Graveyard Shift Science Has Finally Determined The Most Gruesome Ways To Die  

Laura Allan
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Most people will, at one point or another, consider what the worst and most painful ways to die might be - and that includes scientists. But these particular scientists, the ones who sought to uncover the very worst ways to die, decided to think outside of the box - beyond shark attacks and allergic reactions. Through this work, they have discovered that the science of death dictates that the most painful ways to die are, luckily, very unlikely to happen. Still, it's bound to make anyone cringe a bit to think about it.

Scientist Paul Doherty and writer Cody Cassidy sat down to mull over the age-old question of what the worst ways to die might be, and they came up with some very unlikely, though terrifying, scenarios. Rather than focusing on things like lethal injection or execution by hanging, their answers looked at seemingly impossible or unlikely situations - and the results were pretty gruesome. Other scientists have included more likely scenarios in their considerations, and those are in some ways even more chilling.

So, if you think you know what might be the worst and most painful way to die, think again.

Being Trapped In A Falling Elevator


Being Trapped In A Falling Ele... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Science Has Finally Determined The Most Gruesome Ways To Die
Photo: jasewong/flickr/CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

If you want to survive in a suddenly plummeting elevator, apparently the thing to do is to lie down flat on the floor on your back. This spreads the G force out evenly across more of your body and makes it more likely that you'll live through the process. But let's say you didn't do that. What would happen?

The answer is nothing less than stomach-turning. If you are still standing at the moment of impact, your internal organs may still try to to keep moving, even though the rest of your body is not. Because of this, your organs may be ripped out of the bottom of your body all at once, and your limbs may break under the impact. Your head, however, would still be farthest away from the bottom of the elevator, meaning that you may survive long enough to see your insides make their way outside (if your brain isn't destroyed by the fall, too). At that point, just pray that you've gone into shock. Luckily, due to many safety improvements, finding yourself trapped in a rapidly falling elevator is very unlikely.

Being Executed By Scaphism


Being Executed By Scaphism is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Science Has Finally Determined The Most Gruesome Ways To Die
Photo:  Pop Trigger/YouTube

If you've never heard of scaphism, then buckle in, because you're in for a horrifying ride. This was a torture method once used by the Persians, and it's very intricate. First, you would be stuffed into a hollowed-out tree trunk between a pair of boats with your head and feet protruding from either end of the hollow log. Then you'd get force fed milk and honey. This doesn't sound so bad, but they'd do it until you're pretty much full to bursting - and, yes, there would be terrible diarrhea. Then, they would pour even more milk and honey all over you, including into your eyes, mouth, and sometimes genitals. But that isn't even what would kill you.

Instead, the milk and honey would then attract insects, which made their home and laid their eggs with your trapped body inside the hollowed out tree. And when the babies hatched, they'd need food  - and, lucky for them, they'd have you right there ready to snack on. The insects and larvae would then burrow into your skin, eat your flesh, and chances are you'd be awake for a lot of it. In the end, you'd be lucky to die from dehydration, starvation, or exhaustion; however, you also might die from septic shock, as your very blood became highly toxic to you. 

Being Caught In A Neutron Star


Being Caught In A Neutron Star is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Science Has Finally Determined The Most Gruesome Ways To Die
Photo: European Southern Observatory/flickr/CC-BY 2.0

Now, it's pretty much impossible that you'd ever find yourself near a neutron star, but if you did, all sorts of gruesome things would happen to you. Soon after being pulled in by one, you'd find yourself in a constant state of free fall with gravity becoming increasingly strong. This gravity would then rip you apart completely, starting with whatever part of you happened to be closest to the star at the time.

If that somehow didn't kill you, then the radiation definitely would. Huge amounts of radiation are produced when matter falls into the neutron star, and it's all going to slam into you pretty hard. Even if that doesn't kill you, then the levels of magnetism produced by the star will distort your atoms into thin cigar shapes, and the bonds between atoms in your molecules will be so broken that you'll be suddenly transformed into a plasma cloud that then becomes part of the star's radiation.

Taking A Tumble Down The Mariana Trench


Taking A Tumble Down The Maria... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Science Has Finally Determined The Most Gruesome Ways To Die
Photo: U.S. Pacific Fleet/flickr/CC-BY-NC 2.0

The Mariana Trench is by far the deepest place in the entire ocean, and diving into it without taking the proper safety precautions is pretty much a surefire way to die. Not only does the trench reach down more than 36,000 feet, but it's also home to a lot of truly horrifying creatures. While you would definitely drown before you reached crushing depth, if you did happen to survive long enough to reach the greater depths, the pressure would crush your body, breaking your bones and collapsing your lungs. Your nasal cavity, throat, and chest would all collapse inward, and because you wouldn't have any air left in your body, you wouldn't even float to the surface.

And if you somehow still weren't dead yet, there's a creature waiting for you down below that is basically a bone-eating snot flower. It usually feasts on whale bones, but for you? It might just be willing to try something off it's usual menu.