS, published in 2000, concluded that the most likely location of Plato's sunken empire was Cuba, the first time that this country had ever been proposed in this respect. I pointed out that the evidence contained in Plato's works the TIMAEUS and CRITIAS hinted strongly that his view of Atlantis was based on stories and rumours reaching the ancient world via Phoenician and Carthaginian who were crossing the Atlantic prior to his age. Moreover, Plato's description of Atlantis' great plain, said to have been 3000 by 2000 stadia (552 by 368 kilometres) in size, matches very well Cuba's great western plain. Before the rapid rise in sea-level following the end of the last Ice Age this stretched southwards across the Bay of Batabanó to the mysterious Isle of Youth and was originally 540 by 160 kilometres in size. Although I speculated in the book - which has now been published in the USA, Italy, Holland, Germany and Portugal - that the Atlantean city might await discovery beneath the shallow waters of the Bay of Batabanó, news that a sunken city may now have been detected in the Yucatán Channel, between Cuba and the Yucatán peninsular, is exciting news. Incidentally, ADC have plans to explore the Bay of Batabanó during the next year, so it should be interesting to see what if anything they find here.
The Search for the Mother Lode
In September 1972 American oceanic explorer J. Manson Valentine, flying over the Bahamas in a light aircraft with and his associate Jim Richardson, noticed a mass of rectilinear and curvilinear features in shallow waters on the south-western edge of the former Bahaman landmass (now the Great Bahama Bank). Valentine referred to this mass of possible archaeological features as 'the mother lode'. They faced out across the Old Bahama Channel, like some kind of ancient port serving the Cuban mainland. As early as the 1950s light-aircraft pilots reported seeing what they described as underwater 'stonework' which was 'well within Cuban waters'. Similar sightings 'north of Cuba' of an alleged 'submerged building complex covering over ten acres' might even have convinced the Cuban government that a veritable city awaited discovery in its vigorously defended waters. There are, for instance, unconfirmed reports that this 'building complex' was explored with the assistance of Soviet submarines based in Cuba during the 1960s. Strange then that these recent discoveries of a sunken city in Cuban waters are being conducted by a Russian-born Canadian oceanographer. Among those who felt they had glimpsed the remains of a lost citadel in Cuban waters was Leicester Hemingway, brother of the writer Ernest Hemingway. During a flight into the country, Leicester noticed, beyond its northern coast, 'an expanse of stone ruins, several acres in area and apparently white, as if they were marble'. The exact location of these underwater features remains unclear. Only time will tell whether the discoveries made by Paulina Zelitsky and ADC do constitute firm evidence of Plato's Atlantis, for if they do then it will fix, once and for all, its geographical location in the Bahamas and Caribbean, and not anywhere else in the world. However, the location of a lost city on a huge land plateau lying at a depth of around 600-700 metres poses new problems for the Atlantis debate. Plato wrote that his Atlantic island empire was destroyed by 'earthquakes and floods' in 'one terrible day and night', post-8570 BC in the TIMAEUS and around 9421 BC in the CRITIAS. This time-frame corresponds with the cessation of the last Ice Age, when we know that the sea-levels began to rise fairly rapidly as the ice fields which had covered vast areas of North America and Europe for tens of thousands of years began to disappear. In GATEWAY TO ATLANTIS I proposed that the mechanism behind Atlantis' destruction was a comet impact which devastated the eastern Atlantic coast of America, causing literally 500,000 elliptical craters, known today as the Carolina Bays, sometime around 8500 BC (+/- 500 years). Fragments of the comet falling in the Western Atlantic basin, north of the Bahamas, would have created tsunami tidal-waves perhaps hundreds of metres high. These would have drowned, temporarily at least, large parts of the Bahamas and Caribbean, as well as many low-lying regions of the eastern United States. Myths and legends told by the indigenous peoples of the Bahaman and Caribbean archipelagos, when the Spanish first reached the New World, spoke of just such a cataclysm. They said that the waters suddenly rushed in and drowned the great landmass, breaking it up into the individual islands seen today. Although a fragmentation of the former landmasses of the Bahamas and Caribbean in the manner indicated could not have been caused by tsunamis alone, the gradual rise in the sea-level which followed this cataclysmic event would have drowned, more permanently this time, all low-lying regions, creating the archipelagos we see today. Yet in the thousands of years which it took for the ice fields to melt in full, the sea-level rose only 300 metres (some estimates place it as much as 400 metres). If the 'city' does lie in 600-700 metres of water, we will need to propose a suitable geological mechanism in order to justify its submergence to this depth post 9000 BC. Either that, or we will have to define a geological time-frame in which the land plateau, with its volcano, fault lines and river was above sea-level. Paulina's statement that the 'city' might belong to 'the pre-classic period' of Mesoamerican history, and was populated 'by an advanced civilisation similar to the early Teotihuacán culture of Yucatán', is very difficult to equate with the discovery. The Teotihuacán culture, which thrived in Central Mexico from around 400 BC through until around AD 500, remains an enigma to archaeologists. Its origin is unclear. What we do know is that legends once told by the Totonac peoples of eastern Mexico spoke of the founders of its sacred city of Teotihuacán, with its mighty Pyramids of the Sun and Moon, as having arrived on the Gulf coast from an island homeland which lay beyond the sea. Here was to be found Chicomoztoc, the Seven Caves, where the first humans emerged out of the darkness at the beginning of time. For many reasons, not least of all the appearance of sea-shells of a purely Caribbean nature carved on the walls of the Temple of Quetzalcoatl at Teotihuacán, the Teotihuacán culture saw their ancestral homeland as connected in some way with the Caribbean. Moreover, in GATEWAY TO ATLANTIS I identified the original Seven Caves complex as the Punta del Esté caves on Cuba's Isle of Youth, one of which, Ceuva # 1, has been described as a veritable Sistine Chapel of the prehistoric world. Many thousands of years ago unknown artists adorned its walls and ceilings with abstract petroglyphs of a blatantly celestial nature. Yet even so, any sunken city lying off the northern coast of Cuba, in 600-700 metres of water, must antedate the Teotihuacán culture by many thousands of years. Curiously, Pauline Zelitsky visited Ceuva # 1 at the Punta del Esté complex during the summer of 2000, shortly before she made her dramatic discovery of the underwater 'city'. There is something magical about this place. It assaults the senses and inspires thoughts regarding the origins of Cuba's indigenous peoples and their apparent knowledge of the cataclysm which devastated the region so many thousands of years ago. If Paulina Zelitsky and her oceanographic colleagues are right in their belief that 'pyramids, roads and buildings' do lie off Cuba's western coastline, then it is clear that the prehistory of the Caribbean, and its influence on the rise of Mesoamerican civilisation, will have to be revised dramatically. Moreover, it could well be that at long last the mystery of Atlantis, mankind's greatest historical enigma, is about to unfold in a most spectacular fashion. Sources: 'Looking for lost riches in Cuba's seas: Underwater surveyors say they may have found sunken city', Reuters report dated Havana, 14 May, 2001, Collins, Andrew, GATEWAY TO ATLANTIS, Headline, London, 2000; Carroll & Graf, USA, 2000.
