Weird History
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The Most Bizarre Deaths in History

Updated July 14, 2020 120.9k votes 26.1k voters 2.6m views21 items

List RulesVote up the most bizarre deaths.

It's a common wish for most people to die peacefully in their sleep, but this doesn't always happen. Some people's deaths are mysterious; some die in freak accidents or otherwise strange, unusual, or downright weird manners that are just plain baffling to the living.

Whether you find this list creepy or thought-provoking, vote up the bizarre deaths you find the most mind-boggling.

  • 5

    Draco — 620 BCE: Death By Coats

    Draco — 620 BCE: Death By Coats
    Photo: Oyez / CC

    According to the Suda, "a massive 10th century Byzantine Greek historical encyclopedia of the ancient Mediterranean world," this Athenian lawmaker "was being honoured by the Aeginetans in the theatre, but they threw so many hats and shirts and cloaks on his head [a customary show of approval] that he suffocated, and was buried in that selfsame theatre."

    Oddly enough, Draco's name became literally synonymous with overbearing and unnecessary laws, as it is the origin of the term "draconian." 

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  • 6

    Henry Taylor — 1872: Death By Coffin

    Henry Taylor — 1872: Death By Coffin
    Photo: Unknown / BBC / Public Domain

    Or perhaps, death by irony is a more appropriate categorization for this one. According to the BBC:

    [Henry Taylor] was a pall bearer in London's Kensal Green Cemetery, and was midway through a funeral when he caught his foot on a stone and stumbled. As he fell to the ground, the other bearers let go of the coffin, which fell on poor, prone Henry... The greatest confusion was created amongst the mourners who witnessed the accident,' said the Illustrated Police News in November 1872, 'and the widow of the person about to be buried nearly went into hysterics.'

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  • 7

    21 Bostonians — 1919: Death By Molasses

    According to the issue of The Boston Post published on January 16, 1919

    A 50-foot wave of molasses – 2,300,000 gallons of it – released in some manner yet unexplained, from a giant tank, swept over Commercial street and its waterfront from Charter street to the southerly end of North End Park yesterday afternoon. 

    Ensnaring in its sticky flood more than 100 men, women, and children; crushing buildings, teams, automobiles, and street cars – everything its path – the black reeking mass slapped against the side of the buildings footing Copp's Hill and then swished back towards the Harbor.

    The event resulted in 21 dead and another 150 injured.

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  • 8

    Edward Archbold — 2012: Death By Cockroach-Eating

    Edward Archbold — 2012: Death By Cockroach-Eating
    Photo: Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY

    If you're squeamish about bugs, especially cockroaches, then the thought of willingly eating the six-legged creatures is appalling enough. But not only did Edward Archbold eat the most cockroaches, winning an insect-munching contest in Deerfield, Florida, but he also choked to death on his victorious meal.

    In 2012, NBC News reported, "According to the report, the death was deemed an accident as a result of 'arthropod body parts' blocking Archbold's airways."  

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