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. 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 popped out of the window frame, and he fell over 300 feet to his death.
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    • Age: Died at 38 (1955-1993)
    • Profession: Lawyer
    • Cause Of Death: Defenestration, Accidental fall
  2. George Herbert
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain
    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.
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    • Age: Died at 40 (1593-1633)
    • Birthplace: Montgomery, United Kingdom
    • Profession: Priest, Poet, Orator, Writer
    • Cause Of Death: Tuberculosis
    • Interment Location: Bemerton, United Kingdom
  3. Georgi Markov
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain
    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.
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    • Age: Died at 49 (1929-1978)
    • Birthplace: Vitosha, Sofia, Bulgaria
    • Profession: Journalist, Writer
    • Cause Of Death: Poisoning, Assassination
  4. In Riverside, California, for complications of advanced cervical cancer. Before she died, her caregivers claimed that Ramirez's body mysteriously emitted toxic fumes that made several emergency room workers very ill. She was dubbed the "toxic lady" by the media.
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    • Age: Died at 31 (1963-1994)
    • Cause Of Death: Renal failure, Cervical cancer
  5. Grigori Rasputin
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain
    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.
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    • Age: Died at 47 (1869-1916)
    • Birthplace: Pokrovskoye, Russia
    • Cause Of Death: Ballistic trauma, Drowning, Homicide, Assassination, Poison
  6. Gus Grissom
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain
    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.
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    • Age: Died at 41 (1926-1967)
    • Birthplace: Mitchell, Indiana, United States of America
    • Profession: Astronaut, Military aviator
    • Major/Field Of Study: Mechanical Engineering
    • Cause Of Death: Smoke inhalation, Flash fire
    • Interment Location: Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia, United States of America
  7. Gustav Kobbé
    Photo: Freebase/CC-BY-SA
    Writer and musicologist, was killed when the sailboat he was on was struck by a landing seaplane off Long Island, N.Y.
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    • Age: Died at 61 (1857-1918)
    • Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States of America
    • Profession: Music critic, Author
    • Cause Of Death: Accident
  8. 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. It was later determined that Houdini died of a ruptured appendix.
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    • Age: Died at 52 (1874-1926)
    • Birthplace: Budapest, Hungary
    • Profession: Pilot, Stunt Performer, Historian, Film Producer, Actor, + more
    • Cause Of Death: Appendicitis, Peritonitis
    • Interment Location: Machpelah Cemetery, New York City, New York, United States of America
  9. Harry K. Daghlian, Jr.
    Photo: Freebase/CC-BY-SA
    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.
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    • Age: Died at 24 (1921-1945)
    • Birthplace: Waterbury, Connecticut, United States of America
    • Profession: Physicist
    • Cause Of Death: Acute radiation syndrome, Criticality accident
  10. Inejiro Asanuma
    Photo: Freebase
    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.
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    • Age: Died at 62 (1898-1960)
    • Birthplace: Miyake-jima, Japan
    • Profession: Politician
    • Cause Of Death: Assassination
  11. Isadora Duncan
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain
    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.
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    • Age: Died at 50 (1877-1927)
    • Birthplace: California, United States of America
    • Profession: Dancer
    • Cause Of Death: Traffic collision, Strangling
    • Interment Location: Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris, France
  12. J. G. Parry-Thomas
    Photo: Freebase
    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).
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    • Age: Died at 43 (1884-1927)
    • Birthplace: Wrexham, United Kingdom
    • Profession: Race car driver, Engineer
    • Cause Of Death: Traffic collision, Decapitation
  13. Jack Daniel

    Jack Daniel
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain
    Distiller, died from blood poisoning. The infection started in his toe, which he injured kicking his safe in anger when he couldn't open it early one morning.
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    • Age: Died at 61 (1850-1911)
    • Birthplace: Lynchburg, Tennessee, United States of America
    • Profession: Businessperson
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
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    • Age: Died at 40 (1938-1978)
    • Profession: Photographer
    • Cause Of Death: Smallpox
  16. Jansen Van Vuuren

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    • Cause Of Death: Accident
  17. 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.
  18. Jerome Irving Rodale

    Jerome Irving Rodale
    Photo: Freebase
    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?".
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    • Age: Died at 73 (1898-1971)
    • Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States of America
    • Cause Of Death: Myocardial infarction
  19. A man executed in Mississippi's gas chamber, died bashing his head against a metal pole behind the chair that he was strapped into. The poisonous gas had failed to kill him but left him in agony and gasping for eight minutes. It was later determined that the executioner was drunk.
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    • Age: Died at 34 (1949-1983)
    • Cause Of Death: Gas chamber, Capital punishment
  20. John Bowen
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain
    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.
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    • Age: Died at 47 (1780-1827)
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