Monday, January 11, 2010
This is what Miley Cyrus chose to wear out and about this past weekend, running errands, doing some shopping, and throwing her hoochie coochie out to anyone who passed by. Yes, the shot from the front is much more appalling. Her jeans are actually crotchless.
[Image via FlyNet]
I love it when celebrities get snapped making ridiculous faces or poses and this definitely ranks up there with the likes of JLo and Mariah. Such a diva pose. However, just a bit too much shimmer on her face and neck... she looks a bit iridescent. Apparently it's pretty nice being Blake Lively with her perfect boobies and perfect hair and Gossip Girl gig.
[Image via Splash News]
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
This article provides a list of unusual deaths – unique, or extremely rare circumstances recorded throughout history. The list also includes less rare, but still unusual, deaths of prominent people.
430 BC: Empedocles, Pre-Socratic philosopher, secretly jumped into an active volcano (Mt. Etna). According to Diogenes Laërtius, this was to convince the people of his time that he had been taken up by the gods on Olympus.
401 BC: Mithridates, condemned for the murder of Cyrus the Younger, was executed by scaphism, surviving the insect torture 17 days.
272 BC: Pyrrhus of Epirus, the conqueror and source of the term pyrrhic victory, according to Plutarch died while fighting an urban battle in Argos when an old woman threw a roof tile at him, stunning him and allowing an Argive soldier to kill him.
270 BC: Philitas of Cos, Greek intellectual, is said by Athenaeus of Naucratis to have studied arguments and erroneous word-usage so intensely that he wasted away and starved to death. Alan Cameron speculates that Philitas died from a wasting disease which his contemporaries joked was caused by his pedantry.
207 BC: Chrysippus, a Greek stoic philosopher, is believed to have died of laughter after watching his drunk donkey attempt to eat figs.
162 BC: Eleazar Maccabeus was crushed to death at the Battle of Beth-zechariah by a War elephant that he believed to be carrying Seleucid King Antiochus V; charging in to battle, Eleazar rushed underneath the elephant and thrust a spear into its belly, whereupon it fell dead on top of him.
53 BC: The Roman general and consul Marcus Licinius Crassus was reported as having been put to death by the Parthians after losing the battle of Carrhae, by being forced to drink a goblet of molten gold, symbolic of his great wealth. A much more likely scenario is that in which, following his death, the Parthian executioner(s) poured said 'molten gold' into his mouth as a message/symbol representing the perils of his 'great thirst for wealth.'
4 BC: Herod the Great reportedly suffered from fever, intense rashes, colon pains, foot drop, inflammation of the abdomen, a putrefaction of his genitals that produced worms, convulsions, and difficulty breathing before he finally gave up. However, gruesome deaths have often been attributed by various authors to disliked rulers, including several Roman emperors.
64 - 67: Saint Peter was executed by the Romans. According to tradition, he asked not to be crucified in the normal way, but was instead executed on an inverted cross. According to Origen of Alexandria, he said he was not worthy to be crucified in the same way as Jesus was.
98: Saint Antipas, Bishop of Pergamum, was roasted to death in a brazen bull during the persecutions of Emperor Domitian. Saint Eustace, as well as his wife and children supposedly suffered a similar fate under Hadrian. According to legend, the creator of the brazen bull, Perillos of Athens, was the first to be put into the brazen bull when he presented his invention to Phalaris, Tyrant of Agrigentum, but he was taken out before he died to be thrown from a hill where he met his ultimate demise.
260: Roman emperor Valerian, after being defeated in battle and captured by the Persians, was supposedly used as a footstool by the King Shapur I. After a long period of punishment and humiliation, Shapur is said to have had the emperor skinned alive and his skin stuffed with straw or dung and preserved as a trophy. However this story is generally considered to be unreliable as it was likely motivated by the author's will to establish that the persecutors of the Christians as having died fitting deaths; and by other Near East Roman authors' desire to establish the Persians as barbarians.
415: Hypatia of Alexandria, Greek mathematician and Pagan philosopher, was murdered by a Christian mob by having her skin ripped off with sharp sea-shells; what remained of her was burned. (Various types of shells have been named: clams, oysters, abalones, etc. Other sources claim tiles or pottery-shards were used.)
- Middle Ages
892: Sigurd the Mighty of Orkney strapped the head of a defeated foe to his horse's saddle, the tooth of which grazed against him as he rode, causing the infection that killed him.
1063: Béla I of Hungary died when his throne's canopy collapsed.
1135: Henry I of England is said to have died of food poisoning after gorging on lampreys, a favorite meal.
1219: According to legend, Inalchuk, the Muslim governor of the Central Asian town of Otrar, was captured and killed by the invading Mongols, who poured molten silver in his eyes, ears, and throat.
1258: Al-Musta'sim was killed during the Mongol invasion of the Abbasid Caliphate. Hulagu Khan, not wanting to spill royal blood, wrapped him in a rug and had him trampled to death by his horses.
1322: Humphrey de Bohun, 4th Earl of Hereford was fatally speared through the anus by a pikeman hiding under the bridge during the Battle of Boroughbridge.
1327: Edward II of England, after being deposed and imprisoned by his Queen consort Isabella and her lover Roger Mortimer, was rumored to have been murdered by having a red-hot iron inserted into his anus.
