Graveyard Shift

Science Has Finally Determined The Most Gruesome Ways To Die  

Laura Allan
716.2k views 18 items

Most people will, at one point or another, wonder about the worst and most painful ways to die - which includes scientists. But these particular scientists, the ones who sought to uncover the worst ways to die, decided to think outside of the box - beyond shark attacks and allergic reactions. Through this work, they have realized these excruciating ways to die are incredibly unlikely to happen. Still, they're bound to make anyone cringe.

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 improbable - 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 gruesome. Other scientists have included more likely scenarios in their considerations, and those are - in some ways - more chilling.

So if you believe you know the worst and most painful ways 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 plummeting elevator, the standard advice is to lie down on your back flat on the floor. This action spreads the G-force out evenly across more of your body, making it more likely you'll live through the process. But let's say you didn't do this. 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 try to keep moving, despite the rest of your body not following suit. Because of this, your organs could tear out from the bottom of your body all at once, and your limbs may break under the impact. Your head, however, would remain farthest away from the bottom of the elevator, meaning you may survive long enough to see your insides make their way outside (if your brain isn't destroyed by the fall, too).

At this point, pray you've gone into shock. Luckily, due to many safety improvements, finding yourself trapped in a rapidly falling elevator is highly 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 spine-chilling ride. It was an intricate torture method once used by the Persians. First, they would stuff you in a hollowed-out tree trunk between a pair of boats, with your head and feet protruding from either end of the hollow log. Then they'd force-feed you milk and honey.

This doesn't sound so bad, but they'd do it until you're almost bursting - yes, it involved terrible diarrhea. Next, they would pour more milk and honey all over you, including into your eyes, mouth, and sometimes genitals. But this isn't what would kill you.

Instead, the milk and honey attracted insects, which would turn you into their home so they could lay eggs. And when the babies hatched, they'd need food - and, luckily for them, they'd have you right there as a readily available snack. The insects and larvae would then burrow into your skin and eat your flesh - and chances are you'd stay awake for a lot of it.

In the end, the lucky ones die from dehydration, starvation, or exhaustion; however, you also might die from septic shock, as your blood may become 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

It's virtually impossible you'd ever end up near a neutron star, but if you did, all sorts of gruesome things would happen to you. Soon after one pulls you in, you'd find yourself in a constant state of free fall with the gravity becoming increasingly intense. This gravity would proceed to rip you apart, starting with whatever part of you was closest to the star at the time.

If this somehow didn't kill you, then the radiation definitely would. Vast amounts of radiation emerge when matter falls into the neutron star, and it's all going to slam into you hard.

Even if this doesn't kill you, then the levels of magnetism produced by the star will distort your atoms into thin cigar shapes, and the broken bonds between atoms in your molecules will transform you into a plasma cloud, becoming 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 proper safety precautions is a surefire way to die. Not only does the trench reach down more than 36,000 feet, but it's also home to multitudes of horrifying creatures.

While you would drown before you reached the 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 couldn't float to the surface.

And if you somehow survived, there's a creature waiting for you down below, basically a bone-eating snot flower. It usually feasts on whale bones, but for you? It might be willing to try something off its usual menu.