Unusual Deaths: Bizarre Deaths Of The 20th Century People

Unusual Deaths: Bizarre Deaths Of The 20th Century

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There were some strange deaths that have occurred during the 20th century and these are the most bizarre ways that people died in the 1900s. The following list includes some the most unusual ways of dying imaginable. There are lots of strange ways to die, but these might be the strangest deaths of all- unique and extremely rare circumstances that you can think of.

What are the most bizarre ways famous people have died in the last century? Do you know someone who swallowed a toothpick at a party and then died of peritonitis? Did you know about an actress who died when she fell down a chimney, thinking it was a balcony? If not, read this list of all the unusual deaths of 20th century people who died in strange ways.


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  1. z
    Alexander Bogdanov
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain
    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.
    more ABOUT
    • Age: Died at 55 (1873-1928)
    • Birthplace: Sokółka, Poland
    • Profession: Physician, Economist, Philosopher
    • Cause Of Death: Anaphylaxis, Acute hemolytic transfusion reaction, Blood-borne disease
  2. z
    Alexander Woollcott
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain
    Suffered a fatal heart attack during an on-air discussion about Adolf Hitler.
    more ABOUT
    • Age: Died at 56 (1887-1943)
    • Birthplace: Red Bank, USA, New Jersey
    • Profession: Critic
    • Cause Of Death: Myocardial infarction
  3. 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.
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    • Age: Died at 58 (1923-1981)
    • Birthplace: Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine
    • Profession: Television director, Television producer, Screenwriter, Film Director
    • Cause Of Death: Accident
  4. 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.
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    • Age: Died at 28 (1965-1993)
    • Birthplace: Oakland, California, United States of America
    • Profession: Actor, Martial artist
    • Cause Of Death: Accident, Gunshot
    • Interment Location: Lake View Cemetery
  5. 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."
    more ABOUT
    • Age: Died at 33 (1940-1973)
    • Birthplace: San Francisco Peninsula, Northern California, California, Contiguous United States, San Francisco District 3, + more
    • Profession: Martial Arts Instructor, Film Producer, Screenwriter, Actor, Martial artist, + more
    • Major/Field Of Study: Drama
    • Cause Of Death: Cerebral edema
    • Interment Location: Lake View Cemetery
  6. 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.
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    • Age: Died at 48 (1939-1987)
    • Birthplace: Saint Charles, Missouri, United States of America
    • Profession: Politician, Teacher
    • Cause Of Death: Suicide
    • Interment Location: Blooming Valley Cemetery
  7. C.B. Lansing

    on Aloha Airlines Flight 243, flight attendant, was sucked out of an airliner when the bulkhead tore off in mid flight.
  8. 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.
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    • Age: Died at 35 (1946-1981)
    • Birthplace: West Germany
    • Profession: Photographer
    • Cause Of Death: Suicide
  9. 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.
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    • Age: Died at 30 (1944-1974)
    • Birthplace: Hudson, Ohio, United States of America
    • Profession: Journalist, TV Journalist
    • Cause Of Death: Suicide
  10. z
    Christopher Johnson McCandless
    Photo: Freebase/Fair use
    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.
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    • Age: Died at 24 (1968-1992)
    • Birthplace: El Segundo, California, United States of America
    • Profession: Hobo
    • Major/Field Of Study: Anthropology, History
    • Cause Of Death: Starvation
  11. z
    Dan Andersson
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain
    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.
    more ABOUT
    • Age: Died at 32 (1888-1920)
    • Birthplace: Ludvika, Sweden
    • Profession: Poet, Author, Writer
    • Cause Of Death: Cyanide poisoning
  12. David Allen Kirwan

    Died after attempting to rescue a friend's dog from Celestine Pool, a hot spring at Yellowstone National Park on July 20, 1981. Kirwan is the only known case of someone dying after deliberately jumping into one of the park's hot springs.
  13. David Grundman

    Was killed near Lake Pleasant, Arizona while shooting at cacti for fun with his shotgun. After firing several shots at a 26 ft (8m) tall Saguaro Cactus from extremely close range, a 4 ft limb of the Cactus that was weakened by the gunfire detached and fell on him, crushing him.
  14. 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.
    more ABOUT
    • Age: Died at 18 (1956-1974)
    • Birthplace: California, United States of America
    • Cause Of Death: Crushing, Amusement park accidents
  15. Died of radiation poisoning after having consumed large quantities of a popular patent medicine containing radium.
    more ABOUT
    • Age: Died at 52 (1880-1932)
    • Birthplace: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States of America
    • Profession: Business magnate, Golfer, Athlete
    • Cause Of Death: Acute radiation syndrome
  16. 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.
  17. z
    Eileen Lonergan
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain
    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.
    more ABOUT
    • Age: Died at 29 (1969-1998)
    • Profession: Diver
    • Cause Of Death: Speculative
  18. Franco Brun

    A 22-year-old prisoner at Toronto East Detention Centre, in Toronto, Ontario, 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.
  19. z
    Franz Reichelt
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain
    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.
    more ABOUT
    • Age: Died at 33 (1879-1912)
    • Birthplace: Europe, Austria, Vienna, Central Europe
    • Profession: Tailor
    • Cause Of Death: Accident
  20. 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.
    more ABOUT
    • Age: age 54
    • Birthplace: St Asaph, United Kingdom
    • Profession: Presenter
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