1410: Martin I of Aragon died from a lethal combination of indigestion and uncontrollable laughing.
1478: George Plantagenet, Duke of Clarence, was executed by drowning in a barrel of Malmsey wine at his own request.
1514: György Dózsa, Székely man-at-arms and peasants' revolt leader in Hungary, was condemned to sit on a red-hot iron throne with a red-hot iron crown on his head and a red-hot sceptre in his hand (mocking at his ambition to be king), by Hungarian landed nobility in Transylvania. While Dózsa was still alive, he was set upon and his partially roasted body was eaten by six of his fellow rebels, who had been starved for a week beforehand.
1556: Humayun, a Mughal emperor, was descending from the roof of his library after observing Venus, when he heard the adhan, or call to prayer. Humayun's practice was to bow his knee when he heard the azaan, and when he did his foot caught the folds of his garment, causing him to fall down several flights. He died 3 days later of the injuries.
1599: Nanda Bayin, a Burman king, reportedly laughed to death when informed, by a visiting Italian merchant, that "Venice was a free state without a king."
1601: Tycho Brahe, Danish astronomer, according to legend, died of complications resulting from a strained bladder at a banquet. It would have been extremely bad etiquette to leave the table before the meal was finished, so he stayed until he became fatally ill. This version of events has since been brought into question as other causes of death (murder by Johannes Kepler, suicide, and mercury poisoning among others) have come to the fore.
1649: Sir Arthur Aston, Royalist commander of the garrison during the Siege of Drogheda, was beaten to death with his own wooden leg, which the Parliamentarian soldiers thought concealed golden coins.
1660: Thomas Urquhart, Scottish aristocrat, polymath and first translator of Rabelais into English, is said to have died laughing upon hearing that Charles II had taken the throne.
1671: François Vatel, chef to Louis XIV, committed suicide because his seafood order was late and he could not stand the shame of a postponed meal. His body was discovered by an aide, sent to tell him of the arrival of the fish. The authenticity of this story is quite questionable.
1673: Molière, the French actor and playwright, died after being seized by a violent coughing fit, while playing the title role in his play Le Malade imaginaire (The Hypochondriac).
1687: Jean-Baptiste Lully, composer, died of a gangrenous abscess after piercing his foot with a staff while he was vigorously conducting a Te Deum, as it was customary at that time to conduct by banging a staff on the floor. The performance was to celebrate the king's recovery from an illness.
- 18th century
1751: Julien Offray de La Mettrie, the author of L'Homme machine, a major materialist and sensualist philosopher died of overeating at a feast given in his honor. His philosophical adversaries suggested that by doing so, he had contradicted his theoretical doctrine with the effect of his practical actions.
1753: Professor Georg Wilhelm Richmann, of Saint Petersburg, Russia, became the first recorded person to be killed while performing electrical experiments when he was struck and killed by a globe of ball lightning.
1771: Adolf Frederick, king of Sweden, died of digestion problems on 12 February 1771 after having consumed a meal consisting of lobster, caviar, sauerkraut, smoked herring and champagne, topped off with 14 servings of his favourite dessert: semla served in a bowl of hot milk. He is thus remembered by Swedish schoolchildren as "the king who ate himself to death."
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.
- 19th century
1814: London Beer Flood, 9 people were killed when 323,000 imperial gallons (1 468 000 L) of beer in the Meux and Company Brewery burst out of their vats and gushed into the streets.
1830: William Huskisson, statesman and financier, was crushed to death by a locomotive (Stephenson's Rocket), at the public opening of the world's first mechanically powered passenger railway.
1834: David Douglas, Scottish botanist, fell into a pit trap accompanied by a bull. He was gored and possibly crushed.
1862: Jim Creighton, baseball player, died when he swung a bat too hard and ruptured his bladder.
1868: Matthew Vassar, brewer and founder of Vassar College, died in mid-speech while delivering his farewell address to the college board of trustees.
1871: Clement Vallandigham, U.S. Congressman and political opponent of Abraham Lincoln, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound suffered in court while representing the defendant in a murder case. Demonstrating how the murder victim could have inadvertently shot himself, the gun, which Vallandigham believed to be unloaded, discharged and mortally wounded him. His demonstration was successful, and the defendant was acquitted.
1897: Salomon August Andrée, Knut Fraenkel and Nils Strindberg died in October 1897 at Kvitøya (White Island) (located to the northeast of Svalbard) where they had arrived after a failed attempt to reach the North Pole in a balloon. Their deaths might have been due to exhaustion, but also could have been due to eating insufficiently cooked polar bear meat causing trichinosis, or carbon monoxide poisoning from the miniature kerosene stove when snow made it difficult to air out the fumes.
- 20th century
1912: Franz Reichelt, tailor, fell to his death off the first deck of the Eiffel Tower while testing his invention, the coat parachute. It was his first ever attempt with the parachute and he had told the authorities in advance he would test it first with a dummy.
1916: Grigori Rasputin, Russian mystic, was reportedly poisoned while dining with a political enemy, shot in the head, shot three more times, bludgeoned, and then thrown into a frozen river. When his body washed ashore, an autopsy showed the cause of death to be hypothermia. However, there is now some doubt about the credibility of this account. Another account said that he was poisoned, shot, and stabbed, at which time he got up and ran off - and was later found to have drowned in a frozen river.
1918: Gustav Kobbé, writer and musicologist, was killed when the sailboat he was on was struck by a landing seaplane off Long Island, N.Y.
1919: In the Boston Molasses Disaster, 21 people were killed and 150 were injured when a tank containing as much as 2,300,000 US gal (8 700 000 L) of molasses exploded, sending a wave traveling at approximately 35 mph (56 km/h) through part of Boston, Massachusetts, United States. Most fatalities and injuries were caused by the concussive force of the blast or by asphyxiation as victims failed to swim free of the viscous molasses and drowned.
1920: Dan Andersson, a Swedish author, died of cyanide poisoning while staying at Hotel Hellman in Stockholm, because the hotel staff had failed to clear the room after using hydrogen cyanide against bedbugs.
