Dying is no fun according to people who try it, but you just can’t help but laugh at the unusual way some people go about it. Some people will do anything for a laugh. Here are some examples from Wikipedia’s “A List of Unusual Deaths”…
Back in 456 B.C., a Greek playwright named Aeschylus died when an eagle hit him off the top of his bald head with a turtle. The turtle lived but Aeschylus didn’t. Everybody’s a critic.
Before he supposedly became the gatekeeper in heaven, St. Peter was executed by the Romans. The popular story is that he asked the Romans to crucify him in a different way than Jesus had been killed. So they put him on a cross, but upside down. Show off.
This one’s a real side splitter, in 1912, a French tailor named Franz Reichelt (sounds German to me, but what do I know) fell to his death from the Eiffel Tower. At the time he was testing his invention, a coat parachute. So I guess, technically, he didn’t so much fall as jump. Anyway, to make a long story short, he’d assured the authorities that he planned to test his invention on a dummy first. He may have been a lousy inventor, but in my opinion, he was no liar.
In 1903, inventor William Nelson was testing a motor on his bicycle, rode it off a hill, and was killed. Had he survived, his next invention was going to be the airplane.
Henry Winstanley invented a doozy of a lighthouse and wanted to be in it during a real good thunderstorm. He got his wish and was killed in his lighthouse during the storm. Between you and me, I don’t think the elevator went all the way to the top in his lighthouse, if you get my drift.
Valerian is a popular herb that people use to relax themselves and fall asleep, but a long time ago there was a Roman Emperor called, Valerian (if you ever heard one of his boring speeches, you’d know why). After defeating Valerian, the Persian King, Shapur I, used him as a footstool. When he got tired of that, Shapur I had Valerian skinned alive. Then he had Valerian’s hide stuffed with straw or dung.
Legend has it that he kept it beside his bowling trophy. I’m no interior decorator, but this guy had to have the worst taste in furniture, not to mention a pretty niffy trophy room.
Everybody said Humphrey de Bohun, the 4th Earl of Hereford, would get it in the end. They were right. He was killed when he was speared through the anus by a sneaky pike man who hid under a bridge that Henry was crossing. Henry is most famous for setting the standing broad jump record, just before he died, YIKES!
It’s only a rumor, but some people say that Edward II of England, who was dethroned and put in jail by his consort, Queen Isabella and her main squeeze, Roger Mortimer, was killed by having a red hot iron thrust up his anus. Hence the popular expression, “Give em’ a good Rogering.” Double Yikes!!
In 1410 Martin I of Aragon (not the other Martin the first) died from indigestion and uncontrollable laughter (his own, apparently). Now you tell one.
Apparently there was a bit of a dust up in 1649 when Sir Arthur Aston, who supposedly was a Royalist, commanded a garrison. It was besieged, and he was beaten to death by soldiers who used Artie’s own wooden leg to beat him. The soldiers later explained that they thought the wooden leg was filled with gold coins, yeah right.
Let’s face it, being beaten to death with your prosthesis is not a great way to die, but he couldn’t kick.
Jean-Baptiste Lully and his band were really swinging when he accidentally pierced his foot with a staff. He subsequently died of gangrene. Apparently he was banging the staff on the floor to keep time, the way they used to at all hootenannies and hit his own foot. He was conducting, “Te Deun,” at the time, and everybody said it was a real toe-tapper.
Back in Athens around 570 B.C., things were pretty dull so Phalaris, also known as the Tyrant of Agrigentum, had an inventor named Perillos build him a new torture device. Perillos presented Phalaris with the Brazen Bull that was described as a human crucible. The idea was to put people in the bull and roast them alive.
What made it so special was that there was a bunch of tubes that were designed so the cries of the dying people would sound like a bellowing bull. I don’t know what it would have sounded like if they cooked a bull in it.
Taking the role of Tyrant to heart, Phalaris stuck Perillos in the bull and proceeded to roast him in his own invention. But not being a big fan of irony, or even knowing how to spell it, Phalaris took Perillos out of the bull before he died and threw him off a cliff to his death.
Unfortunately for Phalaris, Telemachus was keen on irony and killed Phalaris by roasting him inside the Brazen Bull when he overthrew Phalaris.
Which just goes to show that you should be careful of what you leave hanging around when you are being overthrown because it might be used to roast you. Roasting is still popular today, but is usually done by a tableful of drunken comedians. There is also the popular ‘turducken’ which is cooking a chicken inside a duck inside a turkey, or is it a duck inside a chicken inside a turkey? Well you get the idea, anyway.
Speaking of the Brazen Bull, it survived, though its inventor died, and was quite the hit at parties. Moving ahead to the year 98, or thereabouts, Saint Antipas was the Bishop of Pergamum and things were going along pretty well until Emperor Domitian took it into his head to start persecuting people. Sure enough, he grabbed Saint Antipas and roasted him in a Brazen Bull.
Being a traditionalist, Hadrian is said to have roasted Saint Eustace and his wife and kids in a family sized Brazen Bull. You’d think that being cooked to death in a big metal bull was pretty special, but apparently, at one time, everybody was doing it. I could go on and on about it, but I think that’s enough bull for now.
Wikipedia, “A List of Unusual Deaths,” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_unusual_deaths