One of the few certainties in life is that one day it will come to an end. The Grim Reaper finds each one of us eventually, and all we can really do is hope it's a peaceful experience at the end of a long life. As we go about our daily lives, however, the specter of death looms everywhere, and if the Final Destination film franchise taught us anything, it's that pretty much anything can be a death trap with a little imagination.
This list explores the most random, freak accident deaths on record. The poor folks described here had no idea that when they left their homes that fateful day they would meet their deaths in some of the weirdest ways possible. As it turns out, you're really not safe anywhere, and destiny can get far more darkly creative than any horror film. The stories of these people killed in freak accidents will make you think twice before getting out of bed tomorrow.
There are fewer more deadly pieces of sports equipment than the javelin. The track and field object is long, heavy, and sharp, so stories of it causing injury from time to time are not that surprising. Death by javelin, however, is a bit more difficult to achieve - that is, unless that javelin passes through the last place you would ever want it to on your body (no, not there - get your mind out of the gutter).
A P.E. teacher in Liverpool, England, got an extreme close-up of a javelin in 1999, and it ultimately took his life. Walking to retrieve the object, which was lodged in the ground and standing upright, 41-year-old Jon Desborough lost his footing and fell on the pole, which jammed right into his eye socket. Desborough passed away after a month-long coma stemming from the accident.
In 2007, an Oakland, California, man was enjoying a casual stroll with his wife when he met his untimely end in what authorities would later describe as "a million-to-one chance." 24-year-old Humberto Hernandez was walking down the sidewalk when suddenly an S.U.V. struck a fire hydrant behind him. The impact of the collision dislodged the 200-pound iron object and sent it hurdling through the air, right into the back of Hernandez's head.
The tremendously heavy fire hydrant was traveling with such velocity that it ricocheted off the man, went through a fence, and landed 20 feet away. Hernandez tragically died on the scene.
Being a New York Jets fan is a pretty undesirable lot in life, but even those who claim that unfortunate allegiance don't expect to meet a brutal, freak death while in the stands. In December 1979, however, 20-year-old John Bowen got just that when a halftime exhibition went horribly wrong.
Sitting in the lower stands of Shea Stadium, Bowen was taking in a halftime show that involved a demonstration with various novelty-shaped remote control aircraft (similar to modern drones). One such plane was a 40-pound swirling piece of metal in the shape of a lawnmower. The pilot lost control of this uniquely not aerodynamic object, sending it hurdling into the stands.
On the receiving end of this flying, grass-cutting nightmare was Bowen, who was struck in the head and later died from an accident that witnesses described as similar to being attacked by an axe.
Lamentably, really long beards have become a fashionable facial accessory, but the story of Hans Steininger should provide a cautionary tale that may have rustic types reaching for their Gillettes. Steininger, who lived in Braunau an inn, Austria, was a bit of a local celebrity in the 1500's for having the longest recorded beard in history. Typically, Steininger kept his absurd growth rolled up in a leather pouch, as it naturally got in the way of everyday tasks, but one day he neglected to do so, and while fleeing from a house fire, he tripped on his beard and snapped his neck, dying instantaneously.
For the avid fans of historical facial hair (and who among us isn't?), Steininger's 447-year-old beard is kept on display at the Braunau am inn town museum.