1923: Martha Mansfield, an American film actress, died after sustaining severe burns on the set of the film The Warrens of Virginia after a smoker's match, tossed by a cast member, ignited her Civil War costume of hoopskirts and ruffles.
1923: George Herbert, 5th Earl of Carnarvon, became the first to die from the alleged King Tut's Curse after a mosquito bite on his face became seriously infected with erysipelas, which he cut while shaving, leading to blood poisoning and eventually pneumonia.
1925: Zishe (Siegmund) Breitbart, a circus strongman and Jewish folklore hero, died as a result of a demonstration in which he drove a spike through five one-inch (2.54 cm) thick oak boards using only his bare hands. He accidentally pierced his knee. The spike was rusted and caused an infection which led to fatal blood poisoning. He was the subject of the Werner Herzog film, Invincible.
1926: Harry Houdini, a famous American escape artist, was punched in the stomach by an amateur boxer who had heard that Houdini could withstand any blow to his body above his waist, excluding his head. Though this had been done with Houdini's permission, complications from this injury caused him to die days later, on October 31, 1926.
1927: J.G. Parry-Thomas, a Welsh racing driver, was decapitated by his car's drive chain which, under stress, snapped and whipped into the cockpit. He was attempting to break his own land speed record which he had set the previous year. Despite being killed in the attempt, he succeeded in setting a new record of 171 mph (275 km/h).
1927: Isadora Duncan, dancer, died of a broken neck when one of the long scarves she was known for caught on the wheel of a car in which she was a passenger.
1928: Alexander Bogdanov, a Russian physician, died following one of his experiments, in which the blood of a student suffering from malaria and tuberculosis, L. I. Koldomasov, was given to him in a transfusion.
1930: William Kogut, an inmate on death row at San Quentin, decided to commit suicide using only the rudimentary tools available to him in his prison cell. He began by tearing up several packs of playing cards, giving particular focus to obtaining pieces with red ink (at the time, the ink in red playing cards contained nitrocellulose, which is flammable and when wet can create an explosive mixture), and stuffed them into a pipe. He then plugged one end of the pipe firmly with a broom handle and poured water into the other end to soak the card pieces. He then placed the pipe on a kerosene heater next to his bed and placed the open end firmly against his head. The heater turned the water into steam and eventually enough pressure built up inside the pipe so that when it burst, the explosion shot out bits of playing cards with enough force to penetrate Kogut's skull, killing him. In a suicide note, Kogut stated that he and he alone should punish himself for his crimes.
1932: Eben Byers died of radiation poisoning after having consumed large quantities of a popular patent medicine containing radium.
1933: Michael Malloy, a homeless man, was murdered by gassing after surviving multiple poisonings, intentional exposure, and being struck by a car. Malloy was murdered by five men in a plot to collect on life insurance policies they had purchased.
1935: Baseball player Len Koenecke was bludgeoned to death with a fire extinguisher by the crew of an aircraft he had chartered, after provoking a fight with the pilot while the plane was in the air.
1939: Finnish actress Sirkka Sari died when she fell down a chimney. She was at a cast party celebrating the completion of a movie, her third and last. She mistook a chimney for a balcony and fell into a heating boiler, dying instantly.
1941: Sherwood Anderson, writer, swallowed a toothpick at a party and then died of peritonitis.
1943: Critic Alexander Woollcott suffered a fatal heart attack during an on-air discussion about Adolf Hitler.
1944: Inventor and chemist Thomas Midgley, Jr. accidentally strangled himself with the cord of a pulley-operated mechanical bed of his own design.
1945: Scientist Harry K. Daghlian, Jr. accidentally dropped a brick of tungsten carbide onto a sphere of plutonium while working on the Manhattan Project. This caused the plutonium to come to criticality; Daghlian died of radiation poisoning, becoming the first person to die in a criticality accident.
1946: Louis Slotin, chemist and physicist, died of radiation poisoning after being exposed to lethal amounts of ionizing radiation. He died in a very similar way as Harry K. Daghlian, Jr., from dropping a block of material on the same sphere of plutonium by accident. The sphere of plutonium was nicknamed the Demon core.
1947: The Collyer brothers, extreme cases of compulsive hoarders, were found dead in their home in New York. The younger brother, Langley, died by falling victim to a booby trap he had set up, causing a mountain of objects, books, and newspapers to fall on him crushing him to death. His blind brother, Homer, who had depended on Langley for care, died of starvation some days later. Their bodies were recovered after massive efforts in removing many tons of debris from their home.
1955: Margo Jones, theater director, was killed by exposure to carbon tetrachloride fumes from her newly cleaned carpet.
1958: Gareth Jones, actor, collapsed and died while in make-up between scenes of a live television play, Underground, at the studios of Associated British Corporation in Manchester. Director Ted Kotcheff continued the play to its conclusion, improvising around Jones' absence.
1959: In the Dyatlov Pass incident, nine ski hikers in the Ural Mountains abandoned their camp in the middle of the night in apparent terror, some clad only in their underwear despite sub-zero weather. Six of the hikers died of hypothermia and three by unexplained fatal injuries. Though the corpses showed no signs of struggle, one victim had a fatal skull fracture, two had major chest fractures (comparable in force to a car accident), and one was missing her tongue. The victims' clothing also contained high levels of radiation. Soviet investigators determined only that "a compelling unknown force" had caused the deaths, barring entry to the area for years thereafter.
1960: In the Nedelin disaster, over 100 Soviet rocket technicians and officials died when a switch was turned on unintentionally igniting the rocket. The dead included Red Army Marshal Nedelin who was seated in a deck chair just 40 meters away overseeing launch preparations. The events were filmed by automatic cameras.
1960: Inejiro Asanuma, 61, the head of the Japanese Socialist Party, was stabbed to death with a wakizashi sword by extreme rightist Otoya Yamaguchi during a televised political rally. Yamaguchi was immediately arrested and later committed suicide.
1961: Valentin Bondarenko, a Soviet cosmonaut trainee, died from shock after suffering third-degree burns over much of his body due to a flash fire in the pure oxygen environment of a training simulator. This incident was not revealed outside of the Soviet Union until the 1980s.
1963: Thích Quảng Đức, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, sat down in the middle of a busy intersection in Saigon, covered himself in gasoline, and lit himself on fire, burning himself to death. Đức was protesting President Ngô Đình Diệm's administration for oppressing the Buddhist religion.
1966: Worth Bingham, son of Barry Bingham, Sr., died when a surfboard, lying atop the back of his convertible, hit a parked car, swung around, and broke his neck.
1967: Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger B. Chaffee, NASA astronauts, died when a flash fire began in their pure oxygen environment during a training exercise inside the unlaunched Apollo 1 spacecraft. The spacecraft's escape hatch could not be opened during the fire because it was designed to seal shut under pressure.
1967: Cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov became the first person to die during a space mission after the parachute of his capsule failed to deploy following re-entry.
1970: Yukio Mishima, award-winning Japanese playwright and novelist, committed seppuku after failing to inspire a coup d'état at the headquarters of the Japanese Self-Defence Forces in Tokyo.
1971: Jerome Irving Rodale, an American pioneer of organic farming, died of a heart attack while being interviewed on The Dick Cavett Show. According to urban legend, when he appeared to fall asleep, Cavett quipped "Are we boring you, Mr. Rodale?". Cavett says this is incorrect; the initial response was fellow guest Pete Hamill saying in a low voice to Cavett, "This looks bad." The show was never broadcast.
1972: Leslie Harvey, guitarist of Stone the Crows, was electrocuted on stage by a live microphone.
1972: Luigi Greco, the Mafia boss of the Sicilian faction of Montreal, died from an incident occurring while renovating a family pizzeria. He used a mop dipped in gasoline and a metal scraper to remove the filth on the floor. However, the combination provoked an explosion and flash fire, and Greco died four days later at the Sacré-Cœur Hospital.
1973: Bruce Lee, an American martial artist and actor, is thought to have died by a severe allergic reaction to Equagesic. His brain had swollen about 13%. His autopsy was written as "death by misadventure."
1974: Christine Chubbuck, an American television news reporter, committed suicide during a live broadcast on 15 July. At 9:38 AM, 8 minutes into her talk show, on WXLT-TV in Sarasota, Florida, she drew out a revolver and shot herself in the head.
1974: Deborah Gail Stone, 18, an employee at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, was crushed to death between a moving wall and a stationary wall inside of the revolving America Sings attraction.
1975: Physicist and businessman Kip Siegel died of a stroke while testifying before a US Congressional subcommittee.
1975: Bandō Mitsugorō VIII, a Japanese kabuki actor, died of severe poisoning when he ate four fugu livers (also known as pufferfish). The liver is considered one of the most poisonous parts of the fish, but Mitsugorō claimed to be immune to the poison. The fugu chef felt he could not refuse Mitsugorō and lost his license as a result.
1976: Keith Relf, former singer for British rhythm and blues band The Yardbirds, died while practicing his electric guitar. He was electrocuted because the amplifier was not properly grounded.
1977: Tom Pryce (Formula One driver) and Jansen Van Vuuren (a track marshal) both died at the 1977 South African Grand Prix after Van Vuuren ran across the track beyond a blind brow to attend to another car which had caught fire and was struck by Pryce's car at approximately 170 mph (274 km/h). Pryce was struck in the face by the marshal's fire extinguisher and was killed instantly.
1978: Georgi Markov, a Bulgarian dissident, was assassinated in London with a specially modified umbrella that fired a metal pellet with a small cavity full of ricin into his calf.
1978: Janet Parker, a British medical photographer, died of smallpox in 1978, ten months after the disease was eradicated in the wild, when a researcher at the laboratory Parker worked at accidentally released some virus into the air of the building. She is believed to be the last smallpox fatality in history.
1978: Claude François, a French pop singer, was electrocuted when he tried to change a light bulb while standing in his bathtub that was full of water at the time.
1978: Kurt Gödel, the Austrian/American mathematician, died of starvation when his wife was hospitalized. Gödel suffered from extreme paranoia and refused to eat food prepared by anyone else. He was 65 pounds (approx. 30 kg) when he died. His death certificate reported that he died of "malnutrition and inanition caused by personality disturbance" in Princeton Hospital on January 14, 1978.
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.
1979: John Bowen, a 20-year-old of Nashua, New Hampshire was attending a halftime show at a football game at Shea Stadium on December 9, 1979. During an event which featured novelty and custom-made remote control flying machines, a 40-pound model plane shaped like a lawnmower accidentally dived into the stands with its sharp blades striking Bowen and another spectator and causing severe head injuries. While the other spectator survived, Bowen died in hospital four days later.
1980: James Frederick Polley, a 23-year-old, from Raytown, Missouri died while riding the Fire In The Hole ride in Branson, Missouri, at Silver Dollar City theme park. The train of cars he was riding in was mistakenly thought to be empty and inadvertently had been switched to enter the maintenance and storage area of the ride. The door to the maintenance area had a low hanging bay door, and his head got caught between the door and the train. The other riders in the train heard shouts from workers to duck and they avoided serious injury, however James Polley did not heed their warning in time.
1981: David Allen Kirwan a 24-year-old attempted to rescue a friend's dog after it fell into Celestine Pool, a hot spring at Yellowstone National Park on July 20, 1981. Despite numerous shouts from bystanders, Kirwan dove headfirst into the pool but was unable to save the dog. After managing to swim back to shore, he was helped out of pool, where his injuries became apparent - the exposure to the 200oF (93oC) water of the hot spring resulted in third-degree burns to 100% of his body and had also blinded him. After being led to the sidewalk, Kirwan reportedly stated: "That was stupid. How bad am I? That was a stupid thing I did." When one of Kirwan's shoes was removed, all of the skin came off with it. He died the next day at a Salt Lake City hospital. Although there have been at least 19 deaths due to scalding at Yellowstone, this was the only known case where someone died after deliberately jumping into one of the park's hot springs.
1981: American photographer Carl McCunn paid a bush pilot to drop him at a remote lake near the Coleen River in Alaska in March to photograph wildlife, but failed to confirm arrangements for the pilot to pick him up again in August. Rather than starve, McCunn shot himself in the head. His body was found in February 1982.
1981: Boris Sagal, a film director, died while shooting the TV miniseries World War III when he walked into the tail rotor blade of a helicopter and was decapitated.
1981: Jeff Dailey, a 19-year-old gamer, became the first known person to die while playing video games. After achieving a score of 16,660 in the arcade game Berzerk, he succumbed to a massive heart attack. A year later, an 18-year-old gamer died after achieving high scores in the same game.
1981: Kenji Urada, a Japanese factory worker was killed by a malfunctioning robot he was working on at a Kawasaki plant in Japan. The robot's arm pushed him into a grinding machine, killing him.
1982: Vic Morrow, actor, was decapitated by a helicopter blade during filming of Twilight Zone: The Movie. Two child actors, Myca Dinh Le (who was decapitated) and Renee Shin-Yi Chen (who was crushed), also died.
1982: Vladimir Smirnov, an Olympic champion fencer, died of brain damage nine days after his opponent's foil snapped during a match, penetrated his mask, pierced his eyeball and entered his brain.
1982: David Grundman was killed near Lake Pleasant, Arizona while shooting at cacti for fun with his shotgun. After firing several shots at a 26ft (8m) tall Saguaro Cactus from extremely close range, a 4ft limb of the Cactus that was weakened by the gunfire detached and fell on him, crushing him.
1983: Richard Wertheim, a linesman at the boys' singles finals in the US open, was struck by a ball hit by a young Stefan Edberg. He toppled backwards off his chair fracturing his skull as he hit the ground.
1983: Four divers and a tender were killed on the Byford Dolphin semi-submersible, when a decompression chamber explosively decompressed from 9 atm to 1 atm in a fraction of a second. The diver nearest the chamber opening literally exploded just before his remains were ejected through a 24 in (60 cm) opening. The other divers' remains showed signs of boiled blood, unusually strong rigor mortis, large amounts of gas in the blood vessels, and scattered hemorrhages in the soft tissues.
1983: Sergei Chalibashvili, a professional diver, died after a diving accident during the 1983 Summer Universiade in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. When he attempted a three-and-a-half reverse somersault in the tuck position from the ten meter platform, he smashed his head on the platform and was knocked unconscious. He died after being in a coma for a week.
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. Williams' lack of gag response may have been due to the effects of drugs and alcohol abuse, and it is highly likely that Williams was high when he cap under up in his throat as drugs and alcohol were found in his room and inside his body. There is speculation that he committed suicide or was murdered (even his brother Walter Dakin alleged this), but nothing has been conclusively proven.
1983: George Schwartz, a factory owner in Providence, Rhode Island, was injured in a factory explosion, which toppled every wall except one. After being treated for wounds, he went back to the factory to search for files. Unfortunately, the final wall toppled and crushed him.
1984:Tommy Cooper, British slapstick comedian died of a heart attack while performing at Her Majesty's Theatre in London, live on national television. The audience continued to laugh as he lay collapsed on the stage, thinking it was part of the act. Following the principle that the show must go on, his body was left on the stage, hastily curtained off, and while attempts were made to revive him the other actors continued the act on the small part of the set which remained.
1984: Jon-Erik Hexum, an American television actor, died after he shot himself in the head with a prop gun during a break in filming, playing Russian Roulette using a revolver loaded with a single blank cartridge. Hexum apparently was not informed that blanks have gunpowder that explodes into gas with enough force to cause severe injury or death if the weapon is fired as contact shot. This is the principle that gives a powerhead its lethality.
1986: Over 1,700 people were killed almost instantly near Lake Nyos in Cameroon when a mass of approximately 100 million cubic metres of carbon dioxide that had collected at the bottom of the lake due to seepage from geothermal sources was suddenly released on August 21, 1986. The gas cloud immediately settled (carbon dioxide is heavier than air) and covered an area of up to 12 miles (20 km) from the lake, killing all oxygen-breathing life almost instantly - although the nearby vegetation, which consumes carbon dioxide and releases oxygen, flourished afterwards.
1987: Budd Dwyer, the State Treasurer of Pennsylvania, committed suicide during a televised press conference in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Facing a potential 55-year jail sentence for alleged involvement in a conspiracy, Dwyer shot himself in the mouth with a revolver.
1987: Franco Brun, a 22-year-old prisoner at Metro East Detention Center, died after attempting to swallow and choking on a 6.35 cm. (2.5 inches) by 10 cm. (4 inches) by 1.27 centimetres (half an inch) Gideon's Bible. Brun reportedly had mental deficiencies and as such, the coroner did not label his death as suicide, believing that "the swallowing of the Bible to him was some form of symbolism or allegory as though he was trying to purge himself of the devil by consuming religion". He was only serving a 15-day sentence.
1988: C.B. Lansing on Aloha Airlines Flight 243, flight attendant, was sucked out of an airliner when the bulkhead tore off in mid flight.
1989: Ole Bentzen, a Danish audiologist, died of laughter while watching the movie A Fish Called Wanda. His heart rate went between 250-500 beats per minute and eventually succumbed to cardiac arrest.1990, David Zaback tried to rob H&J Leather and Firearms Ltd, a gunshop, and was gunned down by an off-duty Seattle police officer and the clerk of the shop. He had to walk around a marked police car to enter.
1991: Edward Juchniewicz, a 76-year-old man, was killed when the ambulance stretcher he was strapped to rolled down a grade and overturned. The ambulance attendants, while speaking to a doctor's staff, had left the stretcher unattended. Juchniewicz suffered a head injury and died a short time later.1992: American "survivalist" Christopher McCandless died of starvation near Denali National Park after a few months trying to live off the land in the Alaskan wilderness. His life and death were researched by Jon Krakauer, who then wrote the book Into the Wild which was later turned into a movie.
1993: Actor Brandon Lee, son of Bruce Lee, was shot and killed by Michael Massee using a prop gun while filming the movie The Crow. A cartridge with only a primer and a bullet was fired in the pistol before the fatal scene; this caused a squib load, in which the primer provided enough force to push the bullet out of the cartridge and into the barrel of the revolver, where it became stuck. The malfunction went unnoticed by the crew, and the same gun was used again later to shoot the death scene. His death was not instantly recognized by the crew or other actors; they believed he was still acting.
1993: Garry Hoy, a 38-year old lawyer and a senior partner at the Holden Day Wilson Law firm in Toronto, Canada, 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 visiting Law Students that the glass was "unbreakable." His first attempt failed to damage the glass at all. On his second attempt the glass still didn't break but instead actually popped out of the window frame, and he fell over 300 feet to his death.
1993: Michael A. Shingledecker Jr. was killed almost instantly when he and a friend were struck by a pickup truck while lying flat on the yellow dividing line of a two-lane highway in Polk, Pennsylvania. They were copying a daredevil stunt from the movie The Program. Marco Birkhimer died of a similar accident while performing the same stunt in Route 206 of Bordentown, New Jersey.
1994: Gloria Ramirez was admitted to Riverside General Hospital, in Riverside, California, for complications of advanced cervical cancer. Before she died, her caregivers claimed that Remirez's body mysteriously emitted toxic fumes that made several emergency room workers very ill. She was dubbed the "toxic lady" by the media.
1995:A 39 year old man committed suicide in Canberra, Australia by shooting himself three times with a pump action shotgun. The first shot passed through his chest and went out the other side. He reloaded and shot away his throat and part of his jaw. Breathing through the wound in his throat, he again reloaded, held the gun against his chest with his hands and operated the trigger with his toes. This shot entered the thoracic cavity and demolished the heart, killing him.
1995: A 14 year old girl, Ryan Bielby, plummeted to her death while riding the rollercoaster the Timber Wolf at Kansas City's Worlds of Fun amusement park. She had unbuckled her seatbelt, maneuvered herself free from the lap bar and restraint devices, attempted to switch seats with a friend. She fell about 25 feet to her death.
1996: Sharon Lopatka, an Internet entrepreneur from Maryland, allegedly solicited a man via the Internet to torture and kill her for the purpose of sexual gratification. Her killer, Robert Fredrick Glass, was convicted of voluntary manslaughter for the homicide.
1998: Tom and Eileen Lonergan were stranded while scuba diving with a group of divers off Australia's Great Barrier Reef. The group's boat accidentally abandoned them owing to an incorrect head count taken by the dive boat crew. Their bodies were never recovered. The incident inspired the film Open Water and an episode of 20/20.
1998: Daniel V. Jones committed suicide on a freeway carpool lane near Los Angeles, California by shooting himself through the chin with a shotgun, which was accidentally televised by journalists monitoring the incident on helicopters. Jones, a former hotel maintenance worker, had killed himself partly because of his frustration over treatment by his HMO.
1998: Every player on the Basanga soccer team at a game in the Democratic Republic of the Congo between Bena Tshadi and visitors Basanga was struck by a fork bolt of lightning, killing them all instantly.
1999: Owen Hart, a Canadian-born professional wrestler for WWF, died during a pay-per-view event when performing a stunt. It was planned to have Owen come down from the rafters of the Kemper Arena on a safety harness tied to a rope to make his ring entrance. The safety latch was released and Owen dropped 78 feet (24 m), bouncing chest-first off the top rope resulting in a severed aorta, which caused his lungs to fill with blood.
2000: Airline passenger Jonathan Burton stormed the cockpit door of a Southwest Airlines flight from Las Vegas to Salt Lake City. The 19-year-old was subdued by eight other passengers with such force that he died of asphyxiation.
2001: Bernd-Jürgen Brandes from Germany was voluntarily stabbed repeatedly and then partly eaten by Armin Meiwes (who was later called the Cannibal of Rothenburg). Brandes had answered an internet advertisement by Meiwes looking for someone for this purpose. Brandes explicitly stated in his will that he wished to be killed and eaten.
2001: Gregory Biggs, a homeless man in Fort Worth, Texas, was struck by a car being driven by Chante Jawan Mallard, who had been drinking and taking drugs that night. Biggs' torso became lodged in Mallard's windshield with severe but not immediately fatal injuries. Mallard drove home and left the car in her garage with Biggs still lodged in her car's windshield. She repeatedly visited Biggs and even apologized for hitting him. Biggs died of his injuries several hours later. Chante Mallard was tried and convicted for murder in this case and received a 50-year prison sentence. The film Stuck is loosely based on this unusual death.
2001: Hungarian singer Jimmy Zámbó accidentally shot himself in the head when trying to prove that the handgun he fired earlier had no more bullets left. While he did remove the magazine, he forgot the bullet that was left in the chamber.
2001: Michael Colombini, a 6-year-old from Croton-on-Hudson, New York, was struck and killed, at Westchester Regional Medical Center, by a 6.5-pound metal oxygen tank when it was pulled into the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine while he underwent a test. Columbini began to experience breathing difficulties while in the MRI and when a technician brought a portable oxygen canister into the magnetic field it was pulled from his hands and struck the boy in the head.
2002: Brittanie Cecil, an American 13-year-old hockey fan, died two days after being struck in the head by a hockey puck shot by Espen Knutsen at a game in Columbus, Ohio.
2003: Doug McKay was killed at the Island county fair amusement park when his arm was caught as he sprayed lubricant on a Super Loop 2 circular roller coaster. The ride was in operation at the time and he was pulled 40 feet (12 m) in the air before falling and landing on a fence.
2003: Brian Douglas Wells, a pizza delivery man in Erie, Pennsylvania, was killed by a time bomb that was fastened around his neck. He was apprehended by the police after robbing a bank, and claimed he had been forced to do it by three people who had put the bomb around his neck and would kill him if he refused. The bomb later exploded, killing him. In 2007, police alleged Wells was involved in the robbery plot along with two other conspirators.
2003: Dr. Hitoshi Nikaidoh, a surgical doctor, was decapitated as he stepped on to an elevator at Christus St. Joseph Hospital in Houston, Texas on August 16, 2003. According to a witness inside the elevator, the elevator doors closed as Nikaidoh entered, trapping his head inside the elevator with the remainder of his body still outside. His body was later found at the bottom of the elevator shaft while the upper portion of his head, severed just above the lower jaw, was found in the elevator. A subsequent investigation revealed that improper electrical wiring installed by a maintenance company several days earlier had effectively bypassed all of the safeguards.
2003: Timothy Treadwell, an American environmentalist who had lived in the wilderness among bears for thirteen summers in a remote region in Alaska, and his girlfriend Amie Huguenard were killed and partially consumed by a bear. An audio recording of their deaths was captured on a video camera which had been turned on at the beginning of the incident. Werner Herzog's documentary film, Grizzly Man, discusses Treadwell and his death.
2004: Phillip Quinn, a 24-year-old of Kent, Washington was killed during an attempt to heat up a lava lamp bulb on his kitchen stove while closely observing it from only a few feet away. The heat built up pressure in the bulb until it exploded, spraying shards of glass with enough force to pierce his chest, with one shard piercing his heart, killing him. The circumstances of his death were later repeated and confirmed in a 2006 episode of the popular science television series MythBusters.
2004: Gayle Laverne Grinds, a 39-year-old woman, died after apparently living on her couch for 6 years, after which she weighed 480 pounds. The coroner listed her cause of death as "morbid obesity".
2005: Kenneth "Mr. Hands" Pinyan of Gig Harbor, Washington died of acute peritonitis after seeking out and receiving anal intercourse from a stallion, an act he had engaged in previously on numerous occasions without injury. Pinyan delayed his visit to the hospital for several hours out of reluctance to explain the circumstances of his injury to doctors. The case led to the criminalization of bestiality in Washington. His story was recounted in the award winning 2007 documentary film Zoo.
2005: Lee Seung Seop, a 28-year-old South Korean, collapsed of fatigue and died after playing the videogame Starcraft online for almost 50 consecutive hours in an Internet cafe.
2006: Erika Tomanu, a seven-year-old girl in Saitama, Japan, died when she was sucked down the intake pipe of a current pool at a water park. The grille that was meant to cover the inlet came off, yet lifeguards at the pool at the time deemed it safe enough to allow swimmers to stay in the water as they had issued a verbal warning of the situation. She was sucked head first more than 10 metres down the pipe by the powerful pump and it took rescuers more than 6 hours to remove her by digging through concrete to access the pipe.
2006: Steve Irwin, an Australian television personality and naturalist known as the Crocodile Hunter, died when his heart was impaled by a short-tail stingray barb while filming a documentary entitled "Ocean's Deadliest" in Queensland's Great Barrier Reef.
2006: Alexander Litvinenko, a former officer of the Russian State security service, and later a Russian dissident and writer, died after being poisoned with polonium-210 causing acute radiation syndrome. He is the first known case of deliberate poisoning in this manner.
2007: Jennifer Strange, a 28-year-old woman from Sacramento, died of water intoxication while trying to win a Nintendo Wii console in a KDND 107.9 "The End" radio station's "Hold Your Wee for a Wii" contest, which involved drinking large quantities of water without urinating.
2007: Humberto Hernandez, a 24-year-old Oakland, California resident, was killed while walking on a sidewalk after being struck in the face by an airborne fire hydrant; a passing car blew a tire and swerved onto the sidewalk, striking the fire hydrant. The force of the water pressure released so suddenly it propelled the 200-pound hydrant toward Hernandez with enough force to kill him.
2007: Kevin Whitrick, a 42-year-old man, committed suicide by hanging himself live on a webcam during an Internet chat session.
2007: Surinder Singh Bajwa, the Deputy Mayor of Delhi, India, was kicked by a Rhesus Macaque monkey at his home and fell from a first floor balcony, suffering serious head injuries. He later died from his injuries.
2008: Abigail Taylor, age 6, died nine months after several of her internal organs were partially sucked out of her lower body while she sat on an excessively powerful swimming pool drain. After several months, surgeons replaced her intestines and pancreas with donor organs. Unfortunately, she later succumbed to a rare transplant-related cancer.
2008: Gerald Mellin, a U.K. businessman, committed suicide by tying one end of a rope around his neck and the other to a tree. He then hopped into his Aston Martin DB7 and drove down a main road in Swansea until the rope decapitated him. He supposedly did this as an act of revenge against his ex-wife for leaving him.
2008: David Phyall, 50, the last resident in a block of flats due to be demolished in Bishopstoke, near Southampton, Hampshire, United Kingdom, cut his own head off with a chainsaw to highlight the injustice of being forced to move out.
2008: James Mason, 73, of Chardon, Ohio, died of heart failure after his significantly younger wife exercised him to death in a public swimming pool. Christine Newton-John, 41, was seen on video tape pulling Mason around the pool and preventing him from getting out of the water 43 times. Newton-John later pleaded guilty to reckless homicide.
2008: Isaiah Otieno, 20, a Kenyan student living in Cranbrook, BC, Canada, was crushed when a single-engine Bell 206 helicopter crashed on top of him and burst into flames when he was walking to mail home a letter. Otieno didn't hear the helicopter because he was wearing headphones at the time. The three occupants of the helicopter also died in the crash. The cause of the crash remains unknown.
2009: Jonathan Campos, a sailor charged with murder, killed himself in his Camp Pendleton, San Diego, CA, cell by stuffing toilet paper in his mouth until he asphyxiated.
2009: Diana Durre, of Chambers, Nebraska, died after a 75-foot (23 m) tall Taco Bell sign fell on top of the truck cab she was in. Strong winds caused the pole to break at a welded joint about 15 feet (4.5 m) above the ground.
2009: Sergey Tuganov, a 28-year-old Russian, bet two women that he could continuously have sex with them both for twelve hours. Several minutes after winning the $4,300 bet, he suffered a heart attack and died. It is believed that the heart attack was the result of Tuganov ingesting an entire bottle of Viagra just after accepting the bet.
2009: Taylor Mitchell, a Canadian folk singer, was attacked and killed by two coyotes only the second recorded human fatality from a coyote attack.
2009: Bill Sparkman, 51, a Kentucky census worker and eagle scout committed suicide by hanging. But, Sparkman tried to make his suicide appear to be an anti-government homicide so that family members could collect his life insurance. He was found naked, bound and gagged with duct tape and hanging from a tree with the word "fed" scrawled across his chest.
2009: Vladimir Likhonos, a Ukrainian student, died after accidentally dipping a homemade chewing gum into explosives he was using on another project. The gum exploded, blowing off his jaw and most of the lower part of his face